W. Africa Crude-Trade slow as new programmes awaited, backwardation weighs

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – After a brisk month of trading at high differentials, spot sales slowed on Tuesday as Asian demand was weighed down by a sharp widening of the Brent-Dubai spread over the past week and a steep backwardation in the Brent futures curve.

* Also weighing on Asian demand for west African crude is the worst Asian refining margins in years, particularly for naphtha and gasoline. Demand from the region’s top buyer, Indonesia, has fallen and refineries have returned from maintenance.

* Brent’s premium to Dubai quotes DUB-EFS-1M is at levels not seen since last October at about $3.15 a barrel while the front-month Brent futures spread closed on Monday at its widest level since April last year at 92 cents a barrel LCOc1-LCOc2.

* The combination of the two price moves has made Atlantic Basin oil much more expensive for Asian refiners.

* Angola’s July loading programme was expected to emerge on Wednesday while Nigeria’s new programmes were due out by next week.

* At least 20 Nigerian cargoes still remained from the June programme.

* About 3 or 4 Angolan June loading cargoes were still available, including a Cabinda with Chevron.

* BP was offering Qua Iboe at dated Brent plus $2.70, Forcados at dated Brent plus $3.40, Agbami at dated Brent plus $1.25 and Escravos at dated Brent plus $3.30 a barrel.


* Turkey’s Tupras issued a buy tender for a cargo of west African crude for June 25 to July 10 delivery. It closes on May 15.

* India’s IOC has two buy tenders for crude loading July 7-16 and June 22 to July 1. They close on May 16.


* Saudi Arabia said armed drones had struck two oil pumping stations in the kingdom on Tuesday in what it called a “cowardly” act of terrorism two days after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

* Saudi Aramco aims to boost its oil supply to Europe by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) within the next two years as it expands its trading operations there with an office opening this summer in London, a senior company executive said. (Reporting by Julia Payne, Editing by Ed Osmond) ))


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