LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) – Sales of Angolan and Nigerian crude continued to be slow on Monday with many May-loading cargoes still seeking buyers, but traders said high Middle East prices may soon favour West African grades.
* Between 5 and 10 cargoes of Angolan oil loading in May have yet to sell, a relatively slow pace with new June-loading export schedules expected later in the week.
* Angolan and Congolese crude sales to China continue to be slow, along with North Sea crude grades.
* Traders cited increased Chinese imports of Iranian crude.
* Chinese refiners have stepped up buying of Brazilian Tupi crude as well, further squeezing out West African cargoes, with sale prices at around a premium $1.50 – down about $1 compared with two weeks ago.
* Middle East exporters have increased their official selling prices for some grades, leading some traders to predict that East Asian buyers may soon turn to abundant African oil.
* Two cargoes of Angolan Cabinda crude, one held by Eni were last offered for around dated Brent flat, putting differentials for the grade at their lowest since the depths of the pandemic last spring.
* With European demand still low, Nigerian oil is increasingly dependent on India for sales as that country reduces Saudi imports and its state oil company IOC made a larger purchase of Nigerian crude late last week.
* Uganda, Tanzania and oil firms Total and CNOOC on Sunday signed agreements that will kickstart the construction of a $3.5 billion crude pipeline to help ship crude from fields in western Uganda to international markets. [nL1N2M408B
* Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia will meet most Asian customers’ requirements for May-loading crude after some buyers had asked for lower volumes partly because of refinery maintenance and higher prices, several trade sources said on Monday. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Aditya Soni) ))
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