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Ukraine Conflict Causing Huge Volatility in Energy Market -OPEC

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has stated that the ongoing war by Russia in Ukraine was causing huge volatility for the global energy market. Mr Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC Secretary-General, made the assertion while speaking at the virtual 62nd Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) on Wednesday.

Barkindo noted that there were implications and possible far-reaching consequences of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

He said: “As highlighted at our last meeting, the conflict has compounded the uncertainties related to the pandemic.

“It has heralded in further economic volatility, elevated risk premiums for oil, as well as many other essential commodities, given that both the Russian Federation and Ukraine are key global exporters, including of essential agricultural goods.

 “From the oil market perspective, however, what is clear is that Russia’s oil and other liquids exports of more than seven million barrels per day cannot be made up from elsewhere. The spare capacity just does not exist.”

According to him, its potential loss, through either sanctions or voluntary actions, is clearly rippling through energy markets. “The crises we face are causing huge volatility, with daily price swings of more than $5 per barrel occurring on 13 occasions across March and April,” Barkindo said.

He also recalled that April 2020 was the darkest and most sudden downturn in the history of the oil industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Barkindo said April 2020 saw global oil demand drop by more than 20mbpd with industries and businesses shuttered-in and populations locked down.

“None of us will ever forget April 20, 2020. On that day, the price of NYMEX WTI in the futures market plunged by 56 dollars/b to minus-37.6 dollars/b, the first ever drop into negative territory. “The markets were reacting to the situation with an unheralded bearish ferocity.

“It was a visceral moment for us all. I do not think any of us here ever envisaged a moment where sellers were literally paying buyers!

“However, the uncontrolled chaos over the month was also met by a landmark decision from OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) on April 12,” Barkindo said.

He said the move was key to rescuing the industry from the precipice on which it stood, and in turn, assist with the resuscitation of the global economy. Barkindo said what recent events and developments imply was the continuing shift among policymakers to better understanding what was required in the energy transition.

He said: “It is not about moving from one energy to another; it is about utilising all available energies and understanding the energy security dimension of our future to enable the necessary investments.

“This was clearly highlighted last month by U.S. investment bank, JP Morgan in its first annual energy outlook. “It said the world needs to find 1.3 trillion dollars of incremental investment by 2030 to boost all types of energy output and infrastructure from renewables to oil and gas to avoid an energy crunch.

“What we are seeing is a wake-up call to all stakeholders. We need to ensure there is a clear pathway for all energy investments.” Sustained investment in oil is required if we are to expand production and ensure adequate spare capacity, a vital cog in the oil market landscape.” (NAN)

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Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Rises to 29,195 Amid Israeli Attacks

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The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,195 with 69,170 others wounded as the Israeli attacks continue, The Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Israeli army had killed 103 Palestinians and wounded 142 others in the Strip during the past 24 hours, the ministry said in a press statement.

It was noted that some victims remained under the rubble amid heavy bombardment and a lack of civil defence and ambulance crews.

Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets said the Israeli army forces were continuing their operations in the north centre and south of the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and have killed many fighters.

The Israeli army announced the death of a 22-year-old soldier as a result of his wounds in the Gaza battles.

The death of the 22-year-old soldier raised the death toll of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground operation to 236.

In addition, the Israeli army revealed a video of Israeli detainees alive in the first days of their detention in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

The video was showing a woman and her two children wrapped in a blanket, taken by gunmen in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the family had been kidnapped by an organization calling itself the “Mujahideen Brigades.” (Xinhua/NAN)

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Namibian President’s Death a Great Loss to Citizens, Africa, the World —Envoy

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Namibia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb has eulogised the country’s late President Hage Geingob, describing his death as a great loss to the country, Africa, and the world.

Geiseb made this known during a memorial church service in honour of Geingob, held at the Catholic Church of Assumption in Abuja, on Monday.

According to him, a lot of lessons can be learned  from the life of the late president, who was a champion for a better life for disadvantaged persons in Namibia.

Geiseb said: “His death is a great loss to Namibians, Africans and the whole world; we have lost a visionary leader as president and one who was a champion of many causes.

“He championed the cause of the poor, unemployed, elderly women and made sure there was an improvement in the number of women represented in the cabinet, as well as parliament during his tenure. 

“President Geingob was an advocate of the less powerful in the society, through his labour he made sure that those who were less powerful were catered for and also mainstreamed in governance.”

He added that the late president was a good leader, noting that the quantum of condolence messages, which he received from Nigerians were a reflection of  his goodness to the people.

Amb. John Shinkaiye, who paid tribute on behalf of the Association of Retired Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) described Geingob as a Pan-Africanist.

“We pay tribute to the late president and mourn his passing with his family, Africa, the Commonwealth and other organisations in which he played outstanding roles.

“We pray his family be comforted and his departure will be honoured by the continuation of a peaceful and vibrant Namibia.”

Amb. Poscaline Vokiwuge Gerengbo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who paid tribute on behalf of the Group of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ambassadors, said Geingob lived a life worthy of emulation.

“On behalf of SADC Ambassadors in Abuja, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and people of Namibia.

“May you find comfort during this difficult time; our presence here is in admiration of a man who gave up his lifetime dedicated to his country and continent at large,” Gerengbo said.

Also speaking, Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs,  described Geingob as a brother, confidant and passionate African, who was fearless, confident and engaging.

“His sense of statesmanship was similar to leaders like Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and all those great men and women on whose shoulders we stand today.

“He was an outstanding visionary, who saw the transition of his country from an oppressive apartheid regime to embrace ethnic diversity and create room for younger people to share in the vision of Namibia.

“There are not less than 50 Namibians in Nigeria, while there are not less than 3000 Nigerians in Namibia,” Gambari said.

The event, which was officiated by Rev. Fr. Stephen Omale, members of the diplomatic community, attracted former governors and top government officials, as well as the Namibian community in Nigeria.

Reports says that the late President Geingob died on February  4 at the age of 82. (NAN)

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U.S. Senate Approves Ukraine Aid Package

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The U.S. Senate has approved a 95.3 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations.

The bill has passed 70 to 29 in the Democratic-led chamber.

However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is far from certain, as former president and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump had urged Republicans to avoid passing legislation.

Trump said that this would give President Joe Biden a chance to claim a legislative victory.

The two politicians are likely to battle for the presidency, once again in November.

The United States has considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the defence against the Russian invasion, since the start of the war in February 2022.

The Biden administration has provided or pledged military aid totalling more than 44 billion dollars for Kiev.

The aid package passed by the Senate includes around 60 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine, the majority of which is earmarked for military support.

This was roughly the amount that Biden had originally requested.

The draft also includes 14 billion dollars for Israel as well as billions in aid for Taiwan and other partners in the Indo-Pacific. (dpa/NAN)

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