Algerians on Friday were awaiting results of a contested presidential election, which was held amid protests in several cities, disruption of voting in some polling stations and a partial boycott of the poll.
Thursday’s election came eight months after April’s resignation of long-time ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika, following pressure by mass protests.
Since then, protests continued as people called for the departure of key Bouteflika-era officials and for an overhaul of the political system before an election was held.
Protesters took to the streets on Thursday in the capital Algiers and several eastern cities, while people stormed some polling stations and destroyed the ballots.
Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted in some areas.
Turnout stood at 41 per cent, according to Head of the Electoral Commission, Mohammed Sharafi.
Five contenders are vying for the presidency, including two former prime ministers.
Protesters have criticised the five hopefuls, saying they were once part of or aligned with Bouteflika’s rule.
Bouteflika ruled OPEC-member Algeria for two decades, an era that was dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.
Edited by: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
Oil rises after OPEC warn members to stick to quotas
Oil prices rose for a fourth day in a row on Friday, putting crude on track for a weekly gain of about 10 per cent, after Saudi Arabia pressed allies to stick to production quotas and banks, including Goldman Sachs, predicted a supply deficit.
Brent crude was up 18 cents at $43.48 a barrel by 0756 GMT while United States oil futures rose 17 cents to $41.14.
Both contracts are set for their strongest weekly gains since early June after Hurricane Sally cut United States production while OPEC and its allies laid out steps to address market weakness.
Goldman Sachs predicted the market would be in a deficit of three million barrels per day (bpd) by the fourth quarter and reiterated its target for Brent to reach $49 by the end of the year and $65 by the third quarter of 2021.
Swiss bank UBS also pointed to the possibility of undersupply in the oil market, forecasting Brent would rise to $45 a barrel in the fourth quarter and $55 by mid-2021.
Meanwhile, a tropical depression in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico could become a hurricane in the next few days, potentially threatening more United States oil facilities.
The Saudi Arabian energy minister said those who gamble on oil prices would be hurt “like hell”.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers in OPEC+ are cutting 7.7 million bpd of output and the group stressed at a meeting on Thursday that it would take action against members not complying with the deal.
In the Gulf of Mexico, United States offshore drillers and exporters began a clear-up on Thursday after Hurricane Sally weakened to a depression and started rebooting idle rigs following their closure for five days.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
France reiterates commitment to press freedom regarding jail term of Algerian reporter
The French government has described the freedom and security of the press as fundamental rights across the world while speaking about Algerian reporter, Khaled Drareni.
Drareni was sentenced to prison for the coverage of protests.
He is an Algerian journalist, reporting for French TV channel TV5Monde and a representative of Reporters Without Borders (RFS) in Algeria.
The journalist was arrested on March 7 during a protest organised by the Hirak movement that called for changes in the country’s political system.
On Aug. 10, the authorities sentenced the reporter to three years’ imprisonment for “undermining national unity’’ by his coverage of the opposition movement’s actions.
Earlier in the week, the decision was reconsidered and Drareni was jailed for two years on appeal.
“We (France) are aware of this decision.
“France reaffirms its commitment to the freedom of the press and the security of journalists throughout the world.
“The freedom to inform is a fundamental right that must be protected,’’ the French Foreign Ministry said.
The RFS condemned the jailed’s decision to sentence Drareni, who has also been the subject of a major international solidarity campaign called #WeAreKhaled.
The Hirak opposition movement has been protesting since February 2019 against the candidature of the country’s former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to the next head of state post.
Bouteflika resigned in April 2019 due to the protests, also referred to as the Revolution of Smiles.
Since then, the Hirak movement has been calling for democracy in Algeria.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
DPR generates N742.4bn revenue in 8 months
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it generated a total sum of N742,471,639,376. 96 billion for the Federal Government from January to August 2020.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee, chaired by Mr Musa Adar, visited the regulatory agency as part of its oversight duties.
He said, “DPR is a revenue collection agency for revenues accrueable to government from oil and gas industry operations.
” DPR operates a cashless revenue system which enables all revenue remittances to be paid directly to the federation account in total compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of government.
“The agency conducts comprehensive quarterly and annual reconciliations of revenue payments to ensure accurate and timely remittances to the federation account.
“It also collects oil and gas royalties which represents proportional value of oil and gas production and sales from oilfields, gas flare penalties imposed for gas flaring,” he said.
According to him, DPR collects concession rentals paid for grant of oil and gas acreages by exploration and production companies and miscellaneous oil revenue.
He said that these consisted of statutory application fees, licence and permit fees and penalties.
Auwalu said that the challenges posed by COVID-19 and oil price crash had made it compelling for a new thinking and approach for strategic repositioning and business optimisation in the industry.
The DPR boss said the agency had, therefore, adopted several approaches and streamlined its processes to deepen its influencing role as an opportunity house and business enabler for the Industry.
He said the approaches include cost control and management, strategic partnership, vertical integration and diversification and portfolio rationalisation and operational resilience.
On his part, Adar told newsmen that the National Assembly would expedite action on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in order to reposition the industry.
“We want to assure Nigerians that once we receive the PIB, we will ensure its quick passage.
” There is a good relationship between the executive and lawmakers and there will be a bipartisan approach toward the bill because we must put Nigeria first as patriotic citizens,” he said.
He said the visit to the regulatory agency had enlightened the lawmakers on the need to enact legislation that would ensure maximisation of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle
Oil jumps above $41 as storm hits United States output, inventories drop
Oil rose for a second day on Wednesday, gaining more than two per cent, as a hurricane closed United States offshore production and an industry report showed United States crude inventories unexpectedly decreased.
More than a quarter of United States offshore output was shut on Tuesday due to Hurricane Sally.
The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday said crude inventories fell 9.5 million barrels, rather than increased as analysts expected.
Brent crude rose 86 cents or 2.1 per cent to $41.39 a barrel by 1012 GMT, while United States crude added 85 cents or 2.2 per cent to $39.13.
Both contracts rose by more than two per cent on Tuesday.
“Overnight, the APE provided a further injection of bullish impetus,’’ said Stephen Greenock of oil broker P.M.
“As much as a feel-good factor appears to have returned to the oil market, underlying fundamentals remain far from supportive.’’
The storm-related shutdowns may help reduce the stockpile, although refineries were also closed, cutting demand.
“Oil prices were lent further support by the APE and the weather,’’ said Commerzbank analyst, Eugene Weinberg.
“Despite an unfavourable fundamental and technical backdrop.’’
Oil prices collapsed to historic lows as the coronavirus crisis hit demand.
Prices have dropped in September, pressured by rising virus cases and concerns about demand.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and International Energy Agency have both cut their demand outlooks this week.
A panel of OPEC+ oil ministers meets to review the supply pact on Thursday and is unlikely to recommend further output curbs despite the price drop, sources told Reuters.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde