May 17, 2020

Global Oil Refinery Throughput Increases

2 min
Oil refinery
Despite the tough economic conditions still plaguing Europe, world refinery throughput will rise as global demand for gasoline, jet kerosene, gasoil an...

Despite the tough economic conditions still plaguing Europe, world refinery throughput will rise as global demand for gasoline, jet kerosene, gasoil and diesel products during Q3 2013 ramps up, according to the latest forecast from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The new report* states that demand for gasoline in Q3 2013 will increase by 325 mbd (thousand barrels per day) over Q2 figures, while gasoil and diesel demand will rise by 280 mbd over the prior quarter.

Jet kerosene will also enjoy a 150-mbd quarter-on-quarter rise, while global refinery throughputs are expected to witness growth of 2.2 mmbd (million barrels per day) over Q2 2013 levels, as new atmospheric distillation capacity comes onstream in the Middle East, India and China. This increase will raise total global throughput to 77 mmbd – the highest level in at least five years.

The global oil market is expected to continue its growth throughout 2014, with gasoline demand rising by a further 115 mbd over 2013 levels, and diesel and gasoil rising by 525 mbd.

 “Despite the positive outlook, these figures will be limited by various underlying economic issues, not least of all the European recession,” says Jeffrey Kerr, GlobalData’s managing analyst for Downstream Oil & Gas. “The slowdown in Chinese demand and the rapid decline in Indian demand are also contributing factors. The U.S. is the only country showing any signs of pushing through its economic woes.”

Jet kerosene can expect to witness a drop of 55 mbd over the course of 2014, says Kerr, thanks to a decrease in air travel caused by the recession and the Chinese economic slowdown, while refinery throughput will see a similar reduction of 57 mbd.

Kerr continues: “The key for the global economy moving forward is which of these trends are the strongest: the US moving higher or the rest of the world moving lower, and currently it seems that the refined products markets are supporting the US position.”

*August Refined Products Forecast


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Jul 13, 2021

Technology revolution for water retailers

Paul Williams
4 min
Paul Williams, Chief Technology Officer at Everflow Tech, reflects on privatisation, industry complexities and future for utilities in a digital world

In April 2017, the UK’s water retail market in the world opened for business – the single biggest change to the water sector since privatisation. This development allowed businesses, charities and public sector organisations to shop around for the best deal.
However, like any industry, this change hasn’t been without its sticking points; here, Paul Williams, CTO at Everflow Tech (pictured far right), discusses how retailers can harness technology to their advantage

Our CEO, Josh Gill, set up independent retailer Everflow Water in 2015, and Everflow Tech is his response to the difficulties it faced.

Quotations could take up to a week to produce, billing software had to be manually updated and brokers were unable to manage the complete customer journey in one place – all of which took time, cost money and allowed for human error.

The more complexity that was involved in billing or quoting, the more contact end customers needed to have with their retailers, pushing up the cost to serve for every SPID. This meant retailers – ourselves included – found themselves in a situation where profits were simply eaten up by service costs.

We also note that it can traditionally be hard for retailers to stay on top of balancing what they are charging their customers with what they are being charged by the market. To further exacerbate this, the longer a change goes unnoticed, the more trouble it can be to balance the issue.

It was these issues that Josh and his (at the time) small team wanted to ameliorate, creating their own technology in the absence of anything else.

This technology evolved into our award-winning retail sales, billing and customer management platform for the water retail market, and Everflow Tech was launched as a standalone venture in 2018, selling the software externally for other water retailers and their customers to benefit from.

What retailers want

As a relatively new entrant to the world of utilities competition, the water market could be seen to be lagging behind, particularly when it comes to innovation.

In fact, as recently as 2019, Ofwat said it expected the industry to be making technological advances and to be working with a culture of innovation, collaborating with companies both within and outside of the sector.

And with cost-savings for consumers traditionally lower than for other utilities, retailers need to be offering something more – whether that’s better support, energy-efficiency advice or more accurate data.

What’s more, consumers have had a taste of the power of technology, and they’ve come to expect nothing less from retailers across the board.

Another key issue – thrown into sharp relief during the past 12 months (and counting) of a pandemic – is rising levels of arrears, which are likely to increase bad debt beyond margins that retailers originally allowed for when the market was created.

In such a low-margin industry, there is a limit to the amount of debt retailers can take on, especially as recovering costs can be a very slow process. Ofwat has signalled that this issue could be addressed as early as this year, with a mechanism for recovering bad debt to be established during 2021/22. 

The market needs simple solutions to better serve the end user, and we were perfectly placed to develop those solutions. At Everflow, our software is designed for the water retail market, by the water retail market.

As well as simple billing, clear-to-understand workflows, and a revenue assurance system to allow retailers to quickly compare market charges, Everflow has also introduced a complete debt solution, allowing missed payment dates to drive late payment charges and escalations automatically.

Retailers are able to design and put out their own bill and quotes, tailoring customer journey and overall experience – whatever the circumstances.

What does the future hold?

Automation is key to any industry; we’re heading into an age of driverless cars and smart homes, and this drive for tech will filter through to our industry, and we need to catch up. 

The Internet of Things – a network of physical objects connected to each other – means human error (and effort) can effectively be removed from many everyday tasks, which goes for meter readings too. However, in the 21st century, the water market is still not leveraging previously emerged technology in the form of smart meters to provide accurate billing. 

Consumers are also becoming more empowered, both to ask for information and change their preferences if they don’t like what they learn. Retailers need to be armed with this information, not next week, not tomorrow, but now – and, at Everflow Tech, we’re putting that information at their fingertips.

But the retailers themselves need to speak up too, and we will always work with them to get the best ideas on what needs to be developed and when.

Our strong bond with Everflow Water, along with other key customers, means we have a direct interest in making sure our systems serve the water market in the best way they can. 

For us, the goal is to make sure retailers on our platform can grow as much as possible, leaving behind laborious daily processes to focus on their own strategic growth and, most importantly, helping their customers.

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