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FG Gets Task Force to Prosecute Electricity Thieves

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  • FG Gets Task Force to Prosecute Electricity Thieves

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has approved a special task force for the investigation and prosecution of electricity theft cases under the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.

The task force was inaugurated by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Umar, during a joint conference organised by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company and the DPPF’s office at the Federal Ministry of Justice on Tuesday.

Members of the task force were drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the DPPF’s office, and were charged to commence work immediately by arresting and prosecuting electricity thieves across the country.

Umar said the task force was a product of the collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Justice, AEDC, NPF and NSCDC, adding that the AGF had approved the team.

“I want to express my sincere appropriation to the AGF and minister of justice for giving the approval to set up this all important task force to deal with the menace of electricity theft, which has silently contributed immensely to the economic challenges that the Nigerian power sector has faced over time,” he said.

Umar told members of the team to “bear in mind that the overall objective of your mandate is to prevent electricity theft cases and recover lost revenue. As part of your mandate, you are to carry out intensive campaigns to create public awareness on the adverse effect of electricity theft on the Nigerian economy.”

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AEDC, Mr. Ernest Mupwaya, said the losses caused by electricity theft related offences had resulted in distortions of significant magnitude, such that power distribution companies were not able to properly account for the energy allocated to them.

“This speaks to the insufficient payments being received by (power) generators, Transmission Company of Nigeria, gas suppliers and other members of the electricity value chain. If this is not comprehensively addressed, it will continually pose significant threats to the transformation of the electricity industry in Nigeria,” he added.

…prepares road map for economic recovery plan

The Federal Government has commenced the preparation of the implementation strategies for the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening session of a stakeholders’ engagement on the ERGP implementation road map.

The event was attended by renowned economists, representatives of international financial institutions as well as the country’s development partners.

The ERGP, which was launched last month by President Muhammadu Buhari, has three broad objectives with five key execution priorities.

The objectives are restoring the economy to a positive and sustained path, investing in the Nigerian people to improve their living standards, and building an economy that is globally competitive.

Udoma said while the plan had been well crafted in line with the economic priorities of the government, there was no way the country could enjoy its full benefit unless it was effectively and faithfully implemented.

The minister admitted that in the past, the implementation of government programmes had not been too encouraging owing to lack of effective implementation strategies.

He added that the current administration was determined to reverse this trend.

Explaining how the plan would be implemented, Udoma said the first step was for the government to focus on its priorities, adding that this would be followed by the establishment of clear accountability and development of detailed action plans.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, 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

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Oil

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.

PRICES

  • 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

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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

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oil

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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