This is according to traders, who say the purchases come as the company expects a rebound in oil demand in the second quarter.
Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest state-backed refiner Sinopec, has reportedly bought at least four cargoes of Abu Dhabi's Upper Zakum crude loading in March, taking its total purchases of the medium sour grade to around 8.5 million barrels this month. In addition, the company has also bought at least five Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) of Brazilian crude oil and three VLCCs of U.S. crude.
The decline in supertanker freight rates and the narrowest spread between Brent and Dubai prices in a year have encouraged Asian buyers to seek cargoes from the Americas. However, despite Unipec's purchases, ample supplies are still weighing on spot prices of Middle East crude, which meets more than half of Asia's demand.