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Wednesday(September,10 2014)

The essence of the National Petroleum Authority


The petroleum downstream industry has been a contest between the industry players (petroleum service providers) and the consumer. The industry wants profitability while the consumer wants value for money. None of these must occur at the expense of the other.    

It is for this reason that  the regulator (NPA) was established to innovate and adopt strategies to ensure that the industry remains efficient and profitable but at the same time consumers receive value for money.

This new paradigm was also designed to liberalise the sector and remove the inefficiencies, thereby lifting the government’s  “arm” from being the only source of supply and financier of the petroleum product requirements of the country, while paving the way for a free and efficient marketplace.

Poised to be a catalyst for Ghana’s economic transformation and growth, the mandate of the NPA, according to the NPA Act 2005 (Act 691), covers a broad spectrum of tasks. Among others, it is to regulate, oversee and monitor activities in the Petroleum Downstream Industry.

Downstream ?

By downstream, we mean all activities involved in the importation and refining of crude oil or the sale, marketing and distribution of refined petroleum products in the country.

The various commercial activities of the downstream industry in respect of petroleum products include: Importation, exportation, re-exportation, shipment, transportation, processing, refining, storage, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum products.

Some achievements

The downstream petroleum industry has seen dramatic transformation in the past nine years. Key changes include:

Private sector participation in the petroleum downstream industry

The industry, for the first time in several years, has seen an unprecedented proliferation of investment and expansion of petroleum products storage and outlet facilities by the private sector, mostly dominated by a growing number of indigenous Ghanaian companies due to the deregulation of the petroleum downstream industry.

The authority has granted licences to a significant number of new entrants to operate as petroleum service providers (PSPs) in the industry. Consequently there are currently over 700 licensed companies in 20 different categories in the downstream sector.

At the moment, there are 21 oil trading companies and 24 bulk distributing companies that supplement production from the Tema Oil Refinery through the importation of finished petroleum products to meet the demand deficit. More than 500 transporters have been licensed to supply and transport petroleum products in the country.

Others include 81 oil marketing companies, 42 LPG marketing companies (LPGMCs), 22 bunkering companies, calibration companies, which used to be three before the establishment of the NPA but are now five; three lubricant manufacturing; three lubricant blending and marketing, nine petroleum products export companies, seven bulk oil storage depots, a new refinery, a mooring company, an emulsified fuels production company, and a stratification company, among others.

The involvement of the private sector in the importation of crude oil/ refined petroleum products has minimised the Government’s involvement in procuring or financing the petroleum product requirements of the country, thereby making more resources available for other developmental projects and programmes.

This has also resulted in the reliable supply of crude oil or petroleum products.

Unified Petroleum Pricing Fund (UPPF) Scheme

The NPA has put in place a UPPF scheme which ensures that there is regular supply of petroleum products to all parts of the country, irrespective of the geographical location, at the same price.

The UPPF sees to it that petroleum products are efficiently transported across the country in a manner that is simple, effective and inexpensive to operate administratively.

Protecting the interests of consumers

As a regulator, we are concerned about the growing number of calls by consumers with regard to the poor quality of fuel and inaccurate quantity of fuel dispensed at the pumps at various stations.

In order to ensure sanity in the sale and marketing of products in the petroleum downstream sector, the NPA introduced the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme (PPMS) to ensure that the quality of products is devoid of adulteration and meets the required specification as the one loaded from the depots to retail outlets. Offenders are duly sanctioned in accordance with LI 2187.

Additionally, the quantity of products offered for sale at the pump is assessed to ensure that the customer is not cheated. For this purpose, the NPA, in collaboration with the Ghana Standards Authority, developed and introduced the 10-litre measuring can to guide consumers at retail outlets and to give consumers the ability to verify the accuracy of dispensing pumps when they are in doubt.

Enhancing the performance of PSPs

Our focus at the NPA is to ensure that all stakeholders pitch in to further improve standards. The authority, in collaboration with other stakeholders has provided comprehensive guidelines and standards to guide the operations of various PSPs. This is aimed at improving the efficiency, compliance and safety of the industry.

Furthermore, the authority embarks on several nationwide inspections throughout the year to ensure that PSPs are operating according to the stipulated guidelines.

In conclusion, imagine a game of football where there is no referee, no rules and no standards; it becomes  a ‘free-for-all’ contest where the strongest takes advantage of the weak; or better still, it can be linked to the jungle’s “survival of the fittest”.

Therefore, it is worthy to note that the role the NPA plays in the petroleum downstream industry goes beyond just the pricing of petroleum products, contrary to comments by some think tanks and social commentators.

NPA’s operations include other management functions such as planning, research, monitoring and the setting of standards in the downstream petroleum industry.

Its existence and operations are vital in sustaining the development of the petroleum downstream industry in Ghana.
Friday(September,05 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 36): WEEK ENDED SEPTEMBER 5, 2014

Major Highlights
  1. Brent crude oil trades in a range of $99-$101 per barrel.
  2. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate depreciates by 1.24% compared to the previous week.
  3. Libyan parliament reappoints former Prime Minister.
  4. Ghana’s stock of diesel increases; petrol declines compared to the previous week’s stock.
  5. U.S total commercial petroleum inventories increase by 1.5 million barrels the previous week.

Brent crude oil trades in a range of $99-$101 per barrel

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) increased by $0.43 to $100.66 per barrel from the previous week's average of $101.10 a barrel, indicating 0.43% decline.

Brent crude oil fell marginally as Chinese and U.S. data pointed to slower-than-expected growth in the world's top oil consumers. Prospect of slowing oil demand growth in Europe, a strong dollar and ample supplies pushed prices down.

"The Chinese data, with imports showing disappointing results, indicates the domestic economy remains quite weak," said Victor Shum, senior partner at oil consultancy Purvin & Gertz. Oil prices have been in steady decline since the end of June as concerns faded over supply disruptions from Iraq, Libya and Russia. Continued supply from key producing regions and tepid demand has left global markets well stocked.

Free on board (FOB) prices of Petrol increased by $5.99 to $970.30/MT from the previous week's average of $964.31, indicating 0.62% rise; Diesel decreased by $5.61 to $856.95/MT from the previous week’s average of $862.56, indicating 0.65% decline; and LPG decreased marginally by $0.75 to $754.25/MT from the previous week’s average of $754.25, indicating 0.10% decline, during the period under review.

The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate depreciates by 1.24% compared to the previous week

The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened for the second consecutive week after stabilizing the previous three weeks.

The depreciation of the Ghana cedi against the USD, increased the impact of the exchange rate on the ex-pump price of petroleum products.

The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 1st September 2014 to 5th September 2014 was 3.1736 compared to 3.1346 during the previous week (1.24% depreciation).

The GHS equivalent of FOB prices for petrol, diesel and LPG increased by 1.87%, 0.59% and 1.14% respectively, during the period under review.

Geopolitics

Libyan parliament reappoints former Prime Minister

Libya's parliament reappointed Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni as the government lost control of ministries in the capital where armed groups have taken over and a separate parliament has claimed legitimacy.

In another sign of the oil producer sliding deeper into anarchy, Islamist militants launched a new attempt to seize Benghazi's civilian and military airport from army forces allied to a renegade general. At least 13 soldiers from Haftar's forces were killed and 45 wounded, medics said.

