WTI $53.78 +$1.03, Brent $56.24 +$1.16, Diff -$2.48 +15c, NG $3.38 +5c

Oil price

I had some interesting comments after I said that the oil price was boring at the moment, these ranged from ‘give me more boring at $55’ to ‘you should see the rest of the market mate’. I’m afraid it is still boring, crude is up about a dollar on the week with Brent about to expire. The most interesting news yesterday was that the Algerian Oil Minister said that there was a ‘growing confidence in output cuts’ which is probably fair but there are still bears out there. I spoke at length to Andy Pancholi who runs an amazing charting service called Cycles Analysis, one of the very few I pay for, and for choice he is short WTI at the moment although I gather without huge conviction.

Various other titbits, Buzzard is producing about 20% less than usual because of a technical problem, you saw the Donald repeal the Keystone XL and the Dakota pipeline, stock levels in crude are ok but slightly worrying in gasoline where refining margins are falling rapidly. Finally you may not have noticed it but the British Government has totally done a U-turn on policy regarding Syria, and not before time. In a Lords committee yesterday Foreign Secretary Bojo said that we would not oppose President Assad standing for re-election when the time comes…

Roundup of yesterday’s news:

Range Resources published their quarterly report and all is going very much according to plan, production in the quarter was 547 b/d, up 23% on the previous quarter and the exit rate for 2016 was 800 b/d, very impressive. The Morne Diablo waterflood project is now underway and with a sensible refinancing by way of issuing a $20m convertible to LandOcean all is looking well.

It was a good week in North Africa as SDX Energy completed their deal by buying the Egyptian and Moroccan assets from the bankrupt Circle Oil and raised $40m in a well oversubscribed offer.

Interestingly enough it was a particularly good week for Rockhopper who probably increased their value a fair bit just by watching these moves in North Africa. With their Beach deal being done at around $2.40 a barrel they too have some very decent flesh in the ‘Greater Mediterranean’ game and have bought very well.

Pantheon seem to have got back to doing what they know best and yesterdays announcement from the VOBM#4 sidetrack well looks to be potentially more good news, ie a chance of a significant reservoir in the EagleFord.

A round up from Bowleven where work continues on the Etinde take off. They have set up a technical workshop to go with every other type of committee they already have to decide on development options but fast becoming the favourite is to take the gas to the Marathon plant in Equatorial Guinea…I have mentioned BLVN a couple of times lately but cant see that there is much to be got from supporting the activist shareholder who is clearly out for some cash. This is an oil and gas company and that is how it is built, indeed the way it has been structured in recent years looks pretty sensible to me. It has a potentially world class asset and has plenty money in the bank and a substantial carry, agreed it has taken too long and patience is wearing a bit thin but if you ask me, Kevin deserves a bit more support than has been seen recently.

Velocys has signed an MOU with TRI who become their preferred supplier of gasification systems for their biomass to liquid plants. I will have more on Velocys in a couple of weeks as I have a meeting shortly with CEO.

And finally…

Last night in the Clueless Cup the Red Devils went through against the Hull City Tigers and will play the Saints in the final who beat the HubCap Stealers the night before.

This weekend it is FA Cup time and for some odd reason few decent fixtures have been thrown up this time, again. Wolves try their luck at Anfield, Chelsea host Brentford, The Eagles welcome the Noisy Neighbours and Wycombe go to White Hart Lane. Elsewhere, on form Saints take on the Gooners and Wigan, in better form lately, go to the Theatre of Dreams.

Fantastic racing too this weekend which I wont see as am on a state visit to the Channel Islands but its the Cheltenham Festival Trials meeting including a sighting of Thistlecrack and of course the even more rare sighting of Faugheen in Ireland on Sunday at the Irish Champion Hurdle.