November 14, 2018 / 1:17 PM / a month ago

China to cut W. African oil imports in November, S Korea imports surge

    * W. African crude exports to Asia tmsnrt.rs/2MNuxkU

    By Amanda Cooper
    LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - China will cut imports of West
African oil to the lowest in seven months in November due to the
higher cost of shipments, while South Korean imports from West
Africa will reach to an 11-year high as U.S. sanctions hit
Iranian crude supplies.
    West African loadings to Asia will fall to about 2.33
million barrels per day (bpd) this month, equivalent to 70
percent of total exports from Angola, Nigeria, Republic of
Congo, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea, based on Reuters
calculations, shipping brokers and Refinitiv Eikon data. 
    This compares to October's 2.52 million bpd, or 75 percent
of total regional exports.
    Demand from Asian refiners for Nigerian and even Angolan
crude, which tends to be favoured by Chinese buyers, sagged over
the course of October and early November, as higher shipping
costs made the trip uneconomical. 
    Shipping rates for carrying West African oil on a very large
crude carrier (VLCC) to China hit a nine-month high in October
of more than $50,000 a day DFRT-WAF-CN.
    The International Energy Agency said in its report this
month that falling Iranian exports, driven down by U.S.
sanctions, were pushing Asian refiners to source oil from
further afield with longer journey times, driving up shipping
costs.
    U.S. investment bank Jefferies said average VLCC spot
charter rates rose to more than $40,000 a day in late October
for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2016.
    China will import about 1.33 million bpd of mostly Angolan
crude in November, down from October's record 1.935 million bpd,
while South Korea will take about 167,000 bpd of West African
oil.
    South Korea has till now typically taken only occasional
West African cargoes, because it has tended to rely more heavily
on Middle East or North Sea suppliers.
    But it has now said it would cut Iranian purchases because
of U.S. sanctions on Iran and has sought out other suppliers,
starting with a cargo of Congolese Djeno that loaded this month.
   
    India's refiners will take 567,000 bpd of West African crude
in November, up from 452,000 bpd in October, most of which was
purchased via tenders rather than on the spot market. 
    Glencore, Shell, Norway's Equinor and Chevron, among others
will supply the Indian market with a combination of Nigerian and
Angolan grades.  
    tmsnrt.rs/2MNuxkU
    Below is a table of West African exports to major Asian
buyers:
            Nov cargoes   Bpd (Mln)    Oct cargoes  Bpd (Mln)
 China                40        1.333           60       1.935
 India                17        0.567           14       0.452
 Indonesia             2        0.067            2       0.065
 Taiwan                4        0.133            1       0.032
 S Korea               5        0.167            1       0.032
 Japan                 0        0.000            0       0.000
 Others                0        0.000            0       0.000
 TOTAL                70        2.333           80       2.516
 

    
 (Reporting by Amanda Cooper
Editing by Edmund Blair)
  
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