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Global Energy Crisis: Putin Demands Ruble Payment for Gas



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Russian ruler, Vladimir Putin has devised another means to frustrate and escalate the ongoing global energy crisis – per Bloomberg report, the Russian leader is set to demand the local currency, Ruble as payment for Russian Oil and Gas export.

According to the report, Russia plans to demand Ruble payments for purchases from European nations – deepening its fallout and standoff with the West and potentially increasing Europe’s worst energy crisis since the 1970s.

Following the report, gas prices are said to have surged more than 30% after Putin ordered the Russian central bank to develop a process that allows ruble payments for natural gas within a week at a meeting with his government.

Russia’s oil and gas supplies have been used as a major weapon between both Russia and the West over the ongoing war in Ukraine. Although the new directives by Russia are not clear, Investors King gathered that this move could be a breach of contract between Russia and a number of countries that purchase its resources. However, by demanding payments in rubles, Russia is essentially forcing European companies to directly increase value for its local currency after the value of the Ruble dropped due to sanctions placed on the Russian economy.

Investors King also gathered that the ruble has gained 7% against the dollar on Wednesday, 23rd March summing up its entire losses in the year to 23%.

Reactions To Putin’s Demands

Germany: Following Russia’s demand, Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck, revealed that the demand for payment in the ruble is a breach of the contracts, and Germany will speak to its European partners on how to respond. Germany is the biggest buyer of Russian gas.

Italy: Revealed that it wasn’t inclined to pay for Russian gas in rubles because doing that could help Putin weaken Europe’s sanction regime. Italy is the second-biggest customer of Gazprom PJSC –  the Russian state export monopoly company.

The demand to pay in Ruble may be a huge problem for Russia as well because If Gazprom refuses to deliver gas when buyers pay their invoices in the original contract currency – usually euros – buyers may bring the case to arbitration. However, sales to the west accounted for some 70% of Gazprom’s 2021 export revenue which totalled some $69 billion and any changes to the payment procedures could “temporarily affect” Russia’s gas export volumes.

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



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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NMPRA Set to Draft Six Regulations Governing Operations



The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMPRA) has issued six regulations to govern its Midstream and Downstream operations.

This comes on the heels of a sum of N58bn from N500bn bridging claim the Federal Government paid to the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN)  through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Investors King gathered that an official statement released by the Corporate Communications of NMDPRA noted that the joint agency stated that the amount disbursed to the association is the highest they had paid within six months span by former fund administrators.

Engineer Farouk Ahmed, the Authority’s Chief Executive explained that the aim was to improve business processes, bring clarity, and ease of doing business in the sector. NMDPRA said that it was aware of the matters raised by the petroleum marketers and the difficulties being faced by the association members due to the unpaid N500bn bridging claims.

He explained that a team led by Mr Ogbugo K. Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure (DSSRI) has been set up to review the draft regulations, and engage and consult stakeholders for smooth implementation when released.

The six regulations include Environmental Management Plan, Gas Pricing, Environmental Remediation Fund, Decommissioning and Abandonment, Gas Infrastructure Fund, and Gas Pipeline Tariff.

“One of our key concerns is boosting local refining. Dangote and BUA refineries are coming on board, however, we want to see more companies investing in refineries so we can stop the importation of refined petroleum products, save our foreign earnings, create jobs and add value to the economy”, Ahmed said.

Ahmed further noted the gradual growth of indigenous players in the local exploration and production of petroleum products.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Otherwise known as “The Authority”) was created in August 2021 in line with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 which provides a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry as well as the development of Host Communities.

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Crude Oil Dips on Prolong Chinese Lockdown



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Global oil prices dipped slightly on Monday as economic reports revealed Chinese retail sales dropped 11% year-on-year in the month of April following the nation’s decision to extend the COVID-19 lockdown to about 46 cities.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, dropped to $108.96 per barrel on Monday before rebounding to $112.66 after reports showed Saudi Arabia’s crude oil export declined to 7.235 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the month of March. This represents a decline of 1% from 7.307 million bpd reported in February.

Also, crude oil prices were supported by reports that European Union could reach a deal to impose additional sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine. According to European Union diplomats and officials, the new sanctions will target Russian crude oil.

However, at Investors King we are expecting the drop in Russia’s crude oil supply to be balanced out by the expected drop in Chinese crude oil imports due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, will expect oil prices to remain around the current level in the near term.

“With a planned ban by the EU on Russian oil and slow increase in OPEC output, oil prices are expected to stay close to the current levels near $110 a barrel,” said Naohiro Niimura, a partner at Market Risk Advisory.

It is important to note that despite Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports dropping by 1%, crude oil production jumped to its highest level in about 24 months at 10.300 million bpd, up from 10.225 million bpd produced in the previous month.

Meanwhile, concerns over falling oil inventories in the United States bolstered gasoline futures to an all-time high on Monday.

“Oil prices will remain bullish, especially WTI’s near-term contract, as U.S. gasoline prices continued to rise amid weaker imports of petroleum products from Europe,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Securities.

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