The reappointment of Thinni, a former defence minister and career soldier who has been prime minister since March, sets him the challenge of reasserting government control over a country where many fear a descent into full-scale civil war.

Parliamentary spokesman Faraj Hashem said 64 of the 106 representatives present had voted for Thinni and the house had instructed him "to form a crisis government within a period of time not exceeding two weeks."

Inventories

Ghana’s stock of diesel increases; petrol declines compared to the previous week’s stock

Ghana’s stock of Diesel and Petrol to last 1.5 and 0.9 weeks respectively (as at September 1, 2014).

Diesel’s stock of 1.5 weeks compare favorably to last week’s stock to last of 1.4 weeks, while Petrol’s stock of 0.9 weeks compares unfavorably to last week’s stock of 2.0 weeks.

According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 46.7 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of about 87.2 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles.

LPG of about 4.0 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (September 6, 2014). The CDU and RFCC remain shut down for planned mini maintenance and lack of feed.

The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for August 29, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 0.9 million barrels to 359.6 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 2.3 million barrels to 212.6 million barrels.

Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 0.6 million barrels to 126.0 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

U.S total commercial petroleum inventories increase by 1.5 million barrels the previous week.

The EIA in its Weekly Petroleum Status report for August 29, 2014 reported that, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day last week, up by 42,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day, 5.8% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 801,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 153,000 barrels per day last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged over 19.7 million barrels per day, up by 2.7% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged about 9.1 million barrels per day, down by 0.7% from the same period last year.

Distillate fuel product supplied averaged 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.1% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is up 1.3% compared to the same four-week period last year.

References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Friday(August,29 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 35): WEEK ENDED AUGUST 29, 2014

  Major Highlights
  1.  Brent crude oil trades in a narrow range of $100-$101 per barrel.
  2.  The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate depreciates for the second consecutive week.
  3.  Ukraine accuses Russia of plans to halt gas flow in winter to Europe.
  4.  Ghana’s stock of diesel and petrol improves compared to the previous week’s stock.
  5.  U.S total commercial petroleum inventories decrease by 1.4 million barrels last week.
Brent crude oil trades in a narrow range of $100-$101 per barrel

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) increased by $1.15 to $101.10 per barrel from the previous week's average of $99.95 a barrel, indicating 1.15% rise. Brent crude oil edged up on worries that the intensifying Ukraine crisis may trigger more sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.

"We could see a little bit of a premium being applied to oil prices should those tensions continue to escalate," said OptionsXpress analyst Le Brun. Also supporting Brent crude oil was a strong U.S. economic data which pointed to strong demand in the world's largest oil consumer.

"The strong data in Chicago manufacturing is making people think that there could be something going on that will show up in demand numbers shortly," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, Illinois.

However, Brent crude oil slipped in the course of the week as ample supply and softening demand in Europe and China weighed on the oil market.

Free on board (FOB) prices of Petrol increased by $17.51 to $964.31/MT from the previous week's average of $946.80, indicating 1.85% rise; Diesel went up by $7.01 to $862.56/MT from the previous week’s average of $855.55, indicating 0.82% rise and LPG went up by $13.55 to $754.25/MT from the previous week’s average of $740.70, indicating 1.83% rise, during the period under review.

The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate depreciates for the second consecutive week

The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened for the second consecutive week after stabilizing the previous three weeks.

The depreciation of the Ghana cedi against the USD, increased the impact of the exchange rate on the ex-pump price of petroleum products.

The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 25th August 2014 to 29th August 2014 was 3.1346 compared to 3.0654 during the previous week (2.26% depreciation).

The GHS equivalent of FOB prices for petrol, diesel and LPG increased by 4.15%, 3.09% and 4.13% respectively, during the period under review.

Geopolitics

Ukraine accuses Russia of plans to halt gas flow in winter to Europe

Ukraine's president said Russian troops had entered his country in support of pro-Moscow rebels who captured a key coastal town, sharply escalating a separatist war and prompting anger and alarm among Kiev's Western allies.

In a related development, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Kiev knew of Russian plans to halt gas flows this winter to Europe, comments that were promptly denied by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

"The situation in (Ukraine's) energy sector is difficult. We know of Russia's plans to block (gas) transit even to European Union countries this winter, and that's why their (EU) companies were given an order to pump gas into storage in Europe as fully as possible," Yatseniuk told a government meeting, without disclosing how he knew about the Russian plans.

Inventories

Ghana’s stock of diesel and petrol improves compared to the previous week’s stock

Ghana’s stock of Diesel and Petrol to last 1.4 and 2.0 weeks respectively (as at August 25, 2014). Diesel’s stock of 1.4 weeks compares favorably to last week’s stock to last of 1.1 weeks, while Petrol’s stock of 2.0 weeks compares favorably to last week’s stock of 1.3 weeks.

According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 78.7 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of about 37.6 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles.

LPG of about 5.2 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (August 30, 2014). The CDU and RFCC remain shut down for planned mini maintenance and lack of feed.

The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for August 22, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.1 million barrels to 360.4 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 1.0 million barrels to 214.9 million barrels.

Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 1.3 million barrels to 125.4 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

U.S total commercial petroleum inventories decrease by 1.4 million barrels last week

The EIA in its Weekly Petroleum Status report for August 22, 2014 reported that, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.6 million barrels per day last week, up by 174,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.6 million barrels per day, 5.1% below the same four-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 448,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 77,000 barrels per day last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.8 million barrels per day, up by 2.1% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged over 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.4% from the same period last year.

Distillate fuel product supplied averaged over 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 5.2% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is up 2.1% compared to the same four-week period last year.

References

• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Thursday(August,21 2014)

NPA TO INTRODUCE NEW CONDITIONS FOR LICENCE RENEWAL

 The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is to come out with a new condition for oil marketing companies (OMCs) to retain their trading licences. The OMCs are now to secure bank guarantees from reputable banks that will pay their bills when they default in paying the bulk distribution companies (BDCs).

Anything contrary to satisfying the condition would lead to the revocation of oil marketing licenses by the NPA.

The directive, which would come into force in a fortnight, according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NPA, Mr Moses Asaga, is aimed at ensuring sanity and improved liquidity in the petroleum trading sector.

He told the Daily Graphic in Accra that commercial banks were no longer willing to provide letters of credit (LCs) for the BDCs as a result of the OMCs huge indebtedness.

The situation, he explained, had led to the introduction of a cash and carry system by the BDCs, leading to the shortage of products in some parts of the country, with the hinterlands being the most affected.

Market share

Mr Asaga said that the BDCs were facing the liquidity crises because majority of them were fighting for market share, as a result of which they were giving out products to the OMCs without the necessary bank guarantees and any reasonable market recovery plans.

He said majority of the OMCs were thus taking advantage of the BDCs’ scramble for market share by failing to pay back after the expiration of the 90-day credit rolled out to them.

“The BDCs are partly to blame for the risky exposure to the OMCs as they have not been able to manage their credit terms and conditions responsibly,” Mr Asaga said.

“These acts have culminated in the credit crunch thereby tying up petroleum products in the system”, Mr Asaga added.

