W. Africa Crude-Scarce buyer interest as Angolan cargoes linger

 LONDON, Jan 3 (Reuters) - A vast number of Angolan cargoes
remain to be sold for February as a trading crunch looms
following the holidays. * Around half of Angola's 38 cargoes have yet to be sold,
traders said, after buyers assessed asking prices which met and
exceeded 2019 highs in December to be far too high. * State oil company Sonangol still sought to sell around
four spot cargoes for which it had lowered prices on Thursday
with Dalia being offered at dated Brent $2.50. * China's Unipec took the rare move of offering multiple
cargoes it had been assigned in term allocations Platts window,
including of Plutonio, Hungo and Saturno. * Backwardation, stubbornly high freight rates and
lackluster margins along with slow trading over the holidays had
largely halted trading. * One trader said that on the second day of trading for the
new year, many sellers assessed that the market was sluggish and
held off on signaling price indications for an unusually high
number of cargoes. * Traders awaited the result of a tender by India's HPCL
which closed on New Year's Eve and South Africa's Sasol
announced a tender for February-loading crude. RELATED NEWS * Dozens of U.S. citizens working for foreign oil companies
in the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra were leaving the country
on Friday, the Oil Ministry said, after a U.S. air strike killed
a top Iranian commander in Iraq. * Total said on Friday that its four French refineries - at
Donges, Feyzin, Normandie-Gonfreville and Grandpuits - were
functioning and producing output, even as a nationwide strike in
the country shows no signs of abating. (Reporting by Noah Browning, editing by Louise Heavens) ))
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