July Crude Loading Schedules Delayed As Trans-Forcados Disruption Lingers

There are concerns that following disruptions of the oil flows on the pipeline feeding the Trans-Forcados terminal in Nigeria, the facility faces more than two weeks of delays of oil cargo loadings, as no official June or July loading schedules have been released yet.

The flow of crude oil to the Forcados terminal is said to have resumed last week, but loading delays have continued to accumulate, also delaying the release of June and July loading programs, according to sources.

A tentative re-schedule plan for June has been prepared, but it is unlikely that the rescheduled loading dates will be kept, and delays could even be longer than expected, according to trading sources. About two weeks ago, the Trans-Forcados pipeline that ships between 200,000 barrels per day, bpd and 240,000 bpd of oil to the Forcados terminal was shut down for repairs of a minor leak, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Back then, trading sources said that loadings were delayed by at least one week. Two days later, the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports because of the shutdown of the Nembe Creek pipeline, which had led to the accumulation of lots of unsold crude.

The Nembe Creek transports 150,000 bpd of Bonny Light to the Forcados terminal that Shell operates. After a shut-down of nearly a week, the Trans-Forcados pipeline resumed operations Wednesday last week, and started ramping up the crude flow to the Forcados terminal.

The operator of the Forcados oil terminal, Shell, stated last week that crude oil exports had not been affected by the shutdown. But industry sources said that the temporary closure had already affected crude cargo loading plans and the June cargoes of Forcados had been deferred to July.

“Forcados is taking a bit of a battering reputationally,” one trader stated. “Bigger buyers will always find a home for cargoes even with some uncertainty over cargo loading dates. But value can be affected as more marginal buyers look elsewhere to minimize their risk,” the trader added.

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