Unipec, the trading arm of Asia's largest refiner the Chinese Sinopec, is moving a supertanker loaded with Libyan Bu Attifel crude, an unusually large shipment aimed at meeting demand in southeast Asia, according to traders and shipping data from LSEG and Kpler.

Light sweet Libyan grade is typically sold to European refiners due to their proximity to the OPEC producer and moving such a large quantity of a single grade in a supertanker to Asian clients is rare, the traders said.

Cyan Nova conducted ship-to-ship transfers off Malta with Aframax-sized tankers Calypso, Rava and Green Azure to receive Bu Attifel crude, Kpler data showed. The three smaller tankers loaded their cargoes in Libya in February, the data showed.

Cyan Nova is expected to take the Cape of Good Hope route and discharge its cargoes in Asia in May, another source said. It is currently heading to Gibraltar, shipping data on LSEG Eikon showed, where ships typically refuel before taking the longer route to Asia.

Unipec has since sold 1 million barrels of the oil to Vietnam's Binh Son refinery for May delivery and another 400,000 barrels to Thai refiner Bangchak Petroleum BSRC.BK, the second source added. It is unclear if the remaining 500,000 barrels has been sold.

An OPEC report revealed that Libya’s oil production on a monthly basis rose to 1,167 barrels of oil per day in February, compared to 1,023 million barrels per day last January, with a daily increase estimated at 144.000 barrels, making Libya record the largest increase in oil production during the month of March in Africa, surpassing Nigeria, the largest producer of the continent.