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Nigeria Caves in, Returns to Subsidy of Gasoline Consumption

By the Editorial Board of Africa Oil+Gas Report

The Nigerian government has reneged on its decision to remove subsidy on gasoline consumption. Following from stringent complaints by the country’s organized labour, the government ruled that the pump price of the product, as of December 8, 2020, which was calculated based on market forces, be reviewed downwards.

The announcement effectively reversed a policy that was informally announced with fanfare by the NNPC in early April 2020, and confirmed the worst expectations of avid callers of petrol price deregulation. The declaration of Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, that the Nigerian government had “reduced the pump price of premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol from ₦168 per litre to 162.44 per litre effective from December 14, 2020”, is a major reversal of a victory that the proponents of reforms in the pricing of energy, thought they had won. The government’s statement, ordering a reduction in price, by fiat, undermines any goal of plugging the Two Trillion Naira annual revenue hole that gasoline subsidy had become.

It also increases the risk profile of, any investment in the gasoline part of the hydrocarbon value chain which had been based on the promise, last April, that “subsidy of gasoline prices was gone forever”.

The April 2020 announcement of subsidy removal had come at a time of abysmally low crude oil prices, so that market fundamentals simply led to a reduction in pump prices at the time. As crude oil price is directly correlatable to pump price of gasoline, it had always been a point of argument, that the government might not be able to sustain the subsidy removal whenever crude oil prices moved to higher grounds. This is what has been proven with Mr. Ngige’s declaration.

In the unfortunate case of Nigeria, at the moment, gasoline is imported, so the landing cost is partly determined by the Naira -Dollar exchange, which has, in the past one month, worsened for the Naira. That has meant that even if crude oil prices had not increased, the pump price of gasoline would have kept increasing-if subsidy removal was maintained-as a result of downward pressure on the local currency. But on top of the foreign exchange crisis, an upward movement of crude oil prices has now crept in, ensuring that market-determine gasoline price is moving skywards. With an artificial cap of pump price of gasoline at ₦162.44, and the government lacking courage to move away from price control, Nigeria is unlikely, any time soon, to adjust to whatever prices are dictated by the market, especially now that crude oil prices are likely to keep trending up, even if modestly.

This means that the chronically indebted petro state will open another file in its growing debt profile; it will have to find a way of paying the subsidy it has now introduced by this cap in price.

It is not the most optimal way for the country to manage its revenue at this point in time.


Cameroon Makes Steady Returns from Crude Export Pipeline

Cameroon received $57Million (or XAF30.71Billion) as transit fees from January 1 to October31, 2020 on the Chad –Cameroon oil pipeline.

The 1,070 kilometre evacuation facility, which pumps crude oil from three fields in the southwest of landlocked Chad to a floating facility 11 km off the Cameroon coast town of Kribi, has been delivering returns to Cameroon since first oil was achieved in 2003.

Cameroon’s Pipeline Steering and Monitoring Committee (PSMC), reports that the revenue is up by 2.5% year-on-year. Over the same period in 2019, the country collected $55Million (XAF29.97Billion) as transit fees.

PSMC reports that 39.91Million barrels of crude oil were transported from the Komé-Kribi terminal in southern Cameroon in the first 10 months of the 2020 fiscal year, compared with 38.79Million barrels during the same period in 2019. This represents an increase of 3%.  

“This improvement is the result of increased production from new shippers in Chad, namely PétroChad Mangara, China International Petroleum Company Inc. Chad and Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

The construction of the pipeline was led by ExxonMobil in the early 200s. But the American major has since exited Chad. 

 


Cameroon Will Import 120,000Metric Tons of LPG in 2021

Cameroon has issued a call for tenders for the importation of 120,000 metric tons (MT) of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for 2021.

The Commission in charge of petroleum product imports-CIPP) asked companies with authorization to import the products to submit bids that will ensure the government’s approval of their importation.

The bids will be opened on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at the Hydrocarbon Price Stabilization Fund’s (CSPH) headquarters in Yaoundé.

The volume to be imported is 4% higher than the 115,000metrric tons of LPG, imported into the country in 2019.

In that year, the National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH) produced only 20,000MT of LPG for the local market. So the imported volume is about six times the local production.

The product will be imported in three batches: 60,000 MT, 35,000 MT, and 25,000 MT.

Okie Johnson Ndoh, President of the CIPP, says the 120,000 MT to be imported will cover the country’s needs in the 2021 fiscal year.

