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Nigeria’s Oil Fields Face Shutdown Amid Price Slump

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With crude oil trading around $30 per barrel in the international market from a peak of $114 in June 2014, production from Nigeria now faces a decline as some fields face an imminent shutdown if the low oil price persists.

Industry players say operating some of the fields in the country is becoming uneconomic, with the selling price of oil being driven down close to the production cost level.

The price of the Nigerian crude oil, Bonny Light, has fallen to $29.47 per barrel, according to the latest data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“When oil price drops, we are all in serious trouble, because if the oil price and your unit operating cost are almost the same, it means that when you sell the oil, there is little profit or you are at a loss. Many companies are not far from there,” the Project Director for the Uquo gas field development, a joint venture project by Frontier Oil Limited and Seven Energy, Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar, told our correspondent.

“The unit technical cost of many of our producers is not far from $30 per barrel. So many companies are in trouble,” he added.

According to Bukar, the average production cost for many of the fields in the country is $24 to $25 per barrel.

“For some fields, the production cost is well above $25, maybe $28. For some fields, it is well below $20 and $25. Many of the older fields, which are mostly with the International Oil Companies, have got high production costs,” he said.

Global financial services firm, Morgan Stanley, on Monday joined banks such as Goldman Sachs, City Group and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in warning that prices could slide to $20 per barrel.

Bukar said, “The production in Nigeria is going to suffer. In the last five years, we have not invested as much as we should to develop additional reserves. Once, we keep going like that, whether there is price change or not, the amount of oil Nigeria is going to be producing will go down.

“When the price drops as low as $20-$30 range, people who have got those old fields or fields where oil production cost is above the selling price will shut them down. There is no point in producing oil to sell at a loss.”

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, relies on crude oil for most of its export earnings and government revenue. Oil production in the country has continued to hover between 1.9 million barrels per day and 2.3 million bpd in recent years.

President Muhammadu Buhari had projected crude oil production of 2.2 million bpd for this year’s budget, down from 2.2782 million bpd in the 2015 budget, with oil-related revenues expected to contribute N820bn.

Industry experts also say the continued decline in global oil prices would stall a number of deep-water projects in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, Petrosystem Nigeria Limited, Mr. Adeola Elliott, said, “Obviously, the plunging price will affect investment in new fields. I had a discussion with a top official in one of the IOCs operating in the country. What they have done now is to just keep maintaining the facility they have now and producing what they producing now. There is no more new investment.”

Prior to the drop in prices, several IOCs had in recent times shifted more of their focus to the offshore areas of the Nigerian oil industry as a result of onshore risks, with a number of planned deep-water projects expected to come on stream in the coming years.

Deep-water oil projects that have yet to achieve Final Investment Decision include Bonga Southwest and Aparo (Shell); Zabazaba-Etan (Eni); Bosi, Satellite Field Development Phase 2 and Uge (ExxonMobil); and Nsiko (Chevron).

An energy expert and Technical Director, Drilling Services, Template Design Limited, Mr. Bala Zakka, said with oil at $30 per barrel, the profits and projects, including Corporate Social Responsibility activities of many oil firms would be negatively affected.

“Major deep-water projects will be affected because they are very expensive. If oil continues to fall, a lot of exploration and drilling campaigns will reduce. A lot of marginal field operators will not be able to drill new wells. There is every possibility that companies will retrench to be able to stay afloat,” he said.

The Head, Energy Research, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, said, “Our production is really having issues, and I think it might be worse in 2016. Our production is likely to reduce this year.

“There are not as many fields likely to come on stream this year. Most companies just want to focus on their existing production. So, it is possible we won’t see as much new production come on stream to reverse the trend of decline in major fields we have. That might make production go down.”

Oil prices could reach as low as $10, Standard Chartered warned, stating, “Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the dollar and equity markets.”

Wood Mackenzie, the energy consultancy firm, said in a report last week that since the oil price collapse in 2014, 68 major upstream projects containing 27 billion barrels of oil equivalent had been deferred.

This, it said, amounted to $380bn of capital expenditure deferred by total project spend in real terms.

It stated, “As oil prices continue to fall and capital allocation tightens, we expect the list will grow further. The level of production impacted by these deferrals is material in a global context.

“The FIDs on many of these projects have been pushed back to 2017 or beyond. Deep-water is hit the hardest. Over the next five years, $170bn of potential investment currently hangs in the balance across these 68 projects.”

Wood Mackenzie says, in all, some 27 billion barrels of oil equivalent in reserves, or 2.9 million barrels per day of liquids production, will not come on stream until early in the next decade, later than envisaged.

High cost deep-water fields, particularly those in Angola, Nigeria and the Gulf of Mexico, requiring heavy upfront investment, account for more than half of that deferred production.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Oil Steadies, But Outlook Gloomy as Coronavirus Cases, Supply Grow

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Oil prices eked out small gains on Tuesday after sharp losses, but sentiment remained subdued as a surge in global coronavirus cases hit prospects for crude demand while supply is rising.

Brent crude was up 43 cents, or 1%, at $40.87 a barrel. U.S. oil gained 43 cents, or 1.1%, at $38.99 a barrel. Both contracts fell more than 3% on Monday.

A lack of progress on agreeing a U.S. coronavirus relief package added to market gloom, although U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday she hoped a deal can be reached before the Nov. 3 elections.

A wave of coronavirus infections sweeping across the United States, Russia, France and many other countries has undermined the global economic outlook, with record numbers of new cases forcing some countries to impose fresh restrictions as winter looms.

“We think demand from this point onwards is really going to struggle to grow. COVID-19 restrictions are all part of that,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) commodities analyst Vivek Dhar.

