Dr. Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), announced a partnership with the African Union of Transportation and Logistics Organization to halt incidents of cross-border leakages of petroleum products. Smuggling of petroleum products remains a blight in the nation’s fuel supply and distribution matrix. Dr. Baru noted that the collaboration rid the West African corridor of other vices that are associated with the illicit fuel smuggling business.
Dr. Baru also charged the regional transportation union to ensure that its members comply with extant laws and regulations on speed limits, the axial weight of haulage tankers and other sundry regulations necessary to ensure the safety of highways across the African terrain. He explained that the NNPC was open to new areas of mutual collaboration with the organization. Dr. Baru called on transportation union members to take full advantage of NNPC’s vast business portfolio and strategic position in the West African sub-region and beyond, to expand business interest and areas of cooperation.
On Monday, Geoscience Company, CGG, announced that it is extending its offshore Gabon data collection via a new 2D seismic survey in an unexplored Deepwater area of Gabon’s South Basin.
According to the company, the 6,089-mile (9,800 km) long-offset 2D survey builds on the success of a 9,653 m2 (25,000 km2 )3D survey that led to the recent Boudji-1 and Ivela-1 oil discoveries. The firm noted that a subset of the data over the offered license blocks will be available prior to Gabon’s 12th offshore licensing round, which is expected to occur in June 2019. The new 2D data will help define the full extent of existing and new plays in the region.
Sophie Zurquiyah, CEO of CGG, also stated that it will “aid in understanding the thickness variations in the sediment overburden for source rock and maturity analysis. This survey marks a continuation of our long-term successful partnership with the Gabonese Republic’s Ministry of Petroleum and Hydrocarbons to support and promotes the potential of Gabon’s deep waters.”
Gabon and its southern neighbour, Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), are holding ongoing bidding rounds for oil and gas acreage to help solidify Africa’s distinction as ‘the world’s new exploration hotspot,’ the African Energy Chamber stated in a preview of 2019 energy trends for the continent.
With both countries struggling to implement new hydrocarbons codes, the success of these rounds will tell if investors have been convinced by policy reforms over the past two years.
On Thursday, oil prices steadied but concerns over global growth and a sharp rise in U.S. stocks kept the market under pressure. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude prices were up slightly, trading 0.27% higher at $52.76 a barrel at 11:15 AM ET (15:15 GMT), while Brent crude futures extended losses, falling 0.61% at $60.77.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in its weekly report showed a rise in crude oil inventories by 7.97 million barrels in the week ending January 18th, compared to forecasts for a stockpile draw of 42,000 barrels, after a decline of 2.683 million barrels in the previous week.
Oil prices have been under pressure as the prospects of future oil demand are getting clouded by the global growth worries. On Monday 21 January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2019 and 2020 global growth forecasts, citing multiple threats including a bigger-than-expected slowdown in China and the risks of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
China reported that its 2018 economic growth dropped to its slowest pace in nearly three decades. The data added to concerns that a widespread economic slowdown would dent growth in demand for fuel and affect energy prices. Also, the market focused on speculation that the Trump administration was considering sanctions against Venezuelan oil. Bloomberg reported the U.S. had drafted a slate of potential restrictions on Venezuelan crude exports, but hasn’t decided whether to deploy them. It added that the crisis in Caracas could expedite OPEC’s goals of balancing the supply-demand in oil and boosting crude prices or risk market havoc. Although the sharp reduction in output agreed by OPEC members and its allies has served to support crude prices, investors are concerned that rising production in the U.S. will confound attempts to reduce the global supply glut.