China's Unipec has agreed to lift about 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Libya under a term contract for 2012, set to raise China's crude purchases from the North African exporter after supply disruptions last year.
The volume agreed between Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and Libya's National Oil Company (NOC), covered January-December supplies this year, traders with knowledge of the deal told Reuters.
China's crude imports from Libya fell by nearly two-thirds last year against 2010 to about 52,000 bpd, Chinese customs data showed, as a civil war in Libya hit production facilities and halted exports for about six months.
Libya's crude exports were expected to rise to 800,000 bpd in January, while production climbed to 1.3 million bpd, moving closer to pre-war levels of around 1.77 million bpd, Reuters had reported.
Unipec's 100,000 bpd supply pact is tiny compared with China's total crude imports of more than 5 million bpd, but it adds to Unipec's increased supplies secured through similar term deals with Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Together, they will help cover the cuts Unipec made in term Iranian crude imports, estimated by a senior Chinese trade executive to be up to 54,000 bpd for 2012.
OPEC member Libya last December awarded oil supply contracts for 2012 to four major trading houses -- Glencore, Gunvor, Trafigura and Vitol.