WTI $100.28 +49c ; Brent $111.18 -20c ; Natural Gas $3.57 -6c

Good morning

Yesterday was, as they say, a day of two halves. A quiet morning across international markets was changed violently when news came through of the co-ordinated move by central banks as the Fed slashed the rate it charges the ECB for short term dollar loans. Equity markets and commodities liked the news which conveniently obscured the rather grim EIA inventory stats which showed a rise in crude stocks of 3.9m bbls when market expectations were for it to be flat. Indeed distillate stocks were also high, up 5.5m bbls against a forecast of a draw whilst gasoline remained very slightly up. It is clear from these numbers that imports were up and that refinery utilisation was lower, also demand for distillates is down sharply but that will be to do with the very mild spell at the moment.

In company news in the USA, Transocean confirmed that it was raising money through a share and debt operation, it will raise a net $1bn in equity and around $2.5bn from the debt market, partly to refinance the purchase of Aker.

In the UK Premier Oil along with Antrim Energy have announced that they have found over 50ft of hydrocarbon gross pay in the exploration well on Erne which is part of the Greater Fyne development.

Afren has announced that FHN (Afren 45% owned) has completed the acquisition of OML26, the project is expected to exploit 184mmb of 2P reserves and contingent resources and is project funded with its own debt.

President Petroleum has yet to deliver the faith that I have expressed in it but I always knew that it was going to be a long haul. Today’s news is positive as they have announced that the Puesto Guardian licence in Argentina has been extended by ten years. The company has announced that they have started drilling the production wells that they hope will take 40 days, after that there will be four more and there are many other opportunities in the area.

Whilst on Argentina, Solo Oil has announced that it has bought Ilakon in the country which gets them the rights to the Mina El Carmen block, the cost to the company is $750,000.

Wessex Exploration has confounded the doubters and finally raised the money they need to stay in the Shell/Tullow syndicate in French Guiana, £12m at 5p a share solves their problem and keeps Northern at bay!

Finally, Xcite Energy has joined the group of companies being smacked by the market recently by announcing that it was delaying the development of the Bentley field. Given the mood of the market this is no time to change the existing plans even though it shouldn’t change the value but merely the timescale.

And finally, it is reported by the BBC that following yesterday’s civil service strike in the UK, the trade union Unison is considering suing TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson for inflammatory comments. Apparently he said about the striking workers that ” I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families”, my only comment is if only Rob Andrew was there at the time……………