LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – A shortage of Venezuelan oil due to U.S. sanctions and favourable refining margins was making for brisk demand for medium-to-heavy grades, including in the United States where demand for West African crude has generally been on the decline.
* U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan exports has created a gap in the market for medium-heavy grades which Angolan is well-placed to fill
* Demand was was said to be helped by a closure to a shipping channel in the U.S. oil hub of Houston, which was helping push up gasoline cracks this week
* Demand for Angolan cargoes has been brisk in the last couple of weeks, thanks in part to a relatively narrow Brent/Dubai spreads which help cut shipping costs
* Less than 20 million barrels of Nigeria’s April loading program remain unsold
* Differentials of medium-light grades like Nigerian Nemba and Angolan Girassol were also robust on favourable refining margins
* India’s IOC is running a buy tender for 2-3 cargoes
* Indonesia’s Pertamina issued a tender to buy crude oil for May delivery
* Uruguay’s state-run oil company ANCAP is running a buy tender
* Puma Energy, the retail and storage arm of commodities trader Trafigura, has appointed Andrew Kemp as its new chief financial officer (CFO), it said on Thursday, after reporting weaker annual results.
* Saudi Arabia is having a hard time convincing Russia to stay much longer in an OPEC-led pact cutting oil supply, and Moscow may agree only to a three-month extension, three sources familiar with the matter said. (Reporting by Noah Browning;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle) ))