 


South African Criminals Mimic Nigerian Oil Pipeline Vandals

South African criminal gangs have begun to do what Nigerian vandals have been doing for three decades.

They drill holes in pipelines and siphon fuels.

Organised syndicates stole 10Million litres of fuel in the past year in South Africa, according to a report by the Sunday Times of Johannesburg. They siphoned off fuel, in some cases into their own tankers – that are valued at around $60Million (or R1Billion) per year.

The gangs achieved this by targeting pieces of Transnet’s 3,800km underground pipelines, which transport petrol, diesel, gas, crude oil, and aviation fuel across the country.

Transnet is S.A’s state-owned logistics company. It runs the rail system; it operates the ports and builds and manages the petroleum pipeline system in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

For close watchers of the Nigerian oil industry, the petroleum theft story from elsewhere feels eerily familiar. Crude oil theft in Nigeria rose steadily in the ten years from 2007 and 2017 and peaked between 2011 and 2014; with some estimates indicating that up to $15.9Billion was lost in 2014 alone. It has grown from a localised, small scale activity into a multi-million-dollar illegal industry with many complicit stakeholders. But crude oil theft in Nigeria is different from petroleum product theft, which is just about everywhere along the state hydrocarbon company NNPC’s pipeline right of way. In Nigeria, petroleum product theft involves more than criminal gangs. It is routine.

South Africa’s Trasnet’s network of pipelines pumped 17,825 Million Metric Tonnes of products in 2019.

To put in context, Transnet’s pipeline revenue increased by 17.2% to $319Million (R5.3Billion) in 2019 (2018: $271Million (or R4,5Billion)), due mainly to the regulatory agency’s decision to increase the 2018/19 tariff for petroleum transportation. This means that the value of the theft is around 20% of the revenue accruing to the pipelines

The Sunday Times report notes, exasperatedly: “So brazen are the thieves, who have their own tanker trucks to transport the stolen product that in one case they reacted a shack on a farm where a pipeline passes and punched a hole into it to help themselves”

Transnet says it is working with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (“Hawks”), National Crime Intelligence and SAPS and that the effort is “generating positive results with a number of breakthroughs in the form of arrests as well as the impounding of vehicles and fuel tankers, being recorded”.

The thefts are not good for branding for Transnet, which fancies itself as Positioning Pipelines as an international best-in-class pipeline operator and offering subject matter expertise in the pipeline arena

Its also bad at a time when Transnet is investing in more infrastructure to take advantage of the deliveries from the pipelines. The company says in its report that it invested $5.7Million (R95Million) last year in firefighting upgrades at Pipelines to ensure stringent compliance to safety standards and regulations; and $5.9Million (R99Million) IN the multi-product pipeline towards the construction of tanks.

Another reason to be worried about petroleum product theft: last year, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) increased the Pipelines’ allowable revenue (AR) by 7.69% for the

2020 financial year. This translates into an 11% increase in the Durban to Alrode tariff for the 2020 financial year.

 


78 Companies Bid to Repair and Operate Nigeria’s Downstream Infrastructure

Seventy-eight (78) companies submitted virtual bids to rehabilitate critical downstream pipelines, associated depots and terminal infrastructure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through the Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), the company reports.

On bid are 5,120 kilometres of pipelines, traversing the entire country, with two coastal depots in Lagos, in the west and Calabar in the east.

The pipelines have been subjected to many cycles of vandalism for scores of years, and the depots have suffered from poor maintenance. There are 17 other depots around the country, all of them linked to the pipeline network, but they are not up for bid.

The losses from vandalized pipelines and rusted depots have manifested as a “fuel tanker crisis” in the country, as fuel laden tankers, playing the role of virtual pipelines, clog the highways and render the routes to the Lagos port difficult to access.  As the losses have been charged to the National Treasury, the state hydrocarbon firm has frequently faced strident criticism for not privatizing these facilities. NNPC has, however, always resisted any sale of its equity in any asset, let alone go the full hug of privatization.

Those who win the bids “will fund these pipelines, they will construct them, they will operate them with us and then ultimately they will fully recover their investment from the tariff which we will pay for using these pipelines and as soon as they recover their cost and their margin, they will hand over these assets back to us,” declared Mele Kolo Kyari, NNPC’s Group Managing Director.

