Thursday, January 6, 2011

W.Africa Crude-Nigeria benchmark grade holds near $2

* Qua Iboe valued at dated plus $2.00, steady

* India's IOC awards 4 million barrels in March tender

* Angolan loading programmes expected late next week

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Nigerian crude oil differentials remained firm on Thursday, helped by robust Asian demand as India awarded a buy tender for March.

But some traders felt that at premiums of around $2 for the benchmark Qua Iboe grade, Nigerian crude prices were set to fall in the coming sessions.

"Nigeria has been holding at decent levels from the end of December but we expect a bit of correction. Refiners have already bought what they need," said one trader.

* Qua Iboe: Valued at dated plus $2.00 on Thursday and little changed.


* Little is left for loading in February with many crude streams already sold out.

* Traders expect the Angolan loading programme to emerge at the end of next week or early in the week of 17. Jan.


* India's largest state-owned refinery Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has awarded a tender to buy at least 4 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil for March arrival, trade sources said.

* Trading company Trafigura sold cargoes of the crude grades Escravos and Forcados while Vitol sold EA and Erha grades, two trade sources said.

* Some traders said they expect a second tender to be awarded for delivery in late March or early April but this could not be confirmed.

For a database of oil supply and demand fundamentals upstream and downstream, Reuters subscribers can click here

(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Alison Birrane)

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