Oil: Indian buyers turn to Asia over unsteady Nigeria supply
There are rising expectations that more Indian crude refiners could switch their focus to Southeast Asia for supplies because of growing uncertainty over the exports of Nigerian crude grades.
According to US-based energy publication, Platts, India’s stateowned company, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, is the latest to have issued a spot tender to purchase several Malaysian light sweet crude grades.
BPCL is seeking up to one million barrels of various Malaysian light sweet crudes as well as Brunei’s crudes for loading over September 11-20, according to an official tender notice seen by S&P Global Platts which closes July 22.
The latest spot tender raised a few eyebrows in the Asia-Pacific sweet crude market because BPCL does not regularly seek Malaysian and Bruneian crude grades in the spot market.
A company source told Platts on Tuesday that BPCL’s latest move was seen as necessary, as the procurement of any Nigerian crude grades would be a big risk amid ongoing production hiccups caused by militant attacks in the Niger Delta.
“BPCL, like many other Indian state-run companies, prefer to take Nigerian light sweet crudes like Qua Iboe and Bonny Light. Those are the number one choices,” the source said, adding that “when production (of light sweet Nigerian grades is) in doubt, the next best option would be the Malaysian (grades).”
ExxonMobil had last week placed Nigerian crude Qua Iboe under force majeure and exports were halted, while Italian company Eni confirmed earlier this month that 4,000 b/d of oil equivalent of equity production had been shut-in following an attack claimed by militants in the Niger Delta.