Nigerian equities rose to a two-week high as isolated incidents of violence spurred investors to take advantage of the cheapest stocks in Africa before final results from presidential and legislative elections are tallied. The advance extended gains over the past seven days to 4.8 percent, taking the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index to its best level since March 16. The measure is still down almost 12 percent this quarter, the most among 24 African gauges tracked by Bloomberg. It is trading at 9.3 times estimated earnings, the lowest on the continent after Zimbabwe. Investors encouraged by the lack of violence are taking “early positions” should prices rise, Ayodeji Ebo, head of research at Afrinvest West Africa Ltd. in Lagos, said by phone. “They’re cautious, they’re not being very aggressive. But they’re trying to increase their exposure, knowing that if there’s no post-election violence the only direction for the market will be upwards.”
Wintershall boss Rainer Seele has been appointed chief executive of OMV. The 54-year-old will take up the role from July this year and has signed a three-year contract with an extension option with OMV for a further two years. The current chief executive, Gerhard Roiss, had previously announced his departure from the company.
North Sea oil and gas operators have committed to fund a new £60million search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service to help maintain safety standards. It will supplement national SAR cover for parts of the Central North Sea. Oil & Gas UK said Bond Offshore helicopters will operate the service, which was made possible by contributions from around 20 different companies involved in the sector. It coincides with the launch of a new UK-wide search and rescue service by the Department for Transport next month at the same time as decommissioning plans for BP Miller platform, where the Jigsaw helicopter has been based.
Nigerians are waiting in hope and fear for results of the tightest and most bitterly contested presidential election in the nation’s turbulent history. Collation of results starts at noon local time and winner could be named later today or tomorrow, electoral officials say. One radio station played the song written by entertainment star 2Face Idibia in Nigeria’s colloquial English: “Vote not fight; Election no be war!”
Statoil has made a new gas discovery in Tanzania. The Norwegian company said the Mdalasini-1 exploration well had resulted in the new find. The discovery of an additional 1.0-1.8trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in the well brings the total of on-place volumes up to approximately 22 tcf in Block 2. Nick Maden, senior vice president for Statoil's exploration activities in the Western Hemisphere, said: “The Mdalasini-1 discovery marks the completion of the first phase of an efficient and successful multi-well exploration programme offshore Tanzania."
Oil giant Total gas completed the sale of its stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 in Nigeria for $569million. Along with its exit from OML 24 and OML 18, it brings the French company's share of sale proceeds from these three onshore Nigerian blocks to more than $1billion. Patrick de La Chevardière, chief financial officer at Total, said: “The sale of these non-operated onshore blocks in Nigeria is yet another example of our strategy of dynamic portfolio management, achieved at attractive valuations".
Outside the boardroom of BP Plc’s headquarters on London’s swanky St. James’s Square, a display case houses the geological data from Masjid-i-Solaiman, Iran’s first oil well. The discovery of crude in 1908 laid the foundations for the company that would become British Petroleum and opened one of the richest opportunities that western oil companies have ever enjoyed in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, the industry’s history in Iran is intertwined with CIA-backed coups, colonial exploitation and the anti-western resentment surrounding the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Speculators were the least bullish on crude in two years before prices surged as Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed rebels in Yemen, threatening supply disruptions in the largest oil-producing region. Hedge funds and other money managers cut their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 3.8% in the seven days ended March 24, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Futures jumped more than 8% in the next two days before dropping 5% on Friday as shipping groups said there were no disruptions for now. Yemen lies on one side of Bab el-Mandeb, the fourth-busiest oil and fuel shipping bottleneck in the world by volume. Saudi Arabia and its allies in the fight against the Shiite rebels are among the biggest energy exporters.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing will champion Scotland’s trouble-hit offshore industry on a trade mission to the heart of the US oil and gas sector this week. There are still “huge opportunities” despite significant challenges, he said as he prepared for his trip to Houston to meet key figures from a number of companies. The visit comes at a time when the industry globally has been hit by a slump in oil prices.
Aberdeen-based project management and engineering expertise will support a new multimillion contract group won by energy service group Harkand from Maersk Oil North Sea. Harkand is to supply diving support vessel (DSV) services under the one-year deal, using its Da Vinci and Atlantis ships. The contract covers well tie-ins, structure installation, piling, flexible flowline lay, flexible riser installation, pre-commissioning, riser recovery, decommissioning and general inspection, repair and maintenance work.
A trio of professional services firms are beefing up their tax teams in Aberdeen to help the oil and gas industry survive the downturn. Johnston Carmichael (JC), Deloitte and Maclay, Murray & Spens (MMS) are all adding to their Granite City presence as they try to help clients prosper in the wake of the slump in oil prices. Aberdeen-based accountancy firm JC has recruited Anderson Anderson & Brown tax partner Richard Britten to become tax director at its office in Europe’s energy capital.
Parkmead Group said yesterday it had “significant” cash available to take advantage of lower oil prices and continue on the acquisition trail it has been on since 2011. The Aberdeen-based oil and gas firm, led by north-east entrepreneur Tom Cross, has already pulled off six deals since a refocusing of the business four years ago. It was previously an investment and advisory firm. Announcing first half results yesterday, Mr Cross said: “I am pleased to report significant progress in the period to December 31, 2014. “Parkmead discovered a new onshore gas field at Diever West, in the Netherlands, which delivered excellent production flow rates, providing an additional near-term cash flow opportunity to the group.
International Well Control Forum (IWCF) has announced a workshop and networking event for Aberdeen next month ahead of Offshore Well Intervention Europe 2015. The event will take place on Tuesday April 14, and will focus on the best practices for global safety, new initiatives that are being launched to drive up well control competency, and operators, contractors and service companies will be on hand to explain how to get more involved.
North Sea workers are to vote on industrial action over jobs, pay and shifts after showing strong support for a ballot. Members of Unite and the GMB have given the go-ahead for an official ballot, which the unions warned could see a North Sea strike for the first time in a generation. Unions say thousands of jobs have been lost since the slump in oil prices, while firms are proposing changes to shifts, pay and holidays, despite help for the industry in last week’s Budget. Members of both unions voted in a consultative ballot heavily in favour of having a vote on industrial action.
Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobas has appointed a new chairman. The company named Luciano Coutinho, head of the country's state development bank BNDES, as a replacement for Guido Mantega.
Statoil has commenced laying of a pipeline which will eventually take gas from the Aasta Hansteen field in the Norwegian Sea. The Solitaire pipe-laying vessel started on the first stage of the Polarled installation project which will see the creation of a 482-kilometre long pipeline. The Norwegian company is operator during the development of the Polarled project and is responsible for laying the pipeline between Aasta Hansteen and Nyhamna.
Egdon Resources said it had flowed more oil from its Wressle-1 discovery in England. The company said the results from the second Penistone Flags flow test at licence PEDL180 in the East Midlands were “very positive”. Zone 3a in the Penistone Flags was perforated over a 7.5metre interval and produced good quality oil with a gravity of 33o API. Mark Abbott, managing director of Egdon Resources, said: “The results from Wressle continue to be very positive.
Helix Energy Solutions Group and oil major Shell have signed a multi-year contract to provide well intervention services in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement will utilise Helix's deepwater well intervention semi-submersible, the 04000. It has already been performing work for Shell since 2011 under a Master Service Agreement.
Standard Chartered Plc’s Paul Horsnell forecasts oil will rise to $90 a barrel in the fourth quarter. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Francisco Blanch predicts $58. Six months ago, they were just $1 apart. That sudden divergence highlights a growing trend: Energy analysts are the most divided in at least eight years on the direction of Brent crude, the global benchmark. Forecasters failed to predict the plunge that cut oil prices by more than half after the U.S. shale boom boosted output to a three-decade high. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, relinquished its traditional role adjusting production to moderate price swings in an effort to maintain market share.
Chevron Corp. plans to sell its 50% stake in Caltex Australia Ltd. to institutional investors for about A$4.6 billion ($3.6 billion) as the second-biggest US energy producer accelerates asset sales. Chevron is selling the shares at A$34.20 apiece, about a 10% discount to the closing price Friday, according to a term sheet seen. Caltex, Australia’s biggest refiner, has risen 74 percent in Sydney in the past 12 months. The deal underwritten by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is the largest block sale ever in Australia, exceeding Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s sale of Woodside Petroleum Ltd. shares in 2010 for about A$3.3 billion, according to data compiled.
This week's top story was the news that Centrica held a "hackathon" for oil and gas contractors. The event was aimed at looking how to reduce the costs for projects that are currently stuck in the pipeline. The term is more usually used for gatherings of software developers and programmers, where they get together to look at problems and figure out how to solve them. Meanwhile Shell also revealed that it would be making job reductions as well as potential shift pattern changes.
The UK’s new energy industry regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), yesterday insisted it was ready to become an executive agency on April 1 as planned. Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) chief executive Malcolm Webb had earlier suggested the fledgling watchdog had decided to delay the move, which will let it start fulfilling its role formally, for some months. The establishment of a strong and well-funded regulator was one of the recommendations made in last year’s Wood Review, which made a series of proposals aimed at maximising the recovery of UK fossil fuels.
Schlumberger Ltd. must satisfy a list of conditions, in part linked to sanctions, to gain approval for its $1.7 billion bid to buy Russia’s largest oil driller. Russia’s commission on foreign investment will meet the U.S. oil-services company to go through the conditions in the next 10 days, Igor Artyemev, head of Russia’s anti-monopoly service, said Thursday in Moscow. Schlumberger’s planned acquisition of Eurasia Drilling Co. comes as the US and Russia face off over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for a separatist insurgency in Ukraine.
Oil and gas explorer Xcite Energy said it is still seeking out additional partners to help fund its Bentley Field project amid an industry-wide slowdown in project financing. The Aberdeen-headquartered firm yesterday posted losses of £5million for 2014, against profits of more than £9million a year earlier. Xcite had no revenues to report, as the 300million-barrel Bentley Field, which lies south-east of Shetland, has yet to start producing. In August the firm described the field as one of the North Sea’s largest untapped resources with the potential to produce more than 700million barrels of oil over 35 years.
The Libra consortium has confirmed the presence of a hydrocarbon column approximately 200 metres deep in reservoirs 220km offshore from the city of Rio de Janeiro. Informally known as C1, the well is located in the Santos Basin.