A glut of unsold Nigerian oil has built up again with as much as half of output due to be loaded next month still searching for buyers, reports Bloomberg.
Traders of the nation’s oil said the surplus has been caused in part by a request by Nigeria’s tax agency for back taxes from shipping companies, which caused a wariness among some of the firms about sending their vessels to collect the west African nation’s barrels.
While the government subsequently clarified that there would be a six-month grace period to comply with the tax request, oil traders said the lack of sales demonstrated that Nigeria needs to do more to resolve the issue.
The oil surplus is a sign that global reductions in oil supply from leading producer nations is yet to tighten every market.
There are between 20 and 22 cargoes that remain unsold for July, about half the total, according to the traders of West African crude. Shipments are typically about one million barrels.
Earlier this month, some shipowners were said to be avoiding the West African nation after a series of multi-million dollar tax bills were sent out, seeking to claw back unpaid duties from 2010-2019.
The country’s tax authorities have given shipping companies the grace period to reconcile the tax backlog through a committee involving shippers and regulators.
The cost of shipping oil from Nigeria stood at $53,463 a day as of Thursday, above the year-to-date average, according to data from the Baltic Exchange.
Freight for ships hauling about 1 million barrels of crude from Nigeria to Europe surged the most in more than a year last week because of the tax issue.
Nigeria’s slow sales contrast with a more bullish picture in Angola, where crude supplies are sold out for July and differentials are inching higher, the people said. Supplies from Gabon and Chad are also mostly sold for July.
Much of Angola’s output is of a heavy-sweet variety that is popular with refiners in China, where demand remains healthy.
Angola’s Cabinda grade traded at a 60-to-70 cents a barrel premium to Dated Brent for July loading earlier this week, increasing from a premium of 30 cents for June barrels.