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China Just Can’t Get Enough Of This Crude

For an ordinary layman Chad might not come across as an important oil producer. Landlocked, susceptible to political infighting and one of the poorest nations on earth, Chad’s oil sector developments might even be unknown for people in the commodity business even though crude makes up 96 percent of the African nation’s exports. Chad’s flagship crude, the heavy sweet Doba, has been making history lately – for the first time in history, Doba traded above Dated Brent on 19 March, making it the first heavy crude to accomplish this rare feat in 2019. All this adds up to a tremendously illustrative tale about how US sanctions have tilted the balance in world markets and how closely is China’s supply safety tied to African oil production.

Against the background of Chad’s marred history, full of gory civil war scenes and all too frequent coup d’états, Ndjamena had a tremendous opportunity to raise out of poverty. It knew it had some oil – first deposits were unearthed in the first half of the 1970s, however it could not tap into them (current estimates usually hover around 1.5 billion barrels) because of various conflicts. After the 250kbpd Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline was constructed in 2003, the landlocked nation could finally use a reliable export conduit. Not that it is easy though – Doba has a remarkably high pour point (21°C) which makes it all the more difficult to transport, especially given the 12-kilometer…




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