He indicated that majority of the OMCs, had over time, invested monies belonging tgo the BDCs after the sale of products into micro-finance and contract businesses, resulting form the relaxed manner in which the BDCs treated their credit covers.

He asked the BDCs to shorten the length of maturing cycle for LCs for the OMCs as this would help to improve liquidity and cash flow.

“They do not have to wait for 90-days. If it is brought down to 45-days it would tremendously improve liquidity in the sector and further avert incidents of shortage,” Mr Asaga.

BoG Intervention

Mr Asaga said following the commercial banks refusal to open LCs for the BDCs, resulting from the exhaustion of their credit limits and unpaid arrears over a two-year period, the government through the Bank of Ghana (BoG) had intervened with the provision of foreign exchange (forex) cover to enable them to pay the arrears.

He was hopeful that the measure introduced would reduce the huge indebtedness in the sector.

Source: Daily Graphic
Friday(August,15 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 33): WEEK ENDED AUGUST 15, 2014

             MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS

1. Brent crude oil trades in a range of $100-$104 per barrel.
2. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate stabilises for the second consecutive week.
3. Libyan lawmakers agree to elect next president by popular vote.
4. Ghana’s current stock of diesel and petrol improves compared to last week.
5. U.S. crude oil production in July highest in 27 years.

Brent crude oil trades in a range of $100-$104 per barrel

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) decreased by $1.66 to $101.67 per barrel from the previous week's average of $103.33 a barrel, indicating 1.61% decline.

Brent crude oil fell, weighed down as disappointing economic data from the European Union fuelled concern about demand, and also ample OPEC production indicating a well-supplied oil market. Growth in Germany and France grounded to a halt in the second quarter.

That disappointing data came just days after news that implied oil demand in China, the world's second-largest oil consumer, fell 6 percent in July from June.

OPEC said its members increased output in July despite violence in Iraq and Libya while trimming its 2014 demand growth forecast. Also weighing on Brent crude oil was U.S. intervention in Iraq that eased concerns over the risk of disruption to supply from OPEC's second-largest producer. U.S. air strikes on the Sunni insurgency calmed market worries over the risk to oil production, helping pull prices lower again.

"Despite armed conflict in Libya, Iraq and Ukraine, the oil market today looks better supplied than expected, with an oil glut even reported in the Atlantic basin," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report. "U.S. and EU sanctions on the Russian oil sector are not providing oil markets with much support either.

The consensus in the industry seems to be that neither set of sanctions will have any tangible near-term impact on supplies. Even for the medium term, their impact appears questionable," the IEA added.

Free on board (FOB) average prices of Petrol remained unchanged at $950.15/MT from the previous week's average of $950.15; Diesel went down by $5.05 to $869.90/MT from the previous week’s average of $874.95, indicating 0.58% decline and LPG went down by $9.10 to $745.90/MT from the previous week’s average of $755.00, indicating 1.21% decline, during the period under review.

The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate stabilises for the second consecutive week.

The stability of the Ghana Cedi against the USD, lessen the impact of the international prices of petroleum products on the petroleum price build-up. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 11th August 2014 to 15th August 2014 was 3.0350 compared to 3.0350 during the previous 2 consecutive weeks.

This resulted in the USD and GHS equivalent FOB prices of Petrol, Diesel and LPG been the same. FOB prices of Petrol remained unchanged, Diesel and LPG decreased by 0.58%, 1.21% respectively over the previous week’s prices.

GEOPOLITICS

Libyan lawmakers agree to elect next president by popular vote

Libya's new parliament agreed that the next president would be elected by a popular vote as lawmakers sought to overcome a confrontation between two armed factions.

Western partners hope the new parliament will open space for negotiations between rival militias and their political backers and return Libya to stability after a month of clashes that turned Tripoli and Benghazi into battlefields.

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for the new president to be directly elected by the Libyan people as it seeks to put the country back on track towards democracy, three years after Muammar Gaddafi's fall in an uprising.

INVENTORIES

Ghana’s current stock of diesel and petrol improves compared to last week

Ghana’s current stock of Diesel and Petrol improves to 1.1 and 2.8 weeks respectively. Diesel’s current stock of 1.1 compares to last week’s stock of 0.4 weeks, while Petrol’s current stock of 2.8 weeks compares to last week’s stock of 2.3 weeks.

These improvements were mainly as a result of BDCs been able to establish LCs with their commercial banks. According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 96.2 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of about 59.1 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles.

LPG of about 9 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (August 16, 2014). The CDU and RFCC remain shut down for planned mini maintenance and lack of feed.

The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for August 1, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.4 million barrels to 367.0 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 1.2 million barrels to 215.3 million barrels.

Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 2.4 million barrels to 125.1 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week.

DEMAND and SUPPLY

U.S. crude oil production in July highest in 27 years

U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.5 million barrels per day in July, the highest level since April 1987, the Energy Information Administration said. In its monthly short term energy outlook, the EIA also raised its crude production forecasts for this year to 8.5 million bpd from its previous estimate of 8.42 million bpd and for next year's output to 9.3 million bpd from 9.27 million bpd previously.

The EIA in its Weekly Petroleum Status report for August 1, 2014 reported that, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.8 million barrels per day last week, up by 283,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.6 million barrels per day, 4.6% below the same four-week period last year.

Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 470,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 151,000 barrels per day last week.

REFERENCES

• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Friday(August,08 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 32): WEEK ENDED AUGUST 8, 2014

Major Highlights

  1. Brent crude oil trades in a range of $102-$104 per barrel.
  2. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate stabilizes over last week’s rate.
  3. Fighting in Libya spreads from Tripoli to Zawiya town, around 20 km from Zawiya port.
  4. Ghana’s current stock of diesel to last 0.4 weeks; petrol to last 2.3 weeks.
  5. U.S June petroleum imports drop to 3-1/2 year low.
  6. OPEC revises 2014 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million, down 30,000bpd.
Brent Crude Oil in a range of $102-$104 barrel.

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) decreased by $1.94 to $103.33 per barrel from the previous week's average of $105.27 a barrel, indicating 1.94% decline.

Brent crude oil fell as ample supply in global markets was compounded by worries over the impact of trade sanctions on global economic growth. "This continued escalation between the EU, U.S. and Russia over sanctions will be a negative for global economic growth," said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix consultancy in Switzerland.

However, Brent crude oil rose after the United States approved air strikes against Islamist militants in Iraq, raising concerns over the security of oil supplies from OPEC's second largest producer. "The market will look very close at what happens next, and whether oil supplies from southern Iraq could be under threat," Tetsu Emori, a commodity fund manager at Astmax Co Ltd in Tokyo.

Free on board (FOB) prices of Petrol decreased by $31.95 to $950.15/MT from the previous week's average of $982.10, indicating 3.25% decline; Diesel went down by $11.95 to $874.95/MT from the previous week’s average of $886.90, indicating 1.35% decline and LPG went down by $35.00 to $755.00/MT from the previous week’s average of $790.00, indicating 4.43% decline, during the period under review.

Ghana Cedi/US Dollar exchange rate stabelizes over last week's rate 

The stability of the Ghana Cedi against the USD, lessen the impact of the international prices of petroleum products in the petroleum price build-up.

