London — The first export cargo of Nigeria's newest crude grade Anyala is on its way to Northwest Europe, trading and shipping sources said on Jan. 18.
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The Aframax Minerva Clara loaded a 700,000 barrel stem of Anyala crude from the Abigail-Joseph floating production, storage and offloading vessel on Jan. 10, and the tanker is on its way to the Fos-sur-Mer terminal, located at France's Mediterranean port of Marseille, according to data intelligence firm Kpler.
Sources said trading house Vitol had chartered this tanker, as it has a stake in indigenous producer FIRST E&P, which is the operator of the Anyala West oil fields, located in the shallow waters of the Niger Delta.
A representative at Vitol wasn't immediately available for comment on the matter.
One market source said the cargo is likely to travel from Fos-sur-Mer to the Cressier refinery in Switzerland through the SPSE pipeline.
The 68,000 b/d Cressier is operated by Varo Energy.
Varo Energy is a joint venture between Vitol, private equity fund the Carlyle Group, and private investment fund Reggeborgh.
Sources said that a second cargo will load in March, with some Asian refiners already showing buying interest.
Anyala has been labeled a medium sweet crude grade, similar in quality to Nigeria's flagship crude Bonny Light, sources added.
When refined, Anyala will produce a high yield of middle distillates, making it attractive to both simple and complex refineries.
The new crude is from Nigeria's shallow-water Anyala West oil fields in the Niger Delta, which struck first oil in November,
The fields in blocks OMLs 83 & 85 are expected to reach 60,000 b/d when fully developed, according to FIRST E&P.
Anyala is the country's newest oil development since the start-up of the giant Egina field in late-2018.
Seven development wells have been planned in Phase 1 in the Anyala West field (OML 83), which will be developed along with the nearby Madu field in (OML 85). The project is estimated to contain 300 million barrels of crude oil recoverable reserves.
The final investment decision on the project was made in July 2018, while first oil was initially expected in 2019.
OMLs 83 & 85 are located in the shallow waters offshore Bayelsa State in southern Nigeria.
Nigerian oil output has fallen sharply in the past six months as it has come under pressure to adhere to its OPEC+ cut obligations. Some of the country's key grades like Qua Iboe, Forcados and Brass River have also recently faced outages.
Nigeria's crude and condensate production slumped to around 1.66 million b/d in 2020 from 2.04 million b/d in 2019, according to S&P Global Platts estimates. This was its lowest annual output figure since 2016, when militancy in the Niger Delta pushed output to as low as 1.60 million b/d.