Keeping Middle East Oil Safe Amid Tensions
By Adam Groff
No matter which way you look at it, oil has become an absolute necessity when it comes to daily life.
Because of this, it's important that oil reserves in the Middle East and the companies that run them are safe from outside threats. And, with tensions in the Middle East rising by the minute due to political strife, territorial wars, and religious conflicts, protecting oil reserves is of the utmost importance.
So, what are some ways the United States and other countries are keeping oil safe in the Middle East amid the constant tensions?
The Middle East's Biggest Suppliers
In order to better understand the issue of oil safety in the Middle East, it's important to first understand how much oil the region has. Although there are a number of foreign companies that control Middle Eastern reserves, the majority of the oil is controlled by domestic entities.
Of the largest oil producers in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is at the top of the list with 265 billion barrels of oil in reserves and almost 8 billion barrels of oil produced a day. Iran is second with roughly 140 billion barrels and Iraq is third with 115 billion barrels.
Companies like Shell, BP, and Exxon all have a stake in the region's oil production and, with barrels by the billions, it's no wonder oil safety in the Middle East is a growing concern for oil-dependent countries across the world.
Keeping Oil Reserves Safe
Companies with a vested interest in oil production in the Middle East are taking whatever means necessary to protect their oil reserves. And, as tensions in the region rise, oil reserves are relatively safe from continuing threats.
Here's part of the reason why:
* Military Presence - As turmoil and domestic war breaks out between certain oil-producing regions in the Middle East, oil-dependent countries like the U.S. and others increase their military presence in the region. With an increase in military comes an added protection to oil production and transport in and around the most problematic areas.
* Border Security - Many regions in the Middle East are battling over oil-rich lands that border multiple territories. Because of this, wars are breaking out over oil-producing regions. As a result, many oil companies secure not only their reserves, but the land surrounding the reserves via armed border security.
* Controlled Spending - Much of the money that goes to the Middle East for its oil directly fuels further conflicts in the area by leading to the purchasing of military-grade weaponry. Because of this, many oil companies are increasing their efforts to better control where the money goes by limiting their domestic partnerships to reputable oil producing entities only.
* Alternative Energy Resources - Many oil companies in the Middle East believe that a lack of presence in the area is the only safe bet to take. Because of this, companies are not only diversifying their oil interests to other countries, they're also leaning towards alternative and renewable energy technology.
Although tensions in the Middle East are increasing on a regular basis, oil companies in the region are doing all they can to play it safe.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including world markets, the benefits of a wireless credit card machine, and personal health.
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.
"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.