Oil Companies Receive Report Cards
Analysts' Corner recently announced new research reports highlighting Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Encana Corp., Statoil ASA, and PetroChina Co. Ltd.
On Sept. 13, 2013, Exxon Mobil announced that its Point Thomson project has completed a number of infrastructure milestones during the summer of 2013, as part of an ongoing commitment to Alaska's energy future.
“ExxonMobil is strongly committed to hiring Alaskans and, with its contractors, employed more than 1,100 Alaskans during the 2013 winter work season,” Gina Dickerson, senior project manager at Point Thompson said.
“Point Thomson's infrastructure can help unlock the eastern portion of the North Slope for expanded exploration and development activity. Along with our contractors and partners, we're very proud to be building a project on the North Slope that will significantly contribute to realizing Alaska's full energy potential.”
According to the company, the Point Thomson Unit is estimated to hold 25 percent of known North Slope natural gas and is designed to initially produce 10,000 barrels/day of condensate at startup in the winter of 2015/2016. The Full Research Report on Exxon Mobil – including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets – is available at: www.analystscorner.com/r/full_research_report/36c4_XOM
On Aug. 29, 2013, Chevron announced the expansion of its Fuel Your School Program, an innovative collaboration between Chevron and DonorsChoose.org that is designed to help meet the critical need for classroom funding in various communities where Chevron operates. According to the company, the program has expanded to 14 U.S. communities in fall 2013, from nine communities in 2012.
“Effective education in the STEM subjects-science, technology, engineering and math-can help prepare bright young students to be the engineers, geologists and doctors of the future, driving innovation and economic growth,” said Dale Walsh, president of Chevron Americas.
“Fuel Your School provides teachers with essential tools and resources, including hands-on project materials that often do not receive funding from traditional sources. These resources are critical to spurring students' interest in and understanding of the STEM subjects.”
The Full Research Report on Chevron – including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets – is available at: www.analystscorner.com/r/full_research_report/d042_CVX
On Sept. 12, 2013, Doug Suttles, president and CEO of Encana Corp. provided an update on the company's strategy development process at the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York City. According to a company press release issued earlier on the same day, Encana's strategy will focus on four core competencies: Resource Identification, Market Fundamentals, Capital Allocation, and Operational Excellence.
“Over the coming weeks, we will be finalizing our strategy and building our implementation plans. Many of the building blocks for success are in place, but in several areas significant change is required,” said Suttles. “I am confident that the organization is ready for what lies ahead and I'm fully committed to driving the necessary change that will get Encana back to winning.”
The Full Research Report on Encana – including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets – is available at: www.analystscorner.com/r/full_research_report/01ac_ECA
On Sept. 12, 2013, Statoil ASA announced the publication of the investigation report on the In Amenas terrorist attack that took place on Jan. 16, 2013, where 40 people were killed including five Statoil employees. According to the company, an investigation was launched on Feb. 26 and the investigation team submitted its report on Sept. 9, which was discussed by the company's Board on Sept. 11.
“The report provides the basis for learning that we requested. And the report supports and underpins the necessity of the improvement efforts initiated in the company,” said Svein Rennemo, chair of Statoil's Board. “We will see a broad-scale strengthening of Statoil's organization, systems and practice within security.”
As per Statoil, the report provides 19 recommendations within the areas of security at In Amenas and other facilities in Algeria, organization and capabilities, security risk management systems, emergency preparedness and response, and cooperation and networks. Statoil stated that it will now ensure that the recommendations are integrated, while its Board stated that it has endorsed the improvement program, and will continuously follow up program implementation and consider the need for further measures.
The Full Research Report on Statoil ASA – including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets – is available at: www.analystscorner.com/r/full_research_report/d198_STO
On Sept. 11, 2013 PetroChina notified its shareholders of the publication of the 2013 Interim Report (Current Corporate Communications). According to PetroChina, both English and Chinese versions of the company's Current Corporate Communications are available at its website and the website of HKExnews.
The company also informed that shareholders may at any time choose to receive free-of-charge Corporate Communications either in printed form, or read the website version. Also, shareholders may call the company's hotline for any queries from Monday to Friday, between business hours 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Full Research Report on PetroChina – including full detailed breakdown, analyst ratings and price targets – is available at: www.analystscorner.com/r/full_research_report/dc96_PTR
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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.