Monday, June 21, 2010

Nigeria's Qua oil loadings to rise, repairs continue

By Alex Lawler

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigeria's Qua Iboe crude oil stream is scheduled to export more crude in August, trade sources said on Friday, as repair work progresses following damage to a pipeline.

Eleven cargoes of 950,000 barrels, or about 337,000 barrels per day (bpd), are scheduled to load in August, a preliminary loading programme showed. That would be up from the 10 cargoes expected to load in July.

August loading schedules for the rest of Nigeria's crudes are expected to emerge in the next few days, providing an indication of supply from the OPEC member, which vies with Angola as Africa's largest oil exporter.

Most of the Qua Iboe due to load in July cargoes had been delayed from June after damage to the pipeline. But the August cargoes are all new shipments, a trading source said.

"It's a fresh programme," the source said. "They have done some repairs to the affected areas but not all of them. It's still down on the 13 cargoes you could get in a month."

The original June schedule of 13 cargoes would have been the highest monthly export volume of Qua in three years.

ExxonMobil's Nigerian unit, the operator of Qua Iboe, in May declared force majeure on shipments due to damage to the pipeline.

The company said earlier this week that the force majeure remained in effect and repair work was progressing, but there was no indication when it would be completed.

Nigeria this year has regularly exceeded the oil output limit it agrees to as part of its membership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, despite disruptions to loadings of Qua and some other grades.

The country supplied 2.17 million bpd in May, more than its OPEC target of 1.67 million bpd, according to a Reuters survey.

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