* Unipec, Vitol look set to win tender
* BPC has resumed issuing tenders after 15-year hiatus
* Gas shortages have forced BPC to turn to oil-fired power plants
By Jessica Jaganathan and Ruma Paul
SINGAPORE/DHAKA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Oil traders Unipec and Vitol placed the lowest offers in a tender by Bangladesh Petroleum Corp to buy up to 1.27 million tonnes of oil products for import in the first half of 2018, three industry sources said on Tuesday.
The state-owned company was seeking 780,000 to 980,000 tonnes of gasoil with sulphur content of no more than 500 parts per million (ppm), 100,000 tonnes of jet fuel, 120,000 to 160,000 tonnes of 180-cst high sulphur fuel oil and 30,000 tonnes of 95-octane gasoline.
Unipec, the trading arm of China’s state-owned Sinopec , placed the lowest offer for the gasoil and jet fuel cargoes beating six other companies, two of the sources said. They declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media.
It placed an offer of $2.76 a barrel above benchmark gasoil quotes and $3.34 a barrel above benchmark jet fuel quotes for 390,000 to 490,000 tonnes of 500 ppm sulphur gasoil and 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel, according to those two sources.
The trader also placed an offer of $2.42 a barrel above benchmark gasoil quotes and $3.34 a barrel above benchmark jet fuel quotes for similar volumes of gasoil and jet fuel, they added.
Vitol made the lowest offer for fuel oil and gasoline cargoes out of four other companies.
The Swiss oil trader placed an offer of $31.29 a tonne above benchmark fuel oil quotes for 120,000 to 160,000 tonnes of high sulphur furnace oil and an offer of $4.47 a barrel above benchmark gasoline quotes for 30,000 tonnes of 95-octane gasoline.
“Unipec is likely to win the tender for both gasoil and jet fuel, while Vitol will win the tender for fuel oil and gasoline,” a BPC official told Reuters on Tuesday.
“The deal will be finalised by the end of this month after verifying all other details,” the official added.
Sinopec was not immediately available for comment, while Vitol did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tender closed on Nov. 13 and was expected to be valid for 75 days to Jan. 26, 2018.
BPC resumed issuing tenders for long-term contracts in February, 2016 after a 15-year hiatus, during which it negotiated directly with suppliers of fuel products.
It wants to move away from direct deals as part of efforts to buy at cheaper rates.
A shortfall in supplies of natural gas has forced the South Asian country to burn oil, a costlier option, to generate electricity. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore and Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)