LONDON (Reuters) – Angolan state oil company Sonangol finalized its term allocations for cargoes in February while preliminary export programmes for key Nigerian grades emerged.
* Of the 38 cargoes planned for export in February and not deferred from previous weeks, 3 were assigned to China’s Unipec, 6 to Sinochem and 2 to India’s IOC.
* Sonangol will have 6 spot cargoes including two of Dalia crude oil and one each of Hungo, Olombendo and Gindungo, with the final cargo apparently being absorbed into the domestic refining system.
* Freight rates that have been rising again due to delays related to the upcoming switch to cleaner fuels in January have steadied somewhat for a supertanker eastward but remain near 2019 highs.
* Some potential buyers expressed scepticism about whether usual brisk pre-holidays trading would soon kick in, as margins, market structure and expected tender results have muted trading.
* Under five cargoes remain for January export.
* Exports of Nigerian Qua Iboe and Bonny Light crude oil are both set around 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) for February, a slight rise for Qua Iboe and fall for Bonny Light from the previous month.
* Suezmax shipping rates from Nigeria to Europe have persistently inched up, dissuading buyers already reluctant to meet high asking prices near 2019 highs.
* India’s IOC issued a short tender after its last tender for crude loading Feb. 1-10 did not secure a West African grade.
* India’s HPCL issued a new tender closing next week.
* Nigeria’s former attorney general was detained by the financial crimes agency on his return home on Thursday as part of an investigation into one of the oil industry’s biggest suspected corruption scandals.
* Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday it expected to write down up to $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter, the latest major energy company forced to shrink estimates for sector values due to a weaker economic outlook.
(Reporting By Julia Payne; editing by Nick Macfie)