W. Africa Crude-Nigeria differentials down on March cargo overhang

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Nigerian differentials for March loading showed the first sign of easing on Thursday as persistently high prices have deterred buyers and caused a buildup of cargoes.

Chinese refinery demand for Angolan crude in the run-up to the Lunary New Year holiday has cleared most of its cargoes.

* Traders said there were at least 20 unsold Nigerian cargoes from the March programme

* The overhang has started to bring down prices of Bonny Light and Qua Iboe, which had been indicated at more than $2 a barrel above dated Brent so far in February

* Exxon was offering cargo of Qua Iboe at a premium of $1.90 to dated Brent on Thursday versus offers near $2.75 on Wednesday

* Traders cited buyer reluctance to meet the high differentials and low gasoline margins as reasons for the price slide

* Demand for Angolan crude from Chinese refiners in the run-up to the lunar new year holiday all but drained supplies of March-loading cargoes


* French oil and gas major Total’s announced details on Thursday of a South African offshore discovery containing between 500 million and 1 billion barrels of total resources, mainly gas condensate and some light oil.

* Eastern Libyan forces loyal to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar captured the closed 315,000 barrel per day El Sharara oilfield on Wednesday, in a challenge to the Tripoli government, but some protesting tribesmen remained at the site.

* Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that OPEC and non-OPEC countries could discuss a charter outlining open-ended cooperation in April

Reporting by Amanda Cooper and Noah Browning
Editing by Jane Merriman


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