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Kachikwu: Nigeria Will Need Extra 900,000b/d to Recover Oil Lost to Militancy

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The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said that Nigeria will have to increase oil output by an average of 900,000 barrels per day (b/d) in order to recover crude oil that has been shut in to a series of militant attacks on oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta in recent months.

Kachikwu, who spoke to CNN’s Richard Quest last night, however said he was not particularly optimistic about the possible talks on a production freeze by other oil producing countries to bolster prices, saying similar efforts a few months ago had failed.

Despite his lack of confidence, the price of crude oil rose yesterday following reports that Russia and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may resume dialogue on a production freeze.

The petroleum minister said the federal government was in continuing dialogue with militants and their representatives in the Niger Delta and expressed confidence that in the next one or two months, a resolution will be reached to end the attacks on oil assets.

“There’s a lot of dialogue, a lot of security meetings and we expect that in the next one or two months, we will arrive at a lasting resolution on the problem in the Niger Delta,” he said.

He added that Nigeria would need to produce on average 900,000b/d extra to recover oil and the attendant revenue lost to the militancy in recent months.

“We are producing some 1.5 million barrels per day and would need on average 900,000 barrels per day to catch up on what we have lost. If we can achieve peace, this will be feasible,” he said.

However, when he was reminded by Quest that an extra 900,000b/d would run contrary to possible talks next month on a production freeze in order to shore up oil prices, Kachikwu said he was not optimistic that a consensus could be reached on an output cap, as efforts in the past had failed.

“I’m not too optimistic about an output freeze, because we tried this in the past and it failed.

“Also, OPEC accounts for 30 per cent of total global output, so we will need to be aggressive in our engagements with producers that account for 70 per cent of output, so it is only if a consensus is reached, then me have some hope,” he explained.

On yesterday’s criticism by parents of the Chibok girls that the military and its resources were being diverted to secure oil facilities instead of recovering the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram two years ago, he said it was not true that the girls were less important than oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

“It is not true that oil facilities are more of a priority than the Chibok girls. As you know President Muhammadu Buhari from the outset of his administration built a coalition with neighbouring countries to defeat the terrorism in the North-east.

“He also had to set up a panel to probe the diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms to fight the insurgency. All these suggest that the insurgency in the North-east is a major priority of this government.

“I am a father and I can imagine what it means to have my children kept in captivity in a forest and the president feels the same way. So he has not given up the girls,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the price of crude oil rose yesterday following reports that Russia and OPEC may resume dialogue on a production cap.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the global oil benchmark Brent crude rose 0.9 per cent to $47.38 a barrel on London’s Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) futures exchange. It however traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures at $44.86 a barrel, up 0.8 per cent.

Both the WSJ and UK’s Telegraph reported that the price movements were triggered by comments made by Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak that market action was likely if discussions at an upcoming meeting in Algeria between OPEC and its other ally producers go well.

According to WSJ, prices have gained since Saudi’s al-Falih signalled last week that his country was open to measures to stabilise the market which has been struggling with oversupply for the past two years.

Saudi is the biggest producer among members of OPEC and historically seen as the de facto leader of the oil cartel. The OPEC meeting in Algeria is scheduled as an informal gathering in September.

The Telegraph also reported that the price movement was in reaction to the OPEC Algeria meeting where the focus is expected to return to a possible supply cap deal after similar talks in Doha failed earlier this year.

Novak confirmed Russia’s participation at the Algeria meeting to Saudi newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat. Novak stated that his country – the world’s third largest supplier of oil – was also involved in early discussions.

He said: “We are co-operating in the framework of consultations regarding the oil market with OPEC countries and producers from outside the organisation, and are determined to continue dialogue to achieve market stability.”

At the weekend, al-Falih told the Saudi Press Agency that “we are going to have a ministerial meeting of IEF in Algeria next month, and there is an opportunity for OPEC and major exporting non-OPEC ministers to meet and discuss the market situation, including any possible action that may be required to stabilise the market”.

He added: “We’ve said before that market rebalancing is already taking place but the process of clearing crude and product inventories will take time. We are on the right track and prices should reflect that.”

Oil price recovery from a 12-year low of $28 a barrel in January had floundered last month when global economic fears reignited concern that there was a glut in the market, causing prices to slump back to $41.66 a barrel.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Dangote Mega Refinery in Nigeria Seeks Millions of Barrels of US Crude Amid Output Challenges

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Dangote Refinery

The Dangote Mega Refinery, situated near Lagos, Nigeria, is embarking on an ambitious plan to procure millions of barrels of US crude over the next year.

