13 January 2019, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Number of Nigerian crude oil grades cargoes available for loading has dropped to twelve, Refinitiv Eikon data obtained by SweetcrudeReports on Sunday has revealed.
According to the loading schedule, demand for Nigerian crude grades which was being supported by higher northwest European refiners needs dropped to 12 or less from over 20 cargoes available at the beginning of last week.
Nigeria’s first grade, Qua Iboe, also representing ceiling with which its other grades are priced, traded at a premium of $1.75 to dated Brent last week, the highest since September 2018.
Statistics showed that the number of unsold Nigerian cargoes had been dropping steadily since last week.
Higher demand for the country’s crude had also been helped by Europe’s race to stock up after a dull buy in December.
Again, sanctions by the U.S had affected exports from Iran, causing buyers to resort to buying Nigerian grades.
Supply of similar grades from Nigeria such as Forcados and Bonga was also said to be almost sold out.
This is not the first time Nigerian crude grades would be favoured by European buyers.
Around this same time last year, shipping schedules also showed that Nigerian crude oil exports to Europe accounted for 36.59 percent of the total sales.
Oil prices rose above $60 per barrel last week, dropping to around $53p/d later in the week.
Higher demand for the country’s crude means more money to fund its 2019 N8.83 trillion national budget.
Nigeria had set oil price benchmark for this year’s budget at $60p/d and production of 2.3mb/d as stated by President Buhari during his presentation to the National Assembly in December.
However, Minister of States for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, last week, quoted a lower oil production target- 2.2mb/d, adding that the country currently produces 1.78mb/d.
To boost production, the country is also expecting output from Egina oilfield to reach 150,000 bpd by the end of this month.
“The work that we have at the ministry is to determine what component of that 150,000 barrels is pure crude and what is condensates,” Kachikwu told reporters in Abuja, after a cabinet meeting.
“If it is pure crude it raises certain other implications in terms of the OPEC quota. If it is condensate then obviously we smile.”
However, despite anticipation of a higher oil price, and boost in production, due to agreement between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC and its partners, the country’s oil export is still limited at last October’s production level of 1.74m/d, excluding extremely light oil known as condensates of 350,000 bpd.