image004xmasWTI $97.22 +3.34 ; Brent $107.83 +3.50 ; Natural Gas $3.14 +4c

Good morning

The Santa rally started on Wall Street yesterday after a series of assorted pieces of good news that included US housing starts, German business confidence and a successful Spanish bond auction. A number of supply problems in the oil market added to the equities buzz, Kazakhstan gets worse with rioting in Mangistau taking as much as 25% off their 1.6m b/d, Shell have closed down their Bonga deepwater facility offshore Nigeria after a hose leaked 40,000 of oil which takes 200,000 b/d away from the market and talks in Rome tightened, albeit modestly, the sanctions on Iran. This combination, along with API crude oil stocks being drawn down by twice the forecast helped the oil price to gain by about $3.50.

In company news Repsol has again been active, yesterday they bought back 10% of their own shares from Sacyr which I’m sure wasn’t the plan but gets a demanding holder partially off the premises, Repsol will still need to do much more refinancing to ensure it can continue to fund its long term commitments.

BP/Ophir/Cobalt Energy, a sort of linked story here which is based in the Kwanza basin in Angola. My story about Bo Diddley meeting the VP was confirmed by the acquisition of acreage there and overnight news of a discovery there by Cobalt Energy has put an added shine on the story. Rumours about the discovery helping out Ophir are a touch fanciful as their acreage is many miles away but as this is a pre-salt well a la Brazil we are reminded that a similar sized play just might put a shine on the next exploration well for them.

Genel has confirmed that it is in talks with Canadian company Longford Energy to increase its stake in the Chia Surkh field in Kurdistan by taking 40% of from Longford.

Wood Group have won another- small -contract but they are chipping away at a lot of bread and butter business and with the shares continuing to have a solid rally I am, despite my caution on PSN, feeling a lot more confident about the company.

Wood Group 1 Year chart

Wood Group 1 Year chart

A significant increase in the number of rigs operated by Saudi Aramco is reported today as the Kingdom seeks to ensure it maintains its production and capacity levels. This is exactly the information we were getting on the visit to the Middle East with Lamprell in November and with the handy acquisition of MIS who have opened up hitherto untapped commercial resources we believe that there are significant opportunities here.

So, today we have had enough news for the blog, I am hoping that there may be less tomorrow and that I can revisit a few of our favourite stories of the year and maybe even hand out a few awards although some will have to be anonymous in order to protect the innocent….

And finally today from our Finance director who shall we say is not known for his jokes…

Bloke down the pub with a German accent asked if I was looking for a cheap Christmas cake, no questions asked….

I told him…”No thanks mate, for all I know it could be stollen”