In Nigeria Govt. offers dip as cargoes start to clear

Well over half of the 68 cargoes for March loading were still available, about two weeks before April export cargoes come to market.

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A machine gun is seen on a sandbag on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer play A machine gun is seen on a sandbag on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
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Sellers of Nigerian crude oil started lowering offers on differential levels, traders said on Friday, as a heavy backlog of cargoes for March export stayed on their books.

Well over half of the 68 cargoes for March loading were still available, about two weeks before April export cargoes come to market.

A lower margin for gasoline and naphtha refineries globally was also seen as denting demand for Nigerian oil as its light, sweet composition

However, while sales of Nigerian oil were not as rapid as for recent months, a lower premium of Brent oil to Dubai and lower freight costs made cargoes of West African more attractive to Asian buyers.

Nigerian sales were not as slow as for much of last year, and Chinese buyers quickly ate into the available Angolan cargoes, and there were only a handful left.

Demand for cargoes from the United States eased. This was because Brent's premium to U.S. crude returned after it had been reversed last month, making it less attractive to U.S. buyers.

A tender by Indian refiner IOC helped eat into the store of Nigerian vessels for March loading.

NIGERIA

* Qua Iboe was last heard offered by Exxon at dated Brent plus $1.50. Traders said levels near $1 were more realistic.

* Around 25 March-loading cargoes have found buyers. The March programme, with just over 2 million barrels per day, is the largest since at least October.

* Traders said there were delays of around six to seven days for the Escravos grade of crude oil due to production problems. Chevron declined to comment.

ANGOLA

* Most of the March-loading Angolan cargoes have sold two weeks into the monthly trading cycle, but more cargoes have become available as traders are looking to re-sell.

* P66 is re-offering a mid-month Dalia and Vitol an end-March Nemba, a trader said.

ASIAN TENDERS

* Indian refiner IOC bought a cargo of Escravos from Chevron, A VLCC containing a Bonny Light and Kole from Shell and a second VLCC consisting of an Okwuibome and a Usan from Glencore.

* Indonesia's Pertamina did not take West African oil via a tender, a trader said, but an Azeri cargo and another cargo from the region. Thailand's PTT also had a buying tender, but traders had not seen the results.

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