W. Africa Crude-New Angolan stream begins production, diffs strong

LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) – French oil major Total announced the start of production on a new field offshore Angola on Tuesday as the main Nigerian grades continued to be offered at high differentials on expectation of continued strong demand.

* The new Angolan Mostardo stream will aim for peak production of 120,000 barrels per day but it is not yet clear when cargoes will be marketed.

* All cargoes of Angolan Girassol have been sold, three out of four of which as term allocations.

* Over 10 cargoes of Nigerian crude remain to be sold for April-loading.

* Bonny Light and Qua Iboe grades for April were being offered at a discount of at least 50 cents a barrel compared to cargoes for May, which are indicated at around $2 above dated Brent – matching highs achieved in January.

* Robust demand in Asia, relatively affordable freight costs and favourable refining margins were heard to be supporting indications for West African grades.

* Spot activity was muted as traders awaited the results of a tender by Indonesia’s Pertamina for May delivery, expected to close on Thursday.

RELATED NEWS

* Exxon Mobil XOM.N recently held talks on the sale of a suite of oil and gas fields in Nigeria as the company focuses on new developments in U.S. shale and Guyana.

* Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L last year experienced a sharp rise in the number of oil spills caused by pipeline theft in Nigeria, which the company said were the result of increased output and higher oil prices. (Reporting by Noah Browning Editing by Mark Heinrich) ))

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