By Amanda Cooper
LONDON, June 14 – West African crude oil sailing
to Asia will reach its highest level in five months this month,
in spite of extensive maintenance at Chinese refineries and
unfavourable arbitrages, a Reuters survey of traders and
shipping data showed on Thursday.
Loadings for Asia are expected to rise by 16.7 percent in
June to around 2.43 million barrels per day, from May’s 2.085
million bpd. This is the highest since January this year and up
a full 22 percent from last June’s sub-2 million bpd figure that
marked a nine-month low.
China’s daily intake will rise to 1.57 million bpd in June,
from 1.17 million bpd in May, also the highest since January.
Reuters data shows that more Chinese refining capacity was
offline in the month of May than at any time in the last few
years, which in turn pushed refinery runs down from the previous
month’s record highs, but traders and analysts expect a firm
bounce-back this month.
Part of the problem for West African grades has been the
premium of Brent crude futures to both WTI futures
and benchmark Dubai futures, which has rendered
Atlantic Basin grades far less competitive against U.S. crude.
Major buyer Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, offered
June-loading cargoes of Cabinda, Kissanje, Saturno and Mondo, as
well as Congolese Djeno on a delivered basis in Shandong, home
to a number of large so-called Chinese teapot refineries.
Separately, Sinopec plans to boost its imports of U.S. crude
to record highs this month, after Unipec bought 16 million
barrels, or about 533,000 bpd of U.S. oil to load this month,
the largest volume ever to be lifted in a month by the company
and worth about $1.1 billion.
The Nigerian June loading programme took almost a month
longer than usual to clear, because of the slowdown in demand.
Angolan grades however proved more successful in finding
buyers and account in large part for the rise in exports to
COUNTRY June BDP ‘000s May BDP ‘000s
CHINA 47 1,567 38 1,165
INDIA 18 600 18 552
TAIWAN 4 133 2 61
INDONESIA 3 100 3 92
JAPAN 0 0 0 0
S. KOREA 0 0 0 0
OTHERS 1 33 7 215
TOTAL 73 2,433 68 2,085
(Reporting by Libby George; editing by Jason Neely and