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Powerful Sanctions Hit Risk Appetite

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By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA

We’re seeing widespread risk aversion once more on Monday after new severe sanctions were levied against Russia over the weekend.

The response to previous sanctions was underwhelming, to say the least, but the latest batch undoubtedly has the teeth that the others lacked. That’s been most clearly evident in the FX markets, where the rouble plunged more than 30% to record lows and that could have been much worse but for swift action by the central bank.

An emergency rate hike – raising the key rate from 9.5% to 20% – alongside other measures, has enabled the rouble to pare those initial losses but the currency remains under severe pressure. The latest sanctions are hard-hitting and will weigh heavily on the economy. And that’s before we see the second-round effects.

BP has shown us today the political pressure that companies are going to be under to sever ties with Russia, especially where there’s shared interest with the Kremlin. The level of horror at the events in Ukraine being experienced around the world, combined with that political pressure, will continue to see companies cut ties which will compound the impact of the sanctions.

Whether we continue to see more risk-aversion in the markets may well hang on the talks currently taking place between Russian and Ukrainian officials. It’s hard to imagine a ceasefire and Russian exit being agreed upon given the events of the last week but we live in hope.

An agreement would naturally lift sentiment and we could see stocks quickly reversing their losses. A failure could see things turn ugly again as Russia will not take these sanctions lying down. They will have massive implications for the Russian economy and retaliation is almost certain.

Oil eyeing $100 again as the US considers another SPR release and a nuclear deal

Oil prices are naturally rallying strongly at the start of the week. Brent and WTI are both closing in on $100 once again and only a significant de-escalation looks likely to derail that. If the talks end badly today, we could see oil continue its ascent as markets factor in prolonged fighting in Ukraine and the risk of supply disruptions.

Talks are continuing between the US and Iran towards a nuclear deal which could help ease some of the pressures in the oil market. But we may not see the full benefits of that unless we see an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, at which point we could see a significant pullback in the price.

The US and other consuming countries are also reportedly considering another release of reserves totalling 60-70 million barrels. This comes after a similar move in November that had only a limited impact on the markets. But combined with actions elsewhere, it could help ease the pressures we’re seeing.

Gold jumps as safe-havens in demand

Gold is back above $1,900 in risk-averse trade and up around 1.5% on the day. The events over the last few days have no doubt escalated tensions, although talks between Russia and Ukraine do offer some hope. The sanctions, in particular, add another layer of uncertainty to the situation which investors naturally don’t like.

We’re in a highly uncertain, inflationary environment and gold is the obvious hedge. The question is how much further it can go which obviously depends on how much more of an escalation we’ll see and what that does to commodity prices. But for now, it’s very well supported, despite easing slightly off its highs.

Bitcoin lower but resilient

Bitcoin is also lower on the day as traders abandon risk assets in favour of safe-havens. It’s continuing to show resilience though which will encourage the crypto crowd. As long as it continues to weather the storm and hold above $30,000, there will be a belief that it can thrive again once risk appetite improves. Unfortunately, there’s just no clear idea of when that will be.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Energy

African Energy Chamber to Host Energy Transition Forum at The 2022 Energy Week  

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Oil

African Energy Chamber (AEC) says it will host the Energy Transition Forum, in partnership with public and private sector organisations, government representatives, energy stakeholders and investors in October. 

In a statement made available to Investors King AEC stated that “The Energy Transition Forum will address critical issues such as the lack of adequate funding, the diversification of the energy mix, workforce development, and regulatory reforms necessary to enable Africa to expand its energy sector to address energy security, affordability, access, and sustainability matters”.

“With some 600 million people across the continent living in energy poverty and over 900 million without access to clean cooking, Africa needs to exploit all of its vast natural resources in order to make energy poverty history by 2030. In this respect, stakeholders across the continent are opting for an integrated approach to developing energy resources whereby every resource is utilized in order to kickstart economic growth and electrification. With over 125.3 billion barrels of crude oil, 620 trillion cubic feet of gas, and nearly 16.4 billion short tons of coal, the continent is well-positioned to drive economic growth,” it added. 

Executive Chairman of the AEC, NJ Ayuk, said: “With nearly 66 per cent of the world’s population living without electricity access based in Africa, the continent needs to ramp up the production of all its energy resources including gas, oil, wind and solar to ensure energy poverty is history by 2030. The AEC is honored to host the Energy Transition Forum at AEW 2022 where an African narrative of a just and inclusive energy transition that is fit for Africa will be developed. We will go from Cape to Cairo with a well-defined African message. Africans and the energy sector have a rare chance to define the narrative and we must.” 

The Energy Transition Forum is bringing together investors, regulatory authorities and energy market players to discuss the role of gas in Africa’s energy future and energy transition. The challenges of limited investments in gas exploration, production, and infrastructure development in gas-rich countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Niger, and Mozambique will also be addressed.

According to the AEC, climate change continues to impact Africa, leading to an increasing number of African countries such as Nigeria, Namibia, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya introducing policy reforms and initiatives to scale up renewable energy penetration in Africa. 

Investors King gathered that Nigeria has vowed to achieve climate neutrality by 2060 by increasing the share of natural gas and renewables in its energy mix while Namibia aims to make the development of hydrogen central to its energy policy. At the same time, South Africa has introduced its Hydrogen Society Roadmap to fast-forward the development of local content and hydrogen infrastructure whilst Morocco’s Law 13-09 and Egypt’s net metering scheme aims to expand distributed renewables development.

The chamber added that the AEW 2022, under the theme – “Exploring and Investing in Africa’s Energy Future while Driving an Enabling Environment” will feature high-level meetings and panel discussions where government ministers, investors, academia, and energy market stakeholders will discuss how Africa can attract funding to boost exploration, production and infrastructure development to ensure secure supply while remaining a climate champion. 

The African Energy Week is scheduled to take place from 18th – 21st October 2022 in South Africa at Africa’s premier event for the oil and gas sector.

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Siemens Announces Plan to Transit From Fossil to Sustainable Energy

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Siemens

Technology giant, Siemens Energy has announced a transit from fossil to sustainable energy through a management restructuring and shares evaluation.

This comes after the company launched a voluntary cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares in Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, or approximately 32.9 percent of Siemens Gamesa’s share capital which it does not already own.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Siemens Energy AG, Joe Kaeser, said: “The full integration of SGRE is an important milestone for Siemens Energy’s positioning as a driver of the energy transition from fossil to sustainable energy solutions.

“This will benefit customers, employees, shareholders, and ultimately society. It is critical that the deteriorating situation at SGRE is being stopped as soon as possible, and the value-creating repositioning starts quickly. The Supervisory Board strongly supports the Executive Boards plans for the integration of SGRE”.

According to a statement from the company, starting from October, the former gas and power segment will be divided into three business areas.

The largest of the new business areas, with sales of around 9 billion euros (9.6 billion dollars), is gas services. This included the gas and large steam turbine business and associated services.

It is followed by grid technologies with sales of 5.8 billion euros in the areas of power transmission and energy storage. The smallest business area is the transformation of the industry with sales of 3.9 billion euros.

Here, the focus was on reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in industrial processes from hydrogen to automation and industrial steam turbines to compressors. Logistics, IT and procurement divisions were to be bundled together.

The removal of some levels of management at Siemens Energy was expected to bring faster decision-making processes. Where there were previously up to 11 levels in the firm’s hierarchy, there would be a maximum of six in the future. This would eliminate around 30 per cent of the previous management positions, Siemens Energy said. The employees affected would be given other tasks within the business, according to the statement.

Siemens Energy claims that after full integration, the combined group could see cost synergies of up to EUR 300 million within three years, owing to lower supply chain and logistics costs, aligned project execution, joint and integrated R&D efforts, and cost savings through an optimized administrative setup.

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NNPC, Sahara Group To Invest Over N150B in Two Gas Carriers

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Gas Exports Drop as Shell Declares Force Majeure

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and leading energy conglomerate, Sahara Group have taken delivery of two 23,000 CBM Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) vessels at the Hyundai MIPO Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

The new carriers, the MT BARUMK and MT SAPET, have brought NNPC and Sahara Group’s joint venture investment to over N150 billion ($300 m), bringing the Joint venture’s (JV) gas infrastructure pledge to $1 billion by 2026 closer to reality. MT Sahara Gas and MT Africa Gas were previously part of the fleet. Hyundai MIPO Dockyard, a leading global constructor of mid-sized carriers, produced all four ships.

Recall, Investors King reported that Nigeria earned $868.5 million from gas exports and N13.36 billion from domestic gas sales, according to an examination of the gas revenue statistics and other monthly reports acquired from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Data from the oil firm showed that the Federal Government, through NNPC, garnered the funds from the sale of Natural Gas Liquids/Liquefied Petroleum Gas, as well as Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas feedstock.

West African Gas Limited (WAGL), a joint venture between NNPC and Oceanbed (a Sahara Group subsidiary), is driving NNPC’s five-year $1 billion investment plan which was announced in 2021, to expedite the decade-long gas and energy transition strategy.

To the joy of visitors, NNPC’s GMD, Mele Kyari, announced that an order for three more new vessels was being finalized, adding, “We have an objective of delivering 10 vessels over the next 10 years. In our energy transformation quest, the NNPC and our partners stand out for their integrity, and our commitment to environmental sustainability is steadfast.”

WAGL and Sahara Group have invested in the JV with MT BARUMK and MT SAPET. WAGL is strengthening its gas fleet and terminal infrastructure, while Sahara Group continues to make significant progress in the development of over 120,000 metric tonnes of storage facilities in 11 African nations, including Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Zambia.

“This is another epoch-making achievement for the NNPC and Sahara Group, and we remain firmly committed to delivering more formidable gas projects for the benefit of Nigeria and the entire sub-region,” Kyari said.

Executive Director Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi stated that “WAGL has successfully operated two mid-sized LPG Carriers MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas in the region in accordance with worldwide standards, transporting over 6 million CBM of LPG across West Africa, with the new vessels, we will be able to accelerate and lead Africa’s energy revolution.”

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