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Nigeria to cut crude loadings by 1.5% in May

By on March 26, 2011

Nigeria, a favoured supplier of oil to the united States refiners, will cut daily exports of 14 main grades by 1.5 per cent in May from April, according to loading programs obtained by Bloomberg News.

The largest oil producer in Africa will export 70 cargoes totaling 63.4 million barrels, or 2.04 million barrels a day, the plans show. That compares with 69 cargoes totaling 2.08 million barrels a day in April.

The country will export six Agbami, five Akpo, three Amenam, two Antan, five Bonga, six Bonny Light, eight Brass River, five Erha, six Escravos, six Forcados, two Okwori, 13 Qua Iboe and three Yoho cargoes in May, loading programmes showed. There will be no exports of Oso condensate, or light crude. Cargo sizes range from 260,000 barrels to one million barrels and most shipments are 950,000 barrels.

Oil rose on yesterday as gasoline inventories in the United States fell more than expected and due to ongoing violence and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, a vital part of global energy supply.

US crude futures extended gains following the release of the US government weekly oil data at 1430 GMT, pulling up North Sea Brent crude.

U.S. crude rose 67 cents to $105.65 a barrel by 1550 GMT. Brent crude futures were trading eight cents up at $115.77 by the same time, trimming the earlier loss down to $115.08.

US government data showed a 5.32 million barrel drop in gasoline inventories in the week to March 18, surpassing an analyst forecast of a 1.8 million barrel drop.

For so far in March, the fall in gasoline has already been the biggest since 1990, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration started the weekly report.

Gasoline demand over the past four weeks was 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier.

But some analysts have cautioned that the fall came against the backdrop of a build up in inventories to multi-year highs earlier this year and crude and distillates stocks rose.

“Despite the price point, gasoline demand is relatively strong at just over nine million barrels (per day),” John Kilduff, partner with Gain Capital in New York, said.

“The drawdowns, by contrast, have been substantial, which is due entirely to the persistently low refinery utilization rate.”

Earlier in the day, prices seesawed due to civil unrest across North Africa and the Middle East and resulted in the shutting in of the bulk of Libya’s oil output.

Brent prices dipped as western warplanes silenced Gaddafi’s artillery and tanks besieging rebel-held Misrata in western Libya on Wednesday.

Breathing defiance, Gaddafi earlier said Western powers who carried out a fourth night of air strikes on Libya to protect civilians under a UN mandate were “a bunch of fascists who will end up in the dustbin of history.

In Yemen, a small oil and gas producer, opposition groups called on protesters to march on President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s Sanaa palace on Friday to demand he step down, hoping to end a crisis his allies abroad fear will benefit Islamic militants.

“Yemen is a very hot topic now. It is not that important to the oil market but unrest in the region gives enough psychological support to prices,” Andy Sommer, energy market analyst with EGL, said.

Its neighbor Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter and the only OPEC member nation with enough spare capacity to compensate for supply disruptions elsewhere.

Ahead of the release of the government oil data at 1430 GMT, analysts in a Reuters poll forecast a 1.6 million barrel increase in the week to March 18.

Source : The Nation