Japan buys first Mexican crude in at least 3 years -sources

Reuters

TOKYO/SINGAPORE, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Japan will import a crude oil cargo from Mexico for the first time in at least three years as Japanese refiners cast their net wider to source for cheaper oil, industry sources said on Friday.

Japanese refiner Cosmo Oil has booked suezmax tanker, DHT Trader, to load Mexican crude , likely Isthmus, in West Mexico on Feb. 28, an industry source and Reuters shipping data showed.

A second source said this would be the first Mexican crude import for Japan in at least three years.

Asia has stepped up crude imports from Latin America after the U.S. shale oil boom displaced these cargoes and lowered prices.

Mexico has Latin America's third-largest proven oil reserves after Venezuela and Brazil and plans to diversify oil sales away from an increasingly energy-independent United States to Asia.

Asia could take as much as a fifth of Mexico's 1.1 million bpd of exports this year, Luis Felipe Luna, chief executive officer of P.M.I. Comercio Internacional, the international oil trading arm of Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex, told Reuters in August last year.

Besides Japan, India has also been stepping up imports from Latin America.

Pemex will export its first shipment of extra light Olmeca crude to India later this month, the company said this month.

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