Indian state-owned refiner, Oil Corporation Limited (IOC), is buying one cargo each of Akpo and Bonny from French multinational Total, one cargo each of Forcados and Agbami from American multinational energy corporation Chevron with shipments of between 950,000 and one million bbl each, for April 1-10 loading, according to loading programmes seen by Bloomberg.
Traders say that IOC bought two million bbl each of West Africa crude from Total and Chevron although the details of the grades were not immediately known.
India is a significant buyer of Nigerian crude, which is largely light and sweet, rich in gasoline and diesel and low in sulfur, and meets the needs of Indian refiners.
State-owned refiners like Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, (HPCL) are major regular buyers of Nigerian crude like Qua Iboe, Bonny Light, Escravos, EA Blend, Erha, Usan and Agbami.
According to a source from an Indian refiner “Nigerian crude is a must for most of our refineries, especially the older ones, which have been designed to run light sweet crude.
The new improvement in India demand’s for Nigeria crude oil will be good news for Africa biggest oil producer as Reuters reported last month that Nigerian crude oil market remained strong, with sellers feeling confident enough to offer two of the country’s grades, Bonny Light and Qua Iboe, around their highest in over four years.
Shortages of Libyan and Algerian crudes and a smaller export programme for CPC, as well as a strong demand from refiners in both Europe and Asia for distillate-rich grades have pushed up differentials for a number of key crudes to multi-month, or in the case of Nigeria, multi-year highs, sources revealed.
Bonny Light and Qua Iboe were offered for as high as $2.50 a barrel above dated Brent, although two traders said buyers were reluctant to step in at the levels, which were the strongest for the two grades since June 2014, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
Nonetheless, Repsol S.A. an energy company based in Madrid, Spain was said to have loaded a cargo of Qua Iboe bound for their refinery in Peru. The Spanish group previously took Amenam to the 117,000-barrel per day La Pampilla refinery.