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Indian Oil Bars Vitol From Tenders

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Indian Oil Corp has barred Swiss-based Vitol, the world's largest oil trading firm, from participating in its tenders and other state-run refiners may follow suit, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

IOC, the country's biggest refiner, has put the Vitol Group companies, Vitol S.A. Geneva and Vitol Asia Pte. Ltd Singapore, on a holiday list from September 3 as the trader withdrew and modified a binding offer made in a crude import tender, they said.

Officials at Indian Oil declined to comment. Vitol, responding to an email seeking comment, said it never comments on commercial relationships.

IOC has informed other state-run refiners about the move and has asked them to explore the possibility of initiating similar action. Indian Oil was at one point the country's sole crude importer and used to buy oil on behalf of other companies. State-run firms still work closely on matters such as international trade and retail fuel prices.

Other state-refiners would consult the oil ministry on suspending Vitol from participating in their tenders, the same sources said.

Earlier, India's second-biggest state-run refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp had barred Glencore from participating in its tender but later lift the ban as the trader agreed to pay half the damages to the Indian firm.

Vitol's competitors Glencore and Trafigura, which have significant Indian operations and have invested heavily to build their businesses there, are likely to be watching the developments closely.

India is the world's fourth-largest oil importer and state refiners together currently control nearly two-thirds of the country's 4.17 million bpd refining capacity, which includes Reliance Industries' export-focused 580,000 bpd plant.

IOC directly owns 1.08 million bpd of crude processing capacity through its eight refineries, while subsidiary Chennai Petroleum Corp owns 230,000 bpd of capacity. Indian Oil floats tenders almost every week seeking sweet barrels.

(Reuters)


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business energy and power glencore bpcl indian oil vitol