Asia Crude-India IOC seeks more April/May W.Africa

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TOKYO, Mar 13 (Reuters) Indian Oil Corp. , India's largest refiner, has issued a tender to buy more West African crude oil for end-April and May liftings, traders said on Monday.

IOC is seeking to buy such grades as Nigerian Bonny Light and Qua Iboe in the tender, traders said.

Grade offers for the tender are due on Tuesday, and price offers on Thursday. Offers are to remain valid until Friday, traders said.

State-run IOC, which has a total refining capacity of around 1 million barrels per day (bpd), issues tenders several times a month to buy crude, mainly West African grades.

The new tender suggests IOC would continue to buy West African grades despite continued supply disruptions in Nigeria.

It has bought 6 million barrels of Nigerian crude for May loadings so far.

Militant attacks on Nigerian oil facilities have shut in more than 450,000 barrels of daily crude production in the past several weeks.

In the previous monthly tender, IOC purchased a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) cargo of Bonny Light and Escravos for May loading from U.S. major Chevron, traders said.

IOC also bought 1 million barrels of Dubai crude from BP.

Traders said IOC was increasing West African grades to benefit from narrowing spreads between Brent crude and Middle East benchmark Dubai, or Brent/Dubai exchange for swaps (EFS).

Narrower EFS makes African grades, which are priced based on Brent, competitive against Middle East and Asia-Pacific crude.

REUTERS PV BS0930

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