W. Africa Crude-Asian Tenders, Pending Export Plans Slow Trade
Physical trading in West Africa was muted as the market awaited tender results and the April-loading Angolan crude oil export plan.
* The benchmark oil prices on which West Africa crude oil trades retraced some of Monday's losses as confidence in OPEC's cut plan rose.
* Nigerian oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said the country lost up to $100 billion in oil revenues last year due to militant attacks. The vice president travelled to the oil-producing Delta this week to further talks with militants.
* Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and ENI have asked a Nigerian court to lift a temporary forfeiture of a long-disputed oilfield, a copy of the court documents filed by the two firms showed.
* Tenders from India, and scattered demand on the U.S. East Coast, had helped prop up values for Nigerian grades including Qua Iboe and Bonny Light.
* Qua Iboe was offered as high as $1.30-$1.50 above dated Brent, while Bonny premiums had reached at least $1 per barrel, some traders said.
* The two cargoes of Bonga that were scheduled for March loading were pushed into April, a trader said. Maintenance on the Shell-operated field has cut into exports.
* There were around 18 million barrels left to trade for March, a large amount but less than the overhang of recent months. The April loading plan was due later in the week.
* Angola's April export programme was due out as early as Wednesday.
* A new stream of Cabinda, as well as Olombendo from the East Pole field recently started by operator ENI could be part of the export plans as early as April, traders said.
* The past few months' programmes have sold quickly on the back of firm demand in Asia.
* Some expect strong refinery margins to keep the oil attractive to Asian buyers.
* However, demand in India fell by 4.5 percent in January, while analysts expect heavy refinery maintenance across Asia in the first half of this year.
* India's IOC is running a new tender to buy West African crude for loading between April 20-30.
Reporting by Libby George