Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a unit of ExxonMobil, will resume shipment of Qua Iboe crude, Nigeria’s largest grade of crude oil in October, three months after the company had declared force majeure on the exports of the grade.
This is coming as oil prices slumped three per cent Tuesday following another gloomy prediction by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on demand growth that suggested that oversupply in the oil market might persist for longer than anticipated.
ExxonMobil had declared the force majeure after it observed a leak caused by what it described as a “system anomaly” during a routine check of its loading facility on July 14, this year.
The cause of the leak was not clear, but the force majeure came just days after a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), claimed to have bombed the company’s 48-inch Qua Iboe crude oil export pipeline on July 11.
But 24 hours after the claim by the militants, the company’s spokesperson, Todd Spitler, debunked the claim, saying “there was no attack on our facilities.”
However, citing industry sources, Reuters reported that the company is offering an October-loading cargo of Qua Iboe crude oil, the first offer since the company declared the force majeure.
It was not clear if the pipeline had been repaired, or if the company expected it to be back on stream in time to load crude in October.
But the cargo is offered for October 8-16 loading at a premium of $1.80 per barrel to dated Brent.
A spokesman for Exxon said the force majeure remained in effect but did not give a timeframe on the resumption of operations.
While ExxonMobil said at the time it declared force majeure that the export terminal was operating, traders said the company did not release a revised loading schedule for the crude exports.
The last ship to load crude at the Qua Iboe terminal was the Ottoman Nobility on July 9.
One of the three other ships scheduled to load the crude had been near the terminal since July 12.
A vessel loads one million barrel of the grade every three to four days, and exports of 250,000 barrels per day aboard eight vessels were scheduled for July.
Before it declared a ceasefire recently, the Avengers had warned that if the company moved forward with repairs “something big…will happen,” and threatened to attack the company’s workers, instead of blowing up its facilities.
Shell-operated Forcados crude oil exports were halted since the Avengers attacked its subsea pipeline in February.
In a related development, oil prices fell tuesday on concerns over increased drilling in the United States and as investors took profits after oil prices rose close to one per cent in the previous session.
While the Brent crude was down $1, or 2 per cent, at $47.32 a barrel, the US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.25, or 2.7 per cent, to $45.04.
The IEA, energy adviser to over 26 industrialised countries, said a sharp slowdown in global oil demand growth, coupled with ballooning inventories and rising supply, means the crude market would be oversupplied at least through the first six months of 2017.
IEA’s gloomy forecast came a day after OPEC also predicted oversupply in the oil market in 2017.
IEA’s prediction contrasts with the agency’s last forecast a month ago for supply and demand to be broadly in balance over the rest of this year and for inventories to fall swiftly.
The IEA’s latest comments follow a surprisingly OPEC’s bearish outlook published in the cartel’s monthly Oil Market Report (OMR) on Monday.
Oil traders were quoted as saying that the price falls were an indication that increasing oil drilling activity in the United States was still a concern.
Black Friday Lull
We’re seeing subdued trading at the end of the week, with the absence of the US leaving markets lacking any notable direction.
By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA
This isn’t really unusual and at the end of the week too, it really makes sense. Barring a flurry of big headlines from elsewhere, we could now see equity markets just drift into the weekend with investors already having an eye on next week.
Perhaps today people are trading in their charts for some Black Friday deals, the outcome of which will certainly be on everyone’s radar. Going into the holiday season, we’ll get an early idea of the state of play for household spending in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
Of course, it will naturally be difficult to distinguish how much of that bargain hunting will prove to be holiday season shopping brought forward in an attempt to get the “best deals”. But if Black Friday shopping takes a hit this year, it won’t bode well for the rest of the holiday period which is so important to retailers.
PBOC cuts the RRR
The PBOC cut the RRR by 25 basis points this morning in a bid to support the economy which is once more going through a difficult period. How effective that will prove to be when cities are seeing restrictions and effective lockdowns reimposed is hard to say. But combined with other measures to boost the property market and ease Covid curbs, the cut could be supportive over the medium term when growth remains highly uncertain.
Oil pares losses as price cap talks continue
Oil prices are higher on Friday, continuing to pare losses after being hit heavily in recent weeks by surging Covid cases in China and discussions around the price cap on Russian crude.
Lockdowns in all but name appear to be popping up in major Chinese cities in an attempt to get a grip on record cases which will weigh heavily on economic activity once more and in turn demand. It’s now a question of how long they last but clearly investors’ enthusiasm toward the relaxation of Covid restrictions was a bit premature.
