UPDATE 2-West African oil exports to Asia to rise in January

Reuters Middle East

(Updates with link to chart)

By Simon Falush

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - West African crude oil exports to Asia will rise

slightly in January versus December, according to data compiled by Reuters, with

stronger demand from India offsetting a fall in exports to China.

Asia is expected to import 1.81 million barrels per day (bpd) of West

African crude in January versus 1.75 million in December, with China importing

33 cargoes and India 18, according to data based on movements seen by oil

traders.

Strong economic growth in China and other emerging economies has driven a

rapid increase in demand for crude oil in Asia, where imports of West African

crude oil rise sharply since 2007.

West African crude oil is typically "sweet", meaning it contains low levels

of corrosive sulphur compounds, and it meets Asian demand for heavy industrial

fuel oil and distillates such as kerosene.

Nigerian and Angolan oil exports are now competing with new U.S. domestic

production of sweet crudes from shale formations in Texas and North Dakota,

which have exerted downward pressure on prices of high quality oil.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical arm

of the Department of Energy, said on Tuesday that U.S. crude oil production

would grow by 900,000 barrels per day in 2013 to 7.3 million bpd.

The increase in shale production so far has cut U.S. imports of West African

crude by over 1 million bpd, which has further increased the leading role played

by Asian buyers in the market.

In total for 2012, refiners in China, India, Indonesia and other Asian

countries bought more than 660 West African crude oil cargoes this year,

carrying a record 1.72 million bpd.

This was up from just under 600 cargoes in 2011 and compares with 656

cargoes in 2010, the previous record year.

JAN DEC NOV OCT

COUNTRY CARGOES BPD CARGOES BPD CARGOES BPD CARGOES BPD

China 33 1012 35 1073 26 823 32 981

India 18 550 12 368 13 412 14 429

Indonesia 2 61 4 123 2 63 0 0

Taiwan 5 153 4 123 4 127 5 153

Japan 1 31 0 0 0 0 1 31

S. Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Others 0 0 2 61 2 63 3 92

TOTAL 56 1.81 M 57 1.75 M 47 1.49 M 55 1.69 M

Notes for table above:

* BPD = thousands of barrels per day / M = millions

* Totals may not agree due to rounding

Quarterly/annual imports into Asia from West Africa (millions of barrels per

day)

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Year

2012 1.82 1.76 1.64 1.64 1.72

2011 1.79 1.57 1.46 1.46 1.56

2010 1.71 1.73 1.67 1.71 1.71

2009 1.00 1.52 1.53 1.46 1.38

2008 1.21 1.24 1.15 1.01 1.15

(Reporting by Simon Falush; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Baird)