LONDON (Reuters) - Unipec, the trading arm of China’s Sinopec, began marketing cargoes of Nigerian crude oil previously sold by Swiss firm Addax this week, trade sources said on Thursday.
Sinopec Group, parent of Sinopec Corp, agreed in June 2009 to buy Addax at $7.24 billion in China’s biggest overseas acquisition, to gain access to oil assets in West Africa and Iraq.
Preliminary loading programmes of cargoes being exported from Nigeria in September show shipments of Antan and Okwori crude oil, both pumped from offshore Nigerian oilfields, were being sold by Unipec.
“This is the first time we’ve seen Unipec controlling these cargoes. It makes them more of a seller than before,” one physical trader of Nigerian oil said.
Unipec is one of the largest buyers of crude from Angola and Nigeria. It was the major contributor to the more than 1 million barrels per day Chinese buyers imported from West Africa in July, traders said.
Earlier this month, Sinopec Group said in its in-house newspaper it had struck high flows of oil at an offshore Nigerian block previously owned by Swiss firm Addax.
The UDELE-3 well of Block 137, in the Niger Delta, was the first exploration well Sinopec drilled in Nigeria this year after its acquisition of Addax almost a year ago.