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Oil rises to $27, lower than new budget benchmark - PUNCH

MARCH 25, 2020

By  Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, rose slightly on Tuesday, trading around $27 per barrel, $3 lower than Nigeria’s new budget benchmark.

Global crude oil prices have been badly hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused demand for the commodity to shrink.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose above $28 per barrel on Tuesday but fell to $27.24 per barrel as of 6.40 pm Nigerian time, up from around $26 on Monday. It tumbled to a record of low of $24.41 per barrel last week.

The PUNCH reported on Monday the country cut the official selling prices for its crude oil to record lows to clear a glut of unsold cargoes amid the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

In a related development, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has directed all office-based staff below management cadre across all its formations to work from home with effect from Tuesday.

It said the order was in compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the coronavirus pandemic.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, directed selected category of workers in the corporation’s employ to stay home in order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also directed all NNPC Strategic Business Units to activate their business continuity plans immediately to ensure minimal disruption to operations while protecting staff from exposure to the virus.

The corporation said it had ensured a compulsory temperature check on all staff and visitors, frequent handwash and the use of hand sanitisers at points of entry into the oil firm’s towers and all other locations of NNPC, as well the maintenance of social distancing at all times.

Meanwhile, the corporation condoled with the family of Suleiman Achimugu who passed on in the early hours of Monday after a bout with Covid-19.

The corporation disclosed that the deceased who was Managing Director of the then Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, a downstream subsidiary of NNPC, went into self-isolation upon return from the United Kingdom on March 10, 2020.

It noted that consequent upon reporting palpable symptoms of coronavirus disease, the NNPC Medical Services team collaborated with the National Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Department to ensure that all laid down protocols were followed in handling the case of Achimugu.

It said the deceased retired on July 24, 2009, as Group General Manager, Renewable Energy Division of NNPC.

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