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WAfrica Crude-Diffs pressured as buying slack

Monday, 8 Oct 2012 | 11:19 AM ET

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - West African crude oil differentials slipped on Monday as a glut of unsold cargoes for loading in November showed that a range of grades were out of favour.

More than 20 Nigerian cargoes and a clutch of other West African crude cargoes were still unsold in the market as demand from U.S., Chinese and European refiners was constrained by a heavy maintenance schedule.

"There's too much oil around," one trader said.

Demand from China was reported to be lower, in part due to refinery outages and the closure of three Sinopec plants due to environmental problems.

"There are issues at refineries; it all has an impact on the overall level of demand," a trader said.

The Sinopec Qilu refinery closed a 160,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) crude unit for a planned 25-day maintenance period on Monday, an industry official said.

On a longer-term horizon, however, the picture for Asian demand still looked robust.

Imports of West African crude oil by Asian refiners and end-users have reached 1.69 million bpd this month, up 10 percent from September and at a record high for October, data compiled by Reuters showed on Monday.

NIGERIA

* Some 20 of 72 Nigerian crude oil cargoes loading in November were reported still unsold, including most major grades.

* Qua Iboe: down around 20 cents, with the bid-offer range seen at dated Brent plus $2 to $2.20, below the $2.10 to $2.50 range seen on Friday.

Bonny: Qua Iboe minus 60 cents due to unreliability of loading dates and variable quality, traders said.

ANGOLA

* Some eight Angolan cargoes due to load in November were still unsold, comprising two Girassol, two Dalia, and a cargo each of Kissanje, Plutonio, Saxi and Pazflor.

* Girassol: Two end-November stems were still available: a BP stem for Nov. 19-20 and a Sonangol stem for Nov. 24-25 delivery. Total was reported to have taken one cargo for its own programme due to lack of buying interest.

* Offers have fallen sharply this month from around dated Brent plus 50 cents to just over dated Brent flat, but bids were well below flat, traders said.

TENDERS

* India's biggest state-owned refiner, Indian Oil Corp, closed a tender late on Thursday to buy light, sweet crude oil, its first for December loading.

* IOC bought one VLCC comprising Bonga and Forcado grades from Shell and the other comprised of Forcados and Jubilee from Vitol, traders said.

DATABASE

For a database of oil supply and demand fundamentals upstream and downstream, Reuters subscribers can click on:

($1 = 0.6176 British pounds)

(Reporting by Simon Falush; editing by Jane Baird)

((simon.falush@reuters.com)(+44

2075427681)(simon.falush.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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Keywords: MARKETS OIL/WESTAFRICA