The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 4th August 2014 to 8th August 2014 was 3.0350 compared to 3.0350 during the previous period. This resulted in the USD and GHS equivalent FOB prices of Petrol, Diesel and LPG been the same.

FOB prices of Petrol, Diesel and LPG decreased by 3.25%, 1.35% and 4.43% respectively over the previous week’s prices.

GEOPOLITICS

Fighting in Libya spreads from Tripoli to Zawiya town, around 20 km from Zawiya Port.

Clashes in Libya spread from Tripoli to the western town of Zawiya near Tunisia's border, where a large oil port is located, killing four people, local town council officials said.

The fighting in Zawiya is part of a broader struggle between two loose confederations of former rebels and their political allies whose rivalries have exploded into street battles that have killed more than 200 people in the past three weeks.

Foreign governments have mostly closed their embassies and evacuated staff after three weeks of clashes turned Libya's two main cities - Tripoli and Benghazi - into warzones in the worst fighting since the NATO-backed war against Muammar Gaddafi.

Zawiya port is connected to El Sharara in the southern desert and its pipelines started operating a few months ago after months of blockades by armed protesters. "

The clashes are around 20 kilometers from the port. The port is operating normally, and at least one tanker leaves everyday exporting oil," Youssef Hamza, managing director of Zawiya port told Reuters.

He added that "All fuel depots for domestic consumption and for exports are full, and all tankers load once they arrive."

INVENTORIES

Ghana’s current stock of Diesel to last 0.4 weeks while  Petrol to last 2.3 weeks.

Current stock of Diesel and Petrol declines to about 0.4 and 2.3 weeks respectively. Diesel’s current stock of 0.4 compares to last week’s stock of 1.3 weeks, while Petrol’s current stock of 2.3 weeks compares to last week’s stock of 2.5 weeks.

These reduction in stock levels is as a result of financial hold on imports of these products. Diesel and Petrol stocks of about 45 million litres and 23.2 million litres respectively are under financial hold.

According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 72.5 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of about 56.3 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles.

LPG of about 7 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (August 09, 2014).

The CDU and RFCC remain shut down for planned mini maintenance and lack of feed.

U.S June Petroleum Imports drop to 3-1/2 year low.

The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for August 1, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.8 million barrels to 365.6 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 4.4 million barrels to 216.5 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 1.8 million barrels to 127.5 million barrels over the same period.

Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 8.4 million barrels last week.

DEMAND AND SUPPLY

OPEC revises 2014 global oil demand growth forecast to 1.1 million, down 30,000bpd.

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed more than expected in June as petroleum imports dropped to a 3-1/2 year low, suggesting that trade was less of a drag on second-quarter economic growth than initially thought.

In June, imports fell 1.2 percent, the largest drop in a year, to $237.4 billion. That came as petroleum imports declined to $27.4 billion, the lowest level since November 2010, from $28.3 billion in May.

A domestic energy boom has seen the country reduce its dependence of foreign oil, helping to ease pressure on the current account deficit.

The petroleum deficit fell to its lowest level since May 2009. There was a jump in crude oil exports. Rising exports bode well for economic growth prospects for the rest of the year.

Exports to Canada hit an all-time high in June. Exports to China rose 1.4 percent, while imports from that country increased 3.7 percent.

Elsewhere, OPEC trimmed its 2014 global oil demand growth forecast for a second consecutive month and said the group managed to increase output in July despite violence in Iraq and Libya, pointing to more comfortable global supplies.

In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed its projection for growth in global oil demand this year to 1.10 million barrels per day (bpd), down 30,000 bpd.

This is the second consecutive time it has cut the forecast. OPEC also trimmed forecast global demand for its crude oil in 2014 to 29.61 million bpd, down 70,000 bpd from the previous estimate, citing the lower demand forecast and a higher expectation of non-OPEC supply.

The report also showed OPEC's crude output in July rose. According to secondary sources cited by the report, output increased by 170,000 bpd to 29.91 million bpd, led by higher supply in Libya and Saudi Arabia.

REFERENCES
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk 

Tuesday(August,05 2014)

SAFETY TIPS FOR MOTORISTS AT A FILLING STATION

Dear Motorists anytime you are at any filling station to buy fuel, you should concentrate and observe these tit bits BEFORE AND AFTER YOU ARE SERVED to ensure your safety and value for money.

1.Pull up at the pump Island before your fuel tank is opened.

2.Switch off your engine.

3.Closely observe both the quantity and price indicators of the pump; ensure that it reads ZERO, before you are served.

4.Avoid mobile phone conversations and please be attentive for the moment and be involved in the process.

5.Do not smoke in the forecourt of the filling station.

6.Do not buy fuel dispensed from a pump with a Ghana Standard Authority’s `RED STICKER`.

7.Ensure that the Ghana Standards Authority’s ‘GREEN STICKER’ is displayed on the serving dispensing pump.

8.Open your tank and request the attendant to serve you. Make your request in litres or the cedi equivalent (not in gallons).

9.Ensure that the quantity / volume of product on the display is in litres.

10.Observe the amount indicated on the pump display is what you are paying for.

11.If you suspect any foul play, report to the manager or supervisor of the station. If you are not satisfied, contact the NPA on Vodafone toll free number 080012300 or on NPA’s main lines 0302-766195/6.

Tuesday(August,05 2014)

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SMELL GAS

  • Open doors and windows to get rid of the gas.

  • Extinguish all sources of naked flame (coal pots, cigarettes, etc)

  • Check and see if the gas has been left on.

  • If not, there is probably a gas leakage, so turn off the regulator and call technicians to service your stove.

  • If it is safe to do so, try to locate the source of the leak by applying a solution of soapy water to the base of your cylinder valve or along the flexible hose. If bubbles appear and become bigger or increase in number then you have a leak. Knowing where the leak is helps prevent accidents.

  • Do not turn electrical switches on or off.

  • Don’t use matches or naked flames, do not smoke.

  • Don’t use naked flames to check for leakage.


IN CASE OF FIRE

  • Remember, fire needs three ingredients:

  • LPG

  • Oxygen (Air)

  • Heat to ignite


If you have to deal with a fire remember these point:

  • React quickly – a small fire is easier to deal with than a larger one.

  • Alert every one of the fire and evacuate the building.

  • Never try to deal with the fire if it is unsafe to do so.

  • Think of a fire triangle and try to remove one of the ingredient of the fire.

  • Always approach fire from upwind and only if it is safe to do so.

  • If there is fire in the kitchen or near the cylinder, put off the regulator and try to remove the cylinder away from the fire, if it is safe to do so.

  • Attempt to put off fire with fire extinguisher (dry powder fire extinguishers are the most effective for use of LPG fire).

  • Do not use water to put off fire where LPG is present.

  • Call the fire service.

Friday(August,01 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 31): WEEK ENDED AUGUST 1, 2014

  Major Highlights
 Brent crude oil trades in a range of $103-$106 per barrel.
 The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate enjoys relative stability over the previous week’s rate.
 The EU and U.S announce further sanctions against Russia.
 Ghana’s current stock of petrol and diesel sees improvement as a result of establishment of Letters of Credit to BDCs.
 Ghana’s consumption of petroleum products fall in June 2014 (Y-on-Y and M-o-M).