CBA expects U.S. oil to average $38 and Brent to average $41 in the fourth quarter this year.

Prices got some support from a potential drop in U.S. production as oil companies began shutting offshore rigs with the approach of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday the worst is over for the crude market.

But his comment contradicted an earlier remark from OPEC’s secretary general, who said any oil market recovery may take longer than hoped as coronavirus infections rise around the world.

Meanwhile, Libyan production is expected to reach 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in the coming weeks, the country’s national oil company said on Friday, a quicker return than many analysts had predicted.

That is likely to complicate efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to restrict output to offset weak demand.

OPEC+ – made up of OPEC and allies including Russia – is planning to increase production by 2 million bpd from the start of 2021 after record output cuts earlier this year.

An analyst survey by Reuters ahead of data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday estimated that U.S. crude stocks rose in the week to Oct. 23, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell.

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Nigel Farage Urged to Highlight Perils of DIY Investing

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Nigel Farage appears to be advocating a DIY approach to investing – and this could be “monumentally risky” for inexperienced investors, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as a daily finance-orientated newsletter from the team of the Brexit Party leader and political activist urges its readers to “tell us about your successes by going it alone – leaving the money men and middlemen by the side of the road…”

Mr Farage’s email is provided for correspondence.

Mr Green comments: “Successful DIY (Do It Yourself) investing can be possible, but for most people it is not recommended – indeed, it could be a costly and traumatic accident waiting to happen.

“Going it alone can be monumentally risky for inexperienced investors as the complexities involved can sink their portfolios.

“Perhaps this is why around two-thirds of wealthy individuals have a professional financial adviser of some sort, according to new independent research from the University of Toronto.”

He continues: “I would urge anyone who extols the virtues of a DIY approach to investing to also underscore the risks and potential pitfalls to be avoided.”

A pro will help you make the best investment decisions in five key ways, says Nigel Green.

“First, helping you to diversify a portfolio. Spreading money around is vital to curb risk. However, it must be used correctly – diversification will only add real value if the new asset has a different risk profile.

“Second, investing with a plan: Unless you have a sound plan, you’re gambling, not investing.

“Third, avoiding emotional decisions. Overly emotional decisions can prove deadly when it comes to investments because they are blighted by prejudices and biases.

“Fourth, regularly reviewing your portfolio: Investments need to be consistently reviewed to ensure they still deserve their place in the portfolio and that they are still on track to reach your long-term financial objectives.

“Fifth, not focusing excessively on historical returns: The future investment situation is likely to be different from time-aged averages.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “While investing remains almost universally regarded as one of the best ways to create, grow and safeguard wealth, considering the pitfalls of getting it wrong, it could be an expensive mistake for you and your family not to seek professional advice.”

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Top Five US Oil and Gas Firms Lost $307bn in Market Value Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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Market Value of US Five Largest Companies Decline by $307bn in 2020

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas industry was faced with slumping prices. However, with a record collapse in oil demand amid the coronavirus lockdown, the COVID-19 crisis has further shaken the market, causing massive revenue and market cap drops for even the largest oil and gas companies.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, the top five oil and gas companies in the United States lost over $307bn in market capitalization year-over-year, a 45% plunge amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Market Cap Still Below March Levels

Global macroeconomic concerns such as the US-China trade war and the oil overproduction set significant price drops even before the coronavirus outbreak. A standoff between Russia and Saudi Arabia in the first months of 2020 sent prices even lower.

After global oil demand plunged in March, Saudi Arabia proposed a cut in oil production, but Russia refused to cooperate. Saudi Arabia responded by increasing production and cutting prices. Shortly Russia followed by doing the same, causing an over 60% drop in crude oil prices at the beginning of 2020. Although OPEC and Russia agreed to cut oil production levels to stabilize prices a few weeks later, the COVID-19 crisis already hit. Statistics show that oil prices dropped over 40% since the beginning of 2020 and are hovering around $40 a barrel.

Such a sharp fall in oil price triggered a growing wave of oil and gas bankruptcies in the United States and caused a substantial financial hit to the largest gas producers.

In September 2019, the combined market capitalization of the five largest oil and gas producers in the United States amounted to $674.2bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. After the Black Monday crash in March, this figure plunged by 45% to $373bn. The following months brought a slight recovery, with the combined market capitalization of the top five US gas producers rising to over $461bn in June.

However, the fourth quarter of the year witnessed a negative trend, with the combined value of their shares falling to $367bn at the beginning of this week, $6.2bn below March levels.

Exon Mobil`s Market Cap Halved in 2020, Almost $155bn Lost YoY

In August, Exxon Mobil Corporation, once the largest publicly traded company globally, was dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average after 92 years. As the largest oil and gas producer in the United States, the company has suffered the most significant market cap drop in 2020.

Statistics indicate the combined value of Exxon Mobil`s shares plunged by 52% year-over-year, falling from almost $300bn in September 2019 to $144bn at the beginning of this week.

Phillips 66, the fourth largest gas producer in the United States by market capitalization, witnessed the second-largest drop in 2020. Statistics show the company`s market cap dipped by 49.6% year-over-year, landing at $22.9bn this week.

The Yahoo Finance data revealed that EOG Resources lost over $21bn in market cap since September 2019, the third-largest drop among the top five US gas producers.

Conoco Phillips witnessed a 42% drop in market capitalization amid the COVID-19 crisis, with the combined value of shares plunging by almost $30bn year-over-year.

Statistics show Chevron witnessed the smallest market cap drop among the top five companies. At the beginning of this week, the combined value of shares of the second-largest US gas producer stood at $141.5bn, a 36.9% plunge year-over-year.

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