Thursday, 10 January 2013

Oil up as China trade, US earnings show recovery

The price of oil rose to above $94 a barrel, propelled by a rebound in China's trade growth and an encouraging start to the U.S. corporate earnings season.
In Europe, benchmark crude for February delivery was up $1.04 to $94.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slipped 5 cents to end at $93.10 per barrel in New York.
Current data released showed China's export growth in December more than quadrupled from the previous month's level to 14 percent. Imports rose 6 percent, after failing to grow at all in November, in a sign of increasing domestic demand.
Analysts also pointed to an 8 percent year-on-year rise in China's imports of crude oil in December and a 6.8 percent increase for all of 2012. The data was a boost for energy prices, since a pickup in economic activity in the world's second-largest economy could boost demand for oil.
In the U.S., corporate reporting season began with better-than-expected results. That helped lift stock markets and energy prices followed.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 89 cents to $112.65 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

ExxonMobil Joins Majors in South Africa

Battling declining production, US energy super giant ExxonMobil is taking on South Africa, a rising offshore venue, where it will acquire a 75% stake in the Tugela South Exploration Right.
Exxon Mobil is acquiring the Tugela concession from London-based Impact Oil & Gas Ltd, and will control operations in the area. The Tugela concession covers 2.8 million deep-water acres (6,500 feet) off the country’s east coast. Additional exploration rights tied to the concession cover some 16 million offshore acres.

Exxon Mobil will also have the exclusive rights to study another deep-water area, the 12.4 million-acre Durban Basin for one year, with the possibility to extend.

It’s Exxon’s first foray into South Africa, where it will join the likes of Shell and Anadarko Petroleum. Shell has some 24 million acres off the coast of western South Africa, and is currently collecting seismic data in the Orange Basin, with a drilling decision expected next year.

South Africa has proven reserves of around 15 million barrels, most of which is offshore in the Bredasdorp basin (south) and off the western coast near its border with Namibia. The country also has an estimated 485 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, primarily in the Karoo Basin, while conventional natural gas reserves are limited and declining.

In terms of refining, South Africa’s capacity is impressive, handling about 703,000 bbl/d, rivaled in Africa only by Egypt. A new refinery is also underway to handle heavy crudes.

The most attractive thing about South Africa is that it’s been under-explored, at least offshore, and under-developed in terms of onshore shale in the Karoo Basin.

Two women jailed 3 years for illegal bunkering in Delta

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has sentenced two women, Helen Itemba and Aladini Money, to three years imprisonment for illegal dealings in petroleum products.
The convicts, who were prosecuted by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, were found guilty on the two count charges preferred against them and convicted accordingly. The court sentenced them to a three-year jail term on each count with an option of N300, 000 fine.
The convicts illegally conveyed 136 plastic drums of petroleum products in a truck at Egbidi, Isoko Local Government Area of Delta State, in 2009 without a licence and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2007 and punishable under section 1(17) of the same Act.
They were arrested in May, 2009 by operatives of Delta State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, along with the truck conveying 136 plastic drums of petroleum products driven by one John Ufo and his co-travellers.
They were handed over to EFCC for investigation and prosecution.

Power Generation: FG Targets 10,000MW by Fourth Quarter

The Federal Government yesterday said that it plans to grow Nigeria’s power generation capacity to 10,000MW by the fourth quarter of 2013.
In a presentation on the power sector made in Abuja to the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP), the Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, said the government plans to achieve the 10,000MW target by diversifying Nigeria’s energy mix to include other renewable sources of energy.
She however did not give a breakdown on the amount of electricity that will be generated from the various renewable energy sources available to Nigeria. Nigeria currently generates and distributes 4,517.6MW of electricity, meaning that an extra 5,482.4MW would have to be generated to meet the 10,000MW target by the fourth quarter.

Explosion Rocks MRS Oil Barge

A petrol barge belonging to MRS Oil and Gas cut fire and exploded at the company’s main depot in Tin Can Island Area of Lagos. No fewer than six persons were injured.
Before it was gutted by fire, the barge, with registration number ST 215 was the biggest of all the barges the company used to store petroleum products when a big vessel discharged products into the terminal.
No death was officially reported by the company but about six men, who were involved in the offloading suffered severe burns.The explosion, which sounded like earthquake, shook the whole of Apapa and shattered the windows of the terminal building, about 50 metres, away.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered a probe of the explosion.
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi who handed over the order while on visit to the scene of the blast said a full investigation would enable the authority to ascertain the cause of the blast.
Abdullahi announced that the probe into the cause of the incident would be conducted by the authority’s Health Safety and Environment Department in conjunction with Marine and Fire Service to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the incident.
He appealed to all stakeholders especially port users to go about their normal business activities as the blast has not in any way affected port operations.