By Adedapo Adesanya
Oil prices crashed more than 12 per cent on Friday as a new COVID-19 strain sparked fears about a demand slowdown just as supply increases.
As a result, the Brent crude plunged by 11.6 per cent or $9.50 to settle at $72.72 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude declined by 13.1 per cent or $10.24 to sell for $68.15 per barrel.
The discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in Southern Africa is already dampening economic growth and triggering another demand slump.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the new COVID variant detected in South Africa, stating that it could be more resistant to vaccines, thanks to its mutations. But the WHO has said further investigation was needed.
The variant, called B.1.1.529, is coming at a time when COVID cases are surging around the world ahead of the holiday season, with the WHO reporting hot spots in all regions and particularly in Europe.
The B.1.1.529 variant contains multiple mutations associated with increased antibody resistance, which may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, along with mutations that generally make it more contagious.
Market analysts noted that prices did not crash because of President Joe Biden’s announcement of the release of 50 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), which has not even happened yet.
On Tuesday, Mr Biden of the United States announced plans to release its reserves as part of a global effort by energy-consuming nations to calm 2021′s rapid rise in fuel prices.
India, China, Japan, South Korea and the U.K. will also release some of their reserves to cool the market, which the latest development might have done.
Following this, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) might still have a say in this, with the group’s December 2 meeting potentially resulting in a reduction in production targets for 2022.
The latest occurrence vindicates Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer which had warned that COVID-19 adds an unknown element to the market and that the alliance should not be too hasty in production ramp-ups or the market would suffer.
Amid this, oil production in the US continues to increase as drilling activity continues to pick up.
The US oil rig count rose this week to 467—a 6-rig increase and a 226 rig increase since this time last year.
The total rig count is now at 569—a figure that is 249 up from this time last year. Active rigs are still hundreds less than the 790 active rigs that were drilling in the pre-COVID world.
Nigerian Breweries Lists Additional Shares on Stock Exchange
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has admitted additional shares of Nigerian Breweries Plc on its trading platform, a notice from the exchange has confirmed.
The new stocks were issued to shareholders of the brewery giant as part of their dividend payment. They are those who opted to exchange their cash payment for shares of the firm.
According to the disclosure from the NGX on Monday, Nigerian Breweries listed a total of 78,929,849 ordinary shares of 50 kobo on the platform, increasing its total issued and fully paid-up equities to 8,075,831,900 ordinary shares from 7,996,902,051 ordinary shares.
“Additional 78,929,849 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of Nigerian Breweries Plc were today, Monday, January 24, 2022, listed on the daily official list of the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
“The additional shares listed on NGX arose from Nigerian Breweries scrip dividend election scheme.
“With this listing of the additional 78,929,849 ordinary shares, the total issued and fully paid-up shares of Nigerian Breweries Plc has now increased from 7,996,902,051 to 8,075,831,900 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each,” the statement noted.
Shares of Nigerian Breweries depreciated by 1.46 per cent or 70 kobo today at the stock exchange to close at N47.30, according to data obtained by Business Post.
FG Suspends Fuel Subsidy Removal, to Amend 2022 Budget
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has suspended fuel subsidy removal, which was earlier meant to be from July 1, 2022, and will now amend the 2022 Appropriation Act to accommodate the new change.
This action followed the pressure mounted by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which threatened to embark on a nationwide protest from January 27, 2022.
In the 2022 budget signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last month, the provision of petrol subsidy was till June 30, but the labour said fuel subsidy removal at this period of high inflation would be resisted.
On Monday, January 24, 2022, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Ahmed, was at the National Assembly for a meeting with lawmakers.
She explained that due to ongoing consultations, it was agreed that the planned removal of fuel subsidy should be shelved for now.
“Provision was made in the 2022 budget for subsidy payment from January till June. That suggested that from July, there would be no subsidy.
”The provision was made sequel to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act which indicated that all petroleum products would be deregulated.
“Sequel to the passage of the PIA, we went back to amend the fiscal framework to incorporate the subsidy removal.
