Asian Refiners to Increase Crude Imports From Angola in August

Asian refiners will boost imports of Angolan crude in August to the highest level in six months while purchases from Nigeria will drop to a new low, a survey of seven traders and an analysis of loading plans obtained by Bloomberg News showed.

Refiners bought 1.31 million barrels a day from Angola, the highest since February, and oil from Nigeria will be reduced to 154,032 barrels a day, the lowest since at least August 2011, when Bloomberg started compiling the data. In total, 59 cargoes amounting to 1.76 million barrels a day will be shipped from Angola, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, the survey showed.

Buyers in Asia can opt between Middle Eastern crude or Atlantic Basin grades, and their choice normally depends on the value of the lighter, sweet blends from the North Sea and West Africa versus heavier, sour grades from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Lighter crude yields more lucrative products such as diesel and gasoline. Sweet grades contain less sulfur than sour.

Compared with Nigerian grades, most Angolan crudes are heavier, with higher yield of diesel. This type of crude is “preferred in Asia because of the weakness in the petrochemicals sector, which is lowering demand for naphtha,” Max Bolhoff, senior consultant at KBC Energy Economics in Walton-on-Thames, England, said in an e-mailed response to questions on July 26.

“Indian demand growth has recently been biased toward diesel because the diesel price remains under government control while gasoline is deregulated, so diesel is now much cheaper than gasoline, and car buyers have been switching to diesel cars at a rapid pace,” Bolhoff said.

Nigerian benchmark Qua Iboe dropped to a premium of 99 cents a barrel more than Dated Brent on July 13, the lowest in more than two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese Demand

Refiners in China bought 34 cargoes, the most in three months, compared with 27 for July, the survey showed. China International United Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Unipec, bought 25 shipments, the highest since February.

India will increase imports of West African crude to 17 cargoes in August, five more than this month, the survey showed. The country’s imports of Nigerian crude will drop to four shipments, the least since September, while its purchases from Angola reached eight lots, surpassing Nigeria for the first time in at least 13 months.

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), which owns the world’s largest refining complex, will boost its imports to eight cargoes next month, the most since at least August 2011, the survey showed.

Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, bought seven shipments, one more than July, according to the survey.

Taiwan’s state-owned CPC Corp. purchased five shipments of Angolan crude, one less than this month, the survey showed.

Brent-Dubai Spread

The Brent-Dubai exchange for swaps, which measures the European benchmark against the Persian Gulf grade, averaged $2.47 in June, compared with $3.60 in May and $3.77 in April, according to data from PVM Oil Associates Ltd. The spread fell to a 22-month low of $1.38 a barrel on June 21. Traders make more profit from shipping crudes from Europe or West Africa to Asia when the spread between the two contracts shrinks.

Asian imports of West African crude for July were revised to 1.41 million barrels a day after one cargo each from Gabon and Nigeria were added, the survey showed.

Nigeria will export 2.27 million barrels a day of crude next month while Angola will ship 1.83 million barrels, Bloomberg calculations based on loading programs showed.

The following tables show details of planned Asian imports. Most cargoes are for 950,000 to 1 million barrels. All the volumes are in barrels a day.

Countries   Number of Cargoes     Total Volume
            August    July        August        July
China       34        27          1,044,677     800,645
India       17        12            491,774     352,419
Taiwan       5         6            153,226     183,871
Indonesia    2         1*            61,290      32,258*
Japan        1         2*            12,903      40,323*

Month            Cargoes   Total       Angola        Nigeria
August             59      1,763,871   1,306,613     154,032
July               46*     1,356,290*    986,774     179,839*
June               57      1,801,000   1,020,667     513,333
May                59      1,810,613   1,147,581     370,774
April              60      1,878,167   1,214,167     424,000
March              61      1,837,258   1,081,452     401,613
February           66      2,151,034   1,357,586     496,552
January            61      1,826,935   1,056,613     461,290

December           47      1,433,387     993,710     279,032
November           49      1,554,500   1,028,500     285,000
October            49      1,507,742     962,581     308,065
September          42      1,344,333     930,167     287,500
August             50      1,536,613     931,774     387,097
source: Bloomberg