LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Asian buying helped support West African crude oil differentials on Wednesday with cargoes held back by some equity holders in the hope of placing them into tenders, traders said.
Two Indian refiners and one Taiwan refiner had tenders open for September and October barrels and this contributed extra demand to a market already buoyed by robust Chinese buying.
Tighter supplies of Nigerian crude in September also helped firm prices.
"Nigeria's loading programme for September is smaller than expected and most of the (Nigerian) August stems are now placed," said a trader at a major Asian company.
* Qua Iboe: Two or three of the 10 Qua Iboe cargoes due to load in September have now been sold, traders said. The September programme is smaller than the usual 11-12 stems in a typical month, helping buoy differentials. Exxon may have sold its Sept. 2-3 Qua Iboe cargo to Shell, traders said, at an undisclosed price likely to be around dated Brent plus $1.30. If confirmed, this would represent a rise of around 10 cents from previous assessments.
* Akpo: Unipec was reported to have sold a cargo of Akpo loading Sept. 2-3 to Exxon at an undisclosed price.
* Usan: Shipments will be delayed by around 10 days in August due to lower output, trade sources said on Tuesday. Traders said they expected loadings to return to normal in September when four cargoes will load.
* Only around 15 of Angola's 49 cargoes scheduled to load in September, or about a third of the programme, remained unplaced on Wednesday, traders said, with Asian demand fairly strong after a lull of several months. Traders said Chinese buyers were prominent lifters of several of the heavier grades.
* Angolan state oil company Sonangol was expected to release the final loading programme for all grades later on Wednesday.
* A couple of Cabinda cargoes were still available for lifting in September with offers said to be around dated Brent plus 60 cents and potential buyers pitching around plus 50 cents, representing a fall of around 5-10 cents from last month.
* Traders awaited details of a crude oil buying tender from India's Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, which has been seeking various grades, including Nigerian and West African grades for loading Sept. 1-15. Price offers were due by July 24 and offers remained valid until July 25. Award details were anticipated late in the afternoon in London.
* State-run refiner Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has a tender open to buy light, sweet crude for September. Grade offers were due by July 24, price offers by July 25 and an award was expected on July 27. IOC is expected to take at least one cargo of Nigerian Qua Iboe crude and may buy four cargoes of various grades, traders said.
* Taiwanese oil company CPC has a buying tender for light, sweet crude that is due to close on Wednesday, traders said. CPC was likely to take Angolan crude, possibly Nemba and Cabinda, they said.
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here (Reporting by Christopher Johnson; Editing by Alison Birrane)