West African crude loading for Asia is expected to slide more than 10 percent in January as some buyers opt for regional grades or cargoes in floating storage, a Reuters survey of traders and shipping data showed.
Some 1.808 million barrels per day (bpd) are scheduled to load from Nigeria, Angola, Ghana and other West African producers over the coming month, down from December’s 17-month high of 2.1 million bpd.
Demand was still good, with buyers in China underpinning price differentials for Angolan oil in particular, but the slip highlighted the fierce competition for Eastern buyers in an oversupplied oil market.
Buying in Indonesia accounted for the largest portion of the drop, falling to just one cargo from seven in December. State
oil company Pertamina had purchased most of its cargoes via tenders awarded to traders including Chevron and Trafigura, who could supply it from oil loaded in other months or from storage.
“If there are any regional grades at better prices, or oil
in storage, they could go for that,” one trader said.
Chinese buying dipped by just two cargoes, while Indian buyers took one additional cargo compared with December.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.