“However, after the budget was passed, we had consultations with a number of stakeholders and it became clear that the timing was problematic.
“We discovered that practically, there is still heightened inflation and that the removal of subsidy would further worsen the situation and impose more difficulties on the citizenry.
“Mr President does not want to do that. What we are now doing is to continue with the ongoing discussions and consultations in terms of putting in place a number of measures.
“One of these includes the rollout of the refining capacities of the existing refineries and the new ones which would reduce the amount of products that would be imported into the country.
“We, therefore, need to return to the National Assembly to now amend the budget and make additional provision for the subsidy from July 22 to whatever period that we agreed was suitable for the commencement of the total removal,” the Minister informed the lawmakers.
The Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, who conveyed the meeting, commended the federal government for the bold step, urging the labour unions to suspend their action.
Also present at the gathering were the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari; among others.
Stanbic IBTC Finances Ardova LPG Storage Terminal
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The 20,000 metric tonnes Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage terminal being constructed in Ijora, Lagos, by AP LPG terminal, a fully owned subsidiary of Ardova Plc, is being financed by the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund, Business Post has learned.
In August 2021, Stanbic IBTC closed the first tranche of its N100 billion Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund aimed to support the funding of critical projects in the country with competitive return profiles, sustainable environmental practices, and the potential to positively impact the economy.
Ardova, one of the leading players in the energy sector in Nigeria, keyed into the initiative and on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, the firm performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the LPG storage terminal, which is expected to be completed in December 2022.
Upon completion, the project will be the largest LPG storage facility in the nation and will ease some of the existing bottlenecks in the value chain for the supply of cleaner and more efficient energy for domestic use (cooking gas) in Nigeria, amongst other strategic benefits.
Speaking at the event, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Ardova, Mr Olumide Adeosun, commended Stanbic IBTC for its commitment to the project, noting that the importance of having formidable partners for project development, planning, execution, and investment support cannot be overemphasised.
“We are pleased to have the support of the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund for its pioneering role in a transformational project within the LPG value chain, which will undoubtedly accelerate the various energy transition initiatives currently underway at Ardova Plc.
“This support has helped us commence construction of this 20,000 metric tonne LPG storage terminal, which is expected to bring efficiency and reliability of LPG supply to Nigerian consumers as well as create long term value for our shareholders; and for this, we are thankful,” he said.
Mr Adeosun further that, “Beyond the cleaner energy premise, approximately 600 direct jobs will be created during the construction of the project and there is a multiplier effect of about additional 1,400 indirect jobs that will be created during the construction period after which it settles to about 250-300 jobs once the project becomes operational.”
On his part, the CEO of Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, Mr Oladele Sotubo, noted that, “Across the globe, cleaner energy investments have continued to be the focus.”
“Given the environmental sustainability benefits of this project, Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund’s investment philosophy is properly aligned, hence the support for the 20,000 metric tonne LPG storage facility terminal,” he added.
Mr Sotubo applauded Ardova for partnering with Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund and used the opportunity to also commend all the Tranche 1 investors, including institutional investors such as Trustfund Pensions, Veritas Glanvills Pensions, NPF Pensions, Fidelity Pensions, Crusader Sterling Pensions, Agip CPFA, Progress Trust CPFA, AIICO Insurance, and other High Networth Individuals (HNIs), for the confidence reposed in the fund.
He pointed out the impact their investment is making in terms of solving some of Nigeria’s infrastructure bottlenecks, creating jobs while earning returns. “As an organisation, we remain committed to bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through the provision of investment capital needed to develop projects”, he added”.
The Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Chief Executive highlighted that the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund remains dedicated to meeting the investment needs of its clients, providing them with the right investment vehicles, opportunities and professional investment services needed to achieve their financial objectives.
He urged institutional investors such as pension fund administrators, insurance companies and asset managers to explore the unique opportunities of the Stanbic IBTC Infrastructure Fund in meeting their long-term financial goals.
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