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) decreased by $0.83 to $105.27 per barrel from the previous week's average of $106.10 a barrel, indicating 0.78% loss. Brent crude oil slipped as ample supply in the Atlantic basin offset geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Michael Wittner, an oil analyst at French bank Societe Generale, said oversupply in the West African crude market was "a bearish sign". "The likelihood of a supply disruption remains extremely low as the ability of other regions to respond, particularly the US energy sector, remains high," analysts at Goldman Sachs led by Jeffrey Currie said in a note to clients. Also weighing on Brent crude oil was weak demand in Europe and Asia. However, Brent crude oil prices rose, reversing losses in the week, as fighting in Ukraine and deteriorating relations between Russia and the United States ignited new fears of supply disruptions in the market. "The escalation of hostilities is stoking supply fears, as the energy card is waiting to be played by Russia and the West as a way to inflict economic harm on each other," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York
Free on board (FOB) prices of Petrol decreased by $11.85 to $982.10/MT from the previous week's average of $994.55, indicating 1.25% loss; Diesel went up by $3.15 to $886.90/MT from the previous week’s average of $883.75, indicating 0.36% gain while LPG went down by $17.80 to $790.00/MT from the previous week’s average of $807.80, indicating 2.20% loss, during the period under review. The relative stability of the Ghana Cedi against the USD, which depreciated insignificantly by 0.01%, increased marginally the contribution of the international prices of crude oil and petroleum products in the petroleum price build-up. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 28th July 2014 to 1st August 2014 was 3.0350 (depreciated by 0.01%) compared to 3.0347 during the previous period. The GHS equivalent FOB prices of Petrol and LPG decreased by 1.24% and 2.19% respectively, while Diesel increased by 0.37% over the previous week’s prices.

Geopolitics

The European Union and the United States announced further sanctions against Russia, targeting its energy, banking and defence sectors in the strongest international action yet over Moscow's support for rebels in eastern Ukraine. The measures mark the start of a new phase in the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War, which worsened dramatically after the downing of Malaysian flight MH17 over rebel-held territory on July 17 by what Western countries say was a Russian-supplied missile.

Inventories

Of the total stocks of Diesel and Petrol reported in the table, about 11.4 million litres and 36.7 million litres respectively are under financial hold. This brings operational stocks of Diesel and Petrol to last 1.3 weeks and 2.5 weeks respectively. This current stock of Diesel sees an improvement over last week’s stock to last of 0.2 week while Petrol’s current stock declines compared to last week’s stock to last of 2.9 weeks. According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 48.5 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of 10.7 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles. LPG of about 7 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (August 02, 2014). The CDU has been shut down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFCC shut down on May 19, 2014 for planned mini maintenance.
The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for July 25, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.7 million barrels to 367.4 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles increased by 0.4 million barrels to 220.9 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 0.8 million barrels to 129.3 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

From Table 1, it can be observed that Ghana’s consumption of all petroleum products fell in June-14 from June-13 (year-on-year). MGO Foreign recorded the highest drop of 98%, followed by Kerosene (80%), Petrol (19%), ATK (13%) etc. The drop in MGO Foreign is partly due to the separation of Gasoil Rig from MGO Foreign in 2014.
Table 2 depicts Ghana’s consumption of petroleum products on a month-on-month basis. Consumption of all the petroleum products except ATK recorded drops in June-14 from May-14. The highest drop by half (50%) was recorded for MGO Foreign. Petrol and Diesel experienced drops of nearly a quarter (22.8% and 23%) each for the same period. This could mainly be attributed to BDCs inability to raise LCs from commercial banks to fund imports of these products. However, ATK recorded about a quarter (24%) rise in consumption in June-14 from May-14. This was mainly as a result of some BDCs failing to deliver their scheduled stocks and also coupled with Tema Oil Refinery’s inability to produce in the month of May-14. The situation was, however, returned to normalcy with the issuance of emergency cargoes to avert further deterioration of the situation.

References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk

Tuesday(July,29 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 30): WEEK ENDED JULY 25, 2014

  Major Highlights
 Brent crude oil trades in a range of $105-$107 per barrel.
 The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate enjoys relative stability over the previous week’s rate.
 Fighting intensifies in eastern city of Donetsk between Ukrainian army and pro-Russian rebels.
 Ghana’s stock of petrol and diesel to last 3.2 and 0.8 weeks respectively.
                                                        U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week.

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) increased by $1.00 to $106.10 per barrel from the previous week's average of $105.10 a barrel, indicating 0.95% rise. Brent crude oil edged up, supported by escalating geopolitical tensions over Ukraine, fighting in Gaza and expectations of large draws in US oil stockpiles. ‘’The escalating tensions in Ukraine is causing European foreign ministers to consider further sanctions on Russia. ‘The talks about potential new sanctions against Russia can add risk premium to the oil price,’’ said Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland. There is some push for the EU to move into the type of sanctions that the United States is imposing on companies that do not have a direct link with the events in Ukraine, said Jakob. Violence raged as Israel pounded the Gaza Strip, pushing the Palestinian death toll to more than 500, while Israel's losses mounted to 13. "The crises in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, coupled with the risk of tougher economic sanctions against Russia, caused oil prices to climb," Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

Free on board (FOB) prices of Petrol decreased by $11.85 to $994.55/MT from the previous week's average of $1,006.40, indicating 1.18% loss; Diesel went up by $5.65 to $883.75/MT from the previous week’s average of $878.10, indicating 0.64% gain while LPG went down by $3.70 to $807.80/MT from the previous week’s average of $811.50, indicating 0.46% loss, during the period under review. The relative stability of the Ghana Cedi against the USD, which depreciated insignificantly by 0.08%, increased marginally the contribution of the international prices of crude oil and petroleum products in the petroleum price build-up. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 21st July 2014 to 25th July 2014 was 3.0347 (depreciated by 0.08%) compared to 3.0323 during the previous period. The GHS equivalent FOB prices of Petrol and LPG decreased by 1.10% and 0.38% respectively, while Diesel increased by 0.72% over the previous week’s rates.

Geopolitics

Ukrainian army tanks were reported to have launched an assault to break pro-Russian rebels’ hold on the eastern city of Donetsk in the first major outbreak of hostilities in the area since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down last week. A separatist leader said Ukrainian government forces were trying to break into Donetsk and fighting was under way near the railway station.

Inventories

Of the total stocks of Diesel and Petrol reported in the table, about 24.5 million litres and 11.0 million litres respectively are under financial hold. This brings operational stocks of Diesel and Petrol to last 0.2 weeks and 2.9 weeks respectively. According to the import schedule, Diesel of about 56.2 million litres was expected for delivery, while Petrol of 13.4 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles. LPG of about 7 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (July 26, 2014).

The CDU is still down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFCC shut down on May 19, 2014 for planned mini maintenance.

The statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for July 18, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 4.0 million barrels to 371.0 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles increased by 3.4 million barrels to 220.5 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 1.6 million barrels to 128.5 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.2 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

According to the EIA, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 20,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.3 million barrels per day, 4.2% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 625,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 91,000 barrels per day last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged over 19.3 million barrels per day, down by 2.0% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 1.0% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged over 3.8 million barrels per day over last four weeks, down by 6.2% from the same period last year.

