WTI $39.44 -76c, Brent $41.20 -34c, Diff $1.76 +42c, NG $1.91 -3c

Oil price

The oil price ended up on the week, just. The bulls are hanging on for the Doha meeting at which January production levels will be frozen at, the bears are saying that you must add another 1m barrels a day for Iran who are not participating. The bulls like the money managers adding to their long positions in WTI, whilst the bears point to the first rise in the oil rig count as being proof that $40 WTI is enough to start up again. Traders expect a quiet week in the build up to the Easter holiday and say that the market was technically a bit overbought at the end of last week and needed a break, it did look a bit tired. After Easter we will see a lot of Spring maintenance work so inventory numbers will have to be monitored closely particularly in products.

Xcite Energy

Results this morning from Xcite and the cash balance is $20.8m, plenty enough to keep the kettle boiling. Oil reserves are up slightly, gas is unchanged. The Xcite story has for some time now been all about getting in a partner, of yet no sign although the statement says that they are talking to a ‘number of potential field development partners’. They also say that with  debt expiry in June 2016, ‘we have engaged with our bondholders to develop financial flexibility’ and ‘continue to progress with the indicative funding proposals we have received’. Let’s hope that they are not the same smiling assassins who sold out on Petroceltic at the smell of a dollar bill.

Bahamas Petroleum

Finals too this morning from BPC but again it’s all about whats happening going forward that matters here. To be fair, Simon Potter and team are doing all that can be asked and then some, cost cutting continues and key executives are deferring 90% of salaries to be paid contingent on a farm-out. On that subject the search for a partner continues, in the meantime the technical and engineering works have been completed and have already reduced the anticipated cost of the first well to $50-60m. With the Petroleum Act now passed and cash of $5.6m being carefully monitored all that is now needed is to find a partner, according to the release, a number of qualified parties have been in the data room so they remain optimistic. With a deadline of April 2017 to drill on the renewed licences there is no need to panic, although it would be nice to hear something before the autumn.

Sundry

Cape has announced that it is extending its relationship with SABIC UK Petrochemicals Ltd until December 2018. This is a good contract win and although it would have been a serious problem if the company hadnt retained it having had such a good and long term relationship, they all need to be delivered.

Argos also has figures this morning which are equally meaningless. This one is pretty much all down to the the Rhea exploration well that was never drilled this season after the the Eirik Raude rig suddenly was not available after its owners became in dispute with Premier. The company retains an interest as and when the well is drilled.

The Sunday Times reports that Tony Hayward is to set up an investment fund to buy distressed oil and gas assets backed by private equity firms and sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East. Obviously there are other players in this space and according to the article Sam Laidlaw’s Neptune Fund has $5bn available but as of yet none invested. What might Tony Hayward buy in the way of distressed oil and gas assets you ask? I’m not even going to go there, even for a cheap one liner…

A busy weekend for Mr Fortson as he discloses in the same paper that Ayman Asfari, CEO of Petrofac has taken, through a private vehicle,  a 10% stake in Gulfsands Petroleum. Last week I wrote that GPX had rather a lot on its plate and that waiting for the Syrian acreage to come good may take some time. I stand by that still but if there is anyone in the oil industry who knows whats going on in Syria it is Mr Asfari…

And finally…

After a disastrous start to the race it was always likely that 2nd was the best that Lewis would make and he only just got that, Nico cruised in giving the season the start it needed. Vettel will keep them all honest and it was good to see that after a dreadful crash, both drivers walk away.

The 6 Nations ended with England winning the Grand Slam, still not quite the finished article but impressive nevertheless.

In the Prem all is still to play for in all the hot spots. At the top the Foxes, Spurs and the Gooners all won, with 7 to play it is getting very close, shale that one of these infernal ‘international breaks’ robs us of a traditional Easter rumble. In the battle for 4th position the Hammers were robbed by a rubbish pen awarded, wrong on so many levels. With the Red Devils giving the Noisy Neighbours a clip round the ear and coming away from Middle Eastlands with all three point 4,5 and 6th position are open to anyone. The HubCap Stealers were two nil up at the Saints but managed to lose 3-2, they would still fancy a top slot. At the bottom the Canaries sang all night after a great win at the Baggies and of course the Magpies just escaped with a late equaliser against the Maccams.

Finally, England were set 230 to beat South Africa in their must win World T20 match on Friday and made it with two balls to spare, how good is that…