WTI $60.20 -10c, Brent $64.88 -68c, Diff $4.68 -56c, NG $2.65 +1c

Oil price

A fairly quiet day yesterday in keeping with usual pre-Opec meeting trading volumes. Unsurprisingly few traders are wanting to take big positions one way or another even if the outcome looks likely to be no change in policy. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi was upbeat yesterday, speaking about demand he sees the second half of the year showing a decent pick-up rolling through 2016. It will need to be because yesterday Opec confirmed all those estimates of May production from the cartel, at 31.22m b/d it is the highest for over two years and above my previous guess of around 31m b/d.

Premier Oil

Confirming industry expectations Prems have announced this morning the tidying up of the equity and royalty situation at the Solan field. They have reached a settlement with Chyrsaor which gives Premier the 40% interest in return for very modest payments to the ‘vendor’. Royalty and NPI deals will mean that Premier currently estimates that the royalty payments and the NPI would become payable at an average oil price above $75/bbl and $100/bbl, respectively. In addition Premier have done a deal with FlowStream Commodities who will pay them $100m for 15% of the proceeds of Solan production ‘for a time’ which cleverly reduces the balance sheet exposure to Prems. With first oil due from Solan in the 4th quarter of 2015 this is an eminently sensible deal.

Andrew Whittock

I am enormously pleased to be able to report further good news about Andrew Whittock. His wife yesterday got in touch with me to tell me that Andrew has made a great recovery given the seriousness of his injuries in December and is now back at home getting back to full fitness. I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing him well and hopes to see him back soon.

And finally… 

Andy Murray made it through to the QF’s yesterday with a straight forward win over Jeremy Chardy, not his best tournament the French Open but he is clearly beating clay slowly but surely.

England’s chances of beating the Kiwis were surely robbed by the weather yesterday as a late and defensive declaration from McCullum meant that the rain made it more likely that New Zealand could nick the match and draw the series…..

And what will Stuart Lancaster be thinking this morning as another young player lets him down. Mr Cipriani was arrested by Metropolitan police and breath tested after crashing his car in Chelsea at 5.15am….