The final partners of the bid opening will be selected by the end of the first quarter of 2021, Kyari explained.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Petroci in League with Sahara for a $43Million LPG Project

Sahara Energy Logistics Holding Limited (A Sahara Group company) and  Société Nationale d’Opérations Pétrolières de la Cote d’Ivoire (The National Oil Company of Cote d’ivoire, Petroci Holding), have entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) to facilitate the construction of a 12,000 Metric Tonnes Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage facility to guarantee LPG supply security in the nation.

The cost of the project is estimated at $43Million and will be executed in two phases, with commissioning scheduled for November 2021 and October 2022 respectively.

Incorporated as SAPET Energy S.A., the joint venture company will handle the construction, operation, and maintenance of the ultra-modern LPG storage terminal. “Upon completion, the facility will become the largest of its kind is Sub-Saharan Africa”, Sahara’s spokesman, Bethel Obioma, claims in a release, “and more importantly, support the government’s efforts to meet Cote d’Ivoire’s growing LPG demand”.

The challenge with Obioma’s claim is that there are facilities with similar size in Nigeria currently and a raft of construction of larger sized LPG terminals in the country, is on course for commencement before the end of 2021.

However, Ibrahima Diaby, Director General, Petroci, said of the SAPET project: “this joint venture project is the first of its kind in Cote d’Ivoire and will serve as a model for other projects in the energy sector. It is a historic event that will pave the way for a robust and seamless storage, distribution, and supply of LPG. This translates to more clean energy, growth, and productivity in Cote d’Ivoire. We are delighted and look forward to more collaboration with Sahara Energy.”

“We are excited about the project and the huge opportunity it will confer on Cote d’ Ivoire as the leading LPG hub in the sub-region”, commented Olayemi Odutola, Country Manager, Sahara Energy.

 


Jet Fuel Demand Will Be Harder Hit Than Other Premium Fuels

The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is hitting Jet Fuels far much more than it does Road Fuels.

Total global demand for road fuels will fall by 10.1% in 2020, or by 4.8MillionBPD year-on-year. The Rystad estimates Road fuel demand in 2019 to have been 47.4MillionBPD. It now sees this number dropping to about 42.6MillionBPD in 2020.

But the Norwegian conslutancy expects jet fuel will be hit the hardest. We expect global commercial air traffic will fall by at least 51% this year versus the levels seen in 2019, which we estimate stood at around 99,700 flights per day. For 2021, we expect around 76,800 flights per day. These numbers will be revised as operators continue to cut routes.

Many distressed airlines are facing heavy cost cuts and are laying off unprecedented numbers of employees as many non-essential routes are closed.

As a base case we now assume that the common summer air travel peak will not occur at all this year. We see global jet fuel demand falling by almost 41.4% year-on-year, or by at least 3MillionBPD. Last year’s demand for jet fuel was about 7.2MillionBPD.

Jet fuel demand in April was as low as 2.9 MillionBPD, and shrank further to 2.8Million BPD in May 2020.

In 2021, jet fuel demand is expected to average 6.1MillionBPD


Recovery of US Gasoline Demand Stalls..Will Affect Crude Prices – IHS Markit

Demand fell back during last full week of August resulting in volumes for the month down 18% compared to last year

The recovery in U.S. gasoline consumption has plateaued as the summer driving season comes to an end and the school year begins for wide swaths of the country.

Latest data by OPIS, an IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) company shows that demand actually fell 1.9% during the last full week of August from the previous week. The four-week rolling average for the period ending August 29th now shows demand resting at 18.2% below prior year levels.

U.S. gasoline sales had improved rapidly from May to early July following the collapse in early April that came with the national shutdown, when sales were 50% below prior year levels. But the recovery had begun to sputter even before demand slipped backwards in that final week of August.

“The plateauing in demand is a symptom of the continuing aggressiveness of the coronavirus and is telling us that it will take longer to get back to normal,” said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman, IHS Markit and author of The New Map.

The most recent OPIS survey now suggests that the post-COVID peak for U.S. volumes occurred during the week ending August 15th at 7.844 million barrels per day—15.4% below prior year levels.

The coming months typically bring a seasonal reduction in demand from the high points of the summer driving season. For the years 2017-2019 the average drop in U.S. gasoline demand from August to October has been on the order of 5 to 10%.

“Aside from the potential for a short-lived bump in demand from the Labor Day weekend, history suggests that the end of the U.S. driving season inevitably brings lower demand for gasoline thanks to shorter days, less vacations and more inclement weather,” said Fred Rozell, president of OPIS. “Now that those prime driving days are behind us, we are likely to settle into a prolonged pause in the demand recovery.”

