All posts tagged featured


Chevron Advances Process of OMLs 86 and 88 Sale

The sale of 40% equity held by Chevron on Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 86 and 88, is in top gear. Companies who have shown interest in acquiring the asset are expected to make full disclosure of their financial and operating capacities by the end of April 2020.

OMLs 86 and 86 are located in shallow waters at the mouth of the current Niger Delta Basin.

OML 86 contains the Apoi fields; the largest being North Apoi.

It also holds Funiwa , Sengana and Okubie fields. One recent discovery: Buko, straddles Shell Nigeria operated OPL 286 and is either on trend with, or even on the same structure as the HB field in OPL 286. OML 88 holds the Pennington and the Middleton fields, as well as the undeveloped condensate discovery, Chioma field.

If Chevron manages to sell off its holdings in OMLs 86 and 88, it would have disposed off all the legacy shallow water assets it acquired when it purchased Texaco in 1999.

Between 2013 and 2015, Chevron sold its stakes in OMLs 83 and 85, both of them former Texaco Nigeria assets.

It’s instructive, then, that Chevron’s largest producing asset in Nigeria, the Agbami field, was “inherited” in  that same turn- of –the- century merger with Texaco; this deepwater field alone produces 165,000BOPD, more than a third of Chevron’s total operated crude oil production in Nigeria.

 


VFuels wins bid for a Modular Refinery FEED in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, supported by its strategic partner Marathon Oil Corp., has awarded VFuels Oil & Gas Engineering (VFuels) the feasibility study for the construction of a modular refinery in Punta Europa, Malabo.

The study will include the engineering and design of a 5,000Barrels Stream PerDay (BSPD) modular refinery to supply refined products for the country’s domestic consumption. The study is expected to be delivered within 12 weeks of the contract’s signature.

Equatorial Guinea is seeking investments for a modular refinery in the continental region, storage tanks and the promotion of other projects derived from methanol, among others, according to a government statement.

“This is an important step when it comes to implementing this project with an important goal to prevent stock outs, and provide refined products of higher quality to economic operators and the general public,” stated Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The experience and track record of VFuels in engineering and design of modular refineries at an international level, could be beneficial to this project and Equatorial Guinea.”

The award follows up a meeting in January between President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Mr. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Marathon Oil Chairman, President and CEO Lee Tillman and Executive Vice President Mitch Little, during which Marathon Oil reiterated its commitment to Equatorial Guinea and towards the development of the country’s Gas Mega Hub. Marathon Oil had then declared its support to construct a modular refinery in Punta Europa by undertaking a conceptual study on the Ministry’s behalf.

Both parties had also agreed to immediately commence feasibility studies related to methanol to gasoline and other methanol derivatives, in coordination with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons.


Sonangol Begins Second Round of Sale of Equity

Angola’s state hydrocarbon copay Sonangol has launched the second round of its widely anticipated international pubic bid for the sale of its stakes in 52 companies.

Nine companies are up for grabs in this tranche, three more than the six that were involved in the tender launched in January 2020.

The companies include Petromar, where it is divesting 30%; Sonatide Marine Limited, and Sonatde Marine Angola Limitada, 51%; Sonamet Industrial S. A and Sonacergy Services and Oil Construction Limited, 40%.

Sonangol will divest 33% from each of Paenal-Porto Amboim Shipyard and SBM Shpyard. It will sell 30% of Sonadiets Limitad and Sonadiets Services SA.

The companies for sale this time are all involved in oil and gas operations, whereas those in the January 2020 tender are enterprises in non-oil and gas functions

Bidders are expected to submit qualification documents to the Negotiation Committee for the Process of Disposal of Sonangol’s Quota in Mineral Resources and Petroleum Segment.

They are required to present a provisional bond and a value raging from $7000 to $15,000  or equivalent in Kwanzas, based on the existing foreign exchange rate.

The tender is being conducted under the terms of the country’s Public Procurement Law and applications will start to be received in mid May 2020.

 

 


TOTAL Swallows Tullow A whole in Uganda

The drawn-out deal is concluded at $2 per barrel

French major TOTAL and Irish independent Tullow have entered into an Agreement, through which TOTAL shall acquire Tullow’s entire interests in the Uganda Lake Albert development project, including the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The overall consideration paid by TOTAL to Tullow will be $575Million, with an initial payment of $500Million at closing and $75Million when the partners take the Final Investment Decision to launch the project. In addition, conditional payments will be made to Tullow linked to production and oil price, which will be triggered when Brent prices are above $62/bbl. The terms of the transaction have been discussed with the relevant Ugandan Government and Tax Authorities and agreement in principle has been reached on the tax treatment of the transaction.

