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Med Crude-Urals strongest in Baltic since end Aug

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russian Urals crude extended its rally on Friday, trading in the Baltic at a discount of less than $1 a barrel to dated Brent for the first time since late August, as refiners scrambled to pick up remaining scarce volumes.

In the Platts window, BP continued to bid for an Oct 22-26 cargo in the Baltic at dated Brent minus $1 but found no sellers, traders said.

Outside the window, there was a flurry of activity with most cargoes changing hands at around dated Brent minus 80-90 cents a barrel, traders said.

Among buyers were Poland's PKN Orlen buying 2 cargoes for its Lithuanian refinery, Swedish Preem buying 2 cargoes and Repsol buying one stem in the Baltic, traders said.

"The demand is very healthy in the Baltic," said a trader with a Russian house.

Also supporting the grade was persisting talk of an Asian company sending barrels to China after having accumulated two cargoes of Urals in the past week.

"I think they will most likely resell them in the European market given how strong the prices have gone," one trader said.

Russian oil firm TNK-BP

will likely award its 2013 crude sale tender to six oil companies and trading houses, up from three last year, effectively diluting influence a buyer can have on prices, trading sources said on Friday.

Turkish imports of Iranian crude oil plummeted to around 100,000 barrels per day in September after spiking in August, data from Reuters AIS Live ship tracking and a shipping source showed.

Turkey's state oil refiner Tupras

imported two 140,000 tonne cargoes and one 145,000 tonne cargo to one of its oil import terminals, Tutunciflik, in September.

Traders said Saharan Blend grade has strengthened in the past days with deals assessed at around dated flat due to strong margins. Eni sold a November loading cargo of Saharan Blend at a premium to dated.

(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, Julia Payne; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

((dmitri.zhdannikov@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 38 13))

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Keywords: MARKETS MEDITERRANEAN/CRUDE