May 17, 2020

Shell Oil Spill off Nigeria's Coast: Worst in a Decade

energy digital
Nigeria oil spill
oil spills
major oil spi
Admin
2 min
Royal Dutch Shell spills an estimated 40,000 barrels of oil off the coast of Nigeria, spanning over 100 nautical miles
Oil from a Royal Dutch Shell offshore spill has spread to nearly 100 nautical miles after a leak occurred while loading a tanker Wednesday, resulting...

 

Oil from a Royal Dutch Shell offshore spill has spread to nearly 100 nautical miles after a leak occurred while loading a tanker Wednesday, resulting in what may be Nigeria's worst spill in a decade. Shell estimates the Bonga spill to be around 40,000 barrels or 1.68 million gallons of oil, becoming the second major oil spill since Mobil's slip-up in 1998.

Peter Idabor, the head of the country's oil spill management agency expects oil to start showing up on Nigeria's coast Thursday afternoon, devastating wildlife, fish and birds in the area. The company has sent ships out to use dispersant on the oil sheen and infrared equipment to trace places where the sheen is the thickest.

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According to SkyTruth, a nonprofit based in West Virginia that uses satellite imagery to detect environmental problems, Shell and other Nigeria official could be massively disguising the scope of the spill. SkyTruth estimates that the slick may stretch across 350 square miles of ocean, three times what Nigerian authorities have reported.

"The spill could be near the upper limit of what Shell has stated," John Amos, SkyTruth's founder and president, told the AP on Thursday. However, he said he needed more information to determine the spill's true scope.

Shell is already taking out advertising on search engines in an attempt to redirect those searching for the spill to their website. According to Shell's spokesman, Jonathan French, the advertising has come in the “interests of full transparency” so people can read about the spill's updates, or how the company believes the spill is less of a big deal than it actually is.

Shell's pipelines onshore have also spilled several times, resulting in a mess that many estimate will take 30 years to clean up in the Niger Delta. Environmentalists estimate that some 550 million gallons of oil have been poured into the Niger Delta in Shell's 50 years of production in the area (the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is estimated at 210 million gallons).

A top supplier to the U.S, Nigeria produces roughly 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day.

 

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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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