Opinion

Oil price, Plexus, Bowleven, Genel, And finally…


Oil price

The Russian Energy Minister has this morning in an interview on CNBC said that they are fully behind the Opec initiative to cut production. He said that Russia ‘is reducing production in stages' and that by the end of April would have reached their target of 300/- b/d and that the cut is up to 200/- b/d at the moment. Overall the picture looks good too, Reuters claim that Opec production is down to 32.01m b/d which shows a 93% degree of ‘adhesion' and getting better. If these are your yardsticks for the oil price then, at least in the short term it is time to close off those bearish bets, they are exposed.

Yesterday's inventory stats were a mixed bag but for choice better than market expectations. Crude stocks built but not by as much as expected, 867/- vs f/c of 1m barrels was certainly tolerable for the market. Products drew big time again, gasoline was down 3.7m barrels against expectations of 1.9m and distillates fell 2.48m b's, twice the guess. With April on the doorstep and time for refiners to step up to the plate it would be a reasonable guess that throughput will rise and increased runs will draw more crude.

Plexus Holdings

A not unsurprising loss from POS after such a hard time in its core markets but after all the cost cutting and industry turmoil it might have been worse. Revenue was almost halved and led to a pre-tax loss of £2.5m but cash flow, as you would expect, is strong. The company strengthened its already debt free balance sheet with a raise and now has £10m of cash to be able to use as the market turns round. This may not happen immediately, in his usual extremely long but, worth reading statement, Ben van Bilderbeek says he is ‘looking forward to an upturn in conditions in the next financial year', which I am taking to mean 2H of this year at the earliest.

Unlike other oilfield service companies the POS share price has behaved badly in recent months, having peaked at 125p in January it is now 72.5p which I suggest doesnt take into account adequately its prospects. With a state of the art product range and blue chip client list, recently added to by yet more new wins I predict better times ahead for POS.

Bowleven

It's game over at Bowleven as Chairman Billy Allan leaves the building, swiftly followed by Kevin Hart and Kerry Crawford as COC wield the axe. One assumes that now the asset sale will move ahead speedily with calls into messrs Foo and Lowden and then the return of cash to shareholders.

Genel

The loss of $1.3bn was down to the telegraphed Taq Taq impairment charge and the production fell sharply with no longer any forward guidance offered. 2P reserves are 161 mmbbls  from 242m following the Taq Taq annihilation. Going forward the outlook is on Tawke and the gas developments at Miran and Bina Bawi but that's quite a long wait….

And finally…

Arsene Wenger has told his morning news conference that no final decision has yet been made about his future but those in the know suggest that he is about to sign a new, two year contract with the club. That may change of course if they get stuffed by City on Sunday… It may not please a large contingent of fans who are getting more and more restless as the likelihood of their normal run to the last 16 of the Champions League stops altogether next year…

And it's Konta v Venus in the semi-final in Miami…


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