May 17, 2020

Oil stealing pirates increase raids off Guinea

Admin
2 min
Oil tanker
By Dr. James Jay Carafano West Africa is experiencing asurge in piracy, with well-organized hijackers targeting the regions growing oil and gas industr...

By Dr. James Jay Carafano

West Africa is experiencing a surge in piracy, with well-organized hijackers targeting the region’s growing oil and gas industries, writes national security expert Dr. James Jay Carafano in World Review.
 
Although efforts to combat crime at sea have been having an impact – for example hijackings off Somalia fell by half in 2012 compared with 2011 with only 14 ships successfully boarded – the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports a sharp rise in activity in West Africa in 2012 with 58 incidents off the Gulf of Guinea.
 
“The most troubling aspect of these crimes is not the increase in the number of attacks and the spread of activity initially centered in Nigerian waters, but how piracy is expanding throughout the region,” says Carafano.
 
“The Gulf and the surrounding coastal waters and wetlands include extensive oil and gas reserves, where petroleum extraction, transport and related activities are a lucrative target for personnel hijacking, disrupting activities, siphoning oil or stealing cargo,” he says.
 
“Furthermore, tanker traffic and pipelines are particularly dense in the area around Nigeria because the country is a major oil producer but lacks the capacity to refine petroleum products,” he adds. “So in addition to its extensive exports it imports refined-petroleum products - all representing opportunities for piracy.”
 
The focus of the crimes is mostly in territorial waters. That means international naval operations would be less effective. And rather than a regional effort, anti-piracy operations will be driven by what each nation elects to permit and has the capacity to undertake.
 
“The ability to mount effective anti-piracy operations is also hampered by poor governance and cooperation, and local politics,” adds Carafano.
 
In response to these threats there are efforts at increased interstate regional cooperation. The Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission drafted an anti-piracy code of conduct that was signed by 22 countries in June 2013.
 
“While laudable efforts, these initiatives cannot address the core challenges within the states, particularly Nigeria, where governance, political, economic and security issues have created space for organized criminal activity to prosper,” he says.
 
“However, despite these challenges, the patchwork of security should be sufficient to allow growth to outpace the troubles created by expanding web of illicit activities.”
 
About the Author: World Review author Dr. James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in America’s national security and foreign policy challenges, is the Washington-based Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies and director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.
 
© 2013 Geopolitical Information Service; http://www.worldreview.info
  

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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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