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Mark Lammey

Energy Voice editor
Oil & Gas

Nigeria should overhaul state oil sales to stop corruption, report says

Nigeria's new president should overhaul how Africa's biggest oil producer sells its state oil company's share of crude oil output to save billions of dollars in wasted and lost revenues, a report by an international governance watchdog said on Tuesday. About half of Nigeria's 2 million barrel per day (bpd) crude output goes to NNPC, the state-owned oil company. NNPC sells half that oil to its subsidiary Pipelines and Product Marketing Co for the country's refineries. The poorly maintained plants are however unable to process the bulk of the oil and over the years this allocation has devolved into a "nexus of waste and revenue loss," according to the report by Natural Resource Governance Institutes (NRGI), a non-profit.

Oil & Gas

Explosion hits Shah Deniz gas pipeline in northeast Turkey

An explosion hit Turkey's Shah Deniz pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan early on Tuesday but there was no impact on supply because the flow was already suspended for maintenance, a senior Turkish energy official said. It was not immediately clear what caused the blast, but it comes days after an attack by the PKK Kurdish militant group halted the flow in a pipeline carrying crude oil to Turkey from Iraq.

Oil & Gas

LR Senergy reveals north-east job losses, raft of new deals

An Aberdeen-based energy service firm said yesterday it is targeting opportunities in regions “less affected” by the low oil price after revealing 17 north-east job losses. LR Senergy said it was forced to cut costs after many of the projects it expected to win were postponed of abandoned amid the energy sector downturn. The firm laid off 37 members of its global workforce in the first quarter of the year, 17 of whom were based in the north-east, while 10 to 15 employees were transferred to operations outside the UK.

Markets

Oil falls to near $50 after OPEC monthly supply rise

Oil slid to six-month lows on Monday, hit by fresh evidence of growing oversupply, investor bearishness and slowing demand in China, leaving crude prices on course for their weakest third-quarter performance since the financial crisis in 2008. A Reuters survey last week showed oil output by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reached the highest monthly level in recent history in July. Saudi Arabia and other key members are showing no sign of wavering in their focus on defending market share instead of prices, which have fallen 9 percent this year.

Oil & Gas

Diamond Offshore profit rises on demand for ultra-deepwater rigs

Diamond Offshore Drilling, one of the world's top-five offshore rig contractors, reported a slightly higher quarterly profit, helped by demand for its high-tech ultra-deepwater rigs and a drop in operating costs. Demand is strong for modern, faster rigs because they are cheaper to run and can drill more efficiently for oil and gas companies, which have been cutting spending due to low prices. Diamond Offshore, owned 52 percent by New York-based conglomerate Loews, said on Monday that revenue from its ultra-deepwater business rose 72.8 percent to $315.7 million in the second quarter ended June 30.

Oil & Gas

Algeria boosts oil output by 32,000 bpd with two new fields

OPEC member Algeria has increased crude oil output by 32,000 barrels per day after starting production at two fields, an energy ministry official said on Sunday. Production increased on Saturday when the Bir Sebaa field started producing 20,000 bpd in addition to 12,000 bpd from the Bir Msana field in Hassi Messaoud area, the official told Reuters. Algeria produced an average 1.1 million bpd in July, according to a Reuters survey.

Oil & Gas

Atlantic Petroleum puts itself up for sale

Faroese oil firm Atlantic Petroleum is seeking buyers for all or parts of the company, it said on Monday, adding that it would otherwise have to raise cash to continue its current operations. The firm, headquartered in the Faroe Islands and listed in Copenhagen and Oslo, said in a statement it had hired bankers Pareto Securities to explore potential deals that could include a sale or merger of the firm or selling its British and Norwegian assets.

Oil & Gas

U.S. oil drillers add rigs despite crude prices collapse

U.S. energy firms added 5 oil rigs this week after putting 21 rigs into service last week, the most in over a year, despite a collapse in U.S. crude prices from recent highs in June, data showed on Friday. That was a sign some drillers followed through on plans to add rigs announced in May and June when U.S. crude futures were averaging $60 a barrel. U.S. crude futures so far this week however have traded around $48. The rig count gain this week was the fourth increase in the past 34 weeks, bringing the total rig count up to 664, the highest early May, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc said in its closely followed report.

Oil & Gas

Two Iranian oil companies removed from EU sanctions list

The European Union has removed two Iranian oil companies from its sanctions list, the first such action since Iran reached a nuclear agreement with world powers earlier this month, a notice from the British finance ministry said on Friday. Petropars Operation and Management and Petropars Resources Engineering had been pressing for their removal from a list of sanctioned companies for months on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to include them. The companies, which are the part of a group involved in extracting natural gas from Iran's South Pars field, appealed to the EU court in May to allow their removal from the list.

Oil & Gas

Oil producer Afren’s board to put company into administration

Oil producer Afren said its board has decided to put the company into administration after failing to secure support for a refinancing and restructuring plan. Afren, whose shares have been suspended since July 15, said talks with bondholders, banks and its partners were scuppered after the London-headquartered company cut its production forecast for the year.

Oil & Gas

China state firms to start pumping new oil in Iran

China's state oil giants are set to start pumping a combined 160,000 barrels a day at two projects in southwestern Iran from around October, company sources said, contributing to Tehran's plan to boost output ahead of sanctions being lifted. Chinese energy firms had earlier put on hold or slowed work on energy projects in Iran from late 2010, worried about penalties that might be imposed by Washington as it led world powers to press Tehran to curb its nuclear ambitions. Iran and six world powers, including China and the United States, clinched a landmark deal on July 14 that limits the Islamic nation's nuclear activities in return for lifting sanctions that have more than halved its oil exports since 2012.

Markets

OPEC says oil should not fall further, sees stability in 2016

OPEC expects increasing oil demand to prevent a further fall in prices and sees a more balanced market in 2016, its secretary-general said on Thursday, the latest sign the group is sticking to its policy of defending market share. Oil has dropped about 15 percent this month and halved in value in the past year but neither OPEC nor Russia, the world's top producer, have cut output to support prices, hoping cheaper oil will hit U.S. shale and other rival sources. "I would not expect they (prices) are going to fall because demand is growing," OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri told reporters in Moscow. OPEC pumps around 40 percent of global oil production.

Oil & Gas

Eni raises output target as Q2 profits slump on Saipem

Italian oil and gas group Eni raised its production targets for the year on Thursday as second-quarter net profit slumped due to lower oil prices and a heavy loss at oil contractor subsidiary Saipem. State-controlled Eni said adjusted net profit in the second quarter was 0.14 billion euros ($153 million), below the consensus forecast of 0.48 billion euros in a Reuters poll of analysts. Stripping out the Saipem effect, adjusted net profit was 0.45 billion euros. On Tuesday, Saipem reported a quarterly adjusted operating loss of 738 million euros after heavy writedowns as part of a turnaround plan.

Oil & Gas

Russia, OPEC pursuing common goals for balanced, stable market, says energy minister

Russia and OPEC are pursuing the same goals of keeping the oil market balanced and stable, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri on Thursday. OPEC decided in June to keep oil production unchanged in a bid to defend its market share. Russia has also refused to take any action to support oil prices which have more than halved since last year. "The global oil market is being affected by various political factors. In particular, ... the agreement on Iran ... and its consequences ... will have an impact on the market," Novak said during a visit to Moscow by Badri.

Oil & Gas

Chevron to lay off 1,500 workers amidst oil price slump

Chevron Corp, the second-largest U.S. oil company, said on Tuesday it would lay off 1,500 employees, about 2 percent of its global work force, as it trims costs to offset declining crude prices. Nearly all of the layoffs will be in Texas, where the company has expanded in recent years to develop land in the Permian shale formation, and California, where Chevron is headquartered. Fifty international employees will be laid off and roughly 600 contractor positions will be canceled, the company said in a statement.

Oil & Gas

Russia’s Novatek net profit up 31% to $700M

Novatek, Russia's No. 2 gas producer, made second-quarter net profit of 41.9 billion roubles ($703 million), up 31 percent year-on-year on stronger sales, it said on Wednesday. Analysts had expected the firm to post 38 billion roubles in quarterly net profit. The company said its revenues were at 112.2 billion roubles, up from 88.4 billion roubles in the same period last year.

Oil & Gas

Croatian ex-PM Sanader’s oil graft convictions sent for retrial

Croatia's Constitutional Court has annulled two corruption convictions against former prime minister Ivo Sanader and ordered a retrial. Sanader, prime minister from 2004 to 2009, had been convicted of taking a bribe from the Hungarian oil group MOL in 2008 to allow it to take a dominant stake in Croatia's biggest utility, the oil firm INA, and also of taking a bribe from Austria's Hypo Bank in 1994 and 1995, when he was deputy foreign minister.

Oil & Gas

Colombia’s Ecopetrol sells over of half of EEB stake for $215 mln

Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol sold more than half its shares in energy company Empresa de Energia de Bogota (EEB) for $215 million, Ecopetrol said on Monday, as part of its plan to sell assets to fund investments. Ecopetrol said in a statement it sold 352 million shares, 55.1 percent of its interest in EEB, for 1,740 Colombian pesos per share. The shares were sold to a preferential group of employees, retirees, pension funds and unions.

Oil & Gas

Ukraine plans higher gas imports, injections in August

Ukraine plans to increase natural gas imports from Europe in August with a view to boosting injections into storage for next winter, Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said on Monday. He told a televised briefing that Ukraine aimed to import around 40 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas per day from Europe, up from 24 mcm of gas per day in July. Plans call for increasing injections into underground storage to 52-53 mcm per day in August from the current 35-40 mcm.

Oil & Gas

Oil traders fill South Africa storage to the brim

South Africa's 45 million barrel strategic crude reserve depot is filled to capacity as oil traders hoping prices will rise in the future snap up storage capacity, two industry sources told Reuters. The state-run Strategic Fuel Fund Association (SFF) operates six underground crude bunkers at the Saldanha Bay facility, one of the largest oil storage centres in the world. Global crude prices have remained depressed since a supply glut led to a more than halving of prices last year.

Oil & Gas

Surge in gasoline demand throws lifeline to European refiners

The scramble for gasoline this summer has thrown a lifeline to European refiners, pushing gasoline cracks to multi-year highs and tightening the market for the fuel's components, but the seasonal effect next year is likely to be more muted. Stephen George, chief economist at UK-based consultancy KBC Advanced Technologies, said demand for gasoline in the United States and China had risen by about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) year-on-year, triggered by lower oil prices. "It's about twice as strong as distillate demand growth this year, while new market supplies are skewed to diesel," George said in the Reuters Global Oil Forum on Thursday.