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Angola's Oil Exports Set to Rise 14.5% in August

Source: Reuters 6/18/2012, Location: Africa

Angola is set to export 1.81 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) in August, up about 14.5 percent from July, a provisional loading schedule showed, which traders said could depress futures prices and spot differentials. Traders said the expected completion of maintenance at the Girassol oilfield boosted the export volume of Girassol crude, leading to the rise in the overall exports. "It is a lot of Angolan oil. The programme looks very long," a trader of West African crude said. The August schedule showed seven cargoes of Girassol crude, compared with three cargoes available for May and June due to reduced output during the field maintenance.

The availability of Pazflor, the newest Angolan crude, will be stable from July at seven cargoes. The final loading schedule for July showed the daily exports would average 1.58 million bpd, the lowest since June 2011. The jump in the August export volume comes amid an 18 percent slide in Brent crude futures prices since early May. Traders said the August increase could put further pressure on outright crude futures prices and spot differentials but that the direction of Chinese demand would probably have a more decisive impact on the oil market.

"It is really up to Chinese demand," a second trader said. "Some people say there is a concern over potential economic slowdown in China, but July Angolan cargoes are sold out, whereas Nigerian crude is not doing well." China, the world's top energy consumer, is the largest buyer of Angolan crude, steadily scooping up at least one-third of the supply every month. The major buyers of Nigerian crude are typically U.S. and Indian oil companies, and their demand can vary depending on month. The pace of Chinese companies' purchase of Angolan crude is often used as a rough gauge of Chinese demand for oil as the monthly Angolan programme normally becomes available and trade kicks off ahead of those from other crude oil producers.

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