Crude trading quiet in advance of tenders, export plans

*Crude oil tanker.

*Crude oil tanker.

18 February 2016, Lagos — Trading of West African crude was largely on hold on Wednesday while the market awaited results from the latest Asian tenders and the full April export programme from Angola.

Loadings at Nigeria’s Forcados export terminal had been halted, according to Shell subsidiary SPDC, following a spill discovered over the weekend, Reuters reported.

Shell declined to comment on the impact on loadings but traders said the issue would at least cause delays. Owners of other Nigerian crude oil cargoes were holding off on new offers in the hope of winning one of the Indian tenders or attracting other buyers.

Buyers said there was no urgency to book cargoes, given the some 25 million barrels remaining for sale, the impending maintenance season and the availability of North Sea and Mediterranean barrels. A wide gap between Brent and U.S. benchmark WTI had also mostly closed the spot arbitrage to the United States, while freight rates had increased on certain routes.

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