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Small Business http://themoneytimes.com/taxonomy/term/38429/all/feed en How Mobile Payments Benefit Small Businesses http://themoneytimes.com/node/1701712984 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mobile payments are the way of the future when it comes to how a consumer pays for services or goods. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, then you need to think of a way to configure your business to accept mobile payments. </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-label">lead:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Why Should You Consider Mobile Payments for Your Business?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many consumers are embracing the change as it is easy and fast. All a consumer has to do is enter the required details ahead of time on his or her phone and the consumer can begin paying with that phone. Stores that accept mobile pay make transactions quick and painless. </p> <p>If your business does not offer this option, then your customer is forced to use a credit or debit card, cash, or a check. Credit cards can charge astronomical fees, and checks are almost obsolete. Cash is nice, but if you do not have the right change, then things can get sticky. Mobile payment is quick and easy for both the consumer and the business.</p> <p><strong>Is Mobile Payment Safe?</strong></p> <p>One of the biggest concerns retailers have about mobile payment is privacy control. If a customer pays via smartphone, retailers worry that their information becomes easy for thieves to steal. If anyone can log onto a phone, then what is stopping anyone from using the phone's mobile payment scheme? </p> <p>In reality, the process is very secure because mobile payment occurs only if a password is used, and many mobile payment platforms have developed specialized techniques that prevent third parties from finding and stealing information. Ultimately, there is no reason why you should not use mobile payment. </p> <p><strong>Why Is Mobile Payment Better?</strong></p> <p>Mobile payment platforms offer a safer solution than carrying cash or a credit card because mobile payments can be made only after secure passwords have been entered. Customer or business information is never leaked because it is already stored in the system and not visible to anyone in the area where the transaction is occurring. Once a payment is made, the money is sent to the business’ account. </p> <p><strong>Do Mobile Payments Incur Fees?</strong></p> <p>There can be fees with mobile payments, but many retailers do not have to pay much more than their current credit card processing fees. As customers move towards using their smartphones for more tasks, paying the small fee is balanced by having the mobile payment option available in your store.</p> <p><strong>Is Mobile Payment Worth Installing?</strong></p> <p>The short answer is yes. Ultimately, mobile payment is faster than any other form of transaction. It is convenient and easy to use because the consumer has already entered all of the pertinent information. A business does not have to worry about any breach of their customers’ information. If you want to bring your company into the modern age, then this is the best way to do it. </p> <p>If you are afraid to take the big step, then just consider how much more convenient you are making things for your customers. People tend to spend more when payment options are as easy as the press of a button. Cash keeps people from spending because they actually see in hand how much they are using. </p> <p>However, mobile payment almost seems like a free way to buy things because no swipes or cash is involved. If you want to be a merchant of the 21st century, then mobile payment is the way to go.</p> <p>About the author:<br /> Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, providers of mobile payment processing for businesses. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors</p> <p>This story was originally published on March 7, 2013.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/Mobile%20Payment%20for%20Small%20Business.png" alt="Mobile Payment" title="Mobile Payment" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="179" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mobile Payments are catching up fast with other means of transactions.</p> <p>Payment via mobile does away with the intricacies of handling credit cards, debit cards, as well as cash.</p> <p>Small businesses can make use of mobile payments to ease conducting transactions.</p> <p>The transactions are pretty secure, so there is little cause for worry.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-imagecaption"> <div class="field-label">imagecaption:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mobile Payment for small business</p> </div> </div> </div> Crisis Management Cyprus Mobile Payments Personal Finance Small Business Top Story Mon, 20 Jan 2014 04:45:30 +0000 1701712984 at http://themoneytimes.com Kenyan Oil, Hot and Getting Hotter: Interview with Taipan's Maxwell Birley http://themoneytimes.com/featured/20130117/kenyan-oil-hot-and-getting-hotter-interview-taipans-maxwell-birley.html <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Kenya has become the hottest oil and gas venue in East Africa since big discoveries were made in the country's virgin oilfields last April. All eyes are on Kenya in 2013 to see how quickly--and economically they can develop those discoveries into production.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nairobi based Taipan Resources Inc. (TPN-TSXV; TAIPF-PINK) is the 4th largest acreage owner in Kenya, and is getting ready to carry out seismic on Block 2B. They recently attracted Maxwell Birley as CEO. Mr. Birley has been instrumental in discovering more than 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent in his 30-year career—much of it in Africa and Asia.