Friday, 4 January 2013

Oil prices fall

Oil prices fell as euphoria faded over a budget deal reached earlier this week by U.S. lawmakers and traders focused on signs of lackluster demand.
Benchmark crude for February delivery fell 74 cents to $92.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to $92.92 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.
The deal reached in Washington prevents the "fiscal cliff" crisis of steep, automatic tax and spending increases from hammering the U.S. economy. But it puts off for two months some hard decisions about spending cuts that are needed to get the country's mammoth deficit under control.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, fell 66 cents to $111.48 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ex-Militants Seize Crude Oil Barges in Ondo

Five crude oil laden barges had been seized by ex-militants in Ondo State led by Chief Bebopiri Ajube. The crude oil loaded in the barges was suspected to have been stolen by hoodlums, who burst the nation’s pipelines to steal the items somewhere in Delta State.
The spokesperson of the ex-militants, who is also the Operations Manager of Gallery Security Services Limited owned by Ajube, Mr. Ebi Molos, confirmed the seizure, while taking journalists round the seized items at Bolowo town in the Ese Odo local government area of the state.
According to him, the seized product was about 1.65m litres because “each of the five barges can fill up at least 10 oil tankers of 33,000 litre capacity each.” Molos added that his men also seized from the hoodlums, seven speed boats and 14 engines, which they removed from other people’s speed boats.
He said all the impounded items would be handed over to the government security agents after the preliminary investigations would have been concluded by his security outfit. He noted that his efforts was to compliment that of the Federal Government’s amnesty programme which had led to the full rehabilitation of 1,150 Ijaws and Ilaje youths, who  are currently enjoying the amnesty programme.

JTF Seizes 1,000 Tonnes of Crude Oil in Rivers

The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the Niger Delta said that it arrested a vessel laden with 1,000 tonnes of crude oil off the coast of Bonny Island in Rivers State. 
It paraded nine suspected crew members, all of them Nigerians, before journalists in Bonny.
The Two Brigade Army spokesman, Maj. Michael Etete, said the Nigerian-registered vessel, MT Atlantic Star, was arrested while illegally tapping crude oil from a pipeline.
He said the arrests, by troops of Sector Two in Bonny, followed a military intelligence report on December 29. He restated JTF’s commitment towards stamping out oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and other criminal activities within its area of responsibility in line with its mandate.
The captain of the vessel, Mr. Rauf Rasak, told reporters that the vessel was hijacked by six unknown gunmen who threatened to kill the crew members if he refused to cooperate with their illicit directives.
Rasak further claimed that the gunmen immediately took over navigation of the vessel, anchored it in Bonny and thereafter loaded the vessel with the illegal crude oil. The captain claimed that the crew was innocent of the charges being brought against them by the JTF.

Sinopec Pursues Oilfield Service

State-owned China Petrochemical Corp., (or Sinopec Group) − the parent company of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SNP or Sinopec Corp.) − has formed a new oilfield service unit to facilitate its upstream oil and gas operations in China and other countries. The international market of the new entity − Sinopec Oilfield Service Corp. − include North America, the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and South East Asia.

With a total $12.2 billion (76.6 billion yuan) worth of fixed asset and 140,000 employees, this unit was launched at Beijing while restructuring the service departments of eight secondary oilfields such as Shengli, Zhongyuan and Jianghan. The company expects this oilfield service arm to collect $15.2 billion (95 billion yuan) of revenue in 2012. It has already gathered $14.2 billion worth of 480 contracts in 43 countries.

Recently, Sinopec Group created an engineering and construction arm − Sinopec Engineering (Group) Co Ltd − for its refining and petrochemical operation. This unit is expected to be listed by next year in Hong Kong. Sinopec Oilfield Service is also expected to be listed eventually, but the company did not give any specific timeline for it.

Shell Reassures on Grounded Drillship

Royal Dutch Shell has reassured people over its drillship that was grounded on an island in Alaska. The oil firm said in a press release that there has been no loss of life, adding that the incident does not "involve any possibility of crude oil release."
The ship, named Kulluk, ran to ground on the southeast shoreline of Sitkalidak Island in heavy seas while on tow to the port of Seattle.
A group consisting of company employees and those from the Kulluk's operator, Noble, the Coast Guard, and the state's Department of Environmental Conservation are working to address the situation.
Kulluk was carrying 150,000 gallons of ultra low-sulphur diesel fuel, and approximately 12,000 gallons of lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid at the time of the incident.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Lukoil refuses to take over ExxonMobil stake in Iraqi project

The Russian oil producer Lukoil has turned down an offer from the Iraqi government to replace Exxon Mobil at the West Qurna-1 field in Iraq.
­The development of a large-scale project such as West Qurna 1 would bring additional risks to the company, which is already developing the West Qurna 2 project in Iraq, which requires up to $5bn investment, said Andrey Kuzyaev, head of Lukoil Overseas.
Earlier this year Baghdad considered inviting Russia's Lukoil and Gazprom Neft – both already operating a number of projects in the country, instead of Exxon Mobil to develop the West Qurna-1. Iraqi authorities were angered by ExxonMobil’s deal signed with the Kurdistan regional government , sources in the industry told RT.
In 2010 Exxon and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan regional government signed a number of deals to develop six blocks in West Qurna without Baghdad’s approval. Outraged by the move the Iraqi authorities threatened the American company with sanctions.
Later ExxonMobil told the Iraqi government it wants to give up the $50 billion project of West Qurna-1.