May 17, 2020

Oil Prices Up After Iran Warning

energy digital
Iran
Saudi Arabia
Iranian oil
Admin
2 min
Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia worsen after the Islamic state warns its neighbors to abstain from increasing crude oil exports
Oil futures rose Monday after Iran warned Saudi Arabia and neighboring Islamic states not to make up for any shortfalls caused from an embargo on its...

 

Oil futures rose Monday after Iran warned Saudi Arabia and neighboring Islamic states not to make up for any shortfalls caused from an embargo on its crude oil exports. Meanwhile, concerns over shipments from two other major exporters, Nigeria and Sudan, contribute to a spike in prices. 

In the face of Iran's threats to close the Straight of Hormuz, Saudi Arabia said it could 'almost immediately' increase its production by some 2 million barrels per day, according to Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in an interview with CNN. Saudi Arabia's doubts that Iran will shut down the straight followed a warning from Tehran that any move to replace Iranian oil on the markets would “not be perceived as friendly,” the country's OPEC governor told the press.

With Brent crude futures trading 80 cents higher at $111.22 a barrel, after hitting an intra-day high of $111.67, Saudi Arabia aims to stabilize prices to around $100 a barrel.

As the US continues to pressure nations to stop importing oil from the Islamic Republic, some of Iran's top Asian buyers are starting to look at alternative suppliers in the region.

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In Nigeria, trade unions have called off strikes against the government after president Goodluck Jonathan partially reversed the detrimental effects of an end on fuel subsidies that more than doubled gas prices for locals. Meanwhile, Sudan started confiscating some oil exports over the weekend from its southern region to meet unpaid transit fees.

Throughout the remainder of the week, investors will be watching China, the world's second largest oil consumer, where the economy is expected to slow for a fourth successive quarter as global demand weakens, according to a Reuters poll.

 

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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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