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US Refiners Buy More Nigerian Crude Oil



Nigerian crude values have been picking up steadily this week on strong US demand for Nigerian and West African crudes, trading sources said Friday.
Platt reported that there has been a lot of activity in the past week, with only about 12 out of the 62 Nigerian loading cargoes unsold from the April program.
A narrower WTI/Brent spread and logistical problems causing delays in the transport of domestic US crudes has sparked interest from US refiners in Dated Brent-related grades.
The grades heard to be traveling to the US for March and April loading were Nigeria’s Abo, Brass River, Qua Iboe, Usan and Yoho, and Angolan grades such as Dalia, Girassol, Hungo and Pazflor, sources said.
The US seems to be back [buying more] and this is pushing the price up,” said a trader.
This has pushed some Nigerian crudes to recent highs. Qua Iboe was assessed at Dated Brent plus $2.64/b, the strongest value seen since October 24, according to Platts data.
“The market has been a little stronger than last week. The US buyers are more involved this week. It seems that the US crude stocks have been going down in the past few weeks at Cushing, and they seem to need more crude,” said a second trader.
“And, they are looking for sweet barrels. The other reason [for the demand has been the colder weather in the US. There has also been interest from the US for the heavier grades [as can be seen with their demand for Dalia and Pazflor],” he said.
Sources said refiners like Phillips 66, Sunoco, Valero, Tesoro and even oil majors like ExxonMobil and Chevron were seen buying more West African crudes for March and April loading than usual.
The US was a significant buyer of West African crudes, especially Nigerian light sweet crudes, until a few years ago. But that demand has been largely replaced by soaring production of US domestic shale crude

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