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Oil gains as Saudi Arabia cuts prices to markets amid demand concerns

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Oil prices gained marginally as the world’s top crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, cut the prices of all its crude grades loading for Asia in February to the lowest level to regional benchmarks in over a year, as demand concerns continue to prevail.

According to oilprice.com, Brent crude gained 0.69 per cent to trade at $78.38 per barrel, while the American West Texas Intermediate (WTI), gained 0.56 per cent to trade at $73.25 per barrel as at the time of this report.

The state-controlled Saudi Aramco slashed the official selling price (OSPs) of its flagship crude grade, Arab Light, to its main in Asia and Europe for February by $1.45 per barrel, setting the price at $1.80 a barrel above the Dubai/Oman benchmark.

The premium to the Dubai/Oman average is the lowest since November 2021, but it was generally in line with expectations.

The cut in oil prices appears to be a signal that demand remains sluggish as coronavirus cases in China surge. Crude also was restrained as equities fell and the dollar strengthened after a strong US labour report fuelled speculation that interest rates have more room to rise.

A survey of analysts earlier in the week showed that Saudi Aramco was widely expected to cut its OSPs to Asia for February, following a cut for the January loadings to a 10-month-low.

Last month, Saudi Arabia cut the price of the crude it would sell to Asia in January to a 10-month low versus the regional benchmarks, which had weakened amid signs of lackluster demand in the world’s most important oil-importing market.

The forecasts in the survey were in line with the actual cut announced with analysts suggesting that the price of the Arab Light crude grade is expected to be cut by $1.50 per barrel for February shipments to a premium of just $1.75 per barrel over Dubai/Oman.

Aramco, which generally doesn’t comment on the OSPs, also lowered the prices of its crude loading in February to northwest Europe and the Mediterranean region, while prices for the U.S. remained unchanged.

The cut in Saudi oil prices isn’t a surprise for the market or analysts, considering the growing concerns about immediate demand in China and the world.

Oil prices had the worst start to a year in more than 30 years after tumbling by 9 per cent in just 2 days.

Crude is off to a gloomy start to the year with futures curves continuing to signal a market that is oversupplied. At the same time, the oil market is also faced with lower levels of participation.

The industry-funded API reported US commercial crude stockpiles expanded by 3.3 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the figures. Gasoline inventories also increased, but supplies of distillates — a category that includes diesel.

Energy

Kyari emphasises role of gas in driving economic growth, industrial development

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The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) Mr. Mele Kyari, has reiterated the crucial role of natural gas in fueling economic growth and industrial development in Nigeria.

Kyari spoke at the public presentation of the book “The Rise of Gas: From Gaslink to the Decade of Gas” authored by Engr. Charles A. Osezua, which highlighted gas’ global acceptance as a crucial energy source that sustains economic growth and drives industrial activities.

Represented by NNPC Ltd.’s Head of Relationship and Stakeholder Management, Mrs. Oluwakemi Olumuyiwa, the GCEO also emphasised the importance of documenting Nigeria’s gas sector.

The GCEO underscored the significance of prioritising natural gas production and supply, particularly in the context of geopolitical dynamics and energy security in the global economy.

With Nigeria boasting substantial gas reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and the potential to reach 600 Tcf, the GCEO said it is pertinent that Nigeria leverages the gas resource for sustainable development, energy security, and job creation.

He noted that the book aligns with the Federal Government’s “Decade of Gas” initiative, aimed at optimising Nigeria’s abundant gas reserves for both domestic consumption and international export.

Kyari added that, as a key stakeholder, NNPC Ltd. has played a leading role in advancing the “Decade of Gas” agenda through strategic investments in critical gas infrastructure such as pipelines and processing facilities.

In his remarks, the author, Engr. Charles Osezua, who described the unveiling of “The Rise of Gas” as his contribution to Nigeria’s energy literature, expressed gratitude to the NNPC Ltd. for its support towards the book launch.

Osezua said NNPC Ltd.’s participation at the occasion underscores the company’s commitment to fostering knowledge sharing and innovation within the gas industry.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Impact Investors Foundation and former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Engr. Afolabi Oladele, lauded the book for its comprehensive insights into the gas value chain, saying it will be relevant to policymakers amid the global energy transition.

