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NNPC set to unbundle PPMC

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Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said that the corporation would commence the unbundling of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) into three different companies.

This is contained in a press statement signed by Mr Ohi Alegbe, the corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division and made available to newsmen in Lagos.

According to the statement, Kachikwu made this disclosure during an official tour of the Okrika Jetty and the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited on Wednesday.

The statement said that he said that the PPMC would be split into a pipelines company that would focus primarily on the maintenance of the over five thousand kilometers pipelines of the corporation

It stated there would be a storage company that would maintain the over 23 depots and a products marketing company that would market and sell petroleum products.

Kachikwu said that the move would ensure that the right set of skills are rightly positioned and the number of leakages in terms of pipelines break and products loss are reduced to the barest minimum.

The GMD said that the ongoing phased rehabilitation of all the state owned refineries would be given an accelerated vigour with the aim of reducing petroleum products importation into the country.

He added that at full capacity, all the refineries could supply only 20 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol on a daily basis.

Kachikwu assured Nigerians that the refineries would not be sold.

He said joint venture partners with established track records of success in refining would be invited to support the running of the refineries in order to ensure efficiency.

According to him, efforts are in top gear to fix all the crude and petroleum products pipelines across the country.

“The Nigerian Airforce will be engaged to provide aerial survey of the pipelines, the Nigerian Army Engineering corps to fix and police the pipelines while Nigerian Navy would provide marine surveillance for the network of pipelines.

The GMD commended the NNPC’s Engineers for the successful execution of the ongoing phased rehabilitation of the refineries.

He urged them to prepare a replacement programmes for obsolete spare parts of all the Corporation’s installations in order to avoid intermittent shut down of facilities.

The statement also stated that Dr Barred Enjugu, the Managing Director of the PHRC, said the ongoing phased rehabilitation of the company cost a little less than 10 million dollars.

According to Enjugu, the job was holistically carried out by indigenous engineers without any foreign support.

It further stated that the Managing Director of PPMC, Mrs Esther Namdi-Ogbue assured the GMD that the company would “think outside the box” to provide solutions to all the challenges confronting the company

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BUSINESS

Stock futures fall ahead of a big week of retail earnings

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Stock futures fell early on Monday after a week of steep losses that ended on a high note, and ahead of a big earnings week for retailers.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped by 31 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 futures fell 0.47%. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.71%.

On Friday, the Dow rose 466.36 points, or 1.47%, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.39%. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 3.82% and posted its strongest one-day gain since November 2020. Still, all three averages posted losing weeks.

The gains came as investors went into relief rally mode to cap off a bad week for stocks in which the S&P 500 nearly descended into bear market territory.

It remains to be seen, however, how long the rally will last or how much further stocks have to fall before this year’s downtrend bottoms.

“Given the history of bear markets, coupled with the fact that the Fed has just begun its rate hike cycle and would like to see financial conditions continue to tighten so that demand pulls back further, this rally will most likely weaken,” said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial.

Still, some investors and analysts say, whether or not the bottom is in, there are good buying opportunities at the market’s current lows.

“I’m not calling the bottom here, but there’s some opportunity here to dollar cost average,” said Sylvia Jablonski, CEO and chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs, told CNBC. “If you’re sitting on a bunch of cash, you’re locking in losses because of inflation. Investing in equities or asset classes that you believe in… it is the lesser evil. The selling fatigue will wane, the market will reset. It’s unlikely the Dow and the S&P are going to be in correction territory six months to a year from now.”

Retail earnings season kicks off this week with several big-box retailers set to report results for the first quarter, including Walmart, Target and Home Depot. Elsewhere, Deere is also on deck, along with a handful of technology companies.

Investors will also have their eye on retail sales data this week, which could give them insight into how retailers are managing inflation, which remains near 40-year highs.

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Nigeria issues new guidelines on cryptocurrencies 

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The Nigerian government has released new guidelines aimed at protecting investors in digital assets as trades in cryptocurrencies get boost in Africa’s most populous nation.

The rules issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers more clarity on trading in cryptocurrencies, it was learnt.

The rules cover “issuance, offering platforms and custody of digital assets” for virtual technologies, according to a statement on its website.

This is coming amidst controversy over the acceptability of cryptocurrencies in Nigerian financial ecosystem.

Despite order by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks to stop transactions in cryptocurrencies, Nigeria is said to account for the largest volume of cryptocurrency transactions outside the U.S., as data from Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace reveals.

Experts however believe this would go a long way in boosting trading in cryptocurrencies which is gaining global traction.

The new rules cover the issuance of digital assets as securities, the registration of platforms and digital asset custodians, exchanges and virtual assets service providers.

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BUSINESS

Apple is no longer the world’s most valuable company

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Oil giant Saudi Aramco on Wednesday surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable firm.

Aramco’s market valuation was just under $2.43 trillion on Wednesday, according to FactSet, which converted its market cap to dollars. Apple, which fell more than 5% during trading in the U.S. on Wednesday, is now worth $2.37 trillion.

Energy stocks and prices have been rising as investors sell off equities in several industries, including technology, on fears of a deteriorating economic environment. Apple has fallen nearly 20% since its $182.94 peak on Jan. 4.

The move is mostly symbolic, but it shows how markets are shifting as the global economy grapples with rising interest rates, inflation, and supply chain problems.

Aramco stock is up over 27% so far in 2022. In March, the oil giant reported that its full-year profit last year more than doubled due to soaring oil prices.

Apple passed Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2020.

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