Nigeria is toiling to find buyers for its crude oil as strikes in the French refining sector and seasonal maintenance at European plants cut into the OPEC producer’s sales.
There are reports that about 25 shipments of the country’s crude for April loading were still searching for buyers, according to four traders specialising in the West African market. Each cargo was reported to contain about a million barrels of crude.
According to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, France, one of Nigeria’s biggest buyers, took an average of 110,000 barrels daily of Nigeria’s oil over the past year.
However, demand has shrivelled this month, with France’s overall crude imports dropping by half in March as the nationwide dispute over pension reforms escalated.
Bloomberg also reports that European plants are also buying less crude because of seasonal maintenance adding to the impact of the strikes.
“The Nigerian backlog is a combination of higher freight costs, lower tanker availability — specifically into Europe — as well as lower overall demand for West Africa light sweet as crude from other regions is deluging markets,” said Viktor Katona, a lead crude analyst at Kpler.