LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Differentials continued to firm for most West African grades as strong refinery margins worldwide helped clear cargoes.
* Just over a handful of September-loading cargoes remained.
* Strong Asian demand helped differentials rise sharply from the August programme. One trader said Asian buyers were willing to bid up to 25 cents above dated Brent for Nemba.
* Chinese demand for diesel will rise again this year after contracting for the first time in over a decade in 2016, buoyed as the world’s No.2 economy shows signs of growth, traders and analysts said. Strong middle distillate margins have helped spur demand for medium crude grades.
* Shell extended its force majeure on Bonny Light to cover the Trans Niger Pipeline shutdown, as a source told Reuters that the second pipeline exporting Bonny, the Nembe Creek Trunk Link, had restarted.
* Shell initially declared force majeure on July 13 after operator Aiteo shut down the NCTL shut down due to a leak.
* U.S. refineries Valero and Marathon Petroleum said they planned to run more light crudes this quarter, which helped spur demand for lighter Nigerian oil.
* Qua Iboe was offered as high as $1.40 above dated Brent, and Forcados differentials had also firmed notably from the previous month.
* Exxon Mobil Corp, the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer, said on Friday its quarterly profit nearly doubled on surging margins at its operations outside the United States, but results fell shy of Wall Street’s expectations.
* The European Union has scrapped plans to observe elections in Angola next month, after Luanda failed to agree to a package of conditions, including access to all parts of the country during the poll, an EU spokesperson said on Friday.
* Oil company Halliburton Co will pay $29.2 million to settle civil charges it violated federal anti-bribery rules related to books, record-keeping and internal accounting controls while doing business in Angola, U.S. regulators said on Thursday. (Reporting By Libby George; Editing by Susan Fenton) ))