Crude oil cargoes leaving for the United States from Nigeria and other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries dropped in December to the lowest level in at least five years, data from Refinitiv Eikon and market intelligence firm, Kpler, showed.
Oil cargoes departing from OPEC nations to the US fell to 1.63 million barrels per day last month, down from 1.80 million bpd in November and 1.78 million bpd in October, according to the data.
Vessels last month carried about 534,000 bpd from Saudi Arabia to the US, down from 632,000 bpd in November. Algeria sent 10,000 bpd, down 94,000 bpd, and Nigeria shipped 103,000 bpd, down by 48,000 bpd, according to Kpler.
One major exception to the decline was Iraq, which sent 295,000 bpd to the US, up by 140,000 bpd from November. Shipments from Venezuela increased by 22,738 bpd.
Reuters quoted analysts as saying that Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in OPEC, and several others curbed supplies in the face of rising US production and inventories.
“Some of it was a decline in OPEC production. But they’re facing competition from US shale and Canadian production,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.
OPEC and allies including Russia agreed last month to cut crude production beginning this month by 1.2 million bpd, following a strategy to support prices when supplies overwhelm demand.
OPEC pumped 32.68 million bpd last month, according to a Reuters survey, down 460,000 bpd from November, suggesting some members moved to reduce supplies ahead of the recent accord.
“Historically, Saudi Arabia has utilised crude export flows to the United States as a method of signalling the Kingdom’s intentions, given the transparency of the US market,” said Reid I’Anson, an energy economist at Kpler.
Booming US shale production and growing stockpiles also crimped the nation’s appetite for imported crude. US commercial crude stocks rose to 441 million barrels in the week ended December 21, up from 394 million barrels in mid-September, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
“When inventories began rising, that started to help decrease the demand for imports,” said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “We could see even lower imports from OPEC.”
The US surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier in 2018 to become the largest crude oil producer in the world based on monthly data, according to the EIA.
US crude oil production was at record levels in 2018, with the EIA forecasting that 2018 annual crude oil production would reach 10.9 million bpd, surpassing the previous annual high of 9.6 million bpd set in 1970.
The country’s oil exports averaged 1.9 million bpd in 2018, about twice the amount that was exported in 2017. The growth in US exports of crude oil and petroleum products led to a one-week period in late November when the country was a net exporter for the first time in EIA’s data history.
Once Again The National Grid Collapsed
Nigeria’s electricity transmission system, also known as the National grid, has suffered another system collapse, plunging Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, Kano and other major cities into a blackout.
The collapse, which occurred about 11.00 am on Tuesday, was confirmed by two of the country’s electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers.
“We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced across our franchise – Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states – is as a result of the collapse of the national grid,” Kaduna Electric said on Twitter.
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, in a text message to its customers, said: “Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the national grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”
The grid, which is being managed by the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
FG Consider Diversification To Generate Revenue
As revenue from oil nosedives following incessant global price fluctuations, the Federal Government is now channeling efforts to the development of minerals in the mines and steel industry to shore up foreign exchange earnings.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said on Wednesday that while there had been concerted efforts to develop various minerals in the sector, much emphasis had been placed recently on the development of bitumen, barite and gold.
They told our correspondent in Abuja that the government through the mines and steel ministry was striving to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
They also confirmed that large quantities of gold had been discovered in various locations in Zamfara and Osun states.
Asked if the government had initiated programmes to explore the minerals and boost revenues now that the country’s income had plunged, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi, replied in the affirmative.
He said, “Indeed, the ministry has the mandate to generate revenue and diversify the economy through the mines sector.
“And bitumen is one of the key resources which the nation is abundantly endowed with, that has been identified for strategic development.”
To buttress his position, Adeyemi shared some recent presentations of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, where the minister said his ministry was gathering data on some bitumen fields across the country to attract investors.
“A lot of people are interested in bitumen, which is coming from both local and foreign investors. However, we are still acquiring data in some of the fields,” the minister stated.
On barite, the minister said the mines and steel ministry was working on raising the quality of barite produced in Nigeria to an internationally acceptable standard, as certified by the American Petroleum Institute.
Adegbite said his ministry had contracted a consultant to help raise the standard in the local production of barite to ensure that oil industry players make use of barite produced in Nigeria as against importing the commodity from other countries.
He said, “Barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids used in the oil industry. We have a lot of barites but the issue is that it is not produced to API standards. However, we are putting a system in place which would be ready to launch in about July.
“We have got the millers who can produce barite to API standard. Hence we will be able to compete with foreigners and it would save Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange in import substitution.”
On the development of gold, officials at the ministry further stated that the commodity had been aggregated for the production of bullion bars and that this was the first time that such aggregation was happening in Nigeria.
They stated that the gold was sourced from artisanal miners, while the final refining to bullion was done in Turkey.
The sources stated that the ministry had registered two refineries that would now refine to LBMA standard when they come on stream. LBMA is the de facto standard, trusted around the world.
Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.
The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.
But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.”
Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.
Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”
The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.
In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”
In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.
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