Under the terms of the deal, TOTAL will acquire all of Tullow’s existing 33.3334% stake in each of the Lake Albert project licenses EA1, EA1A, EA2 and EA3A and the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) System.

The transaction is subject to the approval of Tullow’s shareholders, to customary regulatory and government approvals and to CNOOC’s right to exercise pre-emption on 50% of the transaction. “We are pleased to announce that a new agreement has been reached with Tullow to acquire their entire interests in the Lake Albert development project for less than 2$/bbl in line with our strategy of acquiring long-term resources at low cost, and that we have an agreement with the Uganda government on the fiscal framework,” said Patrick Pouyanné, TOTAL’s Chairman and CEO. “This acquisition will enable us, together with our partner CNOOC, to now move the project forward toward FID, driving costs down to deliver a robust long-term project.”


Shell at the Brink: Never Let A Good Crisis Go to Waste

By Gerard Kreeft

Since April 1 2020 Elisabeth Brinton was appointed Executive Vice President of Shell’s New Energies business, steering the company’s work in power, renewables and lower-carbon technology. According to her Linked-In site, ”this role covers Shell’s work in wind and solar, new mobility options such as electric vehicle charging, and laying the foundation for an integrated lower-carbon power business” .
Brinton is a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur and utility industry veteran… She joined Shell in 2018 from AGL Energy, Australia’s largest integrated energy company, where she was Executive Vice President, New Energy.  She “helped to increase adoption of renewable energy, build the world’s first residential virtual power plant and grow and sell a profitable smart metering business”. Brinton also
was previously the Corporate Strategy Officer for PG&E Corporation, the US utility company that specialises in renewables, customer solar, energy efficiency and electric mobility.

She has a monumental task of developing Shell’s renewable energy strategy. The situation is grim, especially from a shareholder’s perspective. Shell’s share  price has plummeted. Earnings season is fast approaching and shareholders are anticipating their golden share dividend. Not since WWII has Shell reneged paying out such a dividend. Will it be able to continue this tradition?

The signs are not good. Shell’s cash deficit between 2010 and the 3rd Quarter of 2019 was $22.9Billion, based on a study released by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The other majors- BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TOTAL- included had similar cash deficits. In total more than $200Billion! With a continued lower oil price, the future scenarios are bleak.

Shell plans to invest $2 – $3Billion a year on its power and low-carbon business compared with an overall spending budget of $30Billion per year between 2021 and 2025.

Prior to the current oil and gas crisis BloombergNEF estimated that investments in renewable energy in the period 2010-2019 was $2.6Trillion. Through 2025, $322Billion per annum would be spent, almost triple the $116Billion invested in fossil fuels. With most E &P budgets locked down future investments in the oil and gas sector look grim.

If there ever is a motivation to move on and recognize that renewables are the new boys on the block the time is now. To think that Shell, who are doing symbolic spending on renewables will survive is also an illusion. Shell continues to give a gold dividend and this will be paid for by debt financing, i.e. redundancies and the selling of more assets. In the meantime the share price continues to sink like a stone.

If you make a net comparison between Orsted, the Danish the Offshore Wind Farm giant and Shell then the following:

Shell’s latest share price (6 April 2020) was US$ 39

In May 2018 the share hit a high of $70

In other words, the share has lost almost half of its value.

Orsted’s share price on April 6, 2020 was $108

Orsted’s share price on July 1, 2016 was $35

In this period of time the share price has tripled, while Shell’s share lost almost 50% of its value.

True the Shell share continues to give shareholders a golden dividend of some 6%. Orsted for the last 4 years has only had a dividend of 1.68%.

Yet the true investment return must surely be seen in the spectacular and continued rise of the Orsted share which has tripled and has only had a small blimp in the current economic crisis. How long can Shell  afford this current policy? Simply throwing money at it will not solve the problem. What is missing is a strategic vision…and simply appointing a new EVP for Renewable Energy is too little too late. Shell can possibly choose two options:

Continue on its present course paying out its current dividend and financing this through assets sales and redundancies; or

Become a truly dedicated energy company increasing its new energy budget five-fold to at least $10- 15Billion per year. At the same time decrease the dividend and ensure that the Shell share can gain a true value. Ensuring true shareholder value will depend on creating a renewable business model that meets the requirements of todays’ shareholders.

