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Fuel Scarcity May Persist Till Removal of Subsidy in June– Oil Marketers

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Petrol - Investors King

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has said the lingering fuel scarcity and rise in price may persist till the sixth month based on the federal government’s plan to end payment of fuel subsidy in June.

Investors King recalls that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, last week mentioned that the Federal Government had budgeted N3.6 trillion for fuel subsidy till June 2023.

The National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, in an interview noted that subsidy and fuel importation worsen the fuel supply situation of the country.

He opined that the exchange rate has greatly influenced petroleum products imports which makes fuel more expensive.

According to him, refining petroleum in Nigeria and making the depots functional are sustainable ways to rescue the situation.

“This issue of subsidy and the importation of petroleum products are the major reasons why we are suffering like this and having epileptic supply of PMS. This may drag till the current administration leaves in May or till June this year.

“The exchange rate is affecting fuel imports, which is also why the cost of petroleum products are high. We use too much naira to chase the few dollars that are available. So the solution is for us to refine our crude here and get our depots working.

 “Also, we should note that most times when an administration is leaving, there is usually scarcity of products. It happened during the time of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Then, marketers who were supplying products stopped and went on strike, demanding that they must be paid their arrears,” he said.

Speaking on the state of fuel supply in the country, Chairman of IPMAN Satellite depot, Akin Akinrinade said none of its members have taken delivery of petroleum products despite their promise last year.

He stated that the fuel scarcity will continue after June if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL does not supply oil Marketers directly and at regulated price.

“We have yet to see anything. They promised us something in December, but now they said January. All they’ve done is ask us to submit names and change from the old system-NNPC Express to NNPC Retail. Other than that, we are yet to receive any product,” Akinrinade said.

 

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Dips Slightly on Friday Amid Demand Concerns

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On Friday, global crude oil prices experienced a slight dip, primarily attributed to mounting concerns surrounding demand despite signs of a tightening market.

Brent crude prices edged lower, nearing $83 per barrel, following a recent uptick of 1.6% over two consecutive sessions.

Similarly, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude hovered around $78 per barrel. Despite the dip, market indicators suggest a relatively robust market, with US crude inventories expanding less than anticipated in the previous week.

The oil market finds itself amidst a complex dynamic, balancing optimistic signals such as reduced OPEC+ output and heightened tensions in the Middle East against persistent worries about Chinese demand, particularly as the nation grapples with economic challenges.

This delicate equilibrium has led oil futures to mirror the oscillations of broader stock markets, underscoring the interconnectedness of global economic factors.

Analysts, including Michael Tran from RBC Capital Markets LLC, highlight the recurring theme of robust oil demand juxtaposed with concerning Chinese macroeconomic data, contributing to market volatility.

Also, recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants have added a risk premium to oil futures, reflecting geopolitical uncertainties beyond immediate demand-supply dynamics.

While US crude inventories saw a slight rise, they remain below seasonal averages, indicating some resilience in the market despite prevailing uncertainties.

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Nigeria’s Oil Rig Count Soars From 11 to 30, Says NUPRC CEO

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, has announced a surge in the country’s oil rig count.

Komolafe disclosed that Nigeria’s oil rigs have escalated from 11 to 30, a substantial increase since 2011.

Attributing this surge to concerted efforts by NUPRC and other governmental stakeholders, Komolafe highlighted the importance of instilling confidence, certainty, and predictability in the oil and gas industry.

He explained the pivotal role of the recently implemented Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which has spurred significant capital expenditure amounting to billions of dollars over the past two and a half years.

Speaking in Lagos after receiving The Sun Award, Komolafe underscored the effective discharge of NUPRC’s statutory mandate, which has contributed to the success stories witnessed in the sector.

The surge in Nigeria’s oil rig count signifies a tangible measure of vibrant activities within the upstream oil and gas sector, reflecting increased drilling activity and heightened industry dynamism.

Also, Komolafe noted that NUPRC has issued over 17 regulations aimed at enhancing certainty and predictability in industry operations, aligning with the objectives outlined in the PIA.

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Oil Prices Rebound in Asian Markets Amid Red Sea Shipping Concerns

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Amid escalating attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and growing uncertainty regarding U.S. interest rate cuts, oil prices rebounded in Asian markets today.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, climbed by 24 cents to $82.58 a barrel while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil (WTI) rose by 21 cents to $77.25.

The rebound comes after both Brent and WTI contracts experienced a 1.5% and 1.4% decline, respectively, from their near three-week highs on Tuesday.

This decline occurred as the premium for prompt U.S. crude futures to the second-month contract widened to $1.71 a barrel, its widest level in approximately four months.

However, on Wednesday, the premiums slid to 4 cents a barrel.

Analysts suggest that oil futures have entered a relatively range-bound phase, with current prices reflecting a risk premium of $6-7 per barrel.

The situation could persist until the next significant development in the Gaza crisis, whether it involves a de-escalation through a ceasefire or a further intensification of the conflict.

Recent attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab strait by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have heightened concerns over freight flows through these critical waterways.

Moreover, Washington’s veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war has added to geopolitical tensions impacting oil markets.

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