W. Africa Crude-Nigerian cargoes slow to trade amid uncertainty – Reuters

LONDON Jan 10 (Reuters) – An excess of Nigerian crude oil weighed on differentials on Tuesday, while buyers were made more wary due to a threatened increase in hostilities by militants in the oil-producing Delta region.

 
 

* Medium and heavy crude oil grades were in high demand due to the strong pull from Asia. A still-narrow spread between Brent and Dubai crudes. DUB-EFS-1M

* Kuwait raised its official selling price to Asia, following increases from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which compete with West Africa to supply crude to eastern refineries.

* Striking Nigerian oil workers closed the Oleh crude flow station in Warri, they said. The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called for a three-day strike at Chevron CVX.N and Exxon Mobil XOM.N fuel depots from Wednesday, which is expected to affect oil products.

* Shell subsidiary SPDC re-opened the Trans Niger Pipeline on Jan. 8, after closing it on Jan. 3 due to a fire. There was not yet a revised loading schedule for Bonny Light, which is exported via the pipeline.

NIGERIA

* A variety of Nigerian crudes were experiencing loading delays, including Qua Iboe, Erha, Usan and Bonny Light. The issues made them less attractive to potential buyers, traders said, and there were some 30 February-loading cargoes left.

* A threat from militants to resume hostilities has also raised concerns about further disruptions to supplies.

* Nevertheless, refiners in Canada and the United States showed some interest, with Monroe Energy, Irving Oil and Philadelphia Energy Solutions booking vessels to carry Nigerian oil west.

ANGOLA

* Firm buying interest, particularly from China’s Unipec, had helped whittle down Angolan cargoes, with roughly a handful of February-loading cargoes left for sale.

* Lighter grades were selling more slowly, but the full programme was on track to sell out before the March plan is issued early next week.

* China’s Unipec has purchased grades including Pazflor, Nemba, Saxi and Dalia from Sonangol, ExxonMobil and others in recent weeks.

* The sellers had cut differentials to dated Brent before the cargoes began to trade in earnest, so most deals were below the previous month’s levels.

TENDERS

* Part one of a tender from India’s IOC closed today, with another part closing Wednesday and an award expected Thursday.

* In recent tenders, it has taken a mix of Nigerian and Angolan crude. (Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Greg Mahlich)