LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - West African crude oil
differentials slipped further on Wednesday, depressed by a large
overhang of unsold cargoes that have failed to find buying
interest from any of the key consuming regions.
Indian demand for light, sweet barrels has picked up this
week but remains low for the season. Chinese demand has been
relatively slow for February loading cargoes after a busy trade
in January barrels.
West African crude oil exports to Asia will rise slightly in
January versus December, according to data compiled by Reuters.
Asia is expected to import 1.81 million barrels per day (bpd) of
West African crude in January versus 1.75 million bpd in
December, with China importing 33 cargoes.
Nigeria is due to load 68 oil cargoes for export in February
and only about 25 of these have so far been placed, traders
Asian tenders issued by India's IOC, MRPL and BPCL could
help to absorb the outstanding Nigerian cargoes. The IOC tender
will take around four Nigerian cargoes, traders said.
In contrast, only six Angolan cargoes were left unsold for
February, with heavier grades Saturno, Pazflor, Hungo and Dalia
* Qua Iboe: Offered at around dated Brent plus $2.60
although traders said the benchmark grade was unlikely to sell
for much more than $2.30 above dated Brent.
* Bonga: Socar was reported to have been offering Bonga at
dated Brent plus $3.40, but one potential buyer described this
level as at least 80 cents too high.
* Brass River: Traders said the force majeure on this grade
was still in place but almost the entire programme was still
available for sale. Brass River offers were reported at around
dated Brent plus $1.85 with potential buyers around 30 cents
lower, traders said.
* Forcados: Two Forcados cargoes were reported available
with offers pitched around dated Brent plus $3.80 and assessed
doable around 20-30 cents lower.
* Six Angolan cargoes were reported unsold for February with
two Saturno, two Pazflor plus one cargo each of Dalia Hungo.
* Saturno: Three cargoes are now due to lift in February - a
Feb. 1-2 sold by Statoil via a third party to Unipec, a Feb.
13-14 reported to be held by BP, and a Feb. 24-25 now lifting
with Sonangol. Saturno offers were reported around dated Brent
minus $3.60 but buyers were said to be around $1.50 lower with
no active interest for the remaining two cargoes.
* India's largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp, bought
four cargoes for loading in March in two very large crude
carriers (VLCCs), all said to be Nigerian, traders said. BP was
awarded one VLCC, loaded with Qua Iboe and Okwori. The other
cargo was reported to have been awarded to Unipec. Details and
prices were not immediately available. Traders said Feb. 15-28
loading crude could be delivered into the tender and it was
likely to be met by February barrels, given the state of the
* India's Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL) has a
tender open to buy light sweet crude oil for loading in March,
aslo with an option for Feb. 15-28 loading. Part II of the
tender closes on Thursday and an award is expected on Friday.
* India's Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) has opened a tender
to buy crude loading in March. Part I closes on Friday and an
award will be made next Tuesday, traders said.
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(Reporting by Christopher Johnson; editing by William Hardy)
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