</p> <p>In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, Taipan CEO Maxwell Birley discusses:</p> <p>• Why Kenya is the hottest venue in East Africa<br /> • Why 2013 will be a stellar year for Kenya<br /> • Why the regulatory environment remains attractive<br /> • Why Kenya outranks its neighbours<br /> • Why infrastructure will be in place in time for commercial activity<br /> • Why this venue is good for the juniors<br /> • Why the Somalia security risk remains low<br /> • What Taipan is really chasing</p> <p>Interview by James Stafford of Oilprice.com</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> There were some major discoveries in Kenya last year. Could you give me some colour on these discoveries that has the market thinking Kenya is now one of the hottest exploration spots on earth?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> There are a couple—or 2 billion--reasons actually. First, two recent discoveries by Tullow in the Tertiary Lokichar basin of Kenya are in similar geological settings as the discoveries also made by Tullow in the Albertine Basin in Uganda, just to the west.</p> <p>Uganda has over 2 billion barrels, and the discoveries are similar enough that one could assume the eventual size of the resources in the Lokichar basin could be in the billions of barrels range as well.</p> <p>There are also other Tertiary basins in Kenya that are attractive. Based on geochemical work we recently did it's possible that the eventual hydrocarbon resource size for the whole of Kenya could be much higher than this.</p> <p>Being specific the unrisked prospective resources for Taipan's acreage in Kenya is 530 million barrels. We also believe that this estimate will likely increase to approximately 1.0 billion on completion of our studies.</p> <p>These estimates are for only 2 blocks in Kenya, if this is reasonably extrapolated to other blocks across the country one can easily forecast very significant hydrocarbon resource sizes indeed.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> What's the easiest and most challenging thing about working with the Kenyan government and in the Kenyan political climate?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> The Ministry of Energy is always ready for a meeting. They listen to our concerns and take the appropriate action. They quickly follow up and give us the support that we need with other Ministries. In the field the local administration is also very helpful. We have regular meetings to make sure our work continues without a hitch.</p> <p>With regard to the political climate, there is an election coming up in March 2013. We're making arrangements so that we do not have a slowdown in seismic operations during that period. The last elections in 2007 were associated with some “geographically limited” security issues, however these were located far from our areas of operation, so we are not expecting the elections to have much impact on our operations.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> The Kenyan government is reviewing its oil and gas regulations. Among the suggested amendments is one that would see the National Oil Corporation (NOC) get a 25% interest in oil properties that foreign firms are operating in Kenya, but this would put the government in a precarious position vis-à-vis attracting investors. How do you see this playing out in the end?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> The government is reviewing the terms that shall apply for licences/contracts that will be granted in the future. Oil companies will review all the terms on offer at the time of bid submission and compare them to the attractiveness of the acreage.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> In November last year, Kenya expelled Norwegian Statoil, after revoking its exploration license. Is Nairobi increasingly ‘policing' exploration, and what will this mean for investors in the near/medium term?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> One of the main functions of the Ministry is to regulate the companies undertaking exploration activities in Kenya. We feel confident, as in many other countries where we have worked, that if you carry out your commitments in the timeframe of the PSC then your license is 100% secure. If we decide to go into the next phases of exploration on Block 2B we can continue to explore for hydrocarbons on the block for another 4.5 years without concerns to the validity of our contract.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> How does the industry view the financial terms offered by Nairobi in oil and gas?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> We believe the terms are reasonably attractive, at least for an oil discovery. The reason that only a few exploration wells were drilled in the past was due to the lack of exploration success—and this was driven by the lack of understanding by the oil companies of the basins. It wasn't because of financial terms offered by the government.</p> <p>Now that a discovery has been made and our knowledge is increasing, we are going to see a significant increase in drilling activity and therefore reserve additions to the country.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Is Kenya becoming more a game for the majors rather than the juniors, and do you think we will see more joint ventures in the near future?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> In our opinion there is a place for small companies at every stage of the development of an oil province. But it's definitely good news for those juniors with large land positions already in the country. The early movers--i.e. the companies like Taipan that acquired their acreage before the oil was discovered—will benefit from the recent oil discoveries. Most of the more prospective acreage has now been leased and therefore the competition for land is increasing.