Rare shipment of West African Lokele crude oil heads to US refiner
A rare shipment of West African Lokele crude oil landed at a Valero Energy Gulf Coast refinery this month, ship tracking data showed.
Valero’s import comes as attacks on shipping along the Red Sea by Yemeni Houthi militants have made West African crude more attractive.
Tanker Claret Prince carried about 650,000 barrels of heavy sweet Lokele from a floating storage platform near Cameroon to Valero’s Meraux refinery in Louisiana, discharging the oil late last week, according to financial firm LSEG and Kpler ship tracking data.
The shipment was the first Lokele arrival in at least a year, according to U.S. customs data. About 70% of Lokele crude typically flows to Europe with Asian buyers taking the rest.
Valero did not respond to a request for comment.
The company said in a conference call last week, that while it does not run much Middle Eastern crude, higher freight rates were impacting its business.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston)