- Oil Price Flat in Subdued Trade at $52
Oil prices were flat, yesterday but remained on an unstable footing as increase in United States, U.S. drilling activity undercut an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC-led push to tighten supply.
Recall that the price of crude had last week, closed at $49.48 per barrel, a sharp drop owing to OPEC and some non-OPEC’s producers decision to further extend production cuts to about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until March 2018.
Trading was subdued due to public holidays in China, U.S and Britain, but the market remains unsettled following uncertainty over whether the impact of OPEC’s latest action to curb oversupply would be enough to support prices.
Brent crude futures were trading five cents higher at $52.20 per barrel. The contract ended the previous week down nearly three percent. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were four cents higher at $49.84 per barrel. However, Commerzbank analyst, Carsten Fritsch, sees yesterday’s price moves as little more than “intraday noise” , adding that hints of deeper cuts or a longer extension from OPEC left the market deflated after the final decision. “They increased expectations to such an extent that nine months was a disappointment.”
He noted that, high compliance with the cuts so far was unlikely to last, adding to worries about whether the pledge would dent physical oil stockpiles that remain near record levels, saying, “The pain for OPEC will increase to such a point that 100 percent compliance is unrealistic.”
Meanwhile, despite ongoing cuts, oil prices have not risen much beyond $50 per barrel.
OPEC’s success in drawing down inventories may hinge on output in the U.S, which is not participating in the cuts. U.S. production has soared 10 percent since mid-2016 to more than 9.3 million bpd, close to levels in major producers Russia and Saudi Arabia. U.S. drillers have added rigs for 19 straight weeks, bringing the total 722, the highest number since April 2015 and the longest run of additions on record, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc. Almost all of the recent U.S. output increases have been onshore, from so-called shale oil fields. Even if the rig count did not rise further, Goldman Sachs said it estimated U.S. output would increase by 785,000 bpd between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2017 across the Permian, Eagle Ford, Bakken and Niobrara shale plays.
France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership
France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.
Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.
A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.
“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”
It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.
It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.
It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.
It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”
COVID-19: USAID to Provide $3m Grant, Technical Assistance to Combat Food Insecurity in Nigeria
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to combat food insecurity in Nigeria compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement by the agency on Monday said: “On April 12, 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”
The statement lamented that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country.
It stated that the pandemic has disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.
The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said: “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity.
“This assistance encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.”
The statement revealed that in launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.
According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.
Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.
FG Plans to Deliver Solar Energy to 25M Nigerians
The Nigerian federal government has commenced its plan to deliver electricity through solar energy to Nigerians whose communities are off the national power grid.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke during an event to mark the programme in Jangefe, Roni Local Government Area of Jigawa State, restated the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to give more Nigerians access to cheap and environmentally friendly renewable power.
Osinbajo said the Solar Power Naija programme would continue across the six geopolitical zones in six states, namely, Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau, in the first phase, and then move to the entire 36 states and the nation’s capital, thus, covering 25 million Nigerians at completion.
Jangefe community got 1,000 solar home system connections for its about 5,000 population, as part of a 100,000 scheme, with a local solar power company implementing aspects of the scheme.
According to Osinbajo, the president had emphasised that Nigeria could no longer rely solely on the grid if government is to electrify the whole country, which meant that an effective strategy had to be developed for decentralising power supply.
The Solar Power Naija programme, which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), is an ambitious initiative that aims to create five million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for five million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.
The vice president disclosed that the programme was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks. He emphasised that structures had been put in place to make the cost of the connections affordable for the target communities.
In addition to the concessionary lending rates, Osinbajo explained that the government had provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the REA and World Bank Nigeria electrification programme.
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