Market Report: U.S. imposes new economic sanctions on Iran
On Tuesday 8th May, Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed that despite being the market leader in the sector, NNPC’s downstream subsidiary, NNPC Retail Limited now holds 14% of the share of petroleum products retail business in Nigeria and will establish more mega stations in the country. Baru stated that NNPC Retail Limited is in the process of identifying the areas where such stations will be economically viable. He also explained that NNPC Retail would also continue to set up standard stations that would fit into the domains where they operate. Baru also implored the management of NNPC Retail to focus on its non-fuel products and services, particularly those with the potential to make a lot of profit.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, while on a working visit to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) commended the DPR for its digital technological breakthrough in crude oil accounting through the deployment of the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) platform. Kachikwu lauded the foresight and leadership of the DPR Director, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, in setting up the NPMS platform to track crude oil production real-time, thereby dispelling allegations that Nigeria fails to track the exact quantity of crude oil being produced and exported by the country. The NPMS system is set up to achieve a robust data bank for timely information and easy retrieval, improved transparency in hydrocarbon accounting, improved revenue generation from hydrocarbon production and export, accurate hydrocarbon data (production and export) monitoring, and consistent high-quality data publication. The system is linked to the 26 export terminals nationwide and provides a field operators portal for submission of production figures by operators. Kachikwu stated that all major stakeholders in the country, including the Presidency and the National Assembly, will have access to the platform real time to enable alignment of production figures by all stakeholders.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has announced plans to construct a natural gas mega-hub project. The gas mega-hub will consist of interlinked production, aggregation, and processing facilities offshore and onshore, which will tie into existing facilities.
The project which is led by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) in collaboration with oil and gas companies will implement its first phase by signing a new gas supply agreement between the MMH and Noble Energy, operator of the Aseng and Alen fields in Block I/O. The gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which includes the Malabo power station, AMPCO methanol plant, and Equatorial Guinea LNG plant.
The agreement, combined with new subsea pipelines linking the Aseng, Alen, and Alba fields, will replace declining Alba field production. The new gas mega-hub will link into other existing and future gas projects and maximize the gas infrastructure of Equatorial Guinea and potentially that of the neighbouring states. This will, in turn, reduce dependency on single upstream projects for industrial development and will allow gas to be directed to where the value is greatest.
On Thursday 10th May, oil prices continued to climb higher notching another three-and-a-half-year peak as escalating geopolitical tensions in the Middle East cast further uncertainty about supply disruptions from the region. The U.S West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose by 61 cents at $71.75 a barrel at 4:10 AM ET (08:10 GMT), while the ICE Futures Exchange in London Brent crude futures rose by 67 cents at $77.88 a barrel. The U.S Energy Information Administration weekly report for Wednesday 9th May showed a fall in crude oil inventories by 2.2 million barrels and an all-time high domestic oil production of 10.70 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week ending May 4. Only Russia currently produces more at around 11 million bpd.
Oil prices rallied sharply after U.S. President Donald Trump walked away from an international nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed “the highest level of economic sanctions” against the country. Some analysts have said the reinstatement of sanctions could lead to tighter global oil supplies as they make it more difficult for Iran to export oil. Iran, which is a major Middle East oil producer and member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), resumed its role as a major oil exporter in January 2016 when international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.