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LONDON (Reuters) - Asia's imports of crude from West Africa are at record highs as sanctions on Iran cut supplies from the Islamic Republic to China, a Reuters survey of West African oil flows suggest.


Asian imports of West African crude oil will hit an all-time high in the first quarter as purchases of Iranian oil decline and as Chinese and Indian refiners build stocks from alternative sources, trade and shipping sources said.


North American, Asia and European refiners compete to buy West Africa's high quality, low sulphur crude oil. Increasingly it is a favourite source of fuel for Chinese, Indian and other Asian refiners.


The region is a natural alternative source of oil for Asian buyers who wish to avoid sanctions imposed by the West over Iran's nuclear programme that the United States and its allies say aims to produce Iranian nuclear weapons.


Tehran denies it is planning an atomic bomb and says the programme is designed to meet domestic energy needs.


The Reuters survey shows West African oil imports by Asian countries will average 1.81 million barrels per day (bpd) in March, 1.8 million in February and 1.84 million in January.


This brings the average for the first quarter of 2012 to around 1.82 million bpd, up from a previous record of 1.79 million in the first quarter of 2011 and 2011's average 1.57 million.


Not all the crude oil cargoes due to load in March from Nigeria, Angola and other West African exporters are placed yet, and the totals could rise over the next few weeks, traders say.


Sources close to Chinese state-owned oil trading companies say imports of Angolan crude oil are up by as much as 20 percent in March from December and the increase largely reflects a decline in purchases of Iranian crude.




"Chinese companies have taken half a dozen more cargoes in March and these are almost replacements for Iranian barrels," said one senior West African crude oil trader.


But trade and shipping sources are unsure whether the trend away from Iranian crude will continue into the second quarter.


Chinese companies are now negotiating hard on long-term purchase contracts with the state National Iranian Oil Company, and traders suggest the recent dip in imports by Chinese may be part of a strategy to force Iranian crude selling prices lower.


Industry sources close to the negotiations in Asia say China will halve its crude imports from Iran in March compared to average monthly purchases a year ago, as the dispute over payments and prices stretches into a third month.


Sinopec, through its trading arm Unipec, has already snapped up extra cargoes from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia and Australia in addition to its higher imports from West Africa.


The refiner is likely to buy more crude from the spot market to cover March requirements, traders say.


Chinese buyers took 31 cargoes of West African crude, mostly from Angola, in March, compared with 30 cargoes in February.


Nigeria and Angola are Africa's two largest exporters, shipping as much as 3.5 million bpd to international markets.


Taiwanese buyers are also buying West African crude as an alternative to Iranian, traders say, and have so far bought around 14 million barrels of West African this year, up slightly from recent averages.


Japanese buyers have also imported cargoes of Angolan and Gabonese crudes for burning, trade sources said.

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And just how much - if any - that the citizens of the countries are sharing in any of this new-found wealth???  



And, therein lies the problem with Africa's rich resources.  If African leaders could see that if they 'share the wealth', Africa would be a World Super Power in less than two decades, (which was predicted for Nigeria about two decades ago, but you see how that went).  African leaders are doing to Africa, what crack dealers do to African American communities.  


I can imagine God sitting in disgust at Black people, where even with ALL we have been put through as a race on this planet, the Black race God still gave Black people an out, Black people were finally freed from their oppressor,  with the world's most sought after resources at the feet of Africa, and what did Black people do?  Black people stampeded toward the very same philosophies, politics, hatreds and divisions as their oppressor had used against them, without caring how many Black people they trampled in their quest to be like Europeans, racists and bigots, and be able to use those same philosophies, politics, hatreds and divisions against each other.


It is no wonder why Black people are the least respected race on earth.

You know .... I was thinking last night about how much destruction is caused by so many African leaders' "I wanna be ruler for life" mentality!!! 


It's devastating how much 'absolute power' .... 'corrupts absolutely'.  They get in there ... want to stay 30-40 years and then handpick the next person so succeed them.   It's a recipe for disaster than never seems to turn out well.


