Offers for Nigerian crude oil dipped on Friday as a high proportion of oil for March export remained unsold and sellers looked ahead to the release of the April programme from next week.
However, activity remained thin, with buyers standing back in the expectation that differentials will fall further due to ample supply of crude globally.
Around 30 to 35 of the 68 cargoes for March export were still available for purchase, with activity this week limited by the IP Week conference in London and Lunar New Year in China.
Lower differentials for crude oil from other regions, particularly Urals and Mediterranean crude have also piled pressure on sellers to lower differentials to encourage activity.
“The mere fact that 35 cargoes are left and Med (differentials are) falling means WAF needs to correct lower,” a trader said.
* A trader said one cargo of Qua Iboe crude oil had changed hands, with Total buying to load into a VLCC. Differentials were offered at around $1.4 over dated Brent, but were assessed significantly lower.
* Activity in the market is expected to pick up early next week ahead of the April loading schedule which is set to start arriving on Thursday and Friday.
* Weakening gasoline and naphtha and the coming refineries maintenance season set to weigh on demand.
* Nearly all of the March-loading Angolan programme has traded, but some cargoes were re-offered.
* Two IOC tenders are due to be awarded next week, a trader said.
* Thailand’s PTT also has a tender to buy crude oil and some traders said Indonesia’s Pertamina is also looking to buy.