LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The force majeure declared by
Shell on exports Bonny Light, a key grade of Nigerian
crude oil, is causing delays of a few days and which will
stretch into the beginning of November, according to preliminary
loading programmes that emerged on Friday.
* Export schedules for November continued to emerge, with
volumes appearing to remain relatively steady for the top three
oil grades including Bonny Light, exports of which are set to
decrease by only 7,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 269,000.
* But the planned loading dates for each Bonny cargo were
shown to be delayed by about three days, beginning on Sept. 16
through to the first two cargoes in November.
* The original dates are even later than those Shell had
previously indicated when October programmes first circulated
* One of the two lines feeding the crude oil stream, the
Nembe Creek Trunk Line, was closed last week and operator Shell
declared force majeure on exports on Tuesday.
* Traders were unclear on the reasons for the shutdown,
though possible explanations ranged from unplanned maintenance
to contamination. Local operator Aiteo did not respond to a
request for comment.
* About 30 cargoes of Nigerian oil remain for export in
October, a fairly high backlog, though price offerings for the
Qua Iboe grade remain relatively high at a premium of about $3
to dated Brent.
* India’s HPCL issued a buy tender for November-loading
crude. The tender closes next week.
* As many as 10 cargoes of October-loading crude remain for
export, with comparable heavy grades such as Congolese Djeno
also not selling very fast in this month’s trading cycle.
* Buyer sentiment for heavier West African oil remains
lukewarm amid steep market backwardation while some buyers see
price offers as inflated after high prices and strong sales last
* Traders noted strong Saudi distillate demand after attacks
on key oil infrastructure but said the impact on physical crude
and products sales had yet to become clear.
* State oil giant Saudi Aramco has switched crude grades and
pushed back crude and oil products deliveries to customers by
days after the attacks on its supply hub severely reduced its
light oil production and led to output cuts at its refineries.
* Aramco has booked at least 120,000 tonnes of naphtha for
September loading from Europe as it seeks to plug a supply gap
after the attacks on its oil facilities, industry sources said.