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Three Months After Force Majeure, ExxonMobil Resumes Export

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Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a unit of ExxonMobil, will resume shipment of Qua Iboe crude, Nigeria’s largest grade of crude oil in October, three months after the company had declared force majeure on the exports of the grade.

This is coming as oil prices slumped three per cent Tuesday following another gloomy prediction by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on demand growth that suggested that oversupply in the oil market might persist for longer than anticipated.

ExxonMobil had declared the force majeure after it observed a leak caused by what it described as a “system anomaly” during a routine check of its loading facility on July 14, this year.

The cause of the leak was not clear, but the force majeure came just days after a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), claimed to have bombed the company’s 48-inch Qua Iboe crude oil export pipeline on July 11.
But 24 hours after the claim by the militants, the company’s spokesperson, Todd Spitler, debunked the claim, saying “there was no attack on our facilities.”

However, citing industry sources, Reuters reported that the company is offering an October-loading cargo of Qua Iboe crude oil, the first offer since the company declared the force majeure.

It was not clear if the pipeline had been repaired, or if the company expected it to be back on stream in time to load crude in October.

But the cargo is offered for October 8-16 loading at a premium of $1.80 per barrel to dated Brent.

A spokesman for Exxon said the force majeure remained in effect but did not give a timeframe on the resumption of operations.

While ExxonMobil said at the time it declared force majeure that the export terminal was operating, traders said the company did not release a revised loading schedule for the crude exports.

The last ship to load crude at the Qua Iboe terminal was the Ottoman Nobility on July 9.

One of the three other ships scheduled to load the crude had been near the terminal since July 12.

A vessel loads one million barrel of the grade every three to four days, and exports of 250,000 barrels per day aboard eight vessels were scheduled for July.

Before it declared a ceasefire recently, the Avengers had warned that if the company moved forward with repairs “something big…will happen,” and threatened to attack the company’s workers, instead of blowing up its facilities.

Shell-operated Forcados crude oil exports were halted since the Avengers attacked its subsea pipeline in February.

In a related development, oil prices fell tuesday on concerns over increased drilling in the United States and as investors took profits after oil prices rose close to one per cent in the previous session.

While the Brent crude was down $1, or 2 per cent, at $47.32 a barrel, the US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.25, or 2.7 per cent, to $45.04.

The IEA, energy adviser to over 26 industrialised countries, said a sharp slowdown in global oil demand growth, coupled with ballooning inventories and rising supply, means the crude market would be oversupplied at least through the first six months of 2017.

IEA’s gloomy forecast came a day after OPEC also predicted oversupply in the oil market in 2017.

IEA’s prediction contrasts with the agency’s last forecast a month ago for supply and demand to be broadly in balance over the rest of this year and for inventories to fall swiftly.

The IEA’s latest comments follow a surprisingly OPEC’s bearish outlook published in the cartel’s monthly Oil Market Report (OMR) on Monday.

Oil traders were quoted as saying that the price falls were an indication that increasing oil drilling activity in the United States was still a concern.

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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