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Oil Price Jumps, Nears $50 per Barrel as US Inventory Drops

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Crude oil prices on Tuesday surged about four per cent after the United States inventory data showed a drop in stocks to nearly a two-decade low as crude imports into the US Gulf Coast slid last week due to Tropical Storm Hermine.

This is coming as the Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mr. Mohammed Barkindo, will today in Paris, France, meet the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia and Algeria as part of the renewed efforts to secure a global agreement to cut crude oil production to ensure the recovery of prices.

US crude stocks dropped 14.5 million barrels last week to 511.4 million barrels, the biggest weekly drop in stockpiles since January 1999, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Brent crude oil neared $50 a barrel for the first time in two weeks.

It rose $1.84 to $49.82 a barrel, a 3.8 per cent gain, while the West Texas Intermediate crude was up $1.83, or 4 per cent, to $47.33 per barrel.

Tropical Storm Hermine, which threatened the Gulf Coast refining region last week, scuttled some US oil production and limited imports and shipping.

Gulf Coast crude imports hit the lowest levels on record last week, data showed, even though the storm ultimately did not harm Gulf facilities.

In a related development, Reuters reported that Algeria would host today’s informal meeting with Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih and OPEC’s Barkindo.

A source at OPEC confirmed the meeting as part of a push for an output deal with producers battered by a glut-induced halving of oil prices over the past two years.

“There is a strong move towards a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to at least freeze production,” an OPEC source told Reuters.

“It seems we are going in this direction. But if we are going to freeze, we have to use secondary sources to gauge production levels. We can’t allow each country to use a different method,” the source said.

“Iran must agree to be in line with other producers and use secondary sources.”

Tehran has said that it supports any measures to stabilise the market. However, it has stopped short of indicating whether it would join a global deal before its production reaches 4 million barrels per day, the level it was pumping before the imposition of Western sanctions in 2012.

The sanctions ended in January this year.

Iran has been the main factor preventing an output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC Russia as Tehran has said it should be excluded from any such agreement before its production recovers.

The OPEC source said Iran’s production before sanctions had never exceeded 3.75 million bpd.

Iran has said it is producing slightly more than 3.8 million bpd. It signalled on Tuesday it was prepared to work with Saudi Arabia and Russia to prop up prices, although Tehran has begun to bargain with OPEC on possible exemptions from any output cap.

The OPEC source said major oil producers were trying to convince Tehran to come onboard, adding that there was an initial understanding that only Libya could be offered an exemption.

“Now there is a push to smooth things out and solve any problem,” the OPEC source said, adding there had been no agreement yet on any level at which to freeze production.

“This will be discussed in Algeria,” the source said.

Algeria is hosting meetings of the International Energy Forum and OPEC on September 26-28.

OPEC and Russia are expected to revive talks for a global deal on production in Algeria.

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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Crude Oil

NNPCL CEO Optimistic as Nigeria’s Oil Production Edges Closer to 1.7mbpd

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Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), has expressed optimism as the nation’s oil production approaches 1.7 million barrels per day (mbpd).

Kyari’s positive outlook comes amidst ongoing efforts to address security challenges and enhance infrastructure crucial for oil production and distribution.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement between the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) and NNPCL in Lagos, Kyari highlighted the significance of combating insecurity in the oil and gas sector to facilitate increased production.

Kyari said there is a need for substantial improvements in infrastructure to support oil production.

He noted that Nigeria’s crude oil production has been hampered by pipeline vandalism, prompting alternative transportation methods like barging and trucking of petroleum products, which incur additional costs and logistical challenges.

Despite these challenges, Kyari revealed that Nigeria’s oil production is steadily rising, presently approaching 1.7mbpd.

He attributed this progress to ongoing efforts to combat pipeline vandalism and enhance infrastructure resilience.

Kyari stressed the importance of taking control of critical infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted oil production and distribution.

One of the key projects highlighted by Kyari is the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline, which plays a crucial role in enhancing gas supply infrastructure.

He noted that completing the final phase of the AKK pipeline, particularly the 2.7 km river crossing, would facilitate the flow of gas from the eastern to the western regions of Nigeria, supporting industrial growth and energy security.

