W. Africa Crude-Diffs hold, demand for Angolan still strong

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LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – West African crude differentials held steady on Monday, as Nigerian loading programmes were still emerging and an industry event in London kept activity fairly muted.

Angolan state oil company Sonangol was said to have sold out of all its April cargoes, despite record, or near-record high prices for some grades such as Cabinda and Girassol.

A shortage of comparable Iranian grades, as well as heavy sour Venezuelan crude due to U.S. sanctions, has left major refiners in countries such as China struggling to secure enough distillate-rich cargoes, which has favoured Angolan grades fairly heavily, especially given favourable shipping economics.

April loading programmes for several Nigerian grades emerged late last week, with exports of Nigeria’s Qua Iboe set to rise to 253,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 215,000 bpd in March, while exports of Bonny Light will rise to around 242,000 bpd from 174,000 bpd in March.

Qua Iboe was last indicated at a premium of $1.85 a barrel to dated Brent, unchanged from levels last week.
RELATED NEWS AND TENDERS

* Reliance Energy, one of India’s largest refiners, took 203,900 bpd of crude from African exporters in January 2018, compared with 108,500 bpd in January last year.

* Taiwan’s CPC last week issued a buy tender for light sweet crude for loading in April. The tender remained valid until Feb. 23, but the winner had not yet emerged on Monday.

* Taiwan has tended to favour U.S. crude over West African in the last year. According to Reuters calculations, CPC has not taken any West African crude at a tender since last April. (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by David Evans) ))

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