Nigeria’s state-controlled NNPC unveiled a new light crude oil called Nembe, expected to compete with Brazilian and Azeri grades in the European refining market.
An assay of the Nembe crude shows 29.02°API and a sulphur content of 0.17pc, according to Argus.
Production of the distillate-rich, low-sulphur grade began on 25 May, and is currently being transported to tankers via three 40,000 bl barges, an NNPC source told Argus, adding that volumes would be scaled up at a later date via underwater pipelines, which are scheduled to become fully operational in the first quarter of 2025.
Output of Nembe currently averages 50,000 b/d, and production is expected to ramp up to 80,000 b/d by the first quarter of next year. Output stood at 31,000 b/d in September.
The new grade being exported via a terminal located offshore the Brass river estuary in Nigeria, has already been lifted on two 950,000 bl shipments to Europe. One cargo was taken to France by trading firm Gulf Transport and Trading, and another was delivered to Rotterdam.
Two more Nembe cargoes will be lifted later this year, with one shipment planned in November and another in December.
Preliminary assessments indicate that Nembe is priced at a premium to the North Sea Dated benchmark, with qualities similar to west African crudes Bonga, Forcados and Egina, Maryamu Idris, NNPC Trading’s executive director of crude and condensate said at the Argus European Crude Conference in London.
“The successful launch of Nembe crude is further evidence that the challenges in Nigeria’s oil production are nearly a thing of the past,” she said.
Nigeria’s crude production was 1.35mn b/d in September, according to upstream regulator NUPRC, up by 14pc from August and the highest since February 2022.