P.S.

Since this article was written, Shell has announced its commitment to take significant additional action on climate change, including a commitment to achieve net zero emissions. There’s no clarity, however, on how that commitment is tied to day to day business.

Gerard Kreeft, BA (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA ) and  MA (Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), Energy Transition Adviser, was founder and owner of EnergyWise.  He has managed and implemented energy conferences, seminars and master classes in Alaska, Angola, Brazil, Canada, India, Libya, Kazakhstan, Russia and throughout Europe. He writes on a regular basis for Africa Oil +Gas Report.


AfDB Is Not Supporting the East African Crude Oil Project

The African Development Bank has refuted the claims in a news article that it plans to provide financial support to the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project.

It doesn’t name the medium, nor cite the headline, but says it “strongly refutes the claims in the misleading article, which references a letter by a group of civil society organizations and climate change advocates asking the institution to withdraw from the project due to its potential social and environmental damage”.

The facts, according to AfDB:

  1. The NEPAD Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has not provided financing to any Private Sector Company for upstream oil or gas pipeline projects in East Africa.
  2. No commitment was therefore made to any party to fund the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project. The project is not included in the Bank’s lending programme.
  3. The Bank is strongly committed to renewable energies.

Then the bank beats its chest

“It is important to point out that the African Development Bank Group has for more than a decade played a leading role in crafting policies and delivering investments that promote sustainable development practices on the continent, including climate adaptation and resilience.

“The Bank is committed to facilitating the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient development in African countries across all its operational priority areas”.

 


MOMAN Outlines Agenda to Take Nigeria Out of ‘Subsidy Trap’

Nigeria’s petroleum product marketers, under the aegis of Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), have outlined a comprehensive agenda to take the nation out of the gasoline subsidy regime, which cost around $2Billion to service in the last one year.

The roadmap contains five clear messages, starting with the government divesting  the power to increase or decrease  petroleum prices, and including calls for annulling the Price Equalization Fund (PEF), discontinuation of Direct sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)  programme, amending the law setting up the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and inaugurating an open access to foreign exchange to all petroleum product importers.

This radical blueprint of reforms, from one of the several stakeholders in Nigeria’s downstream sector, is contained in a statement by Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman of MOMAN.

In it, the association requests:

  • A fundamental and radical change in legislation is necessary. The clear and obvious risk is that the country has never been able to increase pump prices under the PPPRA Act, leading to high and unsustainable subsidies and depriving other key sectors of the economy of necessary funds.
  • Purchase costs and open market sales prices for petroleum products should not be fixed but monitored against anticompetitive and antitrust abuses by the already established competition commission and subject to its clearly stated rules and regulations.
  • A level playing field. Everybody should have access to foreign exchange at competitive rates to be able to import and sell petrol at a pump price taking its landing and distribution costs into consideration.
  • Discontinuation of the Direct sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP)  programme. All foreign exchange proceeds from all sales of crude be paid into the same pool from which all importers can access foreign exchange at the same rate.”
  • The Price Equalization Fund mechanism should be discontinued and its law repealed as the cost of administration of equalization has become too high and the unequal application of payments by marketers distorts the market and creates market inequities and unfair competition. Internal equalization has been the practice with diesel distribution and sales since 2010 when diesel was fully deregulated.
  • The pricing system should allow internal equalisation by marketers which would be both competitive and equitable.
  • Fuel import should enjoy priority access in allocation of foreign exchange, again through a transparent auditable and audited process of open bidding. Conditions for accessing foreign exchange should be streamlined and specific delays before access imposed unilaterally on the downstream oil industry should be discontinued as being inequitable.”

MOMAN said it was stating its position, in the context of the announcement by Timipre  Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, that the government would implement a policy of “price modulation”, which means, in MOMAN’s view, that the state will give effect to existing legislation enabling it to set prices in line with market realities through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) as provided in its Act.

“The clear and obvious risk is that the country has never been able to increase pump prices under this law, leading to high and unsustainable subsidies and depriving other key sectors of the economy of necessary funds”, MOMAN stated.

MOMAN admits that “there is no country or economy where governments do not have the power to influence prices”, however, “Governments use economic tools such as taxes or interventions on the demand side or the supply side of the market and other administrative interventions to influence prices where it needs to”.

