LONDON Feb 8 (Reuters) – * Oil prices rose despite surge in U.S. crude oil stocks. Crude imports jumped by 1.1 million barrels per day, with an increase in imports at the Gulf Coast helping push stocks in that region to a record.
* Workers at Canadian Natural Resources’ (CNR) Baobab and Espoir oil and gas fields in Ivory Coast launched a 72-hour strike early on Wednesday over employment conditions, the head of their union said.
* Italian prosecutors have asked for the CEO of oil and gas group Eni Claudio Descalzi to be sent to trial over alleged corruption in Nigeria relating to a 2011 purchase of OPL 245, judicial sources said on Wednesday.
* Separatist rebels have called on Angola’s oil region to boycott parliamentary elections in August that are likely to be the most closely watched in decades as President Jose Eduardo dos Santos ends 38 years in power.
* The pending tender from India’s IOC, which frequently takes Nigerian grades, put the brakes on any spot trading, sources said.
* ExxonMobil was offering Qua Iboe at increasingly stronger premiums, including above $1 per barrel above dated Brent.
* While few Qua cargoes were available, due to buying mostly into tenders in either India or Indonesia, some buyers said those offers were unjustifiably strong.
* Exxon was offering at least one February-loading cargo delivered into Europe.
* More than two dozen other cargoes were still looking for buyers.
* There was little discussion of March-loading cargoes, with most of those available reoffered by traders after selling at least once.
* Pazflor was offered, without having traded previously, at dated Brent minus 50 cents a barrel.
* The April loading plan was due within a week.
* An award was expected Thursday for a tender to supply India’s IOC with cargoes loading in the first 10 days of April.