</p> <p>As large volumes of oil are discovered, the large independent and Majors will start to notice the country more and more. The Majors—due to their size and complexity—tend to be exploration risk averse and prefer to concentrate on large, lower-risk developments.</p> <p>James Stafford: How would you like to see Nairobi interact with the energy sector moving forward? And how does Kenya compare with other venues in the region like Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Sudan?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> There is no doubt that Nairobi is a premium location for business, tourism and families. This is illustrated by the fact that many multi-nationals operating in the sub-Sarahan African region have their head offices in Nairobi. Regarding interaction, it is the oil industry that will need to develop an active and well respected industry body so that broad industry issues can be discussed at the higher levels.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Kenya is clearly the East African leader in oil infrastructure, and is now starting the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transit corridor (LAPSSET) project. But it will cost $25 billion for the roads, the 1200 km pipeline and 120,000 barrel-per-day refinery. How feasible do think this project is and why? Is it feasible in the timeframe projected by Nairobi?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> The resources in Uganda and to some extend south Sudan must be exported. A pipeline through Kenya seems to be the most feasible.</p> <p>Regarding the time line, having 2.5 billion barrels sitting in the ground just west of Kenya in Uganda is a really strong motivation to build the pipeline quickly. In South Sudan I think they started pumping oil back up north again now, but I think they will want to go through Kenya in the near future.</p> <p>Whether it's LAPSSET or the Tullow consortium someone is going to build a pipeline through Kenya to the coast in the next few years. We think the pipeline will be located within 175 kilometres from our acreage. The pipeline will be good for everybody in the region but it should be particularly positive for us.</p> <p>So when we make a discovery on Block 2B, the pipeline will be in the construction phase. In the interim we'll truck the oil by bowser the early production from the fields. Then, depending on the size of any discoveries, we'll build a connecting pipeline into the pipeline from Uganda. I think we're in a very fortunate position now.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> In terms of exploration what are the ‘sweet spots' in Kenya?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Definitely the Anza Basin. Currently, the proven sweet spots are in the Tertiary sediments of the rift basins of Uganda and Kenya. More specifically to Kenya in the Lokichar Basin as proven by the Ngamia and Twiga wells by Africa Oil.</p> <p>These basins form part of the larger East African Rift system. This is a very extensive rift system and many new plays will be discovered in the next few years. The Anza Basin is the largest of these East African rift basins and 10 times the size of Uganda's Albertine Basin and Kenya's Lokichar Basin. This rift contains Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments.</p> <p>Taipan is exploring for oil in the south eastern end of the Anza basin. Located on block 2B we have proven more than 9,500 feet of Tertiary section on the block. From the geochemical modelling we have undertaken we see the same oil source rocks in the Anza Basin that are present in the Lokichar basin, which are highly likely to be mature for oil generation on Block 2B. In addition we also believe that more oil discoveries will be made in the Cretaceous and Jurassic basins if you can find favourable places to drill.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> What has Taipan's proprietary technical work in Block 2B in the Anza Basin demonstrated so far?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> The Anza basin has proven oil-prone Cretaceous source that in places is potentially in the gas window (Bogal gas discovery), however our technical work has also demonstrated that the basin has an active Tertiary lacustrine (lake) oil source that is in the oil window. Consequently, the Anza basin has an excellent chance of being a much more significant oil producing basin than the small rift basins that have so far been discovered.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> And that's what you're really chasing here—with these roughly 10 million acres in the Anza Basin—the tertiary play...</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Agreed. What we're primarily chasing in Block 2B is the same Tertiary oil play that Tullow inherited originally in Uganda. The discoveries there were the main reason Africa Oil and Tullow drilled the Ngamia and Twiga oil wells in Kenya—which have also been very successful. Of course, don't overlook the fact we also have a secondary Cretaceous oil play in the block, that appears to be broadly analogous to the Cretaceous plays present in the Muglad Melut basins of southern Sudan and is the main focus of exploration efforts in Block 10A, operated by Africa Oil Corp.</p> <p>Regarding the rest of our acreage, in Block 1 for example where we have a 20% interest in a 31,781 Km2 block we are chasing older Cretaceous, Jurassic and Permo-Triassic plays. The block is located in an extension of the successful Ogaden Basin of Ethiopia and Somalia. We think the block will be very prospective as it is surrounded by oil seeps and a well that recovered oil on test.</p> <p>The 2 blocks combined makes us the 4th largest acreage holder in Kenya. In terms of near-term drilling and catalysts in the region, we have Tertiary, Cretaceous and Jurassic plays on Block 1 and Block 2B that will be drilled in the next 12 to 18 months.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Tell us what 2013 will look like for exploration in Kenya?