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Markets Today – Ukraine, Sanctions, Oil, Gold, Bitcoin

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Crude oil - Investors King

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

European stocks are treading water on Monday and Wall Street is eyeing a similar open amid another cautious start to the week.

Virtual talks are set to resume as Europe prepares fresh sanctions against Russia following the release of disturbing images over the weekend. Pressure is ramping up on Brussels to enforce a total ban on Russian energy imports in order to enforce real damage and punishment against the Kremlin for the invasion. Of course, it’s easier for some to make such demands than others.

We will likely continue to see resistance from Germany and a select few others as they’re simply far more reliant on Russian imports of oil, gas and coal. Forecasts for the impact of an embargo vary but it would almost certainly tip the country into recession.

But few disagree that harsher measures are needed as Putin has clearly not been deterred despite the economic hardship he’s about to drag his country through. Some of the cracks have been papered over in the near term, as we’ve seen with the rouble recovery and discounted exports to friendlier nations but this won’t be enough to protect them in the event of a blanket ban.

We’re left hoping that talks continue to make progress towards a ceasefire and exit of Russian troops but if the process so far is anything to go by, that may not happen soon. While progress has been positive for risk assets so far, they remain vulnerable to setbacks in talks which continue to take place against the backdrop of ongoing attacks.

Oil steadies as IEA prepares details of reserve release

Oil prices have pulled back considerably since peaking last month in the early days of the invasion. Declines over the last couple of weeks have been aided by lockdowns in China and a massive SPR release by the IEA, the details of which should become known early this week.

The US has already made its contribution known which will go some way to easing the tightness in the market and supply shock from Russia where sanctions are biting. This is only a temporary solution but offers a buffer over the next six months as producers ramp up production, including OPEC+ which has until now refused to accelerate its efforts in any significant way.

Oil prices remain high but they’re certainly at more sustainable and less economically threatening levels. WTI slipped below $100 and could remain there depending on the full details of the IEA release and the length of Chinese lockdowns but the war in Ukraine remains a significant upside risk.

Gold holding up as recession signals flash

Gold is holding up fairly well in the face of multiple super-sized rate hikes being priced into the markets and risk appetite remaining fairly strong. The inflation risk is seemingly providing plenty of support which is why we’re seeing so many rate hikes being priced into the markets, along with the downside economic risks that continue to mount.

One thing that has come with these super-sized hikes is recession risks, as evident by the inversions we’re now seeing on the US yield curve. The 2-10 inversion is now clear for all to see and has previously been a fairly reliable recession indicator. Of course, it doesn’t offer any kind of specific timeline and there are doubts about its reliability in an enormous Fed balance sheet world. The economic data may also provide some comfort.

But gold is holding firm and is actually up marginally on the day. It appears to have consolidated just above $1,900 over the last few weeks with brief dips below being quickly bought into. Equally, it’s not making any real headway to the upside, making it quite a choppy market at the moment that offers little in the way of directional clues.

Bitcoin grinding higher

Speaking of choppy, bitcoin has been just that over the last week or so since breaking through a key resistance level. It’s recovered over the last few days after finding some support around $44,000 but continues to struggle to find much momentum as it approaches last week’s peak. It could still build on that breakout but it may be more of a grind than we’ve seen in the past, given the current environment.

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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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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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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