WTI $102.59 +19c, WTI $109.07 +11c, Diff $6.48 -8c, NG $4.61 +10c
As you might expect, the oil price which closed on Friday modestly better, has picked up sharply in Far East trading this morning. WTI is, as I write, $103.82 having seen $104.15 and Brent is $110.80 having seen $111.24. Russia is the worlds largest producer of oil as well as that of natural gas and the events occurring in the Ukraine are hardly conducive to the stability commodity markets desire. It is interesting to note that the threat of sanctions suggested by the USA yesterday have not, so far, been echoed by the Europeans, until one realises that 30% of the EU’s gas comes from Russia or through the Ukraine.
I wrote in a letter to the FT a few months ago, in response to a piece suggesting that we need not go ahead with fraccing and developing our own gas supply, that we should be as worried about certainty of supply as we are about the price of such supply. I rest my case as although we may be best of friends with Qatar and Norway the antics of those in the Kremlin are, how you say, less predictable. Whatever happens with regard to gas supply as a result of this current conflict we should endeavour to carry on with our domestic exploration if only to offset the risk of disruption to supplies in the future, this may have been a salient lesson to us all.
It is too early to start trying to pick out the individual companies that might be affected by the goings on in the Ukraine but one or two companies should be watched. Clearly BP has attached its colours to the Rosneft mast which may or may not be good news, I would say that it adds to the risk factor significantly, probably not what BP could do with just now. I recently said that in response to Bo Diddeley’s jubilation that BP had secured 2 Directors on the Rosneft Board, that they could have a hundred members of the board and it wouldn’t make any difference, I rest my case and in addition would feel uncomfortable with the exposure there. Other companies involved such as JKX, Ruspetro and Regal as well as a number of others will find the going a touch hard for a little while.
Lamprell has sold its Inspec service business to Intertek for $66.2m as its policy of restructuring and getting rid of non-core assets continues. The company has secured the supply of the Non-destructive testing services for the medium term through a multi-year preferred supplier agreement with Intertek. The sale means that Lamprell will pay down a ‘substantial’ part of the high cost portion of the secured debt facility which in my view is very good news. The shares have fallen today along with the market but I remain very positive on the work that continues to be done by James Moffatt and team although I personally hope to see the management in the upcoming results season and think that analysts should be given the opportunity to ‘kick the tyres’ as it were.
A busy weekend of sport as Sunderland failed in their attempt to land the first leg of the infamous treble of Clueless Cup, FA Cup and relegation although they could still follow in the footsteps of Wigan from last year and just do the double. The most irritating thing in their failure is that had they won they would have secured the Boropa Cup place allocated to the team finishing in 7th in the Premiership….In that league the Gooners slipped up and Chelski and the HubCap Stealers didn’t so the heat is on at the Emirates…Also the antics of Mr Pardew have yet again resurfaced and he says he is going to have to ‘sit down’ for a bit, I think that maybe more than that is needed, ask any Hammers fan…As for Birmingham City your owner appears to be a money launderer, good thing we have a ‘fair and proper’ owners test then…
The cricket has been diabolical, on Friday the captaincy and bowling choices were abysmal and after a good start the batting fell to pieces again, shame the management cant blame English Kev any more. Yesterday wasn’t much better as the batsmen scraped over a line that should have been a doddle!
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the snooker with a 147 break and even finished it with a left handed shot on the black…
At the Oscars it was quite predictable as 12 Years a slave won the best picture and Gravity won best director plus a slew of technical awards but the biggest Oscar winner may still be Mr Pistorious….at a court room near you from today.