Oil report

West African oil exports to Asia to hit 17-month high in December

* China's loadings hit more than two-year high
    * Stable Nigeria spurs Indonesian buying
    * Lower Brent-Dubai spread boosts demand
    * Graphic:

    By Libby George
    LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - West African crude exports to Asia
are set to hit 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in December,
the highest level since July 2015, driven by pricing that made
the grades more attractive when compared with supply from the
Middle East.
    According to a Reuters survey of shipping fixtures and
traders, China will load 1.23 million bpd, the highest since
September 2014, while Indonesia snapped up a number of cargoes
of Nigerian crude.
    Ehsan Ul-Haq, principal consultant with KBC said the drop in
the Brent-Dubai price spread DUB-EFS-1M, which fell below $2
per barrel in November for the first time since late 2015, had
helped spur demand.
    A narrower spread makes crude oil priced off Brent, which
includes West African grades, more competitive compared with
Middle Eastern or Russian oil that are priced in relation to
Dubai crude futures.
    Angola's medium sweet grades have also been in high demand
in China as its refineries run full steam to prepare for New
Year celebrations at the end of January. 
    Analysts said concern about production cuts in the Middle
East, which produces competing medium and sour crudes, had also
helped spur Asian interest in building stocks of Angolan oil. 
    "They are a bit worried about the Middle East," Ehsan
Ul-Haq, principal consultant with KBC. "They still see West
Africa as a reliable supplier, and Angolan in particular."
    Indonesia booked seven cargoes including Nigeria's Agbami,
Escravos and Bonny Light as well as Congolese Coco. Traders said
more reliable loading schedules in Nigeria, due to pipeline
repairs, had helped attract interest, but added that some of
these cargoes could be sold on to other buyers in Asia.  
    Other occasional buyers such as Thailand booked cargoes
while India, which looks the best prices in regular tenders for
oil across various supply regions, took 15 cargoes as it did in

 COUNTRY     December     BPD '000s  November  BPD '000s
             cargoes                 cargoes   
 CHINA       40           1,225      38        1,203
 INDIA       15           460        15        475
 INDONESIA   7            215        1         32
 TAIWAN      2            61         4         127
 JAPAN       0            0          0         0
 S. KOREA    0            0          0         0
 OTHERS      5            153        2         63
 TOTAL       69           2,084      60        2,115
 (Reporting by Libby George; editing by David Clarke)