U.S. refiners have turned to several lesser-used oil suppliers in the wake of U.S. sanctions that restricted usual providers of widely-used grades as they gear up for peak driving season.
Iraq, Nigeria, Brazil and Angola combined this month are set to deliver their most crude oil to the United States in more than 18 months, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and trade sources, helping deliver needed heavy and sour crudes.
All told, May imports from those countries are expected to come in at about 1.23 million barrels per day (bpd), more than double April’s haul. Those cargoes include 11 tankers carrying about 600,000 bpd of Iraqi crude, the most from that country in a year, Refinitiv data showed.
West African producers Nigeria and Angola are set to deliver 420,000 bpd combined this month, the highest in 13 months. Another 206,000 bpd of Brazilian crude are due to land in May, the most since August.
The bump in imports from those nations versus the prior month reflects reduced supply from Venezuela and Iran due to U.S. sanctions, and declining OPEC production that has cut availability of heavy and medium sour grades. U.S. refiners also are finishing spring maintenance and gearing up for vacation-season gasoline demand.