27 February 2019, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Uncertainty caused by Nigeria’s elections delay has cost the nation lower crude oil sales at the international oil market, as SweetcrudeReports gathered that buyers were shifting focus from the country’s grades to Angolan crude.
Already, Angola’s crude grades for April were almost sold out as at the weekend of Friday, April 22, while Nigeria still had over 10 cargoes from March schedule insold.
Nigeria’s April loading was yet to be released due to the elections delay from February 16 to 23.
The Angolan crude is also finding more support due to U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan and Iranian exports.
Reports indicated that Sonangol, the Angolan state oil company, sold three cargoes in the spot market last 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 only three of its March 15 cargoes.
Many tenders for Nigerian grades were already on 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 late last week, and there were likelihood Angola’s crude would eventually get loaded.
Nigerian crude grades have been witnessing downturn since two weeks ago due to the uncertainties over the national elections.
Traders said the postponement of the elections was resulting in longer-than-expected delay on release of loading schedule for April, affecting prices.
Meanwhile, a sect of militants in the Niger Delta, the Avengers, threatened last week to return to the creeks and take up arms if current president, Muhammadu Buhari, was 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 substantial increase in the country’s crude oil production.