13 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – International oil market traders say no fewer than 21 of Nigeria’s crude cargoes for loading in February remain unsold because of reduced European refining margins and rising United States’ shale oil output.
This represents about 31 per cent of the country’s planned export volume for the month.
That’s more than normal for this stage of the month, according to three traders who participate in the market.
Unsold grades for export next month, according to Bloomberg, include six lots of Qua Iboe, four Brass, three Forcados, two each of Bonny Light, Erha and Usan grade and one of Abo and Yoho, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is confidential.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, plans to cut exports in February to 67 cargoes totaling 2.19 million barrels a day, compared with 75 shipments this month, according to shipping schedules obtained by Bloomberg.
US oil production exceeded seven million barrels a day for the first time since March 1993, Energy Department data show.
Sales of Nigerian crude to the US are set to fall in 2012 to the lowest in 27 years. The US imported an average 422,550 barrels a day in the first 10 months of last year. That would be the least since 1985, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
European margins have fluctuated between minus four euro ($5) a metric ton and zero this month after averaging 14 euro last month and 29 euro in November, according to data from French refining group, Union Francaise des Industries Petrolieres, which represents refiners in the country including Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corporation.