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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria: Nigerian oil rising again due to Asian demand

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The shale oil fever emanating from the US is not an illness but the new oil that snuffed out the light from other different grades of oil, including the that of the Nigerian oil from American shores and also putting it under pressure in Europe also.

Recently, the demand for Nigerian oil pouring in from Indonesia and India has helped in lifting the price indication for two of Nigeria’s top grades to  near five-year high based on trading and shipping data. Many believe that because the Indian and Indonesian economies are growing, the decent demand for Nigeria’s oil exists since the European buyers would have further reduced the market.

 

However, European refiners are also beginning to bargain tough taking jabs at higher Nigerian prices. In a statement recorded by a trader, he claims that the market was flooded by “a sea of cheap U.S. oil.”

Currently, CPC oil “costs 50 cents less a barrel compared to the prices being asked for Nigerian, given the freight costs and market structure. Sellers of Nigerian crude are still learning to live with the surge in U.S. shale output, which has turned the United States into the world’s top crude producer and dampened demand for imports in what had been a reliable market for Nigeria.

The Past 10 years has been quite a sad one for the Nigerian since the U.S. scaled back buying,” Crude exports to the US dipped to 5.6 Million barrels in January 2019 from the former 36.4 Million barrels as at January 2019.

 

After Washington lifted a four-decade ban on exports of U.S. oil in 2015, shipments to Europe hit an all-time high of 25 million barrels in March 2019 from just 2 million barrels in February 2016, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

This affected the Nigerian market.

U.S. oil is also heading to India, where it is increasingly competing with Nigerian crude. Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, signed its first annual deal to buy U.S. oil in February, paying about $1.5 billion for 60,000 barrels a day up to March 2020.

Despite the pressure from U.S. barrels, Nigerian exports to Europe, India and Indonesia have held generally steady so far.

 

“Nigerian is facing stiff competition almost everywhere,” a trading source said. “Sooner or later Nigerian oil is going to need to expand into new markets.”

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24 Hours Across Africa

Iran faces sanction over uranium breach plan

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Source: Reuters

Iran said on Monday it would breach internationally agreed curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days — a move likely to worsen tensions with Washington — but it added European nations could still save a nuclear deal that sets those limits.

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In an indication of concern at Iran’s announcement, Germany urged Tehran to meet all its obligations under the 2015 accord. Britain said if Iran breached limits agreed under the deal then London would look at “all options”.

Close U.S. ally Israel, Iran’s arch foe, urged world powers to step up sanctions against Tehran swiftly should it exceed the enriched uranium limit.

U.S.-Iran tensions are growing following accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration that Tehran last Thursday attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital oil shipping route. Iran denies having any role.

Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, on Monday denied Tehran was behind the attacks and said if the Islamic Republic decided to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane it would do so publicly.

The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said Tehran was responsible for security in the Gulf and urged U.S. forces to leave the region, state TV said.

In an announcement drawing signs of Western unease, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said “We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment (of uranium) and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit.”

“Iran’s reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate,” he told state TV, adding that “the move will be reversed once other parties fulfill their commitments.”

Tehran said in May it would reduce compliance with the nuclear pact it agreed with world powers in 2015, in protest at the United States’ decision to unilaterally pull out of the agreement and reimpose sanctions last year.

The deal seeks to head off any pathway to an Iranian nuclear bomb in return for the removal of most international sanctions.

The accord requires Iran to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, capping Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium at 300 kg of uranium hexafluoride enriched to 3.67 percent or its equivalent for 15 years.

A series of more intrusive U.N. inspections under the deal have verified that Iran has been meeting its commitments.

Urging European signatories to hasten efforts to salvage the accord, President Hassan Rouhani said its collapse would not be in the interests of the region or the world.

“It’s a crucial moment, and France can still work with other signatories of the deal and play an historic role to save the deal in this very short time,” Rouhani was quoted as saying during a meeting with France’s new ambassador in Iran.


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24 Hours Across Africa

China backs Hong kong leader

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Source: Reuters

China doubled down on its support for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday after days of protests in the Chinese-ruled city over a planned extradition bill, and a source close to Lam said Beijing was unlikely to let her go even if she tried to resign.

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Lam’s attempts to pass a bill that would allow people in Hong Kong to be extradited to China to stand trial triggered the biggest and most violent protests in the former British colony in decades.

As the political crisis entered its second week, demonstrators and opposition politicians braved intermittent rain to gather near the government’s offices and call for the bill to be killed and for her to step down.

The upheaval comes at a delicate time for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is grappling with a deepening U.S. trade war, an ebbing economy and regional strategic tension.

Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return to Beijing in 1997, allowing freedoms not granted to the mainland, including an independent judiciary, but short of a fully democratic vote.

Many residents are increasingly unnerved by Beijing’s tightening grip and what they see as the erosion of those freedoms, fearing that changes to the rule of law could imperil its status as a global financial center.

“The Chinese government, the central government, has always fully affirmed the work of chief executive Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong government,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news conference.

The comments echoed remarks over the weekend from the government’s Hong Kong and Macau policy office.

“The central government will continue to firmly support the chief executive and the SAR government’s governing in accordance with the law,” he said, referring to the “special administrative region” of China.


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