WTI $55.91 -$1.90, Brent $61.06 -79c, Diff $5.15 +$1.11, NG $3.76 -8c

Oil price

Further weakness yesterday as the Chinese factory sector numbers contracted for the first time in seven months which was just what the oil bears needed. If you dont like falling through round numbers its not your morning as not only has WTI gone through $55 but Brent is below $60 this morning. Remember this weakness continues despite Libya’s production falling rapidly, from a high of nearly 1m b/d it is now generally agreed to be nearer 350/- b/d.

Tuesday is retail gasoline data day and for the US motorist things just keep getting better. Average gasoline prices in the states are now $2.55 a gallon, down another 12.5 cents on the week and now down 68.5c year on year.

Gulf Keystone 

The company has announced that Shaikan 7 and 8 are now tied into PF-1 and Shaikan 10 is tied in to PF-2. Subject to pressure testing the production will rise from the current 23-25/- b/d to 40/- b/d by the end of the year which is in line with the company’s forecast. Providing the recent positive developments regarding payments continue to work in the company’s favour things really are looking up for GKP, with the infrastructure in place and the local environment as benign as can be expected there are genuine grounds for optimism. Whilst I am expecting a grim time for oil stocks as the commodity remains weak not all will be tarred with the same brush and this stock will definitely make it to the bucket list.

Afren/Madagascar Oil

Afren has announced that it has completed drilling on the Madagascar block 1101 and cores show the presence of hydrocarbons and potentially good reservoir quality in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous which is very positive.

I mention this particularly as I think that Madagascar may be an interesting place to keep an eye on next year, in particular, having recently met Gordon Stein of Madagascar Oil who are equally as confident as Afren  fairly major developments may be on the cards…


Repsol has agreed a deal with Talisman Energy to buy the company for $8.3bn or $8 a share. With this being a 60% premium to the previous months share price i’m not surprised that this was agreed, Christmas has indeed come just a little early in Canada…

Chevron has pulled out of  the shale gas project in Ukraine, no great surprise given recent announcements on the project.

Whilst on the subject of  withdrawing from deals, Technip has abandoned its €1.47bn bid for CGG, again no surprise.

Rockhopper interims today but nothing in there not already announced, under the circumstances a positive statement from Chairman Pierre Jungels who looks forward to the drilling campaign in the Falklands expected to start in March.

And Antrim Energy has announced that the board has concluded that the intended offer by Sound Oil is ‘not in the best interests of the shareholders’.  Antrim wants to be the predator not the prey in this market but basing judgement purely on history if I was an Antrim shareholder  I would say that the Sound proposition looks pretty convincing…

And finally…

Last night the Toffees beat the Hoops 3-1 at Goodison but beating QPR at home isnt one to boast about, not sure they have any points on the road yet this season. Tonight in the Clueless Cup the Rams host Chelski and the Saints go to the Blades. In the Champions League draw the Noisy Neighbours got Barca-again- whilst José got PSG, the Gooners got the easy fixture of Monaco.

Its the last match of the series in Sri Lanka, a series already lost by England. With the team flying back for Christmas tomorrow the selectors meet on Friday to choose the captain and the team for the world cup, if current ECB thinking is to be believed England will be carrying passengers to Australia…

The news about Andrew Whittock gets a little better, yesterday I heard that he had woken up from his induced coma and had walked a little in hospital, here is a comment from his son.

“Hey just to let you know he has progressed really well in the past few days. He can now say a sentence (with difficulty) but seems to understand most things and was smiling etc. He can get agitated but generally ok.”

After I mentioned Andrew after his accident I received a huge inbox full of concerned comments, I’m sure we all wish him a speedy recovery and that he and his family have a peaceful and Happy Christmas.