LONDON, May 14 – A persistent overhang of Nigerian barrels kept spot trade sluggish on the West African market and traders said that with the July loading programme around the corner, differentials were still far too high to entice much buying.
* Angola’s state firm Sonangol has sold all its spot cargoes except for a cargo of Girassol that was being shown at dated Brent plus 70 cents a barrel, traders said.
* BP was said to be holding on to an equity cargo of Escravos, meaning that the May Nigerian loading programme was as good as sold out.
* Chevron offered a cargo of Bonga for July delivery at a premium of $2.65 a barrel to dated Brent, having sold a second cargo late last week.
* Traders said anywhere between 30 and 40 cargoes of the 60-strong Nigerian June-loading programme were still available, leaving diffs for key grades such as Qua Iboe unchanged.
* Since taking in the first delivery of U.S. crude in July last year, Indian refineries have cut their intake of West African barrels, while Chinese buying has slowed as the industry adjusts to changes in the tax regime, adding to the surplus of unsold cargoes.
* China’s CNPC is expected to start operating an expanded refinery in northern China with an annual processing capacity of 10 million tonnes (200,000 barrels per day) in October, the state oil firm said on Monday. The refinery previously had a capacity of 100,000 bpd.
* The trial of top executives from oil majors ENI and Shell over alleged corruption in Nigeria kicked off on Monday with a brief procedural hearing and a decision to re-adjourn next month.
* Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar will privatise parts of the country’s state oil company and allow the naira currency to float to attract foreign investment if elected as head of state, he told Reuters.
* India’s IOC has bought 1 million barrels of Banoco Arab Medium crude in a tender from Shell.
* BP was said to have won Indonesian Pertamina’s tender for 3.1 million barrels of crude for July delivery with Nigerian crude. Pertamina issued a fresh tender for July 8-10 delivery and July 23-27 delivery. (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Mark Potter) ))