“The problem here is that government has retained for itself by law the power and the responsibility to fix pump prices of PMS which is what puts it under so much pressure and costs the country so much in terms of under-recoveries or subsidies when it cannot increase prices when necessary to do so.

”It makes sense to relieve itself of this obligation now when crude prices are low and resort to influencing prices using the same tools it does for any other commodity or item on the market”.

“Our current situation, laid bare by the challenges of Coronavirus to the health of our citizens in particular and and economy of our country in general, demands that we are honest with ourselves at this time. A fundamental and radical change in legislation is necessary.

“When crude oil prices go up, government has always been unable to increase pump prices for socio-political reasons leading to these high subsidies and we believe the only solution is to remove the power of the government to determine fuel pump prices altogether by law.”

MOMAN recommends a legal and operational framework comprising of a downstream Industry operations regulator, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) or Competition Commission (for pricing issues) and the interplay between demand and supply which will ensure a level playing field, protect the Nigerian Consumer and curb any market abuse or attempts to deliberately cause inequities in the system by any stakeholder.

“In line with change management principles, consultation and engagement with market players should clearly spell out the path and final destination which is full price deregulation”.

 


OPEC still has an important role to play in Global Oil Market

By Sebastian Wagner

Scan Western news about OPEC from the last few years, and a common observation tends to appear: OPEC had a huge influence on the global oil market back in the day. Now, in the shale oil era, not so much.

I would argue that OPEC can safely state that reports of its death—or dwindling relevance—are greatly exaggerated. In fact, OPEC has been at the center of one of the biggest stories of 2020 aside from COVID-19: a historic deal that resolved the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

From 2016 to late March, the two oil powerhouses had been part of a loose alliance of OPEC members and non-member producers known as OPEC+. Its purpose was to stabilize the global oil market through voluntary production cuts. The alliance was a success until early this year, when COVID-19 effectively shut down China’s economy and dramatically reduced its crude oil imports. To restore market balance, OPEC member Saudi Arabia asked OPEC+ member Russia to increase its production cuts. When Russia refused, Saudi Arabia stopped complying with its own production cuts and, instead, started flooding the market with oil. Russia followed suit, and plans to renew the OPEC+ agreement on April 1 were abandoned. Crude oil prices went into freefall, and U.S. shale oil producers started struggling to survive. It didn’t help when COVID-19 began forcing lockdowns around the globe, resulting in plummeting demand for crude and even lower oil prices.

The world was watching closely when Saudi and Russian leaders attended an emergency OPEC/OPEC+ meeting on April 9. After three days of negotiations, OPEC and OPEC+ members agreed to massive production cuts starting with nearly 10 million barrels per day May 1. The cuts, which will gradually decrease, will continue through April 2022. While low demand remains a concern, by stabilizing the oil market, OPEC+ will still provide economic relief and save jobs around the world. Shortly after the product-cut agreement was finalized, exhausted Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman shared his exhilaration with Bloomberg News. “We have demonstrated that OPEC+ is up, running, and alive.”

Indeed. Both OPEC and OPEC+ are very much alive and as relevant as ever.

A New Era?

Despite the condescending descriptions of OPEC I’ve read in American media coverage, I am seeing signs that U.S. leaders are starting to look at OPEC with newfound respect. Even one of the organization’s most outspoken American critics, President Donald Trump, had generous words for OPEC the evening before its April 9 meeting. “Obviously for many years I used to think OPEC was very unfair,” Trump said during a press briefing. “I hated OPEC. You want to know the truth? I hated it. Because it was a fix. But somewhere along the line that broke down and went the opposite way.”

Then there’s Ryan Sitton of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas in Texas. He responded to the Saudi-Russia oil price war by reaching out to OPEC and proposing statewide oil production cuts. After a one-hour photo call with OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo, Sitton was invited to attend OPEC’s June meeting in Vienna.

While I applaud Sitton’s initiative, I couldn’t help noticing what a departure it was from America’s usual “OPEC playbook.” U.S. energy policy has been driven by a strong desire to “free” the country’s oil and gas industry from OPEC’s influence. As recently as 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to pass the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC) (https://bit.ly/3bpS3h5). Had this harmful bill been approved, the U.S. Attorney General would have been empowered to bring antitrust lawsuits against OPEC and its member countries. The legislation likely would have jeopardized foreign investments in the U.S. oil and gas industry and cost America valuable commercial partnerships.

