- Sterling declines to intraday low on policy maker’s comments
- Manfred Weber says U.K. has ‘no idea’ about ramifications
European Union policy makers intensified their criticism of Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the bloc, saying that the U.K. appeared clueless about the implications of Brexit.
The pound sank to an intraday low after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said it’s not clear that the U.K. knows what it wants and European lawmaker Manfred Weber demanded May’s government produce “clear proposals” as it prepares to trigger Brexit negotiations by the end of March. Weber made the comments after meeting U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis on Tuesday.
“In my meeting with David Davis I unfortunately received no new insight into how the British government pictures Brexit,” Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who leads the EU parliament’s Christian Democrats, told reporters in Strasbourg, France. “There is no idea what Brexit really means.”
The comments highlight frustration in continental Europe with May’s efforts to follow through on the results of a June referendum in which 52 percent of British voters opted for the unprecedented step of quitting the EU. The vote was called by May’s predecessor, David Cameron, who had campaigned for Britain to remain in the bloc that the country joined 43 years ago.
Weber’s comments sent sterling down by as much as 0.6 percent to $1.2423. The pound is up from a low this year of $1.2123 reached on Oct. 11.
Davis signaled at the Strasbourg meeting that the U.K. wants to retain access to the European single market, according to Weber, who repeated the stance of the rest of the 28-nation bloc that such a privilege requires accepting the EU’s tenet on the free movement of people.
“The economic dimension is clear for Great Britain,” Weber said. “They have a strong interest to keep a kind of a relationship to the single market.”
“The government’s position hasn’t changed on this,” May’s spokesman, Greg Swift, told reporters in London following Weber’s briefing. “We are very clear that what we want is a trading relationship that allows U.K. companies to trade with and within the single market and lets European businesses do the same.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative on Brexit matters who also met with Davis, reiterated the necessary link between access to the single market and the free movement of people while also saying that there was common ground on the timing of the U.K.’s departure.
“We agreed on the need that this process needs to start as early as possible and needs to finish, in any case, before the next European elections” in mid-2019, Verhofstadt told reporters. He also cautioned that the window for negotiations could be as short as 14 or 15 months, which will make the talks “very intense.”
In Slovakia, Fico, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, repeated that member states won’t make concessions on the four freedoms ensuring the free movement of labor, goods, services and capital inside the trading bloc.
“I’m not sure whether the U.K. knows what it wants,” Fico said during a conference in the capital Bratislava Tuesday. “The split will be painful, but should it be we who suffer? The biggest loss for the EU would be if the U.K. comes out from the negotiations a winner.”
South Africa’s iGas, PetroSA and Strategic Fuel Fund Merge to Create South African National Petroleum Company
The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has announced the merger of Central Energy Fund (CEF) subsidiaries iGas, PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF).
The merger will be effective from 1 April 2021 and the new company will be called the South African National Petroleum Company.
The merger, driven by the pursuit of implementing a new company that has a streamlined operating model via the development of a shared services system and a common information platform, comes a few months after cabinet approval and the confirmation that PetroSA had incurred losses of R20 billion since 2014.
Additional factors which prompted the move included the determination to strengthen PetroSA which had not had a permanent CEO in five years prior to the appointment of CEO Ishmael Poolo last and, had become majorly ungainful since its failure to secure gas for the gas-to-liquids refinery project in Mossel Bay.
While the merger deadline has been set, the portfolio committee expressed reservations to the department’s likelihood of meeting the deadline, considering the existing legislative regime, pending issues raised in the SFF and PetroSA forensic reports, as well as PetroSA’s current insolvency and liquidity challenges, the official press statement on the briefing revealed.
“South Africa’s energy sector is entering a new dawn,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “With gas discoveries off the coast and the announcement of the REIPPP programme bid window 5 and 6 on the horizon, now is the most opportune time for the merger of the CEF subsidiaries. Of course, it is not an easy task and delays may be anticipated but, this move signals a real change towards a meaningful strategy that will not only be beneficial to the DMRE but to potential investors and local development as well.”
The African Energy Chamber welcomes this move and acknowledges that this is yet another step supporting the country’s determination to restarting the engines of sustainable growth and the transformation of energy policy and infrastructure.
Crude Oil Hits $71.34 After Saudi Largest Oil Facilities Were Attacked
Brent Crude Oil Rises to $71.34 Following Missile Attack on Saudi Largest Oil Facilities
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, jumped to $71.34 a barrel on Monday during the Asian trading session following a report that Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities were attacked by missiles and drones fired on Sunday by Houthi military in Yemen.
On Monday, the Saudi energy ministry said one of the world’s largest offshore oil loading facilities at Ras Tanura was attacked and a ballistic missile targeted Saudi Aramco facilities.
“One of the petroleum tank areas at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea,” the ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
It also stated that shrapnel from a ballistic missile dropped near Aramco’s residential compound in Eastern Dhahran.
“Such acts of sabotage do not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also the security and stability of energy supplies to the world, and therefore, the global economy,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement on state media.
Oil price surged because the market interpreted the occurrence as supply sabotage given Saudi is the largest OPEC producer. A decline in supply is positive for the oil industry.
However, Brent crude oil pulled back to $69.49 per barrel at 12:34 pm Nigerian time because of the $1.9 trillion stimulus packed passed in the U.S.
Market experts are projecting that the stimulus will boost the United States economy and support U.S crude oil producers in the near-term, this they expect to boost crude oil production from share and disrupt OPEC strategy.
A Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Two residents from the eastern city of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday said they heard a loud blast, but they are yet to know the cause, according to a Reuters report.
Saudi’s Eastern province is home to the kingdom’s largest crude oil production and export facilities of Saudi Aramco.
A blast in any of the facilities in that region could hurt global oil supplies and bolster oil prices above $70 per barrel in the first half of the year.
One of the residents said the explosion took place around 8:30 pm Saudi time while the other resident claimed the time was around 8:00 pm.
However, Saudi authorities are yet to confirm or respond to the story.
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