W. Africa Crude-Buyers await Nigerian crude price drop, Angolan sells well

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – Angolan crude continued to sell briskly, filling a gap in the market for medium-heavy grades, while a build-up of April and May cargoes for Nigerian could signal a showdown between buyers and sellers that may lead to reduced offers.

ANGOLA

* 10 cargoes remain for May loading.

* U.S. sanctions on Iranian and Venezuelan heavier grades has left an opening in the market, especially in Asia, for comparable grades.

* The Brent-Dubai price spread DUB-EFS-1M, which remains narrow at about $1.30 a barrel, favoured freight shipments to the largest buyer, China.

* June loading programmes won’t appear until around April 16.

NIGERIA

* As many as 60 million barrels of Nigerian remain to be sold for April and May loading, about 10 of which are an overhang from April.

* Sellers of some May-loading crude kept indications for Bonny Light and Qua Iboe grades high at about $2 above dated Brent.

* Buy tenders for May-loading cargoes put forward by India, one of Nigeria’s most important markets, were expected to slow and leave Europe as one of the main export destinations.

* European refiners are interested in light Nigerian grades, which suit seasonal demand for summer gasoline grades.

* However, Europe has held back from paying steep prices indicated for May, preferring to buy competing regional grades that cut out shipping costs, snap up Nigerian April cargoes at cheaper prices than for May or wait until those cargoes are marked down.

RELATED NEWS

* Oando has sold its 25 percent stake in Nigerian gas and power company Axxela to majority investor Helios Investment for an undisclosed amount, Axxela said on Thursday.

* Venezuela’s deputy foreign minister Ivan Gil on Thursday said he does not rule out the possibility of more Russian military personnel arriving in Venezuela under agreements already concluded with Russia, Interfax news agency reported.

* Eastern Libyan forces on Thursday took full control of Gharyan, a town about 100 km (60 miles) south of capital Tripoli, bringing their conflict with Libya’s internationally recognised government to a potentially dangerous level.

Reporting by Noah Browning
Editing by David Goodman

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