Mark Latham Commodity Equity Intelligence Service

Monday 26 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia finds more gas, condensate in Jafurah unconventional field

Saudi Arabia's state-run energy giant Saudi Aramco has found an additional 15 Tcf of natural gas and 2 billion barrels of condensate in the onshore Jafurah unconventional field as the world's biggest oil exporter pushes ahead with efforts to expand gas production.

The discoveries increase the field's proven reserves to 229 Tcf of gas and 75 billion barrels of condensate, energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a statement reported by the official Saudi Press Agency on Feb. 25.

Studies were undertaken by an unnamed "major independent consulting company" specialized in the field of resource approval, according to the statement.

Saudi Arabia has indicated it would press on with exploration work for gas following its recent suspension of a planned 1 million b/d oil capacity expansion scheduled for 2027. The country's expanding power mix, where gas is set to replace oil burn with additional input from solar and wind capacities was also a determinant in the cancellation of its planned expansion.

Aramco’s unconventional gas program is set to displace up to 500,000 b/d of crude oil used in domestic energy consumption.

Aramco plans to expand gas production by 50% by 2030. The company is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to develop the Jafurah unconventional field.

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told reporters on Feb. 12 that savings from the cancellation of 1 million b/d capacity expansion will be redirected toward developing gas projects in the kingdom as well as maintaining oil capacity potential.

"There is a huge expansion in gas. There is a lot of ambition for liquid-to-chemicals," Nasser said.

On Feb. 8, local energy services company Arabian Drilling signed five-year contracts to supply three land rigs to state-run energy giant Saudi Aramco for its unconventional gas exploration program.

New rigs and full crews will be supplied to Aramco for Riyals 850 million ($226.7 million), Arabian Drilling said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange.

Aramco also entered the LNG business following the acquisition of a minority stake in EIG's MidOcean Energy last September.

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Mondi Full Year 2023 Earnings: Misses Expectations

Mondi Full Year 2023 Results

Key Financial Results

- Revenue: €7.33b (down 18% from FY 2022).

- Net income: €502.0m (down 58% from FY 2022).

- Profit margin: 6.8% (down from 13% in FY 2022). The decrease in margin was driven by lower revenue.

- EPS: €1.04 (down from €2.69 in FY 2022).

Mondi Revenues and Earnings Miss Expectations

Revenue missed analyst estimates by 1.2%. Earnings per share (EPS) also missed analyst estimates by 133%.

Looking ahead, revenue is forecast to grow 4.0% p.a. on average during the next 3 years, compared to a 3.1% growth forecast for the Forestry industry in Europe.

The company's shares are up 3.7% from a week ago.

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Before chasing AI, develop human capital, mining executive warns

While reams of conversation about the promise that artificial intelligence (AI) holds for the mining sector, a robust industry first demands the development of human capital, says United Manganese of Kalahari chief executive Malcolm Curor. Curror said there was a skills deficit in the sector.

“Mining, particularly with a view to growing demand for metals like manganese and other resource drivers of the green economy, must gear up for exponential growth over the next three decades. And at the moment there is a marked skills shortage amongst artisans, technicians and engineers who are in demand globally.” That was where positive disruption should start, said Curror. “To embrace and embolden the African mining industry, we should solve immediate challenges like the skills shortage first, and contemplate the positive role that mining must continue to play socio-economically.”

And while many miners suggest that AI is a panacea for an industry that is finding its feet in a new world order, Curror disagrees. “It must rather be viewed as a tool to enhance human performance,” he said. While AI could introduce greater efficiencies in mining, across the value chain, aid in the analysis of data and process large amounts of it faster than humans could, miners were some giant leaps away from other artificial interventions.

“And, in South Africa, there is great impetus to retain human function, given the labour-driven economy that many families depend on, along with our already high unemployment figures,” Curor said. “The mining sector must simply attract more experienced or qualified candidates,“ he said. “In the past, resource extraction might have earned a reputation as a somewhat dirty business. But with most organisations now exercising responsible mining practices and the growing need to fuel the economy, it is our duty as an industry to shape careers in the sector into attractive options and then, opportunity. “Addressing the need is crucial for South Africa’s greater economic growth and a potential path to recovery after years of slowed growth. Industry collaboration is crucial to achieve many of the milestones along an uncharted roadmap.”

Cursor said that in many ways, it was only the notion of what a probable future for the resource sector could look like, as disruptions in environment, geopolitical affairs, health care and other unknown factors were shaping our journey daily. The only constant, he said, were the skills and the human capital along with it, that every miner knew underpinned present and future success. United Manganese of Kalahari is a South African mining company operating on the Kalahari manganese field in the John Taole Gaetsewe District Municipality in the Northern Cape.

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[From the Scene] Posco Future M automates as it eyes cathode crown

GWANGYANG, South Jeolla Province -- Safety goggles, helmets and dust masks were waiting on the desks in the auditorium at Posco Future M’s secondary battery materials complex in Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, Thursday. After a brief introduction of the world’s largest cathode plant, a group of reporters equipped with safety gear headed to the Gwangyang Cathode Plant2.

