W. Africa Crude-Cosco sanctions stoke market uncertainty

 LONDON, Sept 27 (Reuters) - New U.S. sanctions on COSCO, one
of the world's major oil shipping fleets, raised shipping prices
on Thursday, especially in the Middle East, but had yet to
impact West African shipments eastward. ANGOLA * Global freight rates shot up after the United States
imposed sanctions on divisions of Chinese shipping giant COSCO
for allegedly moving Iranian crude. * As major buyers like China's Sinopec and India's IOC
cancelled bookings on some COSCO vessels and looked for
alternative ships, shippers stood to benefit. * Relatively few COSCO supertankers were docked at or bound
for West African ports and traders had yet to note any concrete
impact on exports from the region. * BP-chartered Island Splendor was bound for the region and
Unipec-charted Xin Han Yang appeared scheduled to arrive in
Angola after the weekend. * It was not yet clear but appeared unlikely, traders said,
that charterers would interrupt current fixtures but rather seek
alternatives to COSCO for future cargoes. * India's oil imports from Iraq surged to a record high in
August, as African crude imports fell 18.3% to 764,500 bpd while
prices for heavy sweet crudes from Angola, Cameroon and Chad sought by China's state and independent refiners have risen. * Shipments of Canadian crude from the U.S. Gulf Coast since
May have more than doubled all of 2018's exports as Asian
refiners scramble for heavy sour oil, according to
vessel-tracking data, traders and industry sources. * Prices for the handful of remaining cargoes for October
export were sliding gradually amid muted Asian interest due to
backwardation and high shipping costs. NIGERIA * Shell maintained its force majeure over exports of Bonny
Light, as market participants continue to grapple with loading
delays which confound their schedules. * Northwest European gasoline refining margins rose
following a draw in regional stocks and amid strong exports,
making imports of Nigerian grades more attractive. * Lower price offerings for Bonny Light and Qua Iboe, both
around a premium of $2.75 compared to dated Brent, met many
buyers' expectations and could help a supply glut clear. * Uncertainty continues to surround the crude demand of
Saudi Arabia, especially regarding its regular customers, as
some sellers believe attacks on its main plants this month could
lead it and global buyers to seek alternative light sweet crude. TENDERS * Both Indian Oil Corp. and Thailand's PTT closed but
winners were slow to emerge. RELATED NEWS * They should have started a bull run, but supply shocks
that have rocked the oil industry this year have failed to
deliver a sustained rise in crude prices. * Marathon Petroleum Corp MPC.N said on Friday the company's
board supported Gary Heminger staying on as chief executive
officer amid calls for his ouster from two top 10 shareholders. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ))
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