Asia is poising to make Africa (and not just one but MANY of the different countries in it) VERY prosperous ... in a number of different ways and for a variety of different reasons!!  More and more, Asia is putting Africa on the global trading map as a viable global partner ... something Europe and "the West" have long deprived them of .. but are now trying to play "catch up" to!!


Asia - and China in particular - doesn't care about Africa's "human rights abuse" records against their own citizens ... considering their continuous violations of the same .... which is one of the main reasons they're so gung-ho about doing business there!! 


There are conflicting reports about whether or not the Asians are becoming "colonizers" in the same way as the Europeans did it.  And personally, I really don't think that's the case.  However ... they couldn't care less about how the governments they're doing business with are treating (or mistreating) their people, either!!!  Whether or not the money is "trickling" down to help the people who are doing the heavy work and toiling (sometimes in the case of abusive child labor) to deliver their products to them.

Asian money and trade is only going keep all of Africa in the position of being just another Haiti, where you have ONLY the haves and the have-nots.  


Between Africa's constant stream of dictators and the "tale-of-two-cities" social stratification that already exists, any wealth Africa gains from doing business and trade with Asia is going to go only to African dictators and the very rich in Africa. Nothing is going to change for the masses in Africa.  The majority of people in Africa will remain poor and uneducated, which only serves to weigh down any elevation of achievement and advancement throughout the continent.


The elitist attitude of so many of Africa's educated population does nothing to help the situation in Africa, in fact it only adds to the problem since an elitist attitude merely makes those that are educated believe that those that are not or those that are poor are inferior to them, therefore, are only there to be used and exploited, the same way that African dictators use Africa's resources for their own gain, and exploits one half of the masses to oppress the other half.  


Africa still has a long way to go, but change is going to have to start with the attitudes and belief systems of Africa's educated population.  If this does not happen, Africa and the majority of Africans will continue to lie stagnant as the rest of the world passes by.

Purchase expands China's Africa mine holdings



The Hong Kong-listed unit of China's state-owned China Minmetals Group said Friday it had taken control of copper miner Anvil Mining Ltd., expanding its footprint in Africa.


Minmetals Resources Ltd.'s purchase of more than 90 percent of Anvil shares at C$8 each ($7.7) is a key development in the Chinese company's growth strategy, chief executive officer Andrew Michelmore said in a statement.


"Anvil is the first step in the expansion of MMR's global footprint," he said.

"This acquisition will add a pure copper play to our already diversified portfolio of base metals assets, and propel us further along our growth trajectory."


The move highlights the willingness of Chinese firms to invest in risky regions as China seeks further resources to fuel its rapid economic growth.


Anvil's Kinsevere mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo produced more than 16,000 tonnes of copper in concentrates in 2010, and has targeted a quadrupling of output.


The purchase of Anvil will add considerably to Minmetals's copper portfolio, boosting reserves of the metal by about 75 percent and annual production by some 60,000 tonnes, executives said earlier.


Michelmore said Minmetals would exercise its right to compulsorily acquire the outstanding stock and delist Anvil from the Toronto and Australian exchanges.


Anvil announced that at Minmetals' request all of its board members had resigned except for Darryll Castle. Michelmore had been appointed executive director and chief executive officer.


Minmetals is a major producer of zinc, and also mines copper, lead, gold and silver with operations in Australia, Laos, Africa, Asia and North America.


China has deepened links with resource-rich African nations over recent years as it looks to secure key commodities to feed its breakneck growth.

If Africa nations were smart, they would "lease" rights to their resources instead of "selling" them.  With the "sale" of rights to mines, etc., that puts a foreign nation in the position of "owning" parts of Africa, and everyone knows what happens when foreign nations "own" any parts of Africa.


However, this could be, economically, a good thing for Africa, although I doubt it, considering that most of any wealth of any nation in Africa goes into the pockets of dictators or Islam or into the pockets of non-Black people.

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