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Oil Marketers Want Preferential FX Rate

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Oil
  • Oil Marketers Want Preferential FX Rate

Despite the preferential foreign exchange rate given to oil marketing firms by the international oil companies (IOCs), aimed at sustaining the importation of petrol into the country, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has decried the non-allocation of the same preferential FX rate for the importation of aviation fuel.

MOMAN has equally condemned the multiple levies, taxes, fees and charges on imported products by agencies of the same or different tiers of government, and urged the federal government to summon the courage to halt the annual fuel crisis during the yuletide season by empowering marketers and importers with the required FX to stockpile products ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities.

In a communiqué issued yesterday by the committee of chief executives of Forte Oil Plc, Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, Total Nigeria Plc, Oando Plc, Conoil Plc and MRS, the marketers stated that the cost of petrol at the international market had soared to $548 per tonne and called on the federal government to ensure that the dollar/naira parity should stay at a level that would sustain the sale of petrol at the open market price band of N135-N145 per litre.

Owing to the scarcity of FX, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, a few months ago, negotiated a deal with the IOCs that prioritised oil marketers and allows the oil multinationals to sell FX directly to their downstream counterparts at a preferential rate in order to maintain the peg on the price of petrol at N145 per litre.

In the communiqué, the major oil marketing companies yesterday acknowledged what they described as the serenity in the supply of petrol in the country and extended their appreciation to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC and all other stakeholders.

“We note that there are some few glitches here and there and we call on the regulatory agencies to face these challenges with a view to nipping all nefarious activities associated with supply and distribution in the bud.

“Unknown to the general public, the private sector has depended on foreign exchange supplied into the system by the IOCs (international oil companies) through the intervention of the Hon. Minister of State Petroleum Resources.

“In order for the private sector to continue to play its role in the importation of PMS (petrol), the dollar/naira parity should stay at a level that will ensure that the open market price band of N135-N145 is maintained. This is especially so because the CIF price of petrol is rising in the international market. Today it is approximately $548 per tonne,” the CEOs explained.

They applauded the effort of the petroleum minister, but drew the attention of government to the product situation during the winter months, which coincide with reduced output of petrol in refineries abroad and increased activities of motorists in Nigeria as a result of the dry season and festive period.

In this regard, the oil marketers urged the government to summon the required courage to halt the annual ritual of product outages during the yuletide season.

According to MOMAN, the federal government should empower marketers and importers with the required FX to stock pile products in the country well ahead of the Christmas and New Year festivities.

The association also blamed the intermittent tightness in the supply of aviation fuel to the airlines, to the non-allocation of FX for the importation of jet fuel.

This situation has defeated the government’s intention of making Nigeria the aviation hub of the sub-region, they said.

On the issue of multiple taxes, the marketers noted that the government has the right to apply legitimate taxes, levies, fees and charges on goods and services.

The companies, however, condemned a situation where two agencies of the same state government apply the same law to charge different taxes or the states and federal governments are charging the same taxes on the same goods and services, and described the multiple taxes and levies as a disincentive to business.

The communiqué, which was signed by the Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, also urged all tiers of government to review their tax policies and apply a single tax regime for the same service provided.

The committee of CEOs also lamented the deplorable condition of roads and charged the government to quickly fix the roads which have become traps leading to the loss of lives and property.

“We wish to draw the attention of stakeholders and regulators to safety regulations especially in the gross tonnage of tankers and the ability of the road to absorb the weight of loaded tankers.

“We also wish to appeal to the government to reduce the import duty on these haulage trucks to enable transporters meet the new replenishment policy which forbids the engagement of old or used trucks.

“The safety implications of not replenishing an aging truck fleet cannot be over-emphasised,” said the oil firms.

The oil marketing firms also called on the relevant agencies of government to review, monitor and enforce set standards in line with international best practices in the standardisation of trucks, retail outlets and products specifications.

Egina to Add 200,000bpd by 2018

In a related development, NNPC yesterday projected that Nigeria’s crude oil production was expected to increase by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) by the first quarter of 2018.

This, according to the state-run oil firm, would be made possible with the commissioning of the Umbilical Flow-lines and Risers (UFR) for the Egina Deep Offshore Project.

Speaking during the load-out ceremony of the UFR for the Egina project by Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, also restated the commitment of the corporation to the development of local content in the oil and gas industry.

A statement by NNPC said Baru disclosed that the module would guarantee the drilling of the first oil from the 200,000bpd Egina field by the first quarter of 2018.

He commended Saipem for the successful completion of the Egina UFR project, including the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and pre-commissioning of 52 kilometres (km) of oil production and water injection flow-lines; 12 flexible jumpers; 2km of an oil export line; 20km of gas export pipelines alongside the installation; and commissioning of 80 kilometres of steel tube umbilical and mooring of the FPSO and offshore loading terminal. (OLT).

He said: “What is being celebrated is the efficacy of the Nigerian Content Act and the NNPC is strongly committed to the successful implementation of all provisions of the Act.”

Also speaking, the Managing Director of Total, Nicholar Terahz, said the Egina project was the largest contributor to the development of the Nigerian content in the oil industry, being the largest offshore project currently going on in the country.

He noted that the employment opportunities and technology transfer the project generated contributed significantly to the nation’s economy.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Saipem, Guido D’Aloisio, said the performance of Nigerian engineers on the project was commendable, adding that the country would be proud of it.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, who was represented by the board’s Director, Planning, Research & Statistics, Daziba Patrick Obah, said that the quality of jobs done on the project by Nigerians and the gains thereof would further deepen Nigerian content in the oil industry.

