Two tankers carrying 3m barrels of Nigerian and Angolan crudes set sail in November to Argentina to feed its domestic refining network, pushing the country’s imports close to 2015’s level, Reuters reported.
The very large crude carrier (VLCC) New Vanguard loaded with 2m barrels of Angola’s Nemba crude is expected to arrive in Argentina in late November. A unit in Argentina of Royal Dutch Shell, Axion Energy and Pampa Energia will share the Angolan crude to be processed at their refineries. A smaller cargo carrying 1m barrels of Nigerian crude is also expected in November, according to Bloomberg.
In 2015, Argentina received some 6m barrels of imported crude, mostly African medium and light grades bought by independent refiners on the open market. Including the latest tankers, 2016’s haul is about 5.8m barrels. However, Energy Minister,Juan Jose Aranguren, declared that it “doesn’t make sense” for Argentina to export light oil and import from West Africa.”
Argentina is home to the Vaca Muerta formation, the world’s second-largest reserve of shale oil. The government sets the price for domestically produced light crude at $67.50 a barrel to maintain output amid declining global prices. By doing so, it has also created an incentive for refiners to import cheaper oil.