The refinery, established by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual, has issued a term tender for the purchase of 2 million barrels a month of West Texas Intermediate Midland crude for a duration of 12 months, commencing in July.

This development revealed through a document obtained by Bloomberg, represents a shift in strategy for the refinery, which has opted for US oil imports due to constraints in the availability and reliability of Nigerian crude.

Elitsa Georgieva, Executive Director at Citac, an energy consultancy specializing in the African downstream sector, emphasized the allure of US crude for Dangote’s refinery.

Georgieva highlighted the challenges associated with sourcing Nigerian crude, including insufficient supply, unreliability, and sometimes unavailability.

In contrast, US WTI offers reliability, availability, and competitive pricing, making it an attractive option for Dangote.

Nigeria’s struggles to meet its OPEC+ quota and sustain its crude production capacity have been ongoing for at least a year.

Despite an estimated production capacity of 2.6 million barrels a day, the country only managed to pump about 1.45 million barrels a day of crude and liquids in April.

Factors contributing to this decline include crude theft, aging oil pipelines, low investment, and divestments by oil majors operating in Nigeria.

To address the challenge of local supply for the Dangote refinery, Nigeria’s upstream regulators have proposed new draft rules compelling oil producers to prioritize selling crude to domestic refineries.

This regulatory move aims to ensure sufficient local supply to support the operations of the 650,000 barrel-a-day Dangote refinery.

Operating at about half capacity presently, the Dangote refinery has capitalized on the opportunity to secure cheaper US oil imports to fulfill up to a third of its feedstock requirements.

Since the beginning of the year, the refinery has been receiving monthly shipments of about 2 million barrels of WTI Midland from the United States.

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Oil Prices Hold Steady as U.S. Demand Signals Strengthening

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Oil prices maintained a steady stance in the global market as signals of strengthening demand in the United States provided support amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, holds at $82.79 per barrel, a marginal increase of 4 cents or 0.05%.

Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude saw a slight uptick of 4 cents to $78.67 per barrel.

The stability in oil prices came in the wake of favorable data indicating a potential surge in demand from the U.S. market.

An analysis by MUFG analysts Ehsan Khoman and Soojin Kim pointed to a broader risk-on sentiment spurred by signs of receding inflationary pressures in the U.S., suggesting the possibility of a more accommodative monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.

This prospect could alleviate the strength of the dollar and render oil more affordable for holders of other currencies, consequently bolstering demand.

Despite a brief dip on Wednesday, when Brent crude touched an intra-day low of $81.05 per barrel, the commodity rebounded, indicating underlying market resilience.

This bounce-back was attributed to a notable decline in U.S. crude oil inventories, gasoline, and distillates.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a reduction of 2.5 million barrels in crude inventories to 457 million barrels for the week ending May 10, surpassing analysts’ consensus forecast of 543,000 barrels.

John Evans, an analyst at PVM, underscored the significance of increased refinery activity, which contributed to the decline in inventories and hinted at heightened demand.

This development sparked a turnaround in price dynamics, with earlier losses being nullified by a surge in buying activity that wiped out all declines.

Moreover, U.S. consumer price data for April revealed a less-than-expected increase, aligning with market expectations of a potential interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve in September.

The prospect of monetary easing further buoyed market sentiment, contributing to the stability of oil prices.

However, amidst these market dynamics, geopolitical tensions persisted in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Palestinian factions. Israeli military operations in Gaza remained ongoing, with ceasefire negotiations reaching a stalemate mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

The situation underscored the potential for geopolitical flare-ups to impact oil market sentiment.

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Shell’s Bonga Field Hits Record High Production of 138,000 Barrels per Day in 2023

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Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) has achieved a significant milestone as its Bonga field, Nigeria’s first deep-water development, hit a record high production of 138,000 barrels per day in 2023.

This represents a substantial increase when compared to 101,000 barrels per day produced in the previous year.

The improvement in production is attributed to various factors, including the drilling of new wells, reservoir optimization, enhanced facility management, and overall asset management strategies.

Elohor Aiboni, Managing Director of SNEPCo, expressed pride in Bonga’s performance, stating that the increased production underscores the commitment of the company’s staff and its continuous efforts to enhance production processes and maintenance.

Aiboni also acknowledged the support of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and SNEPCo’s co-venture partners, including TotalEnergies Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration, and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited.

The Bonga field, which commenced production in November 2005, operates through the Bonga Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, with a capacity of 225,000 barrels per day.

Located 120 kilometers offshore, the FPSO has been a key contributor to Nigeria’s oil production since its inception.

Last year, the Bonga FPSO reached a significant milestone by exporting its 1-billionth barrel of oil, further cementing its position as a vital asset in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

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