W. Africa Crude-Trading muted due to May Day, Indian tenders

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) – Trading slowed on Thursday in the wake of May Day holidays throughout much of the world and as the market awaited the conclusion of tenders from the Indian Oil Company (IOC).

Angolan crude for loading in June continued to perform strongly despite significantly marked up prices.

* Less than 10 cargoes of Angolan remained for June loading after state oil company Sonangol set the tone for price offerings by marking up its cargoes of various grades by around $1, with other sellers following suit.

* Despite backwardation and squeezed margins, buyers were seen to be largely meeting the high offers.

* The elevated prices, all-time highs for most grades, were partly a function of an unusually small June program.

* A cargo from the girassol stream, which has been under maintenance, was heard to have sold at a $1.50 premium compared to dated Brent, around the highest in six years.

* Angolan heavy-medium crude varieties are especially in demand given a gap in the market caused by U.S. sanctions on comparable Iranian and Venezuelan grades, as well as compatibility with new IMO regulations in 2020.

* Under 15 May loading Nigerian cargoes remained. Offer levels for June loading on major grade Qua Iboe was still high at around dated Brent plus $2.50.

* London-based energy data firm Kpler said Gabonese exports in the first quarter soared to near all-time highs, and April crude departures for the Republic of Congo saw their largest monthly rise in over two years.

* Nigeria performed strongly in April with shipments of 2.07 million barrels per day, the highest since September due to increased orders from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, Kpler added.

TENDERS

* India’s IOC issued a tender for one cargo loading June 4-13, set to close on Thursday.

* IOC also has a larger buy tender for more cargoes of West African crude loading June 12-21, also closing on Thursday.

RELATED NEWS

* OPEC tries to depoliticise oil, the producer group’s secretary-general was quoted by the Iranian oil ministry as saying on Thursday, following accusations by Iran that the United States is using oil as a weapon against Tehran.

* Royal Dutch Shell reported on Thursday a small drop in first quarter profit to $5.4 billion, but still easily beat forecasts, helped by stronger trading and liquefied natural gas earnings.

Reporting By Noah Browning; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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