September 7, 2017 / 4:13 PM / 2 years ago

India and China propel further boost in Asia's W. African crude bookings

    * Chinese bookings edge to record high
    * India's loadings rise 17 pct month on month
    * Graphic on oil exports to Asia:

    By Libby George
    NEW YORK, Sept 7 (Reuters) - West African crude oil sailing
for Asia is expected to reach a seven-month high in September as
shipments for India rise substantially and Chinese purchases
edge to a fresh high, a Reuters survey of traders and shipping
data showed on Thursday. 
     September loadings are expected to hit at least 2.2 million
barrels per day (bpd), up slightly from the previous month and
the highest since February. 
    Bookings to India grew the most substantially, up nearly 17
percent month on month in terms of bpd, while Chinese loadings
edged slightly higher to 1.46 million bpd, the highest since
Reuters began tracking the shipments in 2004.
    The increase was due in part to plans for higher refinery
runs in October and November in advance of winter fuel demand. 
    James Davis, upstream analyst with FGE, said that refiners
are preparing for higher processing in the autumn and that
September refinery maintenance closures across Asia, which cut
into the amount of crude oil processed, are expected to be
300,000 bpd lower than last year.  
    China's bookings showed that buyers are again
enthusastically purchasing West African oil after a lull earlier
this year.    
    India's purchases were also elevated because of the nation's
need to replace some of the cargoes of Iranian oil it had been
buying, analysts said. 
    India's loadings of Iranian oil fell by 25 percent month on
month in August to their lowest since February 2016, possibly in
retaliation for Tehran not awarding a gas field development to
Indian companies.
    "If India is going to buy less crude from Iran, they will
likely look to West Africa to replace some of that," said FGE's
    State refiner Indian Oil Corp was the primary buyer, taking
cargoes from Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola in
addition to its more common purchases of Nigerian grades such as
Qua Iboe and Agbami. 
    One cargo, the Ice Transporter, was expected to load
Nigeria's Agbami for Australia, while Indonesia will load Okono
and Bonny Light.  
 COUNTRY     September    BPD       August      BPD '000s
             cargoes      '000s     cargoes     
 CHINA       46           1,457     46          1,409
 INDIA       17           538       15          460
 INDONESIA   3            95        2           61
 TAIWAN      2            63        2           61
 JAPAN       0            0         2           61
 S. KOREA    0            0         0           0
 OTHERS      2            63        4           123
 TOTAL       70           2,217     71          2,176
 (Reporting by Libby George; Editing by David Goodman)
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