U.S. purchases of Nigerian crude falls to a five-year low

Nigeria is losing the U.S. as its biggest oil customer amid surging output and refinery closures in North America. U.S. purchases of Nigerian crude fell to a five-year low in February, knocking the OPEC member to sixth from fifth among suppliers to the world’s largest oil consumer, Energy Department data show.
To offset the trend, Nigeria is sending cargoes to Asia, where refiners are set to increase imports in June to the highest in a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Qua Iboe, a light oil that’s Nigeria’s most abundant grade, slumped to an 18-month low in April as buyers in Asia that typically use cheaper, heavier crudes, demanded price cuts to cover the cost of shipping it halfway around the world.
Boosted by drilling in shale-rock formations such as North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford, crude production in the U.S. rose to 6.24 million barrels a day in the week ended May 18, the highest level since 1999, government data show. Nigerian oil imports by the US fell to 352,000 barrels a day in February, about a third of the amount purchased a year earlier, according to the Energy Department.