24 February 2019, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Elections delay has cost Nigeria lower sales at the oil market, as SweetcrudeReports gathered that buyers are beginning to shift focus from the country’s grades to Angola’s Sonangol.
Already, Angola’s crude grades for April are almost sold out as at Friday, while Nigeria still has over 10 cargoes from March schedule.
Nigeria’s April loading is yet to be released due to elections delay, shifted from last weekend to tomorrow.
Angolan crude is also finding more support due to U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian exports.
Reports say Sonangol has sold three cargoes in the spot market this week, after allocating 12 cargoes to term buyers soon after the April programme was issued. No single cargo is left of the country’s April schedules.
However, Nigeria was able to sell just three out of 15 March cargoes estimated as at Wednesday.
Many tenders for Nigerian grades are already on the Qua Iboe
ground, unattended to, as sellers were not showing offers due to uncertainties surrounding results of the elections.
Qua Iboe was last valued at a premium of around $1.80-$1.90 a barrel as against previous selling of above $2 per barrel, indicating a not-too-strong market.
Traders say India’s IOC has issued a tender for Nigerian or Angolan crude loading April 15-24, which closed on Thursday, and there are likelihood Angola’s crude will eventually get loaded.
Nigerian crude grades have been witnessing downturn since last week due to yet-to-hold elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had postponed its presidential and other elections to tomorrow.
But traders say the postponement is resulting in longer-than-expected delay on the release of loading schedule for April, affecting prices.
Already, a sect of militant in the Niger Delta, the Avengers, threatened to return to the creeks and take up arms if current president, Muhammadu Buhari is reelected, casting further doubt on trading in Nigerian crude grades and their prices.
Attacks on oil facilities in the region had seized since January 2017, allowing a peak up in the country’s crude oil production.