WTI $48.17 -12c, Brent $57.54 +$1.15, Diff $9.37 +$1.27, NG $2.82 +9c

Oil price

Brent performed better than WTI yesterday as markets worried about the EIA inventory stats due out after the close. In the end they were poor, reporting another stock build of 4.5m barrels not echoing the small but important draw from the API the day before. What was most interesting about the stats was that they came with a fall in imports and an increase of 1.2% in refinery utilisation which is almost impossible to do, I smell something afoot here and it's not 12 inches…

Nasdaq have launched a new futures commodity market for oil, natural gas and US power as they see the CME and ICE taking almost dominant market share in an area where volatility and thus trade is on the up.

Cairn Energy

The market got the news late yesterday that India had landed a $1.6bn fine on Cairn after a long period of discussion regarding their tax affairs. Unfortunately I couldn't get on the 5.30 conference call but I imagine that it was fairly predictable, albeit more than irritating. I have to admit that I have called this one wrong, not on the fantastic Senegal play and its potential massive impact for Cairn but in under-estimating the impact of the attitude of the Indian Government for which I am mighty hacked off. In my defence I didn't see India acting like a tin-pot dictatorship in a 1970's African state but clearly they have decided to forgo any further inbound investment in oil and gas or any other industry, and there were we thinking that Modi was going to change the world – he certainly has done that.

As a result of this Cairn are clearly not able to sell any more of its Cairn India stake which slightly takes away its capital strength which was one of my cornerstones, but all is not lost and provided the company does not buckle the value will out in the end. Still very much on the bucket list…

SOCO

SOCO has disappointed the market this morning on a number of fronts. The much smaller dividend than last year, even smaller than expected, has hit market sentiment but keeping guidance low and worse, writing down reserve numbers are more than this market can take. I had hoped to be at the analysts meeting this morning but might catch up with…

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