Asia’s bookings of W. African crude rebound to six-month high

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  • WAF to Asia loadings highest since February
  • Chinese buying revives following maintenance
  • Graphic on oil exports to Asia: http://tmsnrt.rs/2dG0SuJ

 

By Libby George

LONDON, Aug 7 – Asia’s loadings of West African oil are on track to rebound to a six-month high in August on a revival in China’s appetite, a Reuters survey of traders and shipping data showed on Monday.

Loadings for Asia are expected to reach 2.18 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, some 11 percent higher than the previous month and the highest since February. The increase was driven primarily by an increase in bookings to China, which rose significantly on-the-month to a five-month high of just over 1.4 million bpd.

Michal Meidan, Asia analyst at Energy Aspects in London, said Chinese refineries are looking to stock up for the third and fourth quarter, when refineries come out of late summer maintenance and look to produce as much diesel as they can.

“They’re looking for more medium crudes, price permitting. Diesel demand growth is doing quite well,” Meidan said. Many West African grades, including most of those loading in Angola, are medium crudes, which have a high yield of middle distillates such as diesel.

Additionally, while China’s state refiner Sinopec Corp considered cutting fuel output in the third quarter to deal with a domestic excess, Meidan said crude oil imports could remain elevated regardless. “Saying they’d cut meant they wouldn’t run full throttle, the way they were at the beginning of the year,” Meidan said.

India’s bookings also remained elevated, with buyers taking a mix of Nigerian crude as well as Angolan grades including Dalia, CLOV and Girassol. India has been replacing some of its Iranian crude purchases with cargoes from elsewhere in retaliation over Tehran‘s decision not to award the development of a natural gas field to Indian companies.

Two cargoes of Nigerian crude will also sail for Japan aboard the Athenian Harmony, and Indonesia’s Pertamina will also take two West African cargoes from Vitol. Thailand also booked a vessel to take a cargo of Angola‘s Pazflor.

COUNTRY August BPD ‘000s July BPD ‘000s cargoes cargoes CHINA 46 1,409 34 1,042 INDIA 15 460 19 582 INDONESIA 2 61 4 123 TAIWAN 2 61 2 61 JAPAN 2 61 1 31 S. KOREA 0 0 0 0 OTHERS 4 123 4 123 TOTAL 71 2,176 64 1,961 (Reporting by Libby George; Editing by David Evans)

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