Addressing industry stakeholders, including NAPE representatives, Kyari reiterated the importance of collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

He emphasized the need for technical training, data availability, and policy incentives to drive innovation and growth in the industry.

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Nigeria to Achieve Fuel Independence Next Month, Says Dangote Refinery

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Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the Dangote Group and Africa’s wealthiest individual has announced that Nigeria is poised to attain fuel independence by next month.

Dangote made this assertion during his participation as a panelist at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit held in Kigali.

The announcement comes as a result of the Dangote Refinery’s ambitious plan, which aims to eliminate the need for Nigeria to import premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, within the next four to five weeks.

According to Dangote, the refinery already operational in supplying diesel and aviation fuel within Nigeria, possesses the capacity to fulfill the diesel and petrol requirements of West Africa and cater to the aviation fuel demands of the entire African continent.

Dangote expressed unwavering confidence in the refinery’s capabilities, stating, “Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre.”

He said the refinery is committed to ensuring self-sufficiency in the continent’s energy needs, highlighting its capacity to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for fuel imports.

The Dangote Refinery’s accomplishment marks a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s quest for energy independence. With the refinery’s robust infrastructure and advanced technology, Nigeria is poised to become a net exporter of refined petroleum products, bolstering its economic stability and reducing its reliance on foreign imports.

Dangote’s remarks underscored the transformative potential of the refinery, not only for Nigeria but for the entire African continent.

He emphasized the refinery’s role in fostering regional energy security, asserting, “We have enough gasoline to give to at least the entire West Africa, diesel to give to West Africa and Central Africa. We have enough aviation fuel to give to the entire continent and also export some to Brazil and Mexico.”

Dangote further outlined the refinery’s broader vision for Africa’s economic advancement and detailed plans to expand its production capacity and diversify its product range.

He highlighted initiatives aimed at promoting self-sufficiency across various sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing, with the ultimate goal of reducing Africa’s dependence on imports and creating sustainable economic growth.

Dangote’s vision for a self-reliant Africa resonates with his long-standing commitment to investing in the continent’s development.

He concluded his remarks by reiterating the refinery’s mission to transform Africa’s energy landscape and drive socio-economic progress across the region.

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Oil Prices Surge Amidst Political Turmoil: Brent Tops $84

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The global oil market witnessed a significant surge in prices as political upheaval rocked two of the world’s largest crude producers, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose above $84 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil climbed over the $80 threshold.

The sudden spike in oil prices followed a tragic incident in Iran, where President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash.

Simultaneously, apprehensions over the health of Saudi Arabia’s king added to the geopolitical tensions gripping the oil market.

Saudi Arabia stands as the leading producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), while Iran ranks as the third-largest.

Despite these significant developments, there are no immediate indications of disruptions to oil supply from either nation.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reassured that the country’s affairs would continue without interruption in the aftermath of the tragic event.

However, the geopolitical landscape remains fraught with additional concerns, amplifying market volatility.

In Ukraine, drone attacks persist on Russian refining facilities, exacerbating tensions between the two nations.

Moreover, a China-bound oil tanker fell victim to a Houthi missile strike in the Red Sea, further fueling anxiety over supply disruptions.

Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy for ING Groep NV in Singapore, remarked on the market’s reaction to geopolitical events, noting a certain desensitization due to ample spare production capacity within OPEC.

He emphasized the need for clarity from OPEC+ regarding output policies to potentially break the current price range.

While global benchmark Brent has experienced a 9% increase year-to-date, largely driven by OPEC+ supply cuts, prices had cooled off since mid-April amidst easing geopolitical tensions.

Attention now turns to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting scheduled for June 1, with market observers anticipating a continuation of existing production curbs.

Despite the surge in oil prices, there’s a growing sense of bearishness among hedge funds, evidenced by the reduction of net long positions on Brent for a second consecutive week.

This sentiment extends to bets on rising gasoline prices ahead of the US summer driving season, indicating a cautious outlook among investors.

As the oil market grapples with geopolitical uncertainties and supply dynamics, stakeholders await further developments and policy decisions from key players to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

The coming weeks are poised to be critical in determining the trajectory of oil prices amidst a backdrop of geopolitical turmoil and market volatility.

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