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Forex Threatens Power Production



  • Forex Threatens Power Production

The imbalance in the foreign exchange (forex) market has hindered smooth operation by the nation’s power sector as dollar exchanged for about N470 at the parallel market.

Despite the implementation of the flexible exchange rate mechanism that allowed for sourcing of forex from multiple sources, operators in the sector are battling scarcity of dollars.

It was gathered that firms, on account of high exchange rates, are unable to repay the loans they took to buy the assets of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2013.

Also, it is difficult for the firms to get enough dollars to import meters, transformers, and other materials needed to meet their obligations to customers.

Industry sources said operators may be forced to further prune down the cost of operation if naira continues its free fall amid the recession in the economy, by downsizing the workforce and reducing output.

The Group Leader Generation, Sahara Power Group, Micheal Uzoigwe, said the lopsidedness in the exchange rate was affecting activities in the industry.

According to him, the high cost of foreign exchange has resulted in price increase of spare parts by 90 per cent. He added that the issue was having ripple effects on the sector and the economy, explaining that output in the value chain has reduced to an abysmal level due to high cost of obtaining dollar in Nigeria.

Uzoigwe said: “Getting enough dollars for transactions and achieving optimal capacity is a problem to electricity generation companies (GenCos). The reason is because the price of gas is denominated in dollar and that power generation companies are unable to get enough money to buy the product. He said firms were paying N165 per unit of gas two years and they are now paying between N460 to N470 for the same unit of gas in 2016, then there is a problem.

“Two things are likely to happen. First, the GenCos would not be able to get enough millions of cubit of gas for generation. Secondly, the firms would find it extremely difficult to break even in the industry.”

Uzoigwe said Sahara Power Group, bought Egbin power plant for $400million in 2013 when dollar exchanged for N165, adding that the Group now pays a lot to service the debt.

“We at (Sahara Group) bought Egbin Power Plant for $400million few years ago. The Group took loans from the banks to buy the plant. Now we are repaying the loan. Given the fact that the value of dollar has increased greatly, the Group is paying more money to service the debt. The additional money that is being paid on the debt would have been channelled to a more productive usage,” he added.

Also, the Chief Executive officer, MOMAS Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kola Balogun said operators across the value chain are struggling to survive in the face of bad economy.

He said the woes of the operators have been compounded by the rise in the value of dollar in recent times, adding that companies are not recording growth because Nigeria runs an import-dependent economy.

He said many operators in the sector rely on accessories imported from abroad for production, stressing that they spend a lot of money on production when cost of importation is factored in.

Balogun asked: “Are we to talk of gas that its price is denominated in dollar? Are we to talk of pre-paid meters, sub-station equipment and other tools that are imported? Are we to talk of money spent on seeking partners abroad by power firms?”

Balogun, whose firm manufactures meters said indigenous meter producers are having problems despite the fact that they are sourcing 60 per cent of their materials locally.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend




Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.


  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return



Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather




Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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