NIGERIA’s State oil company NNPC slashed its official selling prices for key grades Bonny light and Qua Iboe, reflecting weak demand for light sweet crude.
* Uncertainty around loadings has also dented buyer demand for West Africa grades, with Indian tenders among the primary reliable outlets.
* March export plans released on Friday showed an increase in Bonny Light loadings, with Qua Iboe also higher than the revised February plan, as two of the February cargoes were pushed into March.
* Just under 20 cargoes were left for February loading.
* Benchmark dated Brent, on which West African oil is priced, jumped nearly 3 percent on Friday as optimism grew that the market was balancing.
* Oil executives and Middle East producers are concerend that trade tensions between China and the United States could crimp energy demand growth and the oil price recovery.
* On Friday, medium and heavy crudes continued to trade quickly, but fresh Nigerian loading programmes for March, and an increase in oil produced in Libya, were weighing on light sweet oil differentials.
* State-firm Sonangol was sold out, after selling its Mondo cargo on Friday. A trader said all the cargoes moved at the initial offer levels.
* ExxonMobil had also sold a cargo of Angolan crude, likely Mondo, traders said, but further details were not available.
* Fifteen of the March loading cargoes went to term buyers, including seven to Sinochem, four to Unipec, one each to IOC, CPC, Shell and Phillips66.
* Chinese buyers have also taken most of the March-loading spot cargoes that have traded so far.
* Total won a tender to supply India’s HPCL with March-loading with 2 million barrels of crude. The grades that were part of the award were not immediately clear.
* India’s IOC issued tenders to buy crude for February and March loading.
(Reporting By Libby George; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)