References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Tuesday(June,17 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 24): WEEK ENDED JUNE 13, 2014

  Major Highlights
Brent crude oil trades in a range of $109-$113 per barrel.
The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened by 1.77% over the previous week’s rate.
Insurgents seize two more Iraqi towns, Obama threatens air strikes.
Ghana’s current stock of petrol to last 1.4 weeks, diesel 2.8, LPG 0.7 and ATK 2.0 weeks.
China consumed roughly 9.41 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in May 2014.

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) increased by $1.98 to $110.82 per barrel from the previous week's average of $108.84 a barrel, indicating 1.82% gain. Brent crude oil rose as violence in Iraq prompted worries about supply outlook. "Iraq has become a key supplier as it has managed to ramp up output quite rapidly and it has helped offset losses from other producers," said a source at an Asian refinery. "So if there is any disruption from Iraq, everybody is worried that the impact on the market will be serious." Also supporting Brent crude oil were strong Chinese trade data and U.S jobs figures pointed to healthy economic growth and higher oil demand from the world’s top two consumers. "We have been getting a series of overall positive economic numbers from China and the United States that is helping support oil prices as the overall demand outlook looks good." said Ken Hasegawa, a Tokyo-based commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan. He added that "Oil is now in a new price territory and is likely to climb more as investors rework their positions, supported by the uncertainty and technicals." Free on board (FOB) prices of petrol increased by $18.5 to $1023.10/MT from the previous week's average of $1004.60, indicating 1.84% gain; diesel went up by $14.50 to $898.70/MT from the previous week’s average of $883.90, indicating 1.67% gain and LPG went up significantly by $36.30 to $776.40/MT from $740.10, indicating 4.90% gain, during the period under review. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened when compared to the previous period. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 9 June 2014 to 13 June 2014 was 2.9852 (depreciated by 1.77%) compared to 2.9333 during the previous period. The weakened Ghana cedi against the U.S dollar increased the contribution of the international prices of crude oil and petroleum products in the price build-up, resulting in higher ex-pump prices. The GHS equivalent FOB price of petrol, diesel and LPG increased by 3.64%, 3.47% and 6.76% respectively during the period under review.

Geopolitics

Islamist rebel fighters captured two more Iraqi towns overnight in a relentless sweep south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a mediaeval caliphate carved out of fragmenting Iraq and Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama threatened military strikes against the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, highlighting the gravity of ISIL's threat to redraw borders in an oil-rich region with the risk of any new entity turning into a launch-pad for attacks on Western interests. In the spreading chaos, Iraqi Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk - an oil hub just outside their autonomous enclave that they have long seen as their traditional capital - as Iraqi government troops abandoned posts in panic over ISIL's advance. "I don't rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria," Obama said at the White House, when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes. "In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily," he said. A U.S. defence official said the United States had been flying surveillance drones over Iraq to help it fight ISIL.

Inventories
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      According to the import schedule, diesel of over 43 million litres was expected for delivery, while petrol of about 66 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles. LPG of about 7 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (June 14, 2014).
The CDU is still down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFCC shut down on May 19, 2014 for planned mini maintenance.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for June 6, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 2.6 million barrels to 387.0 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles increased by 1.7 million barrels to 215.8 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 0.9 million barrels to 119.0 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 6.2 million barrels last week.


Demand and Supply

China's implied oil demand fell 3.1 percent in May from the previous month to its lowest since August 2013 as refineries scaled back production for maintenance and continued to export surplus fuel to trim inventories as the nation's economy slowed. China consumed roughly 9.41 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil last month, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data, the lowest level in nine months and down from 9.71 million bpd in April. May consumption was also down 0.7 percent from 9.48 million bpd a year earlier, the calculations showed.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 23,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.1 million barrels per day, 8.1% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 560,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 106,000 barrels per day last week. Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 18.8 million barrels per day, up by 1.6% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel supply averaged 4.0 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 1.1% from the same period last year.


References
 www.bloomberg.com
 www.reuters.com
 www.bbc.co.uk
Tuesday(June,10 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 23): WEEK ENDED JUNE 6, 2014

  Major Highlights
•    Brent crude oil trades in a range of $108-$109 per barrel.
•    The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened by 1.42% over the previous week’s rate.
•    Protests at oil facilities and fighting causes Libya to lose $30 billion in oil revenue.
•    Ghana’s current stock of petrol to last 3.4 weeks, diesel 3.3, LPG 1.1 and ATK 0.03 weeks.
•    Ghana’s consumption of petroleum products experience mixed movements.

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) decreased by $0.85 to $108.84 per barrel from the previous week's average of $109.69 a barrel, indicating 0.77% loss. Brent crude slipped on ample supply in the United States and as tensions over Ukraine cooled. Ukraine's President-elect and western leaders are working on a peace plan to end violence in the east of the country which caused oil prices to rise in May. "The situation in Ukraine seems to be getting better, so prices are unlikely to spike up," said Ken Hasegawa, a Tokyo-based commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan. “Avenues of communication are open and the talks this week meant the market is not as concerned as it was when Crimea crisis erupted,” Christopher Bellew, broker at Jefferies Bache, said. A strong dollar and recent data showing rising OPEC oil production also weighed on prices. A stronger dollar tends to put pressure on commodities including oil, which are priced in the U.S. currency as it makes them more expensive for non-U.S. importers. Brent gained in the course of the week on renewed optimism over steady demand growth in the world's top oil consumer the United States following healthy economic data, with supply disruption concerns providing additional support. Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose and consumer confidence perked up, underpinning risk assets and bolstering U.S. equity markets to another record close. "There are quite a few bullish factors in the oil market that are supportive, we have good economic indicators and uncertainty over Libya and Ukraine," said Tetsu Emori, a commodity fund manager at Astmax Investment. Free on board (FOB) prices of petrol decreased by $10.65 to $1004.60/MT from the previous week's average of $1015.25, indicating 0.77% loss; diesel went down by $18.23 to $883.90/MT from the previous week’s average of $902.13, indicating 2.02% drop while LPG went up by $2.10 to $740.10/MT from $738.00, indicating 0.28% gain, during the period under review. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened when compared to the previous period. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 2 June 2014 to 6 June 2014 was 2.9333 (depreciated by 1.42%) compared to 2.8922 during the previous period. The weakened Ghana cedi against the U.S dollar increased the contribution of the international prices of crude and petroleum products in the price build-up, resulting in higher ex-pump prices. The GHS equivalent FOB price of petrol and LPG increased by 0.36% and 1.71% respectively, while diesel fell by 0.63% during the period under review.

Geopolitics

Gunmen in Libya shot dead a Swiss national working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), fired a grenade at the prime minister's office and tried to kill a renegade general in a series of attacks. Anarchy is spreading in the North African oil-producing country where turmoil and political infighting have reigned since the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. Libya has lost $30 billion due to 10 months of protests at oilfields and export terminals but has sufficient foreign currency reserves to keep the country running, a central bank official said. A wave of protests at oil facilities has reduced the North African country's oil output to less than 200,000 barrels a day down from 1.4 million bpd in July before the strikes started. "The damages the state has now suffered after more than 10 months, Libya has lost not less than $30 billion," Musbah Alkari, director of the central bank's reserves department, told Reuters.

