The surge in US crude oil exports has brought stronger competition for West African light sweet crudes
heading to the Asian market, as the arbitrage economics remain highly favorable for more US crude purchases, especially with lower freight costs to Asia that have fallen by about a third since early December 2018, S&P Platts Global reported.
Nigerian crudes have seen a lot of competition from the flow of sweet crudes
from the US and Mediterranean of late, which could cap the flow of WAF crudes to Europe.
Asia will require an additional 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of low-sulphur or sweet crudes
in 2014 compared with last year, to meet demand from new refineries and for blending with cheaper, low quality oil, according to an oil company analyst.
Perhaps even more importantly, the pace at which heavy sour crudes can be refined is slower than light sweet crudes
. The shuttering of exports from Libya has caused demand for other light sweet crudes
like Brent Blend to increase; and, in turn, the price for Brent and other light sweet crudes
The bulk of the crude oil produced by OPEC is sour, or high sulphur, while sweet crudes
, like Libyan barrels, are highly prized for making transport fuels that have tight sulphur restrictions.
The company will seek offers for Asian sweet crudes
as well as West African grades such as Qua Iboe or Escravos for March arrival, Nawazier, president and managing director of Petral told Reuters.
The Indian basket comprises 65 per cent inferior high sulphur crudes and 35 per cent sweet crudes
such as Brent.
Now aware of the fact that some producers could not sell as much oil in 2008 as they wanted even when crude reached $147 per barrel, the IEA economists came to this conclusion: "Changes in required product specifications affected the type and amount of crude that refiners could process, effectively tightening fundamentals for these grades." The IEA economists also noted that "readily available heavy sour crudes were neither a practical nor economically viable substitute for light sweet crudes
due to already-stretched refining capacity and the narrow price discount offered by many producers for their heavy/sour grades."
The surge in US crude oil exports have brought stronger competition for West African light sweet crudes
flow heading to the Asian market as the arbitrage economics remain highly favorable for more US crude purchases, specially with the lower freight costs eastern bound to Asia that have fallen by about a third since early December 2018 as reported by S&P Platts Global.
As the global crude industry prepares for the shift toward the 0.5% global sulfur cap for fuel oil in 2020, sweet crudes
including domestic USGC grades will most likely see an increase in price while heavier grades could be hit with large discounts.
There is tight sweet crude
oil supply from the North Sea and Libya's sweet crudes
have been absent from the market since the February revolution (see below).