LONDON, March 14 – The availability of around 35 to 40 West African crude cargoes is fast creating an overhang, with May loading programmes due to start emerging on Wednesday.
* Refinery maintenance in Asia, a rise in Saudi Arabian output last month and U.S. exports are creating more competition and weighing on differentials, traders said.
* In a monthly report, OPEC also said its biggest producer Saudi Arabia increased output in February by 263,000 barrels per day to 10 million bpd, after in January making a larger cut than required by the OPEC accord to ensure strong initial compliance.
* Monthly discussions between producers and state-owned NNPC on crude allocations have been taking place this week and May loading programmes could start trickling out as early as Wednesday.
* Some March loading cargoes were still available, including an end-March Agbami with Statoil.
* Bonga cargoes were on offer at high premiums of dated Brent plus $1.30 for April due to field maintenance in March. Shell was said to have some in floating storage, putting a cap on gains.
* Vitol and other traders have been offering crude from storage, which is also weighing on the market.
* Roughly a dozen Angolan cargoes remained from the April export plan.
* No deals took place, traders said, with Dalia and Kissanje still on offer.
* India’s IOC was running a tender for crude loading May 12-22. The full tender closes on March 16.