Houston — A cargo of 110,000 barrels of feedstocks from Lukoil’s refinery in Bulgaria marked the first US import from that country of any kind of petroleum in more than 2.5 years, US Census data showed Friday.

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The Minerva Grace from the Lukoil refinery at Burgas, Bulgaria, arrived Thursday at Philadelphia with VGO at at unspecified sulfur level and with Lukoil Neftohim Burgas as the shipper and Lukoil owner Litasco as consignee, according to the data compiled by S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Census data dating to September 2015 — the furthest month for which data was available — showed no imports from Bulgaria before Thursday. US Energy Information Administration data shows that Bulgaria sent 195,000 barrels of residual fuel oil at greater than 1.0% sulfur to the US in October 2015.

The 190,000 refinery at Burgas is believed to be the largest in the Balkans and had key production units come out of maintenance in April.

The Bulgaria-origin VGO arrives on the East Coast with refinery maintenance in the region coming off an 8-month high for refinery runs at 99.1% in late June. At the same time, strong gasoline cracks across the US have left refiners hungry for feedstocks to boost production.

Bulgaria is not a major player in the world oil trade. The US CIA World Factbook lists the nation as exporting less than 100,000 b/d of refined products.

The import came after a month in which US feedstocks imports dipped to 229,000 b/d, well below the 300,000-400,000 b/d that US refiners are considered by market sources to be short on feedstocks.

–Jeffrey Bair, jeffrey.bair@spglobal.com

–Edited by Derek Sands, derek.sands@spglobal.com

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