Oil ends 2015 down 35 percent; long, painful hangover seen

An oil pump is seen in Varadero, Matanzas province, Cuba, during an organized tour by the state-run Cuba-Petroleo (CUPET),NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday but fell as much as 35 percent for the year after a race to pump by Middle East crude producers and U.S. shale oil drillers created an unprecedented global glut that may take through 2016 to clear. Global oil benchmark Brent and U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose between 1 and 2 percent on the day on short-covering and buying support in a thinly traded market ahead of the New Year holiday. The U.S. shale industry, meanwhile, surprised the world again with its ability to survive rock-bottom crude prices, churning out more supply than expected, even as the sell-off in oil slashed by two-thirds the number of drilling rigs in the country from a year ago.

World welcomes New Year despite terror fears

Fireworks light up the sky over Sydney Opera House (L) and Harbour Bridge during New Year celebrations in Sydney on January 1, 2016The world greeted 2016 with Champagne and cheers, but tightened security put a damper on the party in Europe with fireworks cancelled in Brussels and Paris as November’s terror attacks cast a pall. Tens of thousands of revellers gathered on either side of Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour, which was bathed in a dazzling fireworks display. The chimes of midnight will move across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and finally the Americas.

Oil market to end 2015 in downbeat mood; hangover to be long, painful

An oil pump is seen in Varadero, Matanzas province, Cuba, during an organized tour by the state-run Cuba-Petroleo (CUPET),NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices steadied on Thursday but were still headed for a second year of steep declines after a race to pump by Middle East crude producers and U.S. shale oil drillers created an unprecedented global glut that may take through 2016 to clear. Global oil benchmark Brent and U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were on track finish 2015 down more than 30 percent after another year that showed the helplessness of Saudi Arabia and others in the once-powerful Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to support oil prices. The U.S. shale industry, meanwhile, surprised the world again with its ability to survive rock-bottom crude prices, churning out more supply than thought, even as the sell-off in oil slashed by two-thirds the number of drilling rigs in the country from a year ago.

Nigeria demands MTN pay $3.9 bn telecoms fine as deadline expires

Nigeria expects MTN to meet a deadline for paying a record $3.9 bn fine despite a court challengeNigeria said it was expecting telecoms giant MTN to meet a deadline for paying a record $3.9 billion fine which expires Thursday, despite the South African operator challenging the penalty in court. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecoms regulator, had in October fined the firm for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, citing security concerns in a country plagued by frequent kidnappings and an extremist Islamist insurgency Boko Haram.