How dramatically things have changed. Two years after NOPEC was proposed, we had a representative from the powerful Texas Railroad commission offering to work with OPEC to help balance the market.

While it’s unclear whether Texas will cut production, Sitton’s decision to open communication with OPEC is a positive, and I hope other U.S. industry leaders will consider the same. Instead of viewing OPEC as the enemy, dismissing it, or avoiding it, why not learn to understand this important organization and lay the foundation for a productive relationship?

Gaining Perspective

I suggest starting with Amazon’s bestselling book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, which includes a chapter titled “A Place at the Table: Africa and OPEC.” Yes, the chapter covers the value OPEC membership offers African nations, but its insights are relevant to everyone with ties to the oil and gas industry.

The background on OPEC’s 2016 Declaration of Cooperation is particularly timely. It was that agreement among OPEC producers and 11 non-members that resulted in OPEC+. For the first time in OPEC’s history, member countries agreed to work with non-member countries to stabilize the global oil market after increased U.S. shale oil production triggered low prices. Together, participating countries committed to voluntary production adjustments of 1.8 million barrels per day. Until the extraordinary chain of events set off by COVID-19, the OPEC+ alliance remained firmly in place.

The book also delves into the reasons OPEC membership has so much to offer African oil-producers: strength in numbers and a commitment to unity. “The organization says that every new member adds to the group’s stability and strengthens members’ commitment to one another,” the book explains. “Different perspectives create a rich culture where colleagues can learn from one another, anticipate and respond to the complexity of today’s oil markets, and ultimately, influence prices.”

It’s not always a seamless process, but OPEC continues to achieve those objectives. And as we go forward, this kind of unified approach will remain critical. Most likely, the global oil and gas industry will be forced to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19 and low oil demand for an unknown period of time. Instead of working at cross purposes, oil-producing countries will need to continue cooperating to find solutions, embrace opportunities, and keep the industry alive.

Wagner is the Chair of the German African Business Forum and the CEO of DMWA Resources, a pan-African energy marketing & investment firm. Worked for Trafigura & affiliated companies in oil trading, responsible for managing trading operations and pursuing pre-financing opportunities in around Africa.


ExxonMobil Heralds Reduction of Nigerian Rig Count

With its widely publicized notification of early termination of the contracts for the jackups Gerd and Groa offshore Nigeria, ExxonMobil has effectively inaugurated the widely anticipated reduction of the Nigerian rig activity.

Gerd and Groa, owned by Borr Drilling, were on locations in Asasa and Oyot fields in Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 67 and 70 respectively, as of early April 2020.

Now other announcements of terminations of rig contracts by other companies are expected to follow, as market conditions worsen.

The two Borr rigs were under contracts originally committed until April 2021 and May 2021. The contracts for both rigs require 180-day notice for early termination.

Borr, a New York Stok Exchange listed company, says it is in discussions with ExxonMobil with regards to planning the discontinuity of operations.

Nigerian rig activity was at a three year high in January 2020, with 32 rigs in various stages of operations on as many locations.

But the combination of COVID-19 and a price war has, since then, has gutted the hydrocarbon industry worldwide, with cargoes of crude oil sloshing around looking for buyers.

 

 

 

 


Why Oil Prices Won’t Recover to Pre-COVID 19 Levels in 2020

Oil prices were already at higher levels than they should be before the OPEC+ and the G20 meetings, as a result of market enthusiasm and hopes for a solution to the crisis, Rystad reports.

“The pre-meeting levels were not justified by fundamentals”, the Norwegian oil market analyst explains, “as the supply-demand imbalance was so large”.

The higher-than normal levels of last week justify Monday’s market reaction, the company argues.

Although OPEC+ decided to reduce output by some 10Million barrels of oil per day (BOPD), cuts of such levels are not enough to bring back healthier price levels and were only sufficient to maintain prices largely unchanged. “The market has sobered up to the demand deficit and would not boost prices further”.

Rystad says it will expect ‘a relative price recovery’ if “indications that G20 will join in with more cuts of up to an additional 10Million BOPD prove true and take an official character”.

Even then, it doesn’t expect prices to recover this year to pre-COVID-19 levels, because of the stock build that have accumulated. “After weeks of volatility, the market is now reacting with more caution to speculation and waits for concrete agreements to risk hiking prices to different levels”.

 

© 2020 Festac News Press Ltd..