Asked to wear disposable overshoes, the visitors were greeted with an air shower before they could enter the cathode production facility. The air shower, which lasts about 15 seconds, removes dust and other particles to maintain a contaminant-free environment. Site operators underlined the importance of keeping the production facility at cleanroom standards of decontamination to ensure the best quality cathode products.

Inside the facility, cathode production lines and saggars stretched as far as the eye could see. Saggars are ceramic containers used for the combination of precursors and lithium to produce cathodes. It takes about three days to produce the final products of nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum, or NCMA, cathodes and nickel, cobalt and aluminum, or NCA, cathodes.

Kim Dae-wan, vice plant leader at Gwangyang Cathode Plant2, pointed out how processing has become more effective with the introduction of robotics to the workplace.

“Human staff used to replace the saggars beforehand but now robot arms have been implemented to remove the saggar waste,” said Kim.

“Because we replace saggars on a mass scale, using the robot arms is much more efficient.”

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Oil and Gas

Libya's PFG threatens to close oil facilities over salaries

Libya's Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) threatened on Sunday to close all oil and gas facilities in the country's western region after the end of a 10-day deadline to authorities to meet their demands, including a 67% salary rise.

Libya's oil sector, the country's major source of income, has been a target for local and broader political protests since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Members of PFG, a military group tasked with protecting oil facilities, made the threat in videos posted online on Sunday.

Video footage on social media platforms X and Facebook showed a group of PFG members in military uniforms closing a feeder valve to the Mellitah oil complex in western Tripoli.

Reuters could not independently verify the footage's authenticity.

Mellitah is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and Italy's Eni (ENI.MI). If the complex is closed, that would disrupt the supply of gas through the Greenstream pipeline between Libya and Italy.

NOC said on X that it discussed with the PFG head their demands and "understood" them, but added there "is a necessity of keeping oil installations away from any tensions".

NOC did not disclose if there was any disruption of operations.

The government in Tripoli had no immediate comment.

Karim al-Ghamoudi, a member of the PFG, told Libya's Alahrar TV channel that they closed the gate to the Zawiya refinery - also in western Tripoli - saying supply was going normally but "slowly because of crowds at the gate".

"There are only fake promises, and we want them (authorities) to listen to our demands," Ghamoudi said.

RELATED Libya's power struggle and the politics of oil Analysis

Zawiya oil refinery has a capacity of 120,000 barrels per day (bpd), and is connected to the country's 3000,000 bpd Sharara oilfield.

In January, Sharara was closed by protesters from the Fezzan region in the south, prompting the NOC to declare force majeure on the field which was reopened some days later.

"We regret and we are unwilling to close oil facilities," members of the PFG said in a different video statement.

The group called on the government of national unity (GNU) led by Abdulhamid Dbeibah to adopt a 67% salary raise similar to that awarded to NOC staff.

It also asked the GNU to include them "administratively and financially under the National Oil Corporation, and technically under the defence ministry".

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Qatar to Build New LNG Project as US Stalls on Export Push

(Bloomberg) -- Qatar plans to expand exports of liquefied natural gas amid rising demand and a pause on growth projects in the US, a key rival supplier.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The nation, which vies with the US and Australia as the biggest shipper of the fuel, will develop a new 16 million tons a year project before the end of this decade, lifting annual production capacity to 142 million tons by 2030, the country’s Energy Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said Sunday.

The expansion opens the way for the Middle Eastern country to secure a dominant long-term role in global exports. It has already signed a succession of deals to sell supply from its current expansion to 126 million tons, including a 27-year pact with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and with European companies such as Eni SpA, TotalEnergies SE and Shell Plc. Demand for LNG is forecast to rise more than 50% by 2040, driven by rising consumption in Asia, according to Shell.

The expansion follows the discovery of 250 trillion cubic feet of new gas deposits in the North Field, taking overall reserves to about 2,000 trillion, Al-Kaabi said. The country is still appraising new wells in the field and will produce more if there are additional gas finds, he said.

Qatar hasn’t yet decided if it will bring in partners for the new project, Al-Kaabi said.

US Pause

The US imposed a temporary halt on new LNG export licenses in January while it studies the impact of higher shipments on climate change, the economy and national security. A pause on approvals could last as long as 14 months, according to White House energy adviser Amos Hochstein.

The American pause comes as producers and other advocates insist natural gas is a lower-emissions alternative to coal or oil and can complement rising adoption of renewable sources. Al-Kaabi expects a global shortage of gas despite new projects.

Story continues

“The only thing that would stop us announcing more projects is if we don’t believe there is a market for gas,” he said.

Most of that demand is likely to come from Asia, with Europe also continuing to use gas for a long time even though the pace of growth will be slower, Al-Kaabi said.

(Updates with context from the third paragraph.)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Aramco awards EPC contracts for $10bn Saudi gas network

Saudi oil giant Aramco has selected contractors to execute engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) works through 17 packages on the third expansion phase of Master Gas System network (MGS-3) being developed in the kingdom at an investment of $10 billion, said a report.

Of these, the first two packages involve upgradation of existing gas compression systems and installation of new gas compressors, reported Meed.

Aramco said the other 15 packages are related to laying gas transport pipelines across various locations in the kingdom.