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Ten exploration wells should be drilled in Kenya in 2013. Based on the previous success rate it is expected that a significant number of these will be discoveries. Tullow will continue drilling wells on Blocks 10BB and 13T on the west side of the country to find more oil in that string of pearls.</p> <p>Also we shall shortly get the results of the Paipai-1 well which is currently drilling in northern part of the Anza Basin. The well is testing Cretaceous &amp; Jurassic plays, with a potential 121 million barrels. Other wells including Sabisa and Kinyonga also expected to be drilled in 2013.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> For Kenya, a discovery at Paipai-1 would prove that oil discoveries of Sudan extend into Kenya. What would it mean for Taipan?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> There have already been Cretaceous gas discoveries in Kenya. Taipan believes that if you can find the Cretaceous that has not been buried too deep it will be prospective for oil. However we think the Paipai well is very high risk as it seems likely to be a recent tectonic inversion structure and therefore may be breached by recent faulting. </p> <p>We think we can find on Block 2B Cretaceous structures that are oil prone that have not been breached by recent faulting. So if that well does come in then it is going to be good news for the Anza Basin in general, but if dry it will not write off the Cretaceous potential in our block. Having said that I should point out that this is not our main focus at this time.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> What about other prospects, like the Kinyonga well?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Kinyonga is the next big prospect that is going to be drilled by Africa Oil Corp. and that is very meaningful for us. Kinyonga, which is on Block 9, will be located relatively close to our block, is both Tertiary and Cretaceous prospect. It has an unrisked resource estimate of 320 million barrels prospective, and it is one of the largest prospects in Africa Oil's portfolio of drilling targets. </p> <p>Africa Oil also has another prospect called Pundamilia which is even closer to our block. This prospect has a unrisked resource Best estimate of 402 million barrels and a High estimate of 952 million barrels which I believe is the largest prospect in Africa Oil's portfolio.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> And what is the status of Kinoyonga?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> The timeline Africa Oil report for Kinoyonga is the 2nd half of 2013.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> That would be a pretty big corollary for Taipan ….</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> I think that even prior to getting those drilling results; investors are going to become more aware that the Tertiary play extends into our block. This was proven by the Hothori well which encountered 9500 ft. of Tertiary sediments. Better than this based on seismic data we estimate that in parts of the block there could be greater than 15,000 feet of Tertiary sediments.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> What can we expect from Taipan over the next six months?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Taipan has contracted BGP to acquire up to 800 kms of 2D seismic survey and Arkex to acquire a block wide FTG survey both over Block 2B. The seismic will commence recording in January 2013 and the FTG in February. Both surveys will be completed and interpreted prior to the 1st June deadline to complete the work. We expect to enter the first additional exploration period and are planning on drilling a well late 2013 early 2014.</p> <p>Taipan has a 20% interest in Block 1 where Afren has recorded 1900 kms of seismic data.</p> <p>After the seismic has been processed and interpreted the company will commence preparations for well to be drilled in late 2013/early 2014.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> What do you expect to learn from this North Eastern data?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> We will be acquiring world class seismic data with an extremely high fold in Block 2B. We may record data with fold as high as 540 (other operators in Kenya usually only record at 60 fold). We will do this so that we get excellent signal to noise ratio and seismic data improvement. This will then enable us to predict with some certainty the areas that have high shale to sand ratios. </p> <p>This in turn will indicate where the Tertiary lakes sediments were deposited. This will dramatically increase the chances of drilling a successful oil well.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Let's close off then with a note on security and Taipan's potential concerns in that area...</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Our acreage is in a remote region with very few inhabitants. We always take the appropriate health and safety precautions for example we've carried out detailed security risk assessments and we have visited the areas on a number of occasions. We work with other operators and security companies to ensure we have good local information.</p> <p>To mitigate the risk, we have 50 to 60 armed police on the seismic crew to supply physical security. More importantly we have excellent support from the government and local authorities. We are in the process of undertaking some CSR water projects so that local people benefit from our activities. We also have a team from the area that is in the field communicating continuously to ensure that the local community understands what we are doing and observes the benefits of working with Taipan.</p> <p>So in summary, we take it all pretty seriously. There are risks, however, it's a place where you can work, so we're being very respectful and careful to nurture successful relationships.