May 11, 2018

McDermott completes $6bn CB&I acquisition, eyes Middle East expansion with Saudi Aramco

Mergers and acquisitions
Engineering
US Construction
Tom Wadlow
2 min
Oil pipeline construction
American offshore engineering giant McDermott has completed the acquisition of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), a move...

American offshore engineering giant McDermott has completed the acquisition of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), a move which has created a fully integrated provider of tech, engineering and construction services for energy clients.

The deal is said to be worth $6bn including debt, will open up business opportunities in key markets such as the US and Middle East.

McDermott now has a workforce of more than 40,000, including 5,000 engineers, serving markets in 54 countries.

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David Dickson, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The combination of McDermott and CB&I brings together a global upstream and subsea engineering, procurement and construction company with an established downstream provider of industry-leading petrochemical, refining, power, gasification and gas processing technologies and solutions – creating a company that spans the entire value chain from concept to commissioning.

“Together, we have the integrated technology, engineering expertise, construction experience and global reach to design and build the energy infrastructure of the future.”

According to Reuters, McDermott will expand its work in Saudi Arabia after Dickson met with Saudi Aramco executives.

While current work with Aramco is focussed on offshore, upstream projects, the addition of CB&I expertise opens up the possibility of further business.  

The acquisition will also lead to a reorganisation of McDermott by territory – North, Central and South America; Europe, Africa, Russia ad Caspian; Middle East and North Africa; and Asia Pacific. Each of these areas will be supported by executive presence.

At present, McDermott’s innovation portfolio includes more than 100 licensed proprietary technologies, bolstered by more than 3,500 patents and patent applications.

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

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:   

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"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 VenturesWave 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.

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