The letters of intent (LoIs) have been issued to the following contractors for 16 EPC packages of the MGS-3 project:

*Package 1 – China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Company (China)

*Package 2 – Sepco (China)

*Packages 3 + 12 – Gas Arabian (Saudi Arabia)

*Packages 4 + 9 – Mapa (Turkey)

*Packages 6 + 7 – Sinopec Petroleum Services (China)

*Packages 8 – Larsen & Toubro Energy Hydrocarbon (India)

*Packages 10 + 14 – Nesma & Partners (Saudi Arabia)/Sicim (Italy)

*Packages 13 + 15 + 17 – Kalpataru Power Transmission (India)

*Package 5 – Bin Quraya (Saudi Arabia)

*Package 11 – Max Streicher (Germany)

The original Master Gas System (MGS) was built in the 1970s and commissioned in 1982. Since then, Aramco has been supplying natural gas to its customers across Saudi Arabia via the network, mainly channelling associated gas from Ghawar and other oil fields, said the report.

Over the past decade, amid rising gas demand from Saudi Arabia’s industrial and household sectors, Aramco has undertaken projects to increase its non-associated gas production. It launched the second expansion phase of the MGS (MGS-2) in 2015, it added.

Aramco completed the solicitation of interest (SoI) process with contractors for the two gas compression packages of the MGS-3 project in December, said the Meed report.

SoIs for the pipeline packages were issued by Aramco in March last year, with contractors expressing interest within days, it added.

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Cumulative proven reserves exceed 200 million cubic meters at Bozhong 26-6 oilfield

China's Bohai Sea Oilfield, the country's largest offshore oil producing base, discovers a third oil field with output of over 100 million tons, China National Offshore Oil Corp announced on March 1, 2023. The field can extract more than 20 million tons of crude oil, which can be refined into enough gasoline for 10,000 small cars to run normally for 30 years. Photo: cnsphoto

Chinese oil giant CNOOC said on Sunday it has made a significant discovery in the Bozhong 26-6 oilfield in the country's northern Bohai Sea, revealing additional proven reserves exceeding 40million cubic meters. The oilfield's petroleum reservoir now boasts an accumulative 200 million cubic meters, making it the world's largest metamorphic oilfield.

Located in the southern waters of the Bohai Sea, about 170 kilometers offshore Tianjin city, drilling and exploration at Bozhong 26-6 area has kept on.

Of which, the Bozhong 26-2 North 2 Well encountered a 118-meter-thick oil and gas layer during the drilling process.

The test results showed that the average daily oil production of the well exceeded 390 cubic meters, and the daily gas production exceeded 50,000 cubic meters, setting a record high for the test productivity of new drilling wells in the oilfield

It is expected that the Bozhong 26-6 oilfield can extract more than 30 million cubic meters of crude oil, meeting the daily transportation needs of urban residents with a population of one million for more than 20 years, after being refined into gasoline

At the same time, it can extract more than 11 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which can satisfy the household gas needs of urban residents with a population of one million for more than 60 years, the company said

Th reservoirs of the Bozhong 26-6 oil field are buried in seabed hills thousands of meters deep below the surface. They are mainly composed of metamorphic rocks.Traditional theories believe that due to the continuous strong activity of faults in this area, deep oil and gas reservoirs are easily destroyed and it is difficult to form large-scale oil and gas accumulation. Previously, more than 80 deep-water wells drilled by many well-known foreign oil companies have not made meaningful discoveries.

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ERAMET Full Year 2023 Earnings: Misses Expectations

ERAMET Full Year 2023 Results

Key Financial Results

- Revenue: €3.34b (down 35% from FY 2022).

- Net income: €103.0m (down 89% from FY 2022).

- Profit margin: 3.1% (down from 18% in FY 2022). The decrease in margin was driven by lower revenue.

- EPS: €3.59 (down from €31.25 in FY 2022).

ERAMET Revenues and Earnings Miss Expectations

Revenue missed analyst estimates by 7.3%. Earnings per share (EPS) also missed analyst estimates by 45%.

Looking ahead, revenue is forecast to grow 9.0% p.a. on average during the next 3 years, while revenues in the Metals and Mining industry in Europe are expected to remain flat.

The company's shares are down 6.1% from a week ago.

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Exxon Mulls Sale of Vaca Muerta Shale Assets

ExxonMobil is considering a sale of its Vaca Muerta shale assets in Patagonia and has received several offers of holding already, anonymous Bloomberg sources revealed on Friday.

The U.S. oil giant’s assets that will be sold include assets owned as part of a joint venture with QatarEnergy, including seven oil and gas blocks in the Vaca Muerta and holdings in a pipeline. The assets are estimated to be valued at $1 billion, the sources suggested.

Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale formation has been behind a significant increase in oil and natural gas production in the country, and foreign investments into the Vaca Muerta have helped to grow the economic potential of the region—and oil and gas contribute handsomely to the country’s GDP.

Nevertheless, Argentina is in the middle of a financial crisis—a fact that could be at least partially behind Exxon’s search for the exit.

But last August, ExxonMobil put all of its oil and gas operations and interests in seven unconventional areas in Argentina’s Neuquen basin under review. At the time, Exxon said it was looking for farm-in investors, but didn’t rule out asset sales. “It is still premature to determine the final outcome of the ongoing review process, which runs parallel to our development commitments in the basin. It may not necessarily result in asset divestment,” an ExxonMobil source told Oil&Gas Journal.