Discovered in 2003, the Egina field is located at some 20km from the Akpo field within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 and is situated in a water depth of 1,750m.

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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Gold

Gold Steadies After Initial Gains on Reports of Israel’s Strikes in Iran

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Gold, often viewed as a haven during times of geopolitical uncertainty, exhibited a characteristic surge in response to reports of Israel’s alleged strikes in Iran, only to stabilize later as tensions simmered.

The yellow metal’s initial rally came on the heels of escalating tensions in the Middle East, with concerns mounting over a potential wider conflict.

Spot gold soared as much as 1.6% in early trading as news circulated regarding Israel’s purported strikes on targets in Iran.

This surge, reaching a high of $2,400 a ton, reflected the nervousness pervading global markets amidst the saber-rattling between the two nations.

However, as the day progressed, media reports from both countries appeared to downplay the impact and severity of the alleged strikes, contributing to a moderation in gold’s gains.

Analysts noted that while the initial spike was fueled by fears of heightened conflict, subsequent assessments suggesting a less severe outcome helped calm investor nerves, leading to a stabilization in gold prices.

Traders had been bracing for a potential Israeli response following Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, raising concerns about a retaliatory spiral between the two adversaries.

Reports of an explosion in Iran’s central city of Isfahan further added to the atmosphere of uncertainty, prompting flight suspensions and exacerbating market jitters.

In addition to geopolitical tensions, gold’s rally in recent months has been underpinned by other factors, including expectations of US interest rate cuts, sustained central bank buying, and robust consumer demand, particularly in China.

Despite the initial surge followed by stabilization, gold remains sensitive to developments in the Middle East and broader geopolitical dynamics.

Investors continue to monitor the situation closely for any signs of escalation or de-escalation, recognizing gold’s role as a traditional safe haven in times of uncertainty.

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Commodities

Global Cocoa Prices Surge to Record Levels, Processing Remains Steady

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Cocoa futures in New York have reached a historic pinnacle with the most-active contract hitting an all-time high of $11,578 a metric ton in early trading on Friday.

This surge comes amidst a backdrop of challenges in the cocoa industry, including supply chain disruptions, adverse weather conditions, and rising production costs.

Despite these hurdles, the pace of processing in chocolate factories has remained constant, providing a glimmer of hope for chocolate lovers worldwide.

Data released after market close on Thursday revealed that cocoa processing, known as “grinds,” was up in North America during the first quarter, appreciating by 4% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, processing in Europe only saw a modest decline of about 2%, and Asia experienced a slight decrease.

These processing figures are particularly noteworthy given the current landscape of cocoa prices. Since the beginning of 2024, cocoa futures have more than doubled, reflecting the immense pressure on the cocoa market.

Yet, despite these soaring prices, chocolate manufacturers have managed to maintain their production levels, indicating resilience in the face of adversity.

The surge in cocoa prices can be attributed to a variety of factors, including supply shortages caused by adverse weather conditions in key cocoa-producing regions such as West Africa.

Also, rising demand for chocolate products, particularly premium and artisanal varieties, has contributed to the upward pressure on prices.

While the spike in cocoa prices presents challenges for chocolate manufacturers and consumers alike, industry experts remain cautiously optimistic about the resilience of the cocoa market.

Despite the record-breaking prices, the steady pace of cocoa processing suggests that chocolate lovers can still expect to indulge in their favorite treats, albeit at a higher cost.

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Crude Oil

Dangote Refinery Leverages Cheaper US Oil Imports to Boost Production

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Crude Oil

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is capitalizing on the availability of cheaper oil imports from the United States.

Recent reports indicate that the refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day has begun leveraging US-grade oil to power its operations in Nigeria.

According to insights from industry analysts, the refinery has commenced shipping various products, including jet fuel, gasoil, and naphtha, as it gradually ramps up its production capacity.

The utilization of US oil imports, particularly the WTI Midland grade, has provided Dangote Refinery with a cost-effective solution for its feedstock requirements.

Experts anticipate that the refinery’s gasoline-focused units, expected to come online in the summer months will further bolster its influence in the Atlantic Basin gasoline markets.

Alan Gelder, Vice President of Refining, Chemicals, and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie, noted that Dangote’s entry into the gasoline market is poised to reshape the West African gasoline supply dynamics.

Despite operating at approximately half its nameplate capacity, Dangote Refinery’s impact on regional fuel markets is already being felt. The refinery’s recent announcement of a reduction in diesel prices from N1,200/litre to N1,000/litre has generated excitement within Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.

This move is expected to positively affect various sectors of the economy and contribute to reducing the country’s high inflation rate.

Furthermore, the refinery’s utilization of US oil imports shows its commitment to exploring cost-effective solutions while striving to meet Nigeria’s domestic fuel demand. As the refinery continues to optimize its production processes, it is poised to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s energy landscape and contribute to the country’s quest for self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products.

Moreover, the Nigerian government’s recent directive to compel oil producers to prioritize domestic refineries for crude supply aligns with Dangote Refinery’s objectives of reducing reliance on imported refined products.

With the flexibility to purchase crude using either the local currency or the US dollar, the refinery is well-positioned to capitalize on these policy reforms and further enhance its operational efficiency.

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