Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has revealed that Nigeria’s crude oil blend – the Bonny Light – was among the top price earners in its February Oil price Reference Basket (ORB), with a 7.7 per cent price gain from where it previously traded in January.
OPEC in the March edition of its Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR), published on its website, explained that on the average the Bonny Light traded for $65.19 per barrel in February, up from the $60.51 that it was in January. It indicated that there was a $4.68 gain in this regards.
Similarly, other blends in the OPEC ORB that did well alongside Nigeria’s Bonny Light were Angola’s Girassol blend which recorded an 8.9 per cent price movement from $59.98 per barrel in January to $65.30 and thus making a gain of $5.32.
The report equally noted that the United Arabs Emirates’ (UAE) Murban blend recorded an upward price movement from $60.81 in January to close at $65.64, a difference of $4.83, which represented a percentage difference of 7.9.
“The basket value continued to increase during February, reaching $66.56/b, the highest daily settlement since last November. This came on the back of strong crude demand for March loading and concerns about tightening oil supply in the coming months, amid rising unplanned outages owing to technical and geopolitical factors.
“Oil prices also were supported by a more balanced oil market, which was helped by the start of OPEC and non- OPEC production adjustment in January and tightening supply from several regions.
“Market sentiments continued to improve in February, given the high conformity levels of the countries participating in the ‘Declaration of Cooperation,’ the report stated.
It further explained: “Light sweet crude ORB components from West and North Africa, including Bonny Light, Djeno, Es Sider, Girassol, Rabi Light, Sahara Blend and Zafiro, increased $4.86 on average, or 8.2 per cent m-o-m (month-on-month) to $63.93/b in February.
“West African crudes, particularly heavier Angolan crudes, increased strongly in February on robust buying interest from Asian refiners amid lower availability of similar grades in the market.
“The narrowing Brent/Dubai Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS) gave more support for crudes linked to Brent. North Africa crude differentials were also supported by lower supply as Libya’s El Sharara oil field remained closed.”
According to the report, while crude oil futures prices continued their upward trend in February to reach levels not seen since last November on a number of factors including the improving market balance, supply outages, better performance of equity markets and growing optimism that US-China trade talks would result in a deal, they were however capped by weak refining margins, refinery run cuts as well as persistent worries about global oil demand and economic growth as Asian key economies showed signs of slowing.