ExxonMobil has drilled at least 40 wells in the Neuquen, but only 7 are producing—the rest are DUCs.

Exxon’s production from the basin is 7,300 bpd of crude oil and 103 Mcfd of shale gas.

Argentine libertarian President Javier Milei is spearheading a country-wide shakeup that could have ramifications for the oil and gas industry from an omnibus reform package that he sent in January that proposed the privatization of 41 state-owned companies, including its national oil firm, YPF, and Energia Argentina.

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The price of gas in Europe returns to pre-crisis levels

The price of gas in Europe returns to pre-crisis levels, falling below 23 euros per Megawatt hour. And it just so happens that this happens exactly two years after the start of the war in Ukraine. A coincidence of high symbolic value, but a coincidence nonetheless.

Gas at pre-crisis levels, however, does not mean at the lowest levels for two years: since May 2021 the fuel has not traded at these levels at the TTF, the Dutch hub that acts as a reference for the Old Continent. So almost three years ago. Moscow’s troops violated the Ukrainian borders only on February 24, 2022, but tensions on the market had already begun some time ago, triggered by apprehension over the too low level to which stocks had fallen and by the first tightening by Gazprom, which had stopped offering additional volumes compared to those guaranteed by the contracts.

The rally culminated in summer 2022

After the invasion of Ukraine there was an acceleration of the rise in energy prices, which became increasingly unleashed with the “cuts” to Russian supplies. The gas rally culminated during the summer of 2022, when prices even exceeded 340 euros per Megawatt hour: a dizzying surge, fueled by the European governments themselves, who unleashed a real assault on supplies in order to fill the gas depots storage in view of the cold season.

Probably inevitable purchases, in defense of energy security, even if today a very high bill remains to be paid, which will end up being borne by consumers through increases in bills or through general taxation. Germany and Italy, which were once Gazprom’s largest customers, estimated a capital loss of 10 billion and 4.8 billion euros respectively for that assault on stocks.

Never left out in the cold

The crisis triggered by the gas price increases has weighed heavily and continues to weigh on the European economy. But the most feared emergency never happened: we were never left in the cold or in the dark, nor last winter, when the hypothesis of a blackout was truly realistic, nor this winter, during which prices of gas have never stopped falling: they actually more than halved during the heating season, dropping to a minimum of 22.355 euros/MWh in the session on Friday 23rd at Ice.

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OPEC Plans to Extend Production Cuts but Crude Oil Prices End Lower

In the last two weeks, the crude Oil market indicated decent buying momentum, with US WTI crude Oil prices increasing from above $70 to $80 almost. This was the highest level seen in Oil since the middle of November. However, this week crude Oil was trading relatively flat, and on Friday it experienced a decline, influenced by ongoing Middle Eastern peace talks in Paris. As a result, Oil prices retreated to $76.61 by the end of the week.

WTI Crude Oil Chart – Buyers Failed at the 50 SMA

On Wednesday the EIA weekly report on US Oil inventories showed another decent buildup, but Oil products experienced tightness. While a stronger global economy serves as a tailwind, and US refineries are expected to increase production in the coming weeks, OPEC and the Middle Eastern crisis remain the primary drivers of Oil prices. However, there are indications that producer discipline within OPEC may not be as strong as necessary for stabilizing prices, which is keeping the market doubtful of how much OPEC can do to increase Oil prices.

OPEC Plans to Extend Production Cuts to Q2

A recent Bloomberg survey indicates a strong consensus among observers and analysts in the oil industry regarding OPEC+’s future production plans. The vast majority of analysts surveyed projected that OPEC+ would maintain its oil production cutbacks into the second quarter of 2024.

This alignment in expectations suggests a widespread belief that OPEC+ will continue its efforts to manage Oil supply and try to affect Oil prices beyond the first quarter. But, as I mentioned above, there is no conviction in the markets that OPEC headed by Saudi Arabia will be able to keep the pressure to the upside for too long. However, the improvement in the global economy as we have seen so far this year, which will be aided by central banks lowering interest rates will help increase Oil demand as the year progresses.

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Qatar to boost gas output with new mega field expansion: minister

Doha (AFP) – Qatar on Sunday announced new plans to expand output from the world's biggest natural gas field, saying it will boost capacity to 142 million tonnes per year before 2030.

The new North Field expansion, named "North Field West", will add a further 16 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to existing expansion plans, Qatari Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said at a press conference.

"Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities estimated at 240 trillion cubic feet, which raises the state of Qatar's gas reserves from 1,760 (trillion) to more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet," said Kaabi, who also heads the state-owned QatarEnergy firm.

These results "will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field's western sector with a production capacity of about 16 million tonnes per annum," he said.

This will bring Qatar's production capacity to 142 million tons once "the new expansion is completed before the end of this decade" -- a nearly 85 percent rise from current production levels, Kaabi added.

The QatarEnergy chief said the firm will "immediately commence" with engineering works to ensure the expansion is completed on time.

Qatar is one of the world's top LNG producers alongside the United States, Australia and Russia.

Asian countries led by China, Japan and South Korea have been the main market for Qatari gas, but demand has also grown from European countries since Russia's war on Ukraine threw supplies into doubt.