OPIS DemandPro tracks actual weekly same-store gasoline consumption volumes at over 15,000 stations, aggregated on a national, regional and state level. This allows users to track and benchmark industry trends for overall retail gasoline sales.

The OPIS survey—tracking actual gallons out of retail stations—shows greater demand losses than recent figures reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on account of different methodology, that EIA measures movement of gasoline from primary stocks rather than actual consumption at stations.

The latest OPIS report for the week of August 29th shows demand losses in every portion of the country over the prior year period.

  • The Mid-Continent region posted the most moderate decline, down 17.44%
  • The Southeast registered the sharpest declines, down 27.1%, but that was due to big volumes last year due to pre-hurricane buying. Florida showed an even larger year-on-year differential of 35% for the same reason.
  • The Pacific Coast was off 24.4%. Year-on-year through-puts in the region never got better than 20% off from 2019 levels.
  • The Northeast had seen its year-on-year consumption differential whittle down to within 16% of 2019 levels, but the past two weeks were weaker, and the gap widened back to 20% this past week.

“The data points to a challenging environment for refiners and marketers in the remainder of 2020,” Rozell said. “Cheap gas prices relative to the past 16 years will help curb some of the demand destruction, but retailers will have to adjust to shifting habits as consumers likely make fewer visits to traditional stations for fill-ups in favor of more ‘aggregated trips’ to supermarkets and big boxes chains that also sell fuel.”

OPIS DemandPro updates gasoline retail sales every week.

 


Kenya Hops on the Subsidy Highway for Petroleum Products

Kenya, a non-hydrocarbon producing country, is tinkering with the subsidy initiative, to cushion effects on motorists whenever there is a high spike in the cost of petroleum products.

A subsidiary legislation, currently under review in the country’s parliament, grants powers to the Petroleum Cabinet secretary to pump in money from a subsidy fund to product suppliers to cut fuel prices and cushion motorists from sharp spikes

The subsidy will be supported by money that will be raised from fuel consumers through the Petroleum Development Levy, which was increased in mid July 2020 to $0.05 (or Sh5.40) a litre of fuel from $0.0036 (Sh0.40), a 1,250% rise.

“The Cabinet Secretary may by writing to the administrator, request for a draw down from the Petroleum Development Levy Fund to stabilise local petroleum prices where he deems necessary,” the Legislation says.

So, in a way, the subsidy is not coming from the treasury, rather, from funds that motorists themselves have contributed. This is the difference with the fuel subsidies in Egypt and Nigeria.

Fuel prices I Kenya ratcheted up to a 13 year high as the surge in Petroleum Development Levy, coalesced with increase in crude oil prices.

From mid-July, Motorists in Nairobi started paying  $0.85 (Sh91.87) per litre of diesel from $0.69 (Sh74.57, representing a $0.16 (Sh17.30) increase, and $0.105 (Sh11.38) more for a litre of super petrol at $0.92 (Sh100.48)..

The Cabinet Secretary (Kenya’s title for minister) will determine the amount of subsidy fuel consumers will be offered when prices rise by large margins.

 


NCDMB Invests in Energy Park, Oil Blending Plant

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has signed equity investment agreements with two companies-Duport Midstream Company for the establishment of an Energy Park in Egbokor, in the country’s midwest and Eraskon Nigeria Limited, for a lubricating oils blending plant in Gbarain, in Nigeria’s south central east.

The planned Energy Park comprises a 2,500BPD modular refinery, as well as a thirty million standard cubic feet of gas a day (30MMscf/d) gas processing facility, which will include a CNG facility and 2MW power plant.

The lubricating oils’ blending plant will have the capacity to produce 45,000litres per day and enhance the availability of engine oils, transmission fluids, grease and other products.

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary NCDMB, explained that the investments were part of the approvals granted recently by the Board’s Governing Council chaired by Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, He clarified that the investments were coming under the Board’s commercial ventures programme and were in sync with the NCDMB’s vision to serve as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.

The Duport partnership, Wabote indicated, is in furtherance of the Board’s strategy to enhance in-country value addition by supporting the establishment of processing facilities close to marginal or stranded hydrocarbon fields.

NCDMB has already had partnered with the Waltersmith Group and Azikel Petroleum Company for the establishment of modular refineries in Imo State and Bayelsa State respectively.

 

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