Inventories
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      According to the import schedule, diesel of over 39 million litres was expected for delivery, while petrol of about 45 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles. LPG of about 7 million kilogrammes was also expected for delivery by close of the week (June 7, 2014).
The CDU is still down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFCC shut down on May 19, 2014 for planned mini maintenance.
The U.S. Department of Energy reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for May 30, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 3.4 million barrels to 389.6 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles increased by 0.2 million barrels to 214.1 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 2.0 million barrels to 118.1 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.8 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

Ghana’s consumption of petroleum products experienced mixed movements, with Kerosene, MGO Foreign and ATK experiencing significant drops in volumes, while petrol gained from April 2013 to April 2014. Kerosene saw the highest drop of 82%. This could be attributed to the removal of subsidies and the introduction of the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme which has significantly reduced adulteration in the industry. In terms of month-on-month consumption, diesel, petrol and MGO Foreign increased while LPG, Kerosene and ATK dropped, as illustrated in the table below.  

 References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Wednesday(June,04 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 22): WEEK ENDED MAY 30, 2014

Major Highlights
  •  Brent crude oil trades in a range of $109-$110 per barrel.
  •  The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened by 0.26% compared to the previous week.
  •  Ukraine elects new president.
  • Ghana’s current stock of petrol and diesel to last 4.1 weeks each; LPG 1.1 weeks.
  •  U.S. total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.2 million barrels last week.
Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) decreased by $1.17 to $109.69 from the previous week's average of $110.86 a barrel, indicating 1.05% loss. Brent crude oil slipped, weighed down, as expectation of a build in U.S. crude inventory pushed traders to take profits ahead of a government inventory report, and also by easing geopolitical tensions in Ukraine, after a successful presidential election. "This is profit-taking ahead of the EIA and API reports," said Bill Baruch, senior market strategist at iitrader.com in Chicago. "With regards to Ukraine, there is a positive aspect in that there is some light at the end of the tunnel." A stronger US Dollar also weighed on Brent. Losses were, however, capped by deterioration in violence in Ukraine and Libya. Free on board (FOB) prices of petrol increased by $4.05 to $1015.25 from the previous week's average of $1010.95 per metric tonne (MT), indicating 0.43% gain, LPG went up by $5.80 to $738.00 from $732.20 per MT, indicating 0.79% gain, while diesel went down by $9.37 to $902.13 from the previous week’s average of $911.50 indicating 1.03% drop, during the period under review. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened when compared to the previous period. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 26 May 2014 to 30 May 2014 was 2.8922 (depreciated by 0.26%) compared to 2.8848 during the previous period. The weakened Ghana cedi against the U.S dollar increased the contribution of the international prices of crude and petroleum products in the price build-up, resulting in higher ex-pump prices. The GHS equivalent FOB price of petrol and LPG increased by 0.69% and 1.05% respectively, while diesel fell by 0.77% during the period under review.

Geopolitics

Ukraine’s election of a new President, deemed a success by the European Union, is likely to ease pressure for far-reaching sanctions against Russia as Europe worries about how punitive steps might hurt its own economy. The election had been billed as a crucial test of whether Europe needed to step up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin. But deep trade ties with Russia and widespread dependence on its energy reserves mute any EU enthusiasm to tighten sanctions. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, head of the body representing the EU's 28 governments, said in a statement "we welcome statements by the Russian Federation indicating that it will respect the will of the Ukrainian people and engage in a dialogue with the new Ukrainian president."

Inventories

According to the import schedule, diesel of over 50 million litres was expected for delivery, while petrol of about 55 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles for the market by close of the week (May 31, 2014).
The CDU is still down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFFC commenced production on May 18, 2014 at rate of 1800MTPSD (76%).
The U.S. Department of Energy reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for May 23, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 1.7 million barrels to 393.0 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles decreased by 1.8 million barrels to 213.9 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, decreased by 0.2 million barrels to 116.1 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 3.2 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 7.8 million barrels per day last week, up by over 1.3 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.1 million barrels per day, 9.3% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 725,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 148,000 barrels per day last week.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.1 million barrels per day, up by 2.2% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline supply averaged over 9.1 million barrels per day, up by 5.4% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel supply averaged about 4.1 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 8.6% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supply was down 1.6% compared to the same four-week period last year.

References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
Tuesday(June,03 2014)

INSTILLING SANITY IN THE PETROLEUM DOWNSTREAM SECTOR

In order to ensure sanity in the petroleum downstream sector, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has introduced a new scheme to halt the adulteration of petroleum products and ensure that subsidized petroleum products reach the target group. This will also recoup revenue for government which would have been lost through diversion of subsidized petroleum products.

The new measure, known as the Petroleum Product Marking Scheme (PPMS), involves the introduction of a bio-chemical liquid (fuel marker) into the petroleum products at the loading depots prior to delivery of the products to the retail outlets. The marker creates a “finger print” and provides a secure, tamper-proof method of authentication.

Low levels of the marker are usually applied to the petroleum product and the concentration of the marker can only be detected by patent-protected portable field devices. These patent devices are used by field monitoring officers to detect violations.

The implementation of the PPMS is as a result of NPA’s objective of ensuring that the industry continues to be efficient and profitable whilst consumers are satisfied.

ADULTERATION
Adulteration of petroleum products is a practice confronting many countries in the world. In recent past in Ghana, adulteration of diesel with kerosene has been the main reason why much of subsidized kerosene intended for the rural population does not get to the intended targets. Adulteration is not limited to diesel and kerosene alone.

Gasoline adulteration with premix fuel is also practiced as a result of the significant price differentials between these products due to government subsidies on the “social” products. Product adulteration is also a contributory factor to reports of malfunctioning of vehicle engines and harmful emissions to the detriment of the environment and public health.

Some countries confronted with this challenge have attempted to address this challenge by the use of colour dyes.

In Ghana, we responded by changing the colour of premix from red to blue. Prior to this, the similarity of the colour between premix and petrol made adulteration undetected by visual observation. The change in colour from red to blue differentiated premix from petrol to discourage adulteration and diversion to premix.

However, coloration of the petroleum products has a lot of limitations since the dye can be easily removed by both physical and chemical processes such as acid washing, clay filtration, UV filtration, among others.

Presently, the petroleum regulatory authorities of most countries such as Brazil, South African, Uganda, Tanzania, among others have adopted a modern and robust technology known as Fuel Marking to combat adulteration of petroleum products as well as recover fiscal tax revenue from the sale of petroleum products.

In Brazil, for instance, fuel marking began 10 years ago. The technology has been used successfully by the National Agency for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) to reduce the incidence of gasoline adulteration with organic solvents from 12.5% to 2%. In South Africa, apart from the reduction of incidences of adulteration of diesel with kerosene, fuel marking technology has been significantly used to recover fiscal tax revenue from the sale of diesel by the Oil Marketing Companies.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) currently collects about 300 million Rand annually (US$4.4m) in tax revenue from the sale of diesel. The high tax revenue from diesel is attributed to the benefit of fuel marking in South Africa.

