W. Africa Crude-Nigerian diffs hold, but competing grades start to cheapen

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LONDON, Feb 26 – West African differentials held steady on Tuesday as potential sellers held off from cutting their offer prices despite fairly broad-based weakening across light, sweet crude markets.

A series of upcoming tenders, including from Taiwan’s CPC, has also deterred some spot activity, leaving Nigeria’s Qua Iboe indicated unchanged at a premium of around $1.85 a barrel to the dated price.

State-run Sonangol sold out of its April cargoes of Angolan crude within days of allocating term cargoes, as refiners in China are snapping up supplies of distillate-rich crudes to replace missing volumes from Iran and Venezuela, which have fallen under U.S. sanctions.

Possibly undermining the Nigerian market was a broad decline across similar light, sweet grades in the North Sea, where Forties and Brent declined this week and the Mediterranean, where differentials for Azeri crude, a direct competitor, are now roughly at parity with Bonny Light and Qua Iboe for the first time since at least November. (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; editing by David Evans) ))

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