W. Africa Crude-Angolan sells for cheap, held back for domestic refineries

 LONDON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Angolan oil continued to be
marked down to the lowest prices of the year and some
once-treasured heavier sweet oil was even taken off the market
and used at home for lack of buyers. * Despite easing freight rates to both Asia and Europe, West
African oil exports continued to suffer from shipping costs
following U.S. sanctions a top Chinese fleet. * While some European refiners bought WAF oil liberally,
given price markdowns and a short voyage which made it the most
logical destination, price pitfalls continued to vex traders. * "It is a tough market, very volatile and unpredictable",
one European buyer said. * Angolan state oil company Sonangol decided to retire one
of its cargoes of Cabinda, usually a best-seller, for use in its
domestic refining system after failing to find a buyer. * Another prized heavy sweet grade, Dalia, was sold by
Sonangol after being discounted to around a dollar above dated
Brent, below previous months' prices at and above $2.50. * The December loading preliminary programme lacked Saxi
crude, but traders expect one or two cargoes from the field to
be added when the export schedule was finalized. * Nigerian Bonny Light, one of its key grades, was being
offered at $1.60 above dated Brent, down from about $2.50 and
above in previous months. * India's HPCL has issued a buy tender, for three VLCCs of
crude loading in the first quarter of next year, set to close on
Friday. RELATED NEWS * Angola is hoping sweeping economic reforms will smooth an
ambitious plan to sell key state assets, including stakes in oil
company Sonangol, a share of Puma Energy and more than 100 other
enterprises. * Swiss federal prosecutors have found oil trader Gunvor
Group criminally liable for corruption in Congo Republic and
Ivory Coast, ordering it to pay almost 94 million Swiss francs
($94.8 million), the Swiss Attorney General's Office said. * Elevated freight rates for clean product tankers are
deterring Asian gasoil cargoes from sailing westwards even as
Singapore prices for the industrial fuel reach steep discounts
against northwest European rates, trade sources said. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Pravin Char and Lisa
Shumaker) ))

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