RIYADH: Oil prices dipped on Thursday as surging COVID-19 cases in China dimmed hopes of a recovery in fuel demand for the world’s largest crude oil importer.
Brent futures for February fell 43 cents, or 0.52 percent, to $82.83 a barrel by 10.15 a.m. Saudi time, while US crude fell 77 cents, or 0.98 percent, to $78.19 a barrel.
The scale of the latest outbreak and doubts over official data prompted some countries to enact new travel rules on Chinese visitors, even as China began easing the world’s strictest COVID regime of lockdowns and testing.
Exxon sues EU in move to block new windfall tax on oil companies
US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp is suing the EU in a bid to force it to scrap the new windfall tax on oil groups, arguing Brussels exceeded its legal authority by imposing the levy.
Record profits this year by oil companies benefiting from high energy prices have boosted inflation around the world and led to fresh calls to further tax the sector.
The windfall profits tax is “counter-productive,” discourages investments and undermines investor confidence, Exxon spokesperson Casey Norton said on Wednesday. Exxon will factor in the tax as it considers future multibillion-euro investments in Europe’s energy supply and transition, he said.
“Whether we invest here primarily depends on how attractive and globally competitive Europe will be,” Norton said.
The Financial Times first reported the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Exxon said it invested $3 billion in the past decade in refinery projects in Europe. The projects are helping it deliver more energy products at a time when Europe struggles to reduce its imports from Russia, the company said.
“We will continue to work with EU leaders to address these issues. Thoughtful policy is critical,” the company said.
Chevron Corp. had also warned that taxing oil production would serve only to reduce energy supply by discouraging company investments.
“That goes against the intent of increasing suppliers and making energy more affordable,” Chevron’s chief financial officer Pierre Breber, told Reuters in October.
Somalia rejects Genel Energy’s “illegal claim” to oil permits
Somalia rejected on Wednesday what it called an “illegal claim” by Genel Energy to oil exploration and exploitation rights in the country’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland, the country’s oil ministry said.
Somaliland claimed independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been largely peaceful while the rest of the country has grappled with three decades of civil war, but its leadership has failed to gain widespread international recognition.
In a statement, Somalia’s oil ministry said it “categorically rejects Genel Energy plc’s claim to own petroleum rights in Somalia’s northern regions and calls upon Genel Energy plc to cease its illegal claim to own petroleum rights.”
The oil ministry said it was the only institution legally authorized to grant permits in Somalia.
“Any authorization granted in violation of Somalia’s laws and regulations is unlawful and would be considered null and void,” the oil ministry said.
The company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, added Somaliland to its exploration portfolio in 2012, and signed a farm-out agreement with OPIC Somaliland Corporation for a block on the Ethiopian border last year, according to its website.
Earlier this month Genel said its geotechnical survey in Somaliland has been completed.
(With input from Reuters)