Nigerian crude differentials stayed under pressure on Thursday, with buyers citing a persistent overhang of cargoes and delays to loading programmes as grounds to be more choosy.
A decision by Saudi Arabia to temporarily halt oil shipments through a key Red Sea strait after an attack on two supertankers was not expected to have much of a knock-on effect on the West African market, traders said.
Qua Iboe was last heard offered at around $1.65 above dated Brent for August loading.
For September, traders said this grade would have to fall to around $1.50, from recent offers of $2.00, given the overhang in the Nigerian market.
Erha was heard around $1.65 above dated Brent for August loading, one trading source said.
Delays to September Nigerian programmes, including Forcados, are keeping potential buyers wary, one shipping source said.
While Nigeria is struggling with oversupply, Angola appears to selling its crude rather quickly.
The recent drop in the premium of Brent-linked crudes to Dubai has helped encourage Angolan cargoes to move east more quickly.
State firm Sonangol was thought to have almost sold out of its September programme.
At the last count, Sonangol had cargoes of Cabinda, Dalia and Saturno, ranging from parity with dated Brent to discounts of closer to $1.00.