Monday, May 23, 2011

Nigerian oil exports to fall in July

By Emma Farge

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigerian oil exports are set to dip slightly from a six-month high reached in June but will remain above the key 2 million barrels per day level (bpd) as relative calm prevails, provisional loading programmes showed.

This amounts to around 2.06 million bpd or 64 million barrels. In June, preliminary shipping fixtures showed that exports were due to reach 2.15 million barrels per day.

Africa's top oil exporter and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has experienced years of militant attacks on oil facilities which has hampered output.

But an amnesty in 2009 has helped reduce attacks and the election in April took place without affecting oil flows.

Official prices of Nigerian crude for June fell as a result of the more comfortable supply picture with the benchmark Qua Iboe level down 60 cents to $3.20 a barrel above dated Brent in June, traders said.

Current export levels indicate the west African country is producing above its implied OPEC oil production target of 1.67 million bpd.

The loading schedule showed fewer cargoes of the two benchmark Qua Iboe and Bonny Light grades compared with June. These grades are set to load around 337,000 bpd and 215,000 bpd each.

Traders said the dip in exports for July is also due to the fact that it is a longer month than June, lowering daily output.

But the shorter programmes for these two grades was partially offset by a small increase in Yoho exports as one cargo for late June loading was moved to early July.

Nigeria also produces a significant amount of condensate , a very light hydrocarbon -- such as the Akpo and Oso streams -- which is excluded from the crude export totals and from its OPEC output target.

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