LONDON/ISTANBUL, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Trading giants Vitol and Glencore have won tenders to supply oil products to Libya's government until the end of the year in a move that rivals said was increasing their chances of snapping up lucrative deals to export Libyan oil next year.
Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) was seeking to buy up to 450,000 tonnes of gasoline, 360,000 tonnes of gasoil and 180,000 tonnes of fuel oil in November-December and five trading sources told Reuters on Thursday Glencore and Vitol have won the tenders.
The exact breakdown was not immediately clear. Glencore and Vitol declined to comment.
Sources close to Glencore and Vitol confirmed the companies had won some Libyan tenders.
"We are pleased to continue to further our relations with the Libyan government as well as helping to support their energy needs following the recent turmoil," a source close to Glencore said.
Traders with rival firms said Vitol and Glencore might have been prepared to accept low returns on the products deal in order to win lucrative contracts to export Libyan oil in 2012, which are due to be awarded within weeks.
"The greater the credit terms offered on products, the greater the right to advantages on quantities of crude," said a trader with a rival company.
Traders said that the terms of the product tenders were open credit, which has automatically disqualified some of the participants in the Istanbul fuels talks earlier this month.
At least one company said it is still waiting to be repaid for fuels provided during the eight-month conflict.
An oil industry source working for a refiner importing Libyan oil before the uprising said he fully expected trading houses to get a portion of 2012 volumes, representing a break with the former custom.
"I think they will get some. I think we will get some too, but perhaps a smaller quantity," he said.
Reporting by Emma Farge and Jessica Donati