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Energy

Low crude production responsible for revenue loss —PETAN

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The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria has claimed that the country is losing a lot of revenue daily due to its inability to ramp up crude oil production.

The Chairman of PETAN, Wole Ogunsanya, stated this in Lagos recently when the representatives of the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria, led by its Chairman, Ugo Amadi, paid a courtesy visit to PETAN.

He reiterated the association’s resolve to support the efforts of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration toward increasing Nigeria’s oil and gas production for maximum value.

He said the vision of PETAN was to support the authorities to ensure that all the values existing in the oil industry stay in Nigeria.

According to Ogunsanya, if Nigeria could retain between 60 and 70 percent of the oil and gas value chain in the country, it stands a better chance of being among the top 20 economies in the world.

He expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing a lot due to its inability to produce up to its oil production capacity.

He pointed out that the country was underproducing to the tune of at least 500,000 barrels per day, which he said was a huge loss to the country.

The PETAN leader maintained that such losses would not have been possible if there had been full in-country retention of values and beneficiation across all the chains of the industry.

He explained, “Essentially, if Nigerian organisations are involved in taking that oil out, taking it to a refinery owned by Nigerians and refining it, if we have petrochemicals refining the gas and the product, we are taking that gas; processing it in power plants; and running pipelines to connect all those power plants. This country will be among the top 20 economies in the world.

“And we believe very strongly that there is no better prescription for Nigeria’s economic solution than that.”

Reiterating PETAN’s commitment to support the retention of those values, he acknowledged the Presidency’s high interest in increasing production.

He pointed out that the Presidency had given the directives and formulated a lot of gazettes, stating that PETAN aligned with those initiatives.

Ogunsanya further said, “Our intention is to support this government, and this country to increase the production of oil and gas. I presented this vision to the whole house of PETAN exactly a week ago and the vision is very clear. PETAN wants to support Nigeria through innovative means to increase the production of oil and gas in this country.”

He acknowledged the challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, including funding, logistics and others.

He noted that his association cannot make progress with some of its plans without collaborating with energy correspondents.

“We cannot do without you. Our message cannot resonate and cannot get across without your partnership with us.

“Essentially, we both need each other. PETAN needs you to tell that story, to sell what our vision is to help the situation we find ourselves in. We are going to support you as PETAN, as we have done in the past. I give you that assurance, we will work with you immediately,” he told the NAEC representatives.

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High tariff will lead to electricity theft — FCT residents tell FG

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Some electricity consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have appealed to the Federal Government to review the new tariff  downwards to avoid electricity theft.

Some of the consumers who are mainly business owners  told journalists on Wednesday that if the cost of electricity remained high some of them consumers might bye-passing their meters.

Recall the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had announced an increase in electricity tariff paid by Band A customers from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.

Band A customers are those who enjoy electricity supply for at least 20 hours per day.

The consumers, mainly printers, who do operate mainly at UTC and Murg Plaza in Area 10, FCT said that they use heavy equipment in doing their jobs hence their electricity consumption is high.

According to them, if they have to pay N225/KWh this will greatly affect their jobs making it difficult for them to cope with the present economic situation in the country.

Mr Amos Okolo, a printer, said that it was good that the government plans to give them 20 hours of electricity in the new tariff but the cost is too high for any business person.

Okolo said that by the time he purchases electricity with the huge money, nothing would be left in his business to cater for his family.

“I am appealing to the government to review the tariff downward as such increase can lead to some consumers bye-passing their meters and this is not good for Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC),”he said.

On his part, Mr Samuel Kolawole, also a printer, said that the cost indicated in the new tariff was so high that it could negatively impact businesses.

He said that the government should try and reduce the tariff so that it can benefit the rich and the poor people.

According to him, 20 hours of electricity is good for business owners as this will reduce the cost of buying fuel or diesel for generators but the pricing should be business friendly.

“We are appealing to the government to reduce the tariff to what we can afford so as to benefit everyone,” he said.

Also speaking on the issue, Mr Abel Ajibola, also a graphic designer at Murg Plaza said that the government means well for the people but the new tariff is outrageous, especially for small business owners.

Ajibola said that he would be glad if the government could review the tariff so that electricity consumers would not be tempted to start stealing electricity.

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