WTI $100.37 +67c, Brent $105.85 -94c, Diff $5.48 -$1.61, NG $4.48 +3c

Oil price

The differential narrowed sharply again yesterday as WTI made gains after the comments by Janet Yellen that indicated that the US economy was picking up after the bad weather in the first quarter. The indication that QE will end later this year with rates rising 1H 2015  strengthened the dollar and if the world’s biggest energy consumer is on the move then oil prices, particularly WTI, are likely to be well supported. My trading contacts tell me that the market was a mixed bag yesterday and again this morning, WTI very well bid particularly ahead of expiry tomorrow whilst Brent fairly friendless. EIA inventory stats showed much bigger crude builds than the brains trust in New York expected but stocks at Cushing fell whilst those in the Gulf rose as the pipeline moves more crude southwards. Refinery utilisation is falling sharply, as expected at this time of the year as we run towards Easter and the May holidays…


UK Budget

Not a massive gainer from the budget but there are a few bright spots particularly if you are planning to develop an ultra high pressure, high temperature field such as BG and Maersk where the Chancellor has extended tax allowances. Elsewhere he is taking forward all the recommendations from the Wood report including a general review of the fiscal regime in the North Sea.

Ophir Energy

Listening in to the Ophir conference call this morning I nearly felt sorry for Nick Cooper as the combination of yesterday’s duster and the abysmal share price performance must have left its mark on the management team. Taking Padouck Deep first it should be said that this was a 15% chance of success well and the market made it seem like it was the end of the world, not the case. Ophir has some very interesting wells coming up and so the next few weeks will offer the chance to see other plays, either way, exploration success has been better than almost anyone since founding and with the Pavilion deal the company has  monetised like few others have. The market doesn’t like it but with an asset value much higher than the current share price, it’s only a matter of time before some way of realising that value is found by someone.

Thalassa Holdings

Thalassa is a stock I have started to look at and I like what I see as todays figures are very good indeed and certainly up with market expectations so a share price fall is the least we could expect! With revenue up 119%, net profit up 258%, operating profit up 180% and EPS up 160% one cant grumble and margins rose 300 bps and the company is debt free into the bargain. The GO Science acquisition looks very exciting and the order book, as ever understated means that revenues are covered a long way out. I am looking forward to meeting Duncan before long and will write a longer piece at that stage but I have become a big fan of Thalassa in a short period of time.


Shell have dropped out of talks for the PSA on Skifska field offshore Ukraine in the Black Sea West of the Crimea, not such a good address at the moment and Exxon are ‘reconsidering their position’ I understand.

I did TipTV yesterday which is beginning to get a lot of momentum I am pleased to say, the founders have worked very hard on it. Yesterday I covered BP, Shell, Chariot and GKP so either go to the blog website (www.malcysblog.com) or check out the link http://www.tiptv.co.uk/archives/TipTVHighlight-MalcolmGraham-Wood-19-03-2014/

Seeing lots of companies at the moment as they come out of closed season, yesterday I had a long session with Azonto (formerly Rialto but its not their fault) which was most interesting and will write it up soon.

Today I am off to see Hurricane Energy which will be very interesting indeed, talking of markets clouting stocks this share made its debut only last month at 43p and today stands at 24p…………………..I have watched Rob Trice and his fractured basements since Enterprise days and with drilling upcoming in its key area something isn’t right somewhere. I have heard lots of whispers about a distressed bank selling stock and whether its right to IPO with 100% field stakes is anyone’s guess but surely punters will be taking a genuine interest at these levels, watch this space…

And finally…

So, the Theatre started dreaming again last night as Man U rekindled the old and glorious nights of European football but looking at the names in tomorrows draw is more than daunting although we should bear in mind that names such as the Gooners, Noisy neighbours and HubCap Stealers will not be in the hat..

England lose another game of T20 cricket ahead of the World Cup this time to India who may turn out to be the eventual winners I suppose.

And Andy Murray has parted company with Ivan Lendl, this coach lasted nearly two years, next please..