Talks will continue on a price cap but it seems it won’t be as strict as first thought, to the point that it may be borderline pointless. That’s hit oil prices again this week as the threat to Russian output from a $70 cap, for example, is minimal given it’s selling around those levels already.
Gold establishing a range ahead of key data releases
Gold is marginally lower today but has been quite choppy throughout the session, and broadly lacked any real direction. We could be seeing a little profit-taking as the dollar edges higher following the relief rally that followed the Fed minutes.
The yellow metal is trading roughly in the middle of what may be a newly established range between $1,730 and $1,780, potentially now awaiting the next catalyst ahead of the December Fed meeting. With another jobs and inflation report still to come, a lot could change between now and when the FOMC next meets.
Bitcoin still extremely vulnerable
Bitcoin is edging lower again today after recording three days of gains. That dragged it off the lows but didn’t really carry it that far from them. It’s trying to stabilize around the $15,500-$17,000 region and weather the storm but I’m not sure it will be that easy. There’s likely more to come from the FTX collapse and the contagion effects, not to mention potentially other scandals that could be uncovered. This may continue to make crypto traders very nervous and leave the foundations supporting price extremely shaky.
Lack of Inflows, Revenue Shortage Plunge Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account By 89%
The ECB balance declined from $4.1 billion recorded in November 2014 to $472,513
Weak foreign revenue inflow amid fluctuations in the global oil market has plunged Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) by 89% in the last eight years.
The Excess Crude Account (ECA) is an account used to save excess crude oil revenue by the Nigerian government.
The ECB balance declined from $4.1 billion recorded in November 2014 to $472,513 in the same period of 2022, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
Economists attributed the substantial decline to the nation’s persistent depreciation in foreign revenue inflows and the struggle with crude oil production amid global uncertainty.
According to Jonathan Aremu, professor of economics at Covenant University in Ogun State, the decline was a result of constant withdrawal without replenishment.
“For you to increase the ECA, the oil price must rise above the budgeted price. If it does not, nothing goes in. Also, if what you are spending is higher than what goes in, it depletes. This is the situation,” he noted.
On Thursday, crude oil prices declined following the Group of Seven (G7) nations’ proposed plan to cap Russian oil at $65-70 a barrel.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined to $85 a barrel while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 0.6% to $77.48 a barrel.
Despite the fact that the benchmark price for oil in the 2022 budget was $57, the price of oil today is still about $30 higher. In spite of higher oil prices, the ECA has been on a decline since early 2022, suggesting that the issue is internal.
“Nigeria’s crude production plunged below 1 million barrels per day (mbpd) for the first time since Buhari became President this year and has averaged about 1.2 mbpd most part of 2022. Therefore, it is impossible to take advantage of the Russian-Ukraine war inflated oil prices like we did during the Gulf war under former president Ibrahim Babangida,” Samed Olukoya, CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd stated.
The government needs to address internal issues, revamp refineries, reduce oil theft and diversify the economy to reduce overexposure to global oil fluctuations.
Crude Oil Opens at $85 as G7 Nations Move to Cap Russian Oil
The Group of Seven (G7) proposed to cap Russian crude oil at $65-$70 a barrel
Crude oil opened lower on Thursday, declining to a two-month low following the Group of Seven (G7) proposal to cap Russian crude oil at $65-$70 a barrel.
A greater-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline inventories and widening COVID-19 controls in China added to downward pressure.
Brent crude dipped 50 cents, or 0.6%, to $84.91 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 46 cents, or 0.6%, to $77.48 a barrel.
Both benchmarks plunged more than 3% on Wednesday on news the planned price cap on Russian oil could be above the current market level.
The G7 is looking at a cap on Russian seaborne oil at $65-$70 a barrel, according to a European official, though European Union governments have not yet agreed on a price.
A higher price cap could make it attractive for Russia to continue to sell its oil, reducing the risk of a supply shortage in global oil markets.
That range would also be higher than markets had expected, reducing the risk of global supply being disrupted, said Vivek Dhar, a commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank in a report.
“If the EU agree to an oil price cap of $65‑$70/bbl this week, we see downside risks to our oil price forecast of $95/bbl this quarter,” Dhar said.
Oil and gas exports are forecast to account for 42% of Russia’s revenues this year at 11.7 trillion roubles ($196 billion), according to the country’s finance ministry, up from 36% or 9.1 trillion roubles ($152 billion) in 2021.
The G7, including the United States, as well as the whole of the European Union and Australia, are planning to implement the price cap on sea-borne exports of Russian oil on Dec. 5.
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