The latest expansion plans follow a flurry of announcements for longterm Qatari gas supply deals.

Earlier this month, Qatar said it would supply 7.5 million tonnes of LNG per year for 20 years to India's Petronet, with the first deliveries expected from May 2028.

And at the end of January, QatarEnergy announced a deal with US-based Excelerate Energy to supply Bangladesh with 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year for 15 years.

Last year, Qatar inked LNG deals with China's Sinopec, France's Total, Britain's Shell and Italy's Eni.

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Alternative Energy

This Electric Vehicle Stock Has 75% Upside, According to 1 Wall Street Analyst

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and other electric vehicle (EV) stocks haven't exactly been roaring on the stock market lately. Their price slumps have led some pundits to believe they're undervalued. One of these even feels Tesla's shares are poised to accelerate nearly 75% higher in price.

A Tesla bull continues to roar

That prognosticator is Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas, who reiterated his overweight (buy, in other words) recommendation on Tesla at a target price of $345 per share in mid-February.

In recent comments, Jonas and his team acknowledged the general bearish sentiment on the EV sector leader. However, they implied many investors have too narrow a view of the company's business.

In their view Tesla also stands to benefit from advances in segments such as artificial intelligence (AI) and other hot tech areas. For example, it is developing Optimus, which it describes as "A general purpose, bi-pedal, humanoid robot capable of performing tasks that are unsafe, repetitive or boring."

The Morgan Stanley analysts said that "Our thesis on Tesla is that it is both an auto stock and an energy, AI/robotics company. In fact, our valuation of the core auto business ($75/share) represents just 22% of our $345 price target."

In their view, while the current weakness in the EV market is detrimental to manufacturers such as Tesla, the negative effects on this stock's price will be short-term.

The great EV wave subsides

Jonas and his Morgan Stanley colleagues have been longtime Tesla bulls, but they've lowered their expectations in the recent past. In January, they trimmed the bank's price target on the stock from $380 to the present level, citing oversupply in the EV market as a key reason for the move.

I don't share Jonas and his team's continued enthusiasm for Tesla. The great consumer rush into EVs seems to be over, meanwhile the company keeps cutting prices to bolster volume. I'm also troubled by the numerous accidents apparently involving the EV maker's inaccurately named Autopilot feature, which makes it seem as if the system needs more development and testing.

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NTPC Green Energy Releases EPC Tender for 200 MW Solar Initiatives

NTPC Green Energy, representing Indian Oil NTPC Green Energy (INGEL), is seeking proposals for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) package inclusive of land to facilitate the development of a potential 200 MW of solar projects linked to the inter-state transmission system (ISTS) across India.

INGEL, a joint venture split equally between Indian Oil Corporation and NTPC Green Energy, aims to deliver 650 MW of renewable power to fulfill the continuous energy requirements of Indian Oil’s upcoming ventures.

The responsibilities encompass the operation and maintenance of the entire solar projects, spanning from the switchyard and power evacuation system to the interconnecting grid substation.

This also includes the provision of consumables and spare parts for a duration of three years from the date of commissioning.

Additionally, the selected EPC contractor is required to identify, acquire, and transfer land ownership or lease in Favorof INGEL.

The deadline for bid submissions is set for February 22, 2024, with bids scheduled to be opened on the same day.

As bid security, for 100 MW and 200 MW, respectively, bidders must provide ₹5 crores and ₹10 crores.

Eligible bidders should have a track record of developing, designing, erecting, commissioning, or supervising activities for a grid-connected solar power project with a cumulative capacity of 40 MW or more. At least one of these projects must boast a capacity of 10 MW or higher and should have been operational for a minimum of six months prior to the bid opening date.

Alternatively, bidders must have executed an industrial project in sectors like power, steel, oil and gas, petrochemical, fertilizer, cement, coal mining, coal handling plant, or any other process industry, with a project cost of ₹240crores.

Furthermore, bidders should have experience in constructing at least one electrical substation of 33 kV or above voltage, either as a developer or EPC contractor, which has been operational for a minimum of one year.

Financial requirements include an average annual turnover of ₹240crores for three of the last five financial years, and the net worth as of the last day of the preceding financial year should not be less than 100% of the paid-up share capital.

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PHL embraces major offshore wind energy development with Danish partnership

In a significant move towards bolstering renewable energy, the Philippines’ Board of Investments (BOI) has granted expedited certification for a P329 billion venture set to erect pioneering offshore wind farms across the archipelago.

The One-Stop Action Center for Strategic Investments (OSAC-SI) bestowed the Green Lane endorsement upon CI NMF (PH) Corp, marking a decisive step for sustainable development.

Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head, Ceferino Rodolfo, presented the certificates to CI NMF (PH) Corp., a Danish-backed entity, during an award ceremony at the BOI Main Office. This venture symbolizes the first instance of a completely foreign-owned firm receiving renewable energy service contracts in the nation.

CI NMF (PH) Corp., affiliated with the world-renowned Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), is at the forefront of offshore wind endeavors and heralds from the largest fund manager focusing exclusively on investments in renewable energy.

With a planned capacity of 2,000 megawatts, the proposed offshore wind projects will span the regions of North Samar, Pangasinan / La Union, and Camarines Sur / Camarines Norte.