Pursuant to the success stories of these countries, a Technical Committee was formed by the NPA to undertake study tours to these countries.

Based on the recommendations of the team and in line with its mandate per the NPA Act 691, the NPA took the decision in 2011 to mark petroleum products in the country with the following objectives.
  •   To enable the NPA, as the regulatory body, monitor the quality of fuel
  • To help combat adulteration of petroleum products as well as recover fiscal tax revenue from the sale of petroleum products.
  • To prevent the smuggling of petroleum products into and out of Ghana

The NPA proposed a Legislative Instrument (LI) which was laid before the Parliament of Ghana on 26th July 2012 and  subsequently passed into Law, LI2187 (Petroleum Product Marking regulations) on 13th of September,2012. This means that where applicable, punitive sanctions such as fines, imprisonment or both would apply to defaulting Petroleum Service Providers.

The implementation of the fuel marking process commenced in February 2013 at Cirrus Depot in Tema and was replicated at all operational depots in the country by the end of March 2013. Also, the Authority has acquired the necessary equipment and has set up field monitoring teams which monitor the product quality at all petroleum product retail outlets and other bulk consumption points in the country.

Following the successful introduction of the fuel marking program at all of Ghana’s ten operational fuel depots, a nationwide sampling and testing was conducted from May to June 2013. This was to ensure that the fuel marker was at the required levels at the outlets and to establish a base line for the degree of fuel adulteration and resulting revenue losses to the Republic of Ghana.

Out of the 2700 retail outlets operating in the country, the Authority sampled 1000 stations and recorded violation of more than 32%. This violation translates into revenue loss in excess of GH₵50 million through diversions of subsidized petroleum products.

Subsequently, from September to November 2013, a total of 2,997 visits were made to petroleum product retail outlets in the country. During these visits, 6,887 petroleum product samples were taken and tested onsite.

FUEL-TAX

The percentage of outlets suspected to be engaged in one form of adulteration or the other has reduced from 32% (recorded in the May to June exercise) to about 7% at the end of November 2013 indicating the effective nature of the program.

These results suggested there is a deterrent effect resulting from the regular field monitoring and that taxable revenue will further increase significantly if sanctions are enforced.

This drop in failure rate translates to an estimated revenue recovery of about GHc17m per annum in tax revenue and a significant savings on subsidies.

The fuel-tax integrity program has been successfully implemented for the Republic of Ghana. The fuel marking levels of gasoline and diesel are at the required levels and it is possible to detect dilution in the distribution-chain.  A 78% reduction in the station failure rate has been observed since program start, providing evidence of a deterrent effect on illicit fuel trade even prior to the start of sanctions.

All testing rounds to-date have shown that there is material dilution of both gasoline and diesel. Full program execution and enforcement will benefit the people of Ghana a further estimated revenue recovery of GH₵ 33 million per annum.

As an additional benefit, in most cases, the adulterant used to dilute either gasoline or diesel will affect the quality of the end product and may result in vehicle engine failures and in harmful emissions to the detriment of the environment and public health.  

A well-executed program including enforcement can further benefit the people of Ghana by reducing pollution created by fuels adulterated by kerosene, used engine oil and other unknown contaminants.
Tuesday(May,27 2014)

OIL MARKET NEWS (WEEK 21): WEEK ENDED MAY 23, 2014

  Major Highlights
  •  Brent crude oil trades in a range of $110-$111 per barrel.
  •  The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened by 0.43% compared to the previous week.
  •  Libya proposes June election as crisis escalates.
  •  Ghana’s current stock of petrol to last 3.6 weeks; diesel to last 4.5 weeks.
  •  U.S. total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels last week.

Average Dated Brent price for the week (published by Platts) increased by $1.28 to $110.86 from the previous week's average of $109.58 a barrel, indicating 1.16% gain. Brent crude oil held steady above $110 a barrel, supported by conflicts in Libya and Ukraine as well as positive economic data in the world's top oil consumers, the United States and China. The fragile situation in Libya supported global oil prices, with new fighting breaking out in the capital Tripoli, according to witnesses. The reports by Tripoli residents of gunfire and explosions near two military camps came days after gunmen stormed parliament in the worst violence in months. The oil market was supported by signs of global economic growth, with U.S. manufacturing growth picking up to a three-month high in May, and China's factory sector turning in its best performance this year in May. China’s preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index was 49.7 for May, up from 48.1 the previous month and the highest reading this year, according to HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics. This figure signaled that the economy of the world’s second-biggest oil consumer is stabilizing. “China’s manufacturing is now only barely contracting” and today’s data is a welcome improvement, Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas in London, said. “We remain cautious as to whether this is enough to give a significant boost to industrial commodities like oil.”

Free on board (FOB) prices of petrol increased by $14.00 to $1010.95 from the previous week's average of $996.95 per metric tonne (MT), indicating 1.40% gain, LPG went up by $8.60 to $732.20 from $723.60 per MT, indicating 1.19% gain, while diesel went down marginally by $0.90 to $911.50 from the previous week’s average of $912.40 indicating 0.10% drop, during the period under review. The average GHS/US Dollar exchange rate weakened when compared to the previous period. The GHS/US Dollar exchange rate for the period 19 May 2014 to 23 May 2014 was 2.8848 (depreciated by 0.43%) compared to 2.8725 during the previous period. Due to the depreciation of the Ghana cedi against the U.S dollar (which depreciated by 0.43%), the GHS equivalent FOB price of petrol, diesel and LPG increased by 1.84%, 0.33% and 1.62% respectively during the period under review.

Geopolitics
Libyan authorities proposed a June national election as the government sought to resolve a standoff over parliament involving powerful brigades of former rebel fighters. Libya's General National Congress (GNC) is at the heart of the crisis after gunmen claiming loyalty to a renegade former general attacked parliament with anti-aircraft cannons, demanding its suspension. The June 25 election proposal appears to be an attempt to ease tensions after recent attack claimed by forces loyal to former General Khalifa Haftar, and to avoid the potential response by rival Islamist militia brigades.

Inventories
According to the import schedule, diesel of over 11 million litres was expected for delivery, while petrol of about 32 million litres was expected for delivery to add to existing stockpiles for the market by close of the week (May 24, 2014).
The CDU is still down since March 16, 2014 due to lack of crude oil while the RFFC commenced production on May 18, 2014 at rate of 1800MTPSD (76%).
The U.S. Department of Energy reported in its Weekly Petroleum Status Report for May 16, 2014 that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 7.2 million barrels to 391.3 million barrels while gasoline stockpiles increased by 1.0 million barrels to 215.7 million barrels. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category including heating oil and diesel, increased by 3.4 million barrels to 116.3 million barrels over the same period. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels last week.

Demand and Supply
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. crude oil imports averaged about 6.5 million barrels per day last week, down by 658,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.0 million barrels per day, 11.3% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 997,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 176,000 barrels per day last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged over 18.9 million barrels per day, up by 1.8% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged over 8.9 million barrels per day, up by 5.3% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supplied averaged about 4.1 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 7.7% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supplied is down 0.3% compared to the same four-week period last year.

References
• www.bloomberg.com
• www.reuters.com
• www.bbc.co.uk
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