UPDATE 1-Nigeria orders extra 30 mln barrels of fuel by year-end -sources

Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:54pm EST

* State oil firm to end suspension of fuel imports
    * List of importers swells to nearly 50
    * Small firms such as Acorn, Dozzy and Fatgbems winners

 (Adds comment from analyst, background)
    By Emma Farge and Joe Brock
    DAKAR/ABUJA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria has granted licences
to nearly 50 companies to import 30 million barrels of fuel -
around 3.5 million tonnes - before the year-end despite large
stocks sitting offshore, industry sources said, up from 30
companies last year.
    The list of approved fuel importers for the fourth quarter,
compiled from industry sources, included a large allocation for
Nigeria's state oil company NNPC, signalling the end of a
suspension of its purchases in October caused by overbuying.
 
    Nigeria, which despite being Africa's top oil producer
relies on gasoline imports because of a lack of refining
capacity, had built a backlog of more than 1 million tonnes of
fuel waiting to unload offshore, the sources said.
    This was starting to clear but around 750,000 tonnes, or 6.4
million barrels, remained in ships off the coast, they said.
    Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is an increasingly
attractive market for refiners because U.S. gasoline imports
have dried up, with U.S. production having risen due to the
country's shale oil output.
    Imports for the fourth quarter were slightly higher than in
the third quarter, when Nigeria ordered 3.4 million tonnes, but
analysts expressed surprise at the size of the latest list given
the high stocks offshore. 
    "The decision to go ahead with the fuel importations could
be tied to an expectation of a higher level of demand in
December and early January," said Dolapo Oni, oil and gas
analyst at Ecobank.
    Sometimes allocations are rolled over into the following
quarter while others can be abandoned if companies fail to get a
bank loan to finance the shipments.

    LIST
    The latest list confirmed a trend of granting allocations to
a growing number of local companies, while larger firms received
smaller allocations.
    Officials from Nigeria's Petroleum Product Pricing
Regulatory Agency were not immediately available for comment.
    Oando PLC  was awarded the right to
import 120,000 tonnes, versus 135,000 tonnes last quarter.
    "By and large, everyone's allocation has been shrunk. The
volumes go to more players," said an industry source with one of
the importers.
    Folawiyo, in which global commodity merchant Glencore
 is a minority stakeholder, kept its allocation of
90,000 tonnes unchanged from the previous quarter although
industry sources said that was small in comparison to last year.
    Large trading houses such as Vitol, Trafigura
 and Mercuria were absent from the list although some
continue to supply Nigeria with fuel via crude-for-products
swaps.
    Small firms with allocations of fewer than 50,000 tonnes
included little-known players such as Acorn, Dozzy and Fatgbems.
    The following is a table of companies with some of the
largest allocations:
 COMPANY     ALLOCATION
             (tonnes)
 NNPC        1.3 mln
 Oando       120,000
 Nipco       90,000
 Folawiyo    90,000
 ($1 = 159 naira)

 (Reporting by Emma Farge and Joe Brock; Additional reporting by
Simon Falush; Editing by Dale Hudson and Anthony Barker)