An intricate array of wind turbines, foundations, cables, and substations will be meticulously outlined following a detailed procurement process that adheres to rigorous engineering standards and environmental regulations.

Niels Holst, Partner and Co-Head of the Growth Markets Fund, commended the Marcos administration’s renewable energy blueprint, which has significantly attracted CIP’s investment interest in the Philippines.

The government’s dedication to renewables, demonstrated by the removal of foreign equity restrictions and the formulation of Executive Order 21 for a synergistic approach to offshore wind, has culminated in the Green Lane status, signaling a significant boost for the projects.

Mr. Przemek Lupa, Associate Partner, and APAC Lead for the Growth Markets Fund, acknowledged the extensive groundwork laid out since last year’s contract execution.

Lupa conveyed optimism about the Green Lane status propelling the projects to commercial operation within the current administration’s term.

Undersecretary Rodolfo expressed gratitude for the investment and assured heightened inter-agency collaboration to streamline project permitting. OSAC-SI is committed to actively monitoring agency progress in processing permits and licenses, ensuring transparent and comprehensive reporting.

This development not only signifies a leap towards the Philippines’ energy independence but also highlights the country’s potential as a hub for renewable energy in Southeast Asia.

The Danish partnership underscores a global confidence in the nation’s market, aligning with broader international goals of combating climate change through clean energy transitions.

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US and UK should team up to stop China DESTROYING our car industry - 'Let's band together!'

A green energy expert has warned that The West needs to "wake up" to the threat of China dumping cheap electric vehicles into our markets and destroying jobs.

It comes as US President Joe Biden is under pressure to water down his EV (Electric Vehicle) with a coalition of more than 130 Republican lawmakers penning a desperate letter to the White House.

Biden has boasted that by 2032 more than two-thirds of new cars and light trucks sold in the US will be electric. But there are fears the market will simply be flooded with cheap imports, destroying manufacturing jobs. Speaking to GBN America Ethan Bearman said: "The UK, the EU and the United States need to get their act together.

The Green energy expert warn that Europe, The UK and the US "need to get their act together" GB News "The Chinese are subsidizing. The Chinese are ready to flood the global EV marketplace, and they're ready to dominate and destroy our entrenched automotive industries like they've done with others.

"And so we need to band together and whatever the trade trade deals and trade alliances need to look like, we need to focus on protecting our industries against the Chinese undercutting and dumping in our markets.

GB Host Patrick Christys said: "That would be a really smart way of going about it, using our natural allies to pull together to make sure that we don't resist a common enemy, as it were, but certainly a common enemy when it comes to the market forces at least.

Biden has pushed a heavy green drive PA "But this growth of electric vehicles has heightened concerns about China's current dominance. When it comes to the actual resources behind a lot of this stuff, the lithium batteries being a key element of this.

"I mean, as part of the Inflation reduction Act, the US government is spending money providing tax credits to companies that are attempting to build up a domestic supply chain. "Though how concerned should we be if China's grasp on the resources behind this?"

Bearman spoke to Patrick Christys on GBN America GBN America Bearman explained: "The good news is in the United States now we have multiple discoveries of massive deposits of both things like lithium and other rare earth minerals.

"I think China's dominance and control of these materials is going to be ending soon. "And the United States, South America and other you know, more reasonable market partners will lead in this area very soon.

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Japan to Continue Urging China to Lift Fishery Ban; Prepared for Talks Over Treated Water to Be Prolonged

The Japanese government intends to continue urging China to lift its ban on imports of Japanese fisheries products, while monitoring the progress of talks between Japanese and Chinese experts on the release of treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Since there is little prospect that China will soften its stance any time soon, Japan is preparing for the discussions to be prolonged as it continues efforts to provide thorough explanations to other countries.

The talks were realized at the request of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the Japan-China summit in November. The first meeting was held online in January and attended by representatives from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. and government officials from both countries, in addition to experts.

According to Tokyo, dialogues between experts from both countries had already taken place before that. The meeting in January had both Tokyo and Beijing expanding its participants.

Although there were no signs of compromise on issues such as how to monitor treated water, Japan is focusing on China’s willingness to engage in dialogue. Until recently, China was all out in protesting the release of the water, but Japan has seen possible signs of change. When Beijing had a director-general-level meeting with Tokyo on Feb. 2, it maintained a strict stance but also announced that both sides agreed to continue communicating.

In response to China’s ban on Japanese fisheries products, some within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and other officials initially called for filing a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization. However, the government “deemed it would be better to continue dialogues for the time being than to resort to excessive confrontation,” a senior official said.

As the talks continue, Beijing may ask Tokyo for concessions to save face. However, Tokyo does not intend to meet demands that are not based on scientific evidence, some believe that negotiations will be prolonged

At a ministerial meeting of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM), held this month in Fiji’s capital of Suva, Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa devoted much of her time to seeking understanding from participating countries on the issue of treated water. She also confirmed that the topic will be a “standing agenda item” to be discussed again at the PALM summit scheduled in July.

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Precious Metals

Newmont puts Musselwhite, Porcupine mines on the block

U.S. gold company labels Northern Ontario mines as 'non-core assets.'

Denver-based global miner Newmont is putting its Porcupine mines in Timmins and Musselwhite mine in northwestern Ontario on the selling block.

The company announced Feb. 22 plans to sell six “non-core” assets that includes the two operations in Northern Ontario along with its Eleonore mine in Quebec, Coffee in Yukon Territory, and a 70 per cent ownership stake in its Havieron joint venture with Greatland Gold in Western Australia.

In calling 2024 a “transformational” year for Newmont, CEO Tom Palmer said in a Feb. 22 web call that the company is pursuing a strategy of organically developing top tier gold and copper projects in the world’s most favourable mining jurisdictions, including Western Canada, New Guinea, Chile and Peru.

Newmont wants to focus its future on specifically 10 Tier 1 operations that can generate the highest returns. Mentioned in that stable are its Red Chris and Galore Creek copper-gold projects, which are in the development pipeline in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle.

This means divesting six “high quality, but non-core assets” in 2024, he said. The proceeds from the sale of these mines, along with free cash flow from operations, will cut into its $8 billion debt. Newmont had acquired Newcrest Mining of Australia in November.

In setting a debt reduction target of $1 billion, Newmont has outlined cost and productivity improvements that includes job cuts.

Newmont picked up Musselwhite and Porcupine in a $10-billion deal through its acquisition of Goldcorp in 2019.

The company produced a total of 5.5 million ounces of gold in 2023 from its mines in North America, Africa, Australia, Latin America and New Guinea, an almost 7 per cent drop from the 6.96 million ounces generated in 2022.

"Newmont's go-forward portfolio is the new standard for gold and copper mining," said Palmer in a news release. "This portfolio provides our shareholders with exposure to the highest concentration of Tier 1 assets in the sector, each with the scale and mine life to generate strong free cash flows, and all located in the world's most favourable mining jurisdictions.”

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Western Copper and Gold (TSE:WRN) Stock Price Up 18.1%

Western Copper and Gold Co. (TSE:WRN – Get Free Report) (NYSE:WRN)’s stock price shot up 18.1% during mid-day trading on Friday . The company traded as high as C$1.52 and last traded at C$1.50. 104,830 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 119% from the average session volume of 47,939 shares. The stock had previously closed at C$1.27.

Western Copper and Gold Stock Performance

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.19, a quick ratio of 5.52 and a current ratio of 4.63. The stock has a fifty day simple moving average of C$1.59 and a two-hundred day simple moving average of C$1.73. The stock has a market capitalization of C$249.14 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of -50.00 and a beta of 2.01.

Western Copper and Gold Company Profile

Western Copper and Gold Corporation, an exploration stage company, engages in the exploration and development of mineral properties in Canada. The company explores for gold, copper, silver, and molybdenum deposits. Its principal property is the Casino mineral property that comprise 1,136 full and partial quartz claims, and 55 placer claims located in Yukon, Canada.

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Base Metals

China’s biggest gold producer cleared to massively expand Tibet copper mine project

(, Feb24’24) – Zijin Mining Group, China’s biggest listed gold producer,has received local government approval for the second phase expansion of its Julong copper project in Tibet, reported Reuters Feb 23, citing the company in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The clearance will make the site the largest single copper mine in the People’s Republic of China, the report said.

Chinese mines have long led to arrest of local Tibetans protesting over pollution, loss of livelihood and sacrilege while being prone to accidents while the local Chinese government claims to prioritize environmental considerations in clearing projects.

Zijin Mining had to stop production at one of its mines in Mozhugongka (Tibetan: Maldrogungkar) County, near Tibet’s capital Lhasa, in May 2023 after an accident left six people working for a subcontractor missing, it was reported by Reuters May 15. However, company was given clearance to resume production shortly afterwards without any clear information on the missing miners. The six miners appeared to have lost their lives as the company referred to them as fatalities, noted the May 31.

Meanwhile, the expansion will raise the capacity of this mine by 200,000 metric tons per day to around 350,000 metric tons. Annual output will exceed 100 million tons, said the Reuters report Feb 23, citing the company.

The company has said the expansion will require investment of around 17.5 billion yuan ($2.43 billion) and enter operation in 2025.

This not only establishes the Julong mine as a giant within China but also as a formidable player on the global stage.

What is more, if the third phase of expansion is approved by local authorities, Julong could raise annual output to about 200 million tonnes, making it the largest single copper mine in the world, reported Feb 23, citing Zijin.

The strategic move by Zijin Mining Group and Zangge Mining to invest heavily in this project highlights the increasing importance of copper, a metal that is essential in various sectors, including the burgeoning electric vehicle industry and renewable energy projects, noted Feb 23.

The Julong project is a joint venture between Zijin Mining Group and Shenzhen-listed Zangge Mining.

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Lava Blue to move to small scale HPA production

Battery minerals company Lava Blue is to expand its Predictive Research into Speciality Materials (PRiSM) centre which it is developing along with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The centre is developing a process for production of high purity alumina (HPA) from sapphire bearing kaolin clay deposits in North West Queensland.

HPA is the essential material used in the manufacture of all light emitting diodes (LEDs) and is used in lithium-ion batteries to improve the performance and safety of cells.

Lava Blue’s process can manufacture HPA from a wide range of low-cost inputs, including mine waste sourced from Vecco Group and Queensland Pacific Metals from cobalt and nickel mining activities.

According to Lava Blue: “The multipurpose Demonstration Plant facility is perfecting HPA production and test methods, materials of construction and materials handling systems, integrating machine learning with QA/QC processes and market intelligence.”

In 2022 Lava Blue received a $5.2 million grant under the federal Government’s Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative to develop processes for refining critical minerals used in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

Planning is underway for the next stage of the HPA plant, to move from research and demonstration into small-scale commercial production, where Lava Blue aims to produce between 800 and 1,000 tonnes of HPA per annum.

Lava Blue Director Michael Ford said Queensland sat in the perfect spot to be able to maximise the value from the global energy transition

Ford said: “This is about great future jobs and prospects for our kids, fantastic opportunities for Queensland businesses, startups and researchers, and strong economic growth for the state, at the same time of doing the right thing globally.”

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Opinion: The dispute around Oak Flat isn’t an all-or-nothing fight

Nonprofit attorney Luke Goodrich presents an uninformed, zero-sum argument in his piece, claiming we either “destroy” the environment and Native sacred sites like Oak Flat for a copper mine or protect them.

It’s not really that black and white, especially when it comes to climate and the minerals needed for clean energy.

For domestic mining projects, it is essential to understand and address the concerns of local communities and tribal nations like the San Carlos Apache.

To Resolution Copper’s credit, the company has had hundreds of discussions with communities and tribal nations since 2008, which have led to significant changes to the project — changes that include maintaining public access to the campground as well as the recreational and climbing trails at Oak Flat, and placing Apache Leap under permanent protection.

Further, the Resolution Copper project will directly employ about 1,500 workers, including high-paying union jobs, and studies have shown it can produce up to $61 billion in economic value for Arizona. This is a game-changer for towns like Superior, where the Democratic mayor has openly expressed her support for the project.

Resolution Copper has local support, will bring significant economic benefits and is essential for the energy transition.

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5 Best Copper Stocks To Invest In According To Analysts

3. Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 53

Average Upside Potential: 48.27%

Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is involved in gold production and exploration, along with exploring for copper, silver, zinc, and lead. The company operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Suriname, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and Ghana. Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is one of the best copper stocks to monitor.

On February 22, Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) reported Q4 non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.50 and a revenue of $4 billion, up 24% on a year-over-year basis. The company produced 5.5 million ounces of gold and 891 thousand gold equivalent ounces from copper, silver, lead, and zinc in Q4 2023.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 53 hedge funds were bullish on Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM), compared to 49 funds in the prior quarter. Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management is the biggest stakeholder of the company, with 23.75 million shares worth $983.2 million.

Here is what First Eagle Investments Global Fund has to say about Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM) in its Q2 2022 investor letter:

“Shares of Colorado-based Newmont, the largest gold miner in the world, experienced weakness in the quarter as falling gold bullion prices and cost inflation hurt miners in general. More idiosyncratically, the company reported slightly disappointing earnings and production results for its most recent quarter due to pandemic-related disruptions, ongoing supply-chain constraints, and labor shortages. It also warned that operating costs for 2022 were likely to come in at the upper end of previous guidance. We remain constructive on the stock, which offers steady production anchored in good jurisdictions, a good pipeline of organic projects, a strong balance sheet, and proven management.”

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Great Atlantic Resources (CVE:GR) Hits New 1-Year Low at $0.03

Great Atlantic Resources Corp’s share price reached a new 52-week low during mid-day trading on Friday. The company traded as low as C$0.03 and last traded at C$0.03, with a volume of 3000 shares. The stock had previously closed at C$0.03.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 62.52, a current ratio of 0.10 and a quick ratio of 0.84. The company has a market capitalization of C$1.25 million, a PE ratio of -0.50 and a beta of 2.14. The stock’s 50 day simple moving average is C$0.04 and its 200-day simple moving average is C$0.04.

About Great Atlantic Resources

Great Atlantic Resources Corp., an exploration company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and evaluation of mineral properties in Canada. It explores for gold, silver, lead, zinc, tungsten, antimony, copper, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, and other precious and base metals. The company holds interest in the Golden Promise project located in central Newfoundland.

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Steel, Iron Ore and Coal

'India's steel exports hit 1.1 mn tonne in January, an 18-month high'

India's monthly steel exports hit an 18-month high to 1.1 million tonne in January 2024 on increased demand from the European Union and supportive global prices, SteelMint said.

Besides, competitive domestic prices of steel contributed to rise in export, the research firm said in its latest report.

The outbound shipment of steel in January 2023 was 0.67 million tonne, as per SteelMint data.

On reasons behind the surge in exports, SteelMint said, "good restocking demand from the European Union (EU) contributed 67 per cent of the 1.11 MT (export) in January. It was highest in last 18 months."

While the price of hot rolled coil (HRC) in India's trade segment was at Rs 54,300/a tonne, the global rate was USD 710 per tonne (about Rs 58,000).

This factor also contributed to the demand for Indian steel in the global markets.

Overall, Indian steel exports may remain largely range-bound or fall slightly in the near term because of the "global trade lull induced by the Chinese lunar holidays and Tet festival in Vietnam," SteelMint said.

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