MOSCOW/LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Urals crude oil shipments from Ust-Luga port were halted on Wednesday as buyers refused to load cargoes, citing unacceptably high levels of organic chloride, four trade sources told Reuters on Thursday.
“The last Urals cargo from Ust-Luga was loaded on Apr. 24. The next one was expected to start loading on the same date, but the buyer refused loading,” a trader on the Urals market told Reuters.
“Today the next cargo should have started loading, but it hasn’t yet,” the trader added.
Ust-Luga port administration and the port’s captain were not available for comment.
“No crude oil cargoes are currently loading in the port”, a person in the government port inspection service in Ust-Luga port told Reuters by phone.
The last cargo that was loaded from Ust-Luga port was of Surgutneftegaz crude for loading on Apr. 23-24, which was purchased by Total, traders said.
A cargo from Kazakh producers scheduled for loading on Apr. 24-25 was not shipped, nor the next, from Rosneft, scheduled for loading on Apr. 25-26, traders said.
According to the interactive map in Refinitiv Eikon, tanker Montego, which was expected to load a cargo of Kazakh producers on Apr. 24-25, was at anchor in Ust-Luga port.
At least five Urals cargoes for loading between Apr. 18 and Apr. 24 had increased organic chloride content, three traders told Reuters.
“Normally buyers don’t check crude oil for organic chloride as it’s a rare thing, but after they got aware of the issue they started”, a trader with European major told Reuters.
The content of organic chloride in Urals loading from Ust-Luga is higher for cargoes loading towards the end of April compared to cargoes for loading around Apr. 18-20, data Reuters gathered from the traders showed. (Reporting by Olga Yagova and Gleb Gorodyankin in MOSCOW, Ron Bousso and Dmitry Zhdannikov in LONDON; Editing by Jan Harvey and Alexandra Hudson)