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JANUARY 13, 2017

Being upbeat on investment means being downbeat on prices, or at least that’s the way it is with the oil industry.

This is basic economics. As the rig count of American production picks up, according to the most recent data published this week, there’s an expectation that production will rise, supply increase, and the price subsides.

There are shorter term fluctuations. Wednesday’s trading has been affected by Saudi Arabia confirming it is cutting supply to Asian customers, in line with its commitment last month to the wider cut in production by the OPEC exporters cartel.

But the trend of recent weeks has anticipated the growth in output. And we learned from energy analysts Wood Mackenzie on Wednesday that it foresees the Texas fields of the Permian Basin to the main player as the frackers return to work. Further south, there are shale developments moving ahead in Argentina.

WoodMac, based in Edinburgh, forecasts investment is going to pick up more widely this year, for the first time since 2014. Oil companies, which have been holding back from committing to big projects while the price has been low, are showing signs of changing that.

This is not only because of a much higher price than this time last year, but also because costs have been slashed over the past couple of years – by an average 20% for each of the past two years.

That process is running out of the opportunities to keep cutting, but exploration and production spend is set to rise to $450bn, the forecast suggests. That’s a 3% rise, but it’s still 40% below 2014.

Areas to watch include ‘tight oil’, including fracking – up by a forecast 23% in the US, to $61 billion, and potentially boosted by the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for energy security and scepticism about climate change.

Final investment decisions on major projects reached 40 in 2014, and fell to nine last year. The forecast is for 20 this year, most of these smaller projects building incrementally on existing infrastructure, with much higher return on investment than in the boom times of only three years ago.

Deepwater drilling may get more attention, but half of the existing big deepwater projects are reckoned to break even at more than $60, so they are looking doubtful for the foreseeable.

Among the regions worth watching, the North Sea does not feature, but Norway’s northern Barents Sea is worth watching, including an area in which there’s a dispute with Russia.

That’s while the ethical watchdogs who police Norway’s vast state oil fund have served warning that they’re going after industries which are the worst polluters.

The fund owns around 2% of the world’s stock market valuation, and it is widely seen as providing a lead on ethical investments. So a fund sourced from oil and gas revenues and profits is now turning against those who burn the stuff irresponsibly.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-38589629

JANUARY 13, 2017

Oil and gas analyst, Kwame Jantuah has advised the NPP government to increase the country’s capacity to refine more crude at a cheaper cost if it is to reduce the prices of fuel.

His comments follow the assurance by the Finance Minister Nominee, Ken Ofori Atta to consumers that there will be no immediate hikes in the prices of fuel and utility anytime soon.

According to Mr. Ofori Atta, the NPP government will consider the energy mix and proffer measures upon assumption of office as substantive minister.

”We will have to examine our energy mix and I think we’re likely going to get a little bit more from gas which will then help in giving us a chance to breath from that, so I don’t expect us to be increasing prices of fuel and ECG. We are looking actually to see how we can as we promised, bring some relief to Ghanaians,” Ken Ofori Atta asserted.

But Kwame Jantuah tells Citi Business News fuel prices could largely drop if Ghana refines its own crude.

In addition, he urged the new government to find sustainable means of shoring up gas supplies at lower costs.

“We also need stocks of crude, and it is a good thing that at the moment the TOR is taking one million barrels of crude from GNPC stock from TEN for refining. I would expect that the same is adhered to concerning crude and supply of refined products. But that is also dependent on whether exploration had commenced on those blocks that had been given out and how soon they can come into production,” he advised.

Mr. Jantuah however maintained that the new government would have to be given a little more time to outline its plan for the energy sector.

“It is early days; the Finance and Petroleum Ministries are yet to take positions and we cannot conjecture at this moment what is going to happen till they assume office and update us on what is the situation in terms of supply of gas for the country’s electricity.”

The Vice Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee was also hopeful the new plan agreed on by government and the VRA in restructuring the power distributor’s debts should culminate in solving the challenges facing the sector permanently.

Source: http://citibusinessnews.com/index.php/2017/01/13/reducing-fuel-prices-analysts-suggest-local-refining-of-crude/

JANUARY 4, 2017

Oil prices rose in the first trading hours of 2017, buoyed by hopes that a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut production, which kicked in on Sunday, will be effective in draining a global supply glut.

International Brent crude oil prices LCOc1 were up 35 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $57.17 a barrel at 0608 GMT (1.08 a.m. ET) on Tuesday – close to last year’s high of $57.89 per barrel, hit on Dec. 12. Oil markets were closed on Monday after the New Year’s holiday.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 crude oil prices were up 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $54.03, not far from last year’s high of $54.51 reached on December 12.

January 1 marked the official start of the deal agreed by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC member countries such as Russia in November last year to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day.

Market watchers said January will serve as an indicator for whether the agreement will stick.

“Markets will be looking for anecdotal evidence for production cuts,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at Sydney’s CMC Markets. “The most likely scenario is OPEC and non-OPEC member countries will be committed to the deal, especially in early stages.”

Libya, one of two OPEC member countries exempt from cuts, increased its production to 685,000 barrels per day (bpd) as of Sunday, up from around 600,000 a day in December, according to an official from the National Oil Corporation (NOC).

Elsewhere in OPEC, member country Oman told customers last week that it will cut its crude term allocation volumes by 5 percent in March.

Non-OPEC member Russia’s oil production in December remained unchanged at 11.21 million bpd, but it was preparing to cut output by 300,000 bpd in the first half of 2017 in its contribution to the production cut accord.

Source: http://www.classfmonline.com/1.10571841

The Association of Oil Marketing Companies (AOMCs) have been conducting series of investigations to determine the root cause of the unfortunate incident which occurred on Thursday, 22nd December, 2016, claiming 11 lives and causing a number of injuries.

The Association’s Health Safety Security & Environment Committee and its Product Security & Operational Committee, yesterday, Thursday, 5th January, 2017, visited the site at La for an on-site investigation as a follow-through on their meeting held on 30th December, 2016.

Earlier on 23rd December, 2016, the AOMCs' Board Chairman, CEO and some National Petroleum Authority (NPA) officials visited the injured victims at the 37 Military Hospital and the La General Hospital and presented them with some fruits.

 

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JANUARY 4, 2017

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The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), an energy think tank, wants plans to relocate the headquarters of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to be abandoned.

President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo recently reiterated his government’s desire to relocate the headquarters of GNPC to the Western region during a visit to the Western Region House of Chiefs.

“The commitments that we have made are commitments that are going to be fulfilled.

“We are going to relocate the headquarters of GNPC to this region,” Akufo-Addo had said.

However, the head of Policy Unit of ACEP, Dr Ishmael Ackah has differing views to it.

According to him, the relocation will make the work of policy makers difficult since oil exploration could commence in other parts of the country, citing the Volta Region as most likely to start oil exploration soon.

“So are we going to shift GNPC from the Western Region to the Volta Region?

“We can maintain GNPC here and rather open a subsidiary office probably for operations in the Western Region. What we can also suggest is that instead of GNPC, we can rather move Petroleum Commission which is the regulator to the Western Region,” he said at a media interaction in Accra. – B&FT

 

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