W. Africa Crude-Cargoes struggle to find buyers; China cuts Saudi supply

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LONDON, May 3 – Differentials for both Nigerian and Angolan crude oil were unchanged on Thursday, around their lowest levels so far this year, as seasonally slow demand from China and an abundance of competing grades gave sellers very little clout.

Around a third of Angola’s June-loading cargoes had not yet traded, while Nigerian grades were struggling to find homes, traders said.

* A series of holidays in both Asia and Europe has kept a lid on activity this week and traders said that offers were still too high to encourage much buying, given the availability of cargoes.

* Unipec continued to offer five cargoes of May-loading oil delivered to the teapot refinery port of Shandong. These included Angolan grades Cabinda, Kissanje, Saturno and Mondo, as well as Congo’s Djeno crude.

* Nigerian Qua Iboe was offered at premiums of between $1.50 and $1.75 a barrel to dated Brent, broadly unchanged.

* Sonangol was still offering a variety of cargoes, including Girassol, Dalia, Hungo, Sangos and Olombendo, traders said.

* Even though global demand is healthy, generous global supply is prompting China, the world’s largest importer of crude oil, to become increasingly choosy.

* Sinopec believes Saudi crude is overvalued relative to other grades and plans to cut its intake for a second month in a row in June, and could even extend this into July.

*Saudi Arabia is China’s second largest supplier, just ahead of Angola.

RELATED NEWS
* Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, plans to cut the volume of Saudi crude oil it loads in June by 40 percent for a second month, after the price of its key grade rose to a near 4-year high, said an official from trading arm Unipec.

* North Sea oilfields connected to the Brent oil pipeline have stopped production due to a shutdown at the UK’s Sullom Voe oil terminal, the Brent pipeline operator said on Thursday.

* Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) is withholding Total’s share of crude from the Waha concession as a dispute drags on over the French oil major’s purchase of Marathon’s stake in the concession two months ago, Libyan oil and industry sources said.

* One hundred new offshore oil projects will get the green light in 2018 of which around 20 will be in Africa, including Sonangol and Total’s joint Zinia 2 project off Angola, according to consultant Rystad Energy.

* Zinia 2, will be connected to the Pazflor FPSO and will produce 40,000 bpd, Rystad said.

TENDERS
* Indonesia’s Pertamina was seeking some 3.1 million barrels of crude for July delivery. The tender closes May 7. Separately, Pertamina raised the price of its Minas crude oil for April delivery by $5.54 to $68.39 a barrel. (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Jane Merriman) ))