Oil price, BP, Afren, Sundry-BHP-Victoria O&G-Gulfsands- And finally…

WTI $48.69 +$2.44, Brent $50.17 +$1.90, Diff $1.48 +6c, NG $3.13 -3c

Oil price-Martin Luther King day, USA markets shut.

After a topsy turvey week the oil price is almost as it was last Monday morning and that is after all three reporting agencies released their monthly reports. The IEA on Friday reduced their forecasts for non-Opec supply by 350/- b/d following the trend set earlier in the week but with a bit more conviction. Friday also saw the weekly Baker Hughes rig count numbers which you know are becoming fashionable to know about when Marcus Ashworth, legendary blogger of this parish, starts to quote. But as I have been saying this number is important and last week showed another big weekly fall of 74 rigs to a total of 1,676, down 101 year on year. Again Texas took the biggest hit losing 44 rigs.

Apart from that, production is still quite high, Iraq are apparently producing 4m b/d but I am not sure of that how much is going from Kurdistan through the pipeline to Turkey and of course how much is exported, internal demand could exceed 500/- b/d.

It’s a big week for economic data and hot air in a cold climate as the WEF kicks off in Dav-oh on Wednesday when all the BSD’s arrive in town. Longstanding readers will recall my repugnance for the event and those who are wasting huge amounts of other peoples money to try and make themselves look important. As the above mentioned Marcus says in his blog this morning, after last week the jaunt to the Alps just got 20% dearer…what a shame…

So the real action will likely be the Chinese GDP figures tomorrow which could see an undershoot of the 7.5% target and of course the ECB meeting to announce QE on Thursday, later that day sees Barry making his annual State of the Union address.

BP

With the BP trial post Macondo entering its final phase tomorrow BP will be cheered by the fact that it seems that the worst case fine is likely to be $13.7bn which the company will hope to mitigate. This number is still way above what they think is right and they will effectively appeal anything, also the number is also a lot higher than what has been set aside in the company’s provisions, watch this space…

Afren

With no news yet from Afren or Seplat I have been watching the share price of the former which will be a give-away should anything be imminent. When Seplat ‘declared an interest’ in Afren on 19th December they were told by the Takeover panel to bid or withdraw by 1700 hours tonight, I suppose in the absence of anything so far they might have decided that there are too many skeletons in the cupboard or that there is just too much in the way of due diligence to do. My call to the company (Afren) has not been returned-yet- but imagine that they will be sitting in the ops room surrounded by their advisors….

Sundry

Apparently BHP are in the process of taking a significant knife to its capex on shale in the US, this is in response to a commitment to a very high dividend payment that they cant walk away from, sounds familiar…

Victoria Oil & Gas has announced that the  pipeline  now reaches the ENEO power stations to be supplied by VOG gas. All should be on line by the end of Q1 2015 and looks to be ahead of time at the moment.

The showdown at Gulfsands, originally scheduled for last week until the lawyers stepped in has been rescheduled for 3rd of February at 3pm. I am finding this remarkably complicated and there are many scenarios hardly any of which benefit shareholders. With Syria shut and likely to remain so for some time and Morocco at a very early stage and with no real value I can add yet, one is left with the Colombian acreage which, especially in this market, will prove hard to sell. You could flip a coin on this one, looking forward to hearing sides before Feb 3.

And finally…

I hadn’t time on Friday to talk about the European rugby but after the weekends results it looks like the Saints against Racing Metro might be the match to watch next weekend. The other result was the win by the West Midlands Wasps beating the Quins on a rare visit back to London. Good results for Sarries, Glasgow and Bath as the groups hot up.

Andy Murray is off to a good start with a workmanlike performance to get through to the second round of the Australian open, still very worried about next week’s opponents now he is only seeded 6.

And after a very solid performance at Swansea where they were 4-0 up before half time, Chelski are free and clear at the top of the table after the Noisy Neighbours lost to the Gooners. Wins for the Hammers, HubCap Stealers and Man U keep them in the top half while the bottom 8 might be swapping places from now until May.

And Shaun Murphy wins the snooker adding the Masters to his other two majors, not sure if anyone wold have predicted the winner coming from that side of the draw but he played very well all week.

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