Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Challenges facing Africa — and some of its oil producing countries — in 2015

Plummeting oil prices coupled with a significant increase in terrorism, and regime instability pose a direct threat to several sub-Saharan African countries the next year.

2015 will ask searching questions for Nigeria’s political climate as the country heads into a crucial election in February. Campaigning comes against a backdrop of sliding crude prices which have crushed an economy which relies on oil for 70% of its income. Opposition in the north to president Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election has deepened because of a deadly insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists in the region.

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A veteran economist looks at oil price collapses of yore, and sees parallels to today

Phil Verleger has a long memory.

Phil is a veteran energy economist, and he and I have been emailing each other over the course of the last week, recalling the oil price collapse of the mid 1980’s. As he noted, there are a dwindling number of of people still in the industry who remember that. But I had just joined Platts when the great collapse of 1985-1986 took place. On April 1, 1986, WTI plunged to less than $10 and no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. (It remains the only day in the history of the WTI contract, launched in 1983, that the price ever “printed” a number less than double digits. It has never settled at less than $10.)

In his latest weekly report, Phil recalls that fall, as well as the collapse of 1998-1999. While WTI prices didn’t drop below the $10 level in the late 90’s, the levels of that period, after adjusting for inflation, were the lowest in history.

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Peace agreement in gas-rich Mozambique sets the stage for elections

After two years of sporadic clashes, Mozambique’s Frelimo government and Renamo, the main opposition party signed a peace agreement in August, improving prospects for the October elections in the gas-rich southern African nation.

The presidential and parliamentary elections on October 15 will mark the end of president Armando Guebuza’s second and final term in office.

The election takes place as Mozambique becomes an attractive investment destination following huge gas discoveries by Italy’s Eni and US’ Anadarko. The discoveries, estimated at 100 trillion cubic feet have the potential to transform Mozambique into one of the world’s leading LNG exporters.

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The Oil Big Five: Unleash the Kalavrvta!

It can often feel as though many of the big issues or trends in the oil industry are happening on a level unseen by the general public. July, though, brought some big news stories straight to the mainstream media and a wider audience, and these were developments our oil editors and analysts at Platts were watching closely.

Welcome to the latest iteration of The Oil Big Five, when we ask our Platts oil insiders what they believe are the biggest trends or issues in the global oil industry. These are topics we spent a lot of time researching, writing about and analyzing in July, as well as issues we’re keeping an eye on for August.

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East Africa must avoid LNG delays to compete with rivals

Mozambique and Tanzania are locked in a race to be first to export gas from East Africa, so much so that the region may emerge as a strong competitor to Qatar and Australia in the battle to capture key export markets in Asia.

Geographically, East Africa is ideally placed to supply LNG to Japan, China, India and South-East Asia all of whom rely heavily on LNG imports.

LNG from East Africa should be cheaper than from Australia but such an advantage may be wiped out if Mozambique and Tanzania are unable to develop their potential before a glut of other new supplies depress prices.

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The Oil Big Five: Your comments include Iraq, Africa, refining, and OPEC

You’ve read about the big topics our Platts experts think are most interesting for July, and now we want to turn our attention to our readers.

In our monthly The Oil Big Five feature, we poll our global oil experts for what they consider the most pressing or interesting aspects of the oil industry at the moment. We follow each post by rounding up some of the comments, and below you can see (in no particular order) some of the reactions we had from our readers, both on the blog as well as on social media.

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The Oil Big Five: Is anyone surprised that Iraq tops our list?

Welcome to The Oil Big Five for July 2014, where we list the big issues that are keeping our Platts oil experts busy around the globe. You can find our last posting here, which had the problem of not posting comments for a short time when it first went up. We really appreciate everyone who commented on the blog once it was fixed, though, as well as those who sent us feedback on Twitter. The latest round-up of reader comments can be found here, and be sure to comment again for the follow-up to this post.

Here are the biggest oil issues or trends that our editors and experts nominated to be a part of the post this month. Read the rest of this entry »

Nigeria central bank head ousted; missing oil money an issue

President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday sacked the central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, a move critics say is a warning to whistleblowers in the run-up to presidential elections in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

Jonathan accused Lamido Sanusi of “financial recklessness and misconduct” and suspended him four months before his term was to end in June.

Sanusi had recently told a senate committee that out of $67 billion of oil sold between January 2012 and July 2013, $20 billion had not been accounted for by the state-owned NNPC.

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Oil-rich South Sudan teeters on the brink

South Sudan this week saw heavy fighting with as many as 500 killed or wounded, as army factions clashed in the capital following months of political tension in the oil-rich nation after the president dismissed his deputy.

President Salva Kiir, clad in military fatigues rather than his signature cowboy hat and trademark black suit, said the army had foiled a coup attempt by a group of soldiers loyal to the former vice president, Riek Machar.

Kiir and Machar were key figures in the ranks of the rebel South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which fought a 21-year civil war against the Sudanese government in Khartoum.

But since his dismissal in July, Machar has been leading a faction against Kiir’s ruling party, and has also announced he will run for presidency in the 2015 elections.

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Nigeria: Drums of war again in the oil region of the Niger Delta

Fresh tension is now brewing in southern Nigeria following a spate of threats by the MEND militant group, amid fears the fighters have returned to the mangrove-choked creeks of the oil-rich Niger Delta.

After a period of relative calm, spiked only by sporadic incidents, the group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the explosion that rocked the Warri oil refinery. It said the attack was part of a new campaign against the federal government’s “unsustainable and fraudulent” amnesty program.

It comes days after the group threatened Shell’s giant offshore Bonga field. “Offshore operations are not a safe haven. MEND has visited Bonga before and we will do it again when the time is right,” it said.

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