May 18 (Reuters) –
* Exports from Nigeria were still well below normal levels due to attacks on pipelines by militants and an accident affecting benchmark Qua Iboe exports.
* Trade was slowed by uncertainty about how long Nigerian outages would last, and as traders awaited the awarding of tenders from refiners from India, Taiwan and Uruguay.
* Exxon Mobil has ramped up production of Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil just over a week after pipeline damage forced it to slow output, traders said on Wednesday.
* Traders said the company began increasing output of Nigeria’s largest crude oil stream earlier this week, with flows by Tuesday reaching 213,000 barrels per day (bpd), with a target of 250,000 bpd by Wednesday.
* Trade was slow nevertheless as traders awaited the outcome of tenders from Taiwan, India and Uruguay.
* A nationwide strike against a French government labour law reform has cut output at Total’s refineries in France, a CGT Union official said on Tuesday, thus cutting its crude demand.
* Traders said there was an overhang of physical oil, with more than 20 June loading cargoes available.
* The Qua Iboe programme for July loading was expected by Friday, and traders will watch it to see how many cargoes will be deferred from June.
* As well as Qua Iboe, Bonny Light and Forcados remained under forces majeure.
* A trader said Qua Iboe was offered at nearly $2 above dated Brent, but that with the uncertainty on loading date, it would struggle to find buyers at these levels.
* Traders said there were no allocations yet made for the July loading programme, which had been revised down to 55 cargoes, or 1.71 million bpd, down from an initial plan of 56 cargoes, or 1.74 million bpd.
* There are nearly 10 June-loading cargoes left, according to traders, including Dalia, Pazflor, Nemba and CLOV.
* A trader said he expected a downward correction in differentials.
* Statoil won a tender to supply Indian refiner MRPL, a trader said, but the grades and quantities were not available.
* Taiwan’s CPC was expected to announce the results of tenders on Thursday.
* Uruguay’s ANCAP issued a tender to buy crude oil for delivery from July 19-23. The result was expected late on Wednesday or on Thursday.
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