Nigerian oil exports will jump to their highest level in four months in April as output from a new crude stream starts to flow, traders and shipping sources said on Friday.
Africa's top oil producer is expected to sell around 1.96 million barrels per day (bpd) in April in 70 full or part cargoes, up from 1.87 million bpd in 65 cargoes in March, the sources quoted provisional loading programmes as showing.
Nigeria's new Usan offshore oilfield will contribute most of the extra oil in April, pumping almost 100,000 bpd. The field, operated by Total, is expected to reach 4-5 cargoes per month or about 130,000-160,000 bpd this year and have a total capacity of 180,000 bpd.
Total said on Friday it had started production at Usan on schedule. Traders expected initial volumes to be stored and the first vessels to load in about six weeks. Total, ExxonMobil and Glencore will load the first cargoes, totalling almost 3 million barrels.
Provisional loading programmes are often revised after initial release and some West African traders believe total crude oil loadings in April could eventually prove to be more than 2 million bpd.