enchmark oil prices fell on Monday, dragging down West African outright oil prices with them, as the market reacted to an increase in the oil rig count in the United States.
* Angola’s oil shipments to China rose by 13 percent in 2016, to 43.74 million tonnes, making it the third-largest supplier behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. O/CHINA1.
* Italy’s Eni said it will deepen its involvement in Nigeria’s energy industry, increasing oil and gas exploration and helping to restore one of the country’s ailing refineries, the company said in a statement on Monday.
* Rapid trading of Angolan cargoes slowed somewhat on Monday as some suppliers awaited results from pending tenders.
* State firm Sonangol had sold out less than a week after the programme was released and all cargoes moved at initial offer levels.
* Chinese buyers have taken most of the March-loading spot cargoes that have traded.
* Analysts JBC Energy said that heavier grades should continue to garner strong support in spite of spring refinery maintenance, with falling fuel oil exports from Russia and Latin America boosting cracks for the product.
* They added that a 15-month low in the Brent-Dubai spread was also keeping open the arbitrage window into Asia.
* Nigerian cargoes loading in February dwindled to about a handful from almost 20 last week, but some were simply deferred to March loading, traders said.
* Tenders from India were a key outlet, with HPCL taking two million barrels last week and tenders from BPCL and IOC promising to absorb more.
* U.S. east coast refiners were also buying Nigerian crude.
* March export plans showed an increase in Bonny Light, Agbami, Amenam and Escravos loadings. Qua Iboe was above the revised February plan because two February cargoes were pushed into March.
* There were no March cargoes of EA or Okwori, traders said.
* Only two Bonga cargoes were scheduled because the field had planned maintenance. Export plans for grades including Erha, Forcados, Oyo and Pennington were still pending.
* India’s BPCL issued a tender to buy crude loading in February and March, traders said.
* Fellow Indian state oil company IOC was also running two tenders to buy oil, one for February and March loading oil and the second for March-loading oil only.
* Total had placed one cargo of Qua Iboe and one of Bonny Light into the tender it won last week to supply India’s HPCL with March-loading oil.