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Has Kenya's intervention in Somalia had any impact on exploration in the border area?</p> <p><strong>Maxwell Birley:</strong> Yes, it has ensured that oil companies can undertake their work in relatively safe conditions.</p> <p><strong>James Stafford:</strong> Mr. Birley, best of luck. Thank you for your time and we will check in with you later in the year. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/rsz_kenya12.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="180" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Kenya is emerging as a hot destination for oil exploration with discovery of two oil blocks.</p> <p>Positive political climate works in favor of oil exploration companies like Taipan </p> <p>National policies are working in favor of big as well as small companies. </p> </div> </div> </div> Crisis Management ertiary Lokichar basin Kenya Kenyan Oil Maxwell Birley Oilprice Small Business Taipan Resources Inc Top Story Tullow Thu, 17 Jan 2013 11:57:33 +0000 Dinesh Dhiman 1701712777 at http://themoneytimes.com Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field ... 1,300 Light Years Away http://themoneytimes.com/featured/20121218/scientists-find-mega-oil-field-1300-light-years-away.html <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Have our wishes been answered? Scientists have found an oil field which contains 200 times more hydrocarbons than there is water on the whole of the Earth.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Time to wave peak oil goodbye forever … but before you do I should probably inform you of the tiny hiccup in any plan to develop this oil field.</p> <p>It is around 1,300 light years away.</p> <p>The scientists work at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and using the 30m-telescope of the Institute for Radio Astronomy they discovered a vast cloud of hydrocarbons within the Horse Head Nebula galaxy in the Orion constellation.</p> <p>Upon discovery of the cloud IRAM astronomer Viviana Guzman declared that, “the nebula contains 200 times more hydrocarbons than the total amount of water on Earth!”</p> <p>Just for those of you curious as to exactly how many barrels of oil that roughly equates to, here you go: one hundred and fifty-five quintillion, two hundred and thirty-eight quadrillion, ninety-five trillion, two hundred and thirty-eight billion, ninety-five million, two hundred and fifty thousand, or 155,238,095,238,095,250,000 barrels.</p> <p>Now like me you might be wondering how oil, which is supposedly produced from organic matter buried millions of years ago, could possibly exist in space. Well it turns out that these hydrocarbons were likely created by the fragmentation of giant carbonaceous molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are produced during the death of a star.</p> <p>There is even a theory that molecules such as these could have served as the first organic compounds for creating life.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/Oil%20Exploration_0.jpg" alt="Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field" title="Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="180" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Scientists working at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have located a mega oil field that is located on a distant location far away from the earth.</p> <p>The mega oil field is located in a hydrocarbon cloud in Horse Head Nebula galaxy in the Orion constellation </p> <p>It holds as many as 155,238,095,238,095,250,000 barrels of petroleum - even more than total water on earth. But the gigantic distance makes it practically impossible, at least with today's technology, to bring it anyhow to earth.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-imagecaption"> <div class="field-label">imagecaption:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Scientists Find Mega-Oil Field</p> </div> </div> </div> Cost Management Max Planck Institute in Germany oil oil demand petroleum petroleum demand Small Business Top Story Tue, 18 Dec 2012 05:59:05 +0000 Dinesh Dhiman 1701712589 at http://themoneytimes.com Will Regulators Damn Keystone XL? http://themoneytimes.com/featured/20121217/will-regulators-damn-keystone-xl.html <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Starting Tuesday, U.S. regulators will hold regular meetings on oil and natural gas pipeline safety standards. A series of pipeline issues, ranging from a deadly gas pipeline explosion in California, to a massive oil spill in Michigan, have brought pipeline safety to the forefront of the American energy debate. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The safety meetings, scheduled in Virginia, come days after environmental regulators in Nebraska end a public comment period for Keystone XL, one of the most contentious U.S. pipeline issues.</p> <p>The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration scheduled hearings beginning Dec. 11 in Virginia. During those meetings, safety committees are expected to review proposed rules related to pipeline damage prevention. </p> <p>PHMSA described the committees as "statutorily mandated advisory committees that advise PHMSA on proposed safety standards, risks assessments, and safety policies for natural gas pipelines and for hazardous liquid pipelines."</p> <p>In October, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality announced it was finished with its draft evaluation report for the proposed reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. In its 600-page draft, the NDEQ found that TransCanada's new proposal "avoids the region that was identified as the Sandhills by NDEQ, which is based on extensive research conducted by various state and federal agencies several years ago."</p> <p>NDEQ closed the period for written testimony on the reroute Friday. Bold Nebraska, an advocacy group opposing the pipeline, said this week that TransCanada's route remains problematic, however.</p> <p>"TