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Oil & Gas

British Gas sees profits soar

British Gas said operating profits have risen by 44% as more energy was used by consumers due to colder weather conditions. The company, owned by Centrica, said consumption was up by 11% compared to a “warm first half” of 2014. The first six months of the year have seen profits surge to £528million up from £265million a year earlier.


Oil demand boost as threat of Grexit recedes

Oil and gas experts expect European crude demand to grow as a result of the economic agreement struck between the EU and Greece yesterday. The deal has reduced the prospect of a so-called Grexit from the eurozone. In its latest review of the market, Scottish consultancy Wood Mackenzie (WoodMac) said: “If Greece remains in the eurozone and the current crisis is contained, the outlook for Europe's oil demand is much improved over the decline seen in 2014.


Savannah Petroleum raises $36million from share placing

Savannah Petroleum has raised $36million after placing more than 61million shares at a value of 38 pence each. The Niger focused oil and gas firm said an estimated 17,136,000 of these placing shares will be subscribed directly within the company. The placing shares represent 47% of the company’s existing ordinary share capital and will be issued in two tranches.


Vedanta Resources posts loss on back on Indian oil and gas business

Vedanta Resources  posted a full-year loss after a sharp drop in crude prices precipitated a $4.5 billion writedown related to its Indian oil and gas business. The company's London-listed shares fell as much as 4 percent early on Thursday before recovering to 660 pence, unchanged from the previous day's close. Best known as a mining company, Vedanta bought a controlling stake in Cairn India Ltd CAIL.NS, India's largest private-sector oil producer, in 2011. Like other resources companies, it has struggled with plummeting commodity prices in the last year. Brent crude collapsed to a low of just above $45 a barrel in January from a high of $115 last June.


Deal making in oil and gas industry set to accelerate

Deal making in the oil and gas sector is set to accelerate as higher oil prices and an improved outlook for the sector boost investor appetite, a broker has predicted. Royal Dutch Shell's £46billion bid for smaller rival BG Group last month highlighted the shift in sentiment in the sector after mergers and acquisitions (M&A) slumped in the first quarter of 2015 to a 20-year low, a report by Morgan Stanley revealed. The research found that there were only 30 deals completed at a value of £2.6billion in the quarter, most of them in North America.

Oil & Gas

Global oil producers rewind the clock on profit with price crash

Big Oil’s profit engine has gone into reverse, taking it back to the days when oil was just $28 a barrel. Profits from global explorers’ oil and gas wells for the first quarter of 2015 revisit the early 2000’s, just before demand from China began driving commodity prices upward. Exxon Mobil Corp.’s oil and gas earnings dropped by almost two-thirds to the lowest since 2003, spurring a 46 percent decline in overall profit from a year earlier, the company said on Thursday. ConocoPhillips’ net income plunged 87 percent -- its worst results for any first quarter since 2001, according to data compiled.


Statoil adjusted profit beats estimates amid trading gains

Statoil ASA adjusted profit beat estimates in the first quarter on trading and refining as it wrote down the value of mainly US unconventional assets by $6.1 billion amid plunging crude prices. Adjusted net income fell to 7 billion kroner ($928 million) from 15.8 billion kroner a year earlier, the Stavanger-based company said on Thursday. That compared with an estimate of 4.2 billion kroner in a survey of analysts. It took “significant accounting charges” after asset impairments of 46.1 billion kroner, mainly related to US onshore unconventional assets.


BP boost fails to lift FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 Index has pulled back from Monday’s record high, despite a strong session for BP after the oil major’s results beat City forecasts. Investors retreated to the sidelines amid jitters over this week’s Federal Reserve meeting, when US policymakers are expected to offer guidance on when interest rates will start to rise from their rock-bottom level. The FTSE 100 Index surged to a best-ever intra-day level of 7122.7 on Monday - driven by hopes of an end to the deadlock on Greece’s debt talks - but this was followed today by a fall of 29.5 points to 7074.7.


Saipem posts strong performance in first quarter

Saipem has posted a better than expected profits boost in its first quarter results. The Italian oil services group, which is 43% owned by oil major Eni, said its earnings before interest and taxes came in at €159million.


Lundin takes $204million hit on non-cash foreign exchange

Swedish producer Lundin Petroleum has said it will be hit with a $204million non-cash foreign exchange loss in its first quarter results. The company has also booked a $45million pre-tax exploration cost. Lundin said whilst neither booking would have an impact on its operating cost or its core earnings, they would have an affect on the company's profitability.


Taqa 2014 loss widens on one-time charge for oil-price decline

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., the government-owned utility known as Taqa, posted a second consecutive annual loss in 2014 as tumbling crude oil and natural gas prices forced it to take a one-time charge. Taqa’s loss grew to 3 billion dirhams ($817 million) from 2.52 billion dirhams in 2013, the company said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange. Taqa won’t pay a dividend on 2014 results after taking a 3.3 billion-dirham impairment charge due to “the rapid reduction in oil and gas prices in the second half of 2014,” it said.


S&P Cuts Petrobras’s credit-rating outlook amid corruption probe

Petroleo Brasileiro SA had the outlook on its credit rating cut by Standard & Poor’s as the oil producer faces difficulties in financing investments amid Brazil’s largest-ever corruption probe. S&P cut the outlook on Petrobras’s BBB- rating, the lowest investment grade, to negative from stable, according to a statement Monday. The announcement comes a month after Moody’s Investors Service chopped its rating on the state-run oil producer by two levels to junk grade.

Other News

Conference to focus on impact of current oil market

An annual offshore decommissioning conference being held in Aberdeen later this year will focus on the impact of the current market and the resulting pressures that face the sector. Oil prices dropped to an almost six-year low of $45.19 per barrel in January, prompting job losses and project delays, but have since rallied to just over $60. The main industry body for offshore decommissioning, Decom North Sea (DNS), will host the third edition of Decom Offshore at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on May 27.


Shell to reduce spending by $15billion

Oil major Shell will cut its spending by $15billion over the next three years. The move was made on the back of falling oil prices during the last six months. Despite this, Shell had posted an increase in profits for the last three months of 2014, which jumped from $2.2billion in the same period a year earlier to $4.2billion.


FTSE 100 sees oil stocks rally

A resurgent FTSE 100 Index posted more gains today as investors geared up for Europe’s long-awaited effort to stimulate the region’s economy. The boost provided by the European Central Bank’s expected announcement tomorrow of a programme of quantitative easing came alongside a rally for oil stocks after Brent crude firmed at near to $49dollars a barrel.


Hedge funds cut oil bets after worst drop since 2008

Oil bulls finally caught a break as prices capped their first weekly advance since November. Hedge funds raised their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 12% in the week ended January 13, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Long wagers jumped the most since March 2011. WTI climbed 6.1% in the three days following the report period, after dropping more than 50 percent since June.


FTSE 100 oil stocks drop

The FTSE 100 Index posted healthy gains today as a revival in supermarket shares diverted attention away from continued trouble for oil stocks. Oil stocks were on the back foot again after the price of Brent crude declined to as low as $45 a barrel.


BlackPearl Resources reduces capital spending by $49million

BlackPearl Resources has reduced its 2015 capital spending programmed from $80million to $31million. The company said it had made the decision in response to the “continued deterioration” in crude oil prices. Last year it announced plans to spend $280million and had set a 2015 capital budget of $80million.


Lamprell faces challenging year amid falling oil prices

Dubai-based Lamprell's shares have dropped 15% after warnings it faced "a challenging 2015". The firm said that falling price of crude had placed annual revenue at 10% below expectation. Jim Moffat, chef executive, said: "With the recent slump in the oil price, winning work in 2015 is going to be a challenge as the industry adjusts to the new realities.


Cheaper oil helps narrow trade gap

Britain’s trade deficit fell to a 17-month low in November - helped by cheaper oil - while the manufacturing sector grew at its strongest pace in seven months, official figures showed today. The shortfall between exports and imports narrowed to £1.4 billion from £2.2 billion the previous month, the smallest since June 2013. Manufacturing grew by 0.7%, reversing a contraction of the same size the previous month. It equalled the pace of growth in April and has not been better since last February.


Oil below $55 may force Norway to cut rates again

As oil drops below $55 a barrel, speculation is growing that the central bank of western Europe’s biggest crude producer will need to cut rates again. A 54% slump in Brent crude since a June high has pummelled the offshore industry in Norway, where oil and gas make up 22% of gross domestic product.

Oil & Gas

Oil prices still going down

Brent and US crude oil prices both hit five year lows yesterday, before rebounding slightly, and experts expect them to go lower still. Benchmark Brent was down by 36 cents a barrel to $57.52, putting it on track for its second weakest month since the global financial crisis of 2008, while US crude was off 3 cents at $53.57 by late afternoon UK-time. Richard Hastings, a macro strategist at American investment bank Global Hunter Securities said US crude would likely break below $50 in the next few trading days.


Brent makes modest recovery on FTSE 100

The London market picked up where it left off before Christmas as strong trading among mining stocks helped the FTSE 100 Index to more gains. A strong session for Asian markets overnight and a modest recovery in the price of Brent crude oil to about 60 US dollars a barrel ensured the likes of BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and BP were in positive territory. Amid thin trading volumes, the FTSE 100 Index was higher for an eighth session in a row - up by 14.5 points at 6624.4.