New skills to improve oil and gas professionals
Three new project management courses designed specifically for the oil and gas industry are being offered by ESI International, a leading project management training company.
Through the three new courses, Managing Projects, Scheduling and Cost Control, and Risk Management, ESI aims to provide industry professionals with the required competencies in managing oil and gas projects more effectively. The new courses include interactive case studies, discussions and exercises focused on common upstream oil and gas operational scenarios to make learning highly relevant and transferable to the workplace.
Usually, the best opportunity to make a positive impact on a capital project is during the early planning stages, even prior to the capital outlay occurring. In many cases, 80 to 90 percent of the engineering and procurement cycles are completed during the necessary front-end planning.
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However, without the essential knowledge and aptitude needed for requirements gathering, resource and stakeholder management, and risk management throughout the project management life cycle, project teams run the risk of project delays and failures, which can lead to wasted time and investment dollars.
- The Managing Projects course is designed to cover the entire project life cycle and is built around best practices currently used in today's fast-paced business environment. It aims to help industry professionals better understand the skills required for today's dynamic environment in bringing products to market on time and with features that meet business objectives.
- The Scheduling and Cost Control course puts focus on managing the constraints professionals may face in any project with regard to limitations on time, human resources, materials, budget and specifications. This program will enable participants to discover proven ways to work within their identified constraints, without letting pre-defined limits curtail creativity or innovation.
- The Risk Management course is designed to equip project managers and professionals with the right tools to examine threat and opportunity from both a top-down and bottom-up approach using ESI's proven eight-step risk management process. Using effective tools, including ESI's highly-regarded risk assessment model, participants will learn how to evaluate and respond to risk at the project and task levels.
ESI International is a global project-focused training company helping people around the world improve the way they manage projects, contracts, requirements and vendors through innovative training in project management, business analysis and contract management.
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.