India favors Nigerian crudes, China Angolan
While the lower differentials against Dated Brent have made these crude grades attractive for Asian buyers amid a narrowing of the Brent-Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps spread this year, a closer look at each country’s buying pattern reveals a fair amount of diversity.
India dominates the Nigerian market, and has ramped up its intake of crudes from that supplier, while China is the biggest buyer of the relatively more acidic Angolan crudes.
India ratcheted up its imports of Nigerian grades over January-August 2014 by 37% from a year ago to an average of just under 367,000 b/d, according to data from ship brokers compiled by Platts.
The predominant buyers are seen to be the state-owned refiners Indian Oil Corp. and Bharat Petroleum Corp. Limited, with Qua Iboe and Bonny Light the grades of choice, according to data compiled by Platts from shipping fixtures.
Indian imports of Angolan crudes, on the other hand, fell 18% year on year over the same period to an average of just under 120,000 b/d.
China’s imports of Angolan crude ticked up by just 1% year on year to around 810,000 b/d over January-August, according to Chinese customs data.
In contrast, Chinese imports of Nigerian crude, though relatively much smaller by volume, jumped 105% year on year to around 41,000 b/d over January-August, the data showed.
“China has not been taking more volumes this year because of the economic slowdown,” said a trading source at Sonangol September 29 in Singapore. “But what we’ve tried to do is to market more to India as well as new areas like Thailand.”
“Asia will still be our base-load for demand. Next year we see some new production [in Angola] coming up from two or three projects and we expect to send more to Asia,” he added.
State-owned Sonangol projects Angolan crude output it to climb to around 2 million b/d in 2015.