- Refineries May Become Scrap Once Dangote’s Begins Production
The four refineries belonging to the Federal Government may end up as scrap once the Dangote Group begins processing crude oil at its refinery in Lagos by 2019, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
According to him, if the country fails to take urgent steps to revamp the refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, the facilities may be worthless in three years’ time after the Dangote refinery must have come on stream.
Kachikwu, who spoke at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft National Gas Policy and National Oil Policy in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that Nigeria had no other option than to ensure that its refineries work in the shortest possible time.
The minister said, “Refineries will have to work. It is really not an option anymore. And not only should they work, they have to work very quickly. The reality is that if we do not privatise and we do not concede them, which is not what we are doing now, then we have a responsibility to find private capital to get them to where they should be.
“This is because if we do not get them to work, in 2019, I can assure you that if the Dangote system works well, we will have scrap, we won’t have refineries, because by then it will be too late to do anything.”
Kachikwu urged stakeholders to work together in bringing down the cost of production in the industry to a reasonable and manageable level, noting that crude oil was still being produced at $27 per barrel in Nigeria.
This production cost, according to him, is high as no decent country will produce at that amount at a period when the oil price is unpredictable.
“We are going to try to get those figures below $18 per barrel,” he said.
On the total deregulation of the downstream oil sector, Kachikwu said, “At every given time in the history of every country, you will always have partial deregulation. The reason being that you have to catch up each time and make an amendment, and even if it is just one day, you may have some level of subsidy for that one or two days before it is removed.
“What is important is the goal post, where are we headed? Where we are headed is to try and free the industry so that it can do its own rules and set its own prices. There are few mechanics that we still need to get in place properly. We can’t forget the fact that we still have foreign exchange challenges and that income to the government is still very tight.
“You still have to find a way to balance that. But what is important is what the objective is. And the objective is still to fully deregulate.”
The minister stated that more policies and activities had to be fine-tuned in the petroleum industry to make it run smoothly like in other countries where the sector was being successfully run, adding that Nigeria would exit Joint Venture cash calls before December this year.
He said, “We have dealt with subsidy removal. We began the process of exiting Joint Venture Cash Call. Hopefully, before December, we will get to a point where Joint Venture cash call would be a thing of the past.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges
Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.
The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.
The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.
“We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.
Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.
Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.
In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.
Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting
Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension
Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.
“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.
Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.
“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.
Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.
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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