India and the United States have slashed their imports of Nigerian crude oil by 43 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, translating to a loss of at least N88bn in earnings, the latest report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has shown.
India, which became the single largest buyer of Nigerian crude in 2013 after the US, reduced its imports from Nigeria in May this year as it bought 7.74 million barrels, down from 13.51 million barrels in April; 12.51 million barrels in March and 12.70 million barrels in February.
The Asian country had in January imported 16.29 million barrels of Nigerian crude, its highest monthly level this year, the NNPC data showed.
The US, whose imports of Nigerian crude rose by 577.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2015, reduced its import by 5.77 million barrels in May from 10.13 million barrels in the previous month.
In February, the US bought as much as 12.12 million barrels from Nigeria, making it the second largest buyer of the country’s crude after India.
Using a conservative price of $40 per barrel and N197/$ official exchange rate in May, the decrease of 11.14 million barrels in the two countries’ imports of Nigerian crude amounts to N87.9bn.
Global benchmark, Brent crude, had on May 26 hit $50 for the first time in 2016.
The Editorial Director, European and African Oil, Platts, Joel Hanley, in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of the Platts’ Lagos Oil Forum, said India “can go anywhere else to buy if the price is right.”
He, however, said, “Nigeria has priced itself to a level where it has regular buyers in India; obviously, there is investment from India that helps that flow. I will say that it is a buyer’s market. India, China and every other buyer have their pick of the grades these days, and that is why differentials are so low. They can pick and choose whatever they want.
“I think right now in this kind of environment, it is about securing a good relationship and a good, reliable trade flow. Trust is so important. And I think if India and Nigeria can focus on that relationship, there shouldn’t be too much threat to that.
“However, if someone comes in at a cheaper price, then I don’t know how long the Indians will stick around because, they, like everyone else, have money to make.”
Three of Nigerian oil grades, Forcados, Qua Iboe and Brass River – have in the past three months been under force majeure – a legal clause that allows companies to cancel or delay deliveries due to unforeseen circumstances.
A number of India-owned refiners have been actively picking up Malaysian oil cargoes for loading in July and August amid growing uncertainty over the exports of Nigeria’s crude grades, according to regional sweet crude traders.
Following the spate of production disruptions largely caused by the recent surge in militant attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta that cut the nation’s output to the lowest in almost three decades, exports of the commodity from the country have continued to take a serious beating.
Nigeria relies heavily on earning from oil exports, and the recent production disruptions came as an additional headache for an economy that already suffers from the sharp drop in oil prices since 2014.
Weak demand for Nigerian crude oil has caused the number of ships without cargoes to rise to levels not seen in recent times.
As a result, the cost of sending crude oil cargoes from West Africa to Northwest Europe on Suezmaxes has dropped to the lowest level in over 14 years, Platts data has shown.
The continued force majeure on the three grades has substantially reduced the demand for Suezmaxes in the region in recent months, and caused WAF tonnage list to swell to levels rarely seen by veteran market participants.
Suezmaxes are medium to large-sized ships with a deadweight tonnage between 120,000 and 200,000. They are the largest marine vessels that meet the restrictions of the Suez Canal, and are capable of transiting the canal in a laden condition.
According to one shipbroker’s position list, there were 32 ships available prior to the start of the current fixing window, versus a three-month average of 14.8 ships. There were also 29 ships free of cargo, which could make WAF fixing window.
The number of ships means that each cargo that is shown to multiple owners attracts multiple offers and allows charterers to drive freight rates downwards.
SEC To Ban Unregistered CMOs From Operating By Month End
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will stop operations of Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are yet to renew their registration on May 31, 2021.
This was contained in a circular signed by the management of SEC in Abuja on Monday.
On March 23, SEC had informed the general public and CMOs on the reintroduction of the periodic renewal of registration by operators.
The commission noted that the reintroduction of the registration renewal was due to the need to have a reliable data bank of all the CMOs registered and active in the country’s capital market.
“To provide updated information on operators in the Nigerian Capital Market for reference and other official purposes by local and foreign investors, other regulatory agencies and the general public, to increasingly reduce incidences of unethical practices by CMOs such as may affect investors’ confidence and impact negatively on the Nigerian Capital Market and to strengthen supervision and monitoring of CMOs by the Commission,” SEC explained.
According to the circular, the commission said CMOs yet to renew their registration at the expiration of late filing on May 31, would not be eligible to operate in the capital market.
It explained that CMOs were required to have completed the renewal process on or before April 30, however, the commission said late filing for renewal of registration would only be entertained from May 1 to May 31.
SEC also said that asides from barring the CMOs who failed to comply accordingly, their names would be published on its website and national dailies.
It added that names of eligible CMOs would be communicated to the relevant securities exchanges and trade associations.
A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B
Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.
India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.
This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.
As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.
The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.
India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.
Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.
An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.
India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.
This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.
India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.
A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.
According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.
Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects
The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.
Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.
The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.
Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa Greenco, Dr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEG, Orli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global Partners, Beatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.
Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”
Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”
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