WTI $59.63 +$1.05, Brent $66.78 +94c, Diff $7.15 -11c, NG $2.75 +15c

Oil price

Oil ended the month in a good place with WTI having risen by 25% and Brent by 21%. Reuters report that the first blush estimate of Opec production in April is of production of 31.04m b/d with Iran joining the Saudis in pushing up exports. Yesterday's rise was a mixture of things, the inventory data from Wednesday evening continued to filter through to the WTI market and Brent was buoyed by further activity in Yemen and that the US navy has started to escort American flagged ships through the Straits of Hormuz following Tuesday's seizure of the Maersk Tigris.

Majors results

Yesterday saw several more majors reporting results and the theme remains the same as upstream is very poor and downstream is more than compensating for it. Most upbeat if you can call it that was Exxon who reported the usual mix but are focusing on long term value 'regardless of current market trends' and bucked the trend by actually increasing the dividend by 6%. Conoco was bad as one can imagine but Phillips 66 unsurprisingly better and of course Gunvor don't mind what the oil price is as long as it's moving and profits there were up 20%.

Chariot Oil & Gas

Following up from my read through for Chariot after the impressive discovery by Kosmos in Mauritania earlier in the week, the company has announced a licence extension for offshore block C-19 for one year. This will enable the company to carry out further studies and re-risk the prospects that they have identified. Effectively the extension gives Chariot and Cairn up to 18 months to do proper coring and to analyse for example the shared 3D data from Cairn's success in Senegal. With a number of key wells being drilled by other operators in the next year or so third party activity will be very important particularly from Kosmos and Tullow in the region. The Tortue gas discovery is not only very substantial but is deeper than Chariots prospects which are more likely to be oily.

With NSAI affirming Chariot's view of the potential in C-19 the size of the prospects are likely to be large, indeed they put PA-1 and MA-1 gross mean prospective resources of 431MMbbl and 588MMbbl respectively and on the KT-1 and BFT-1 prospects a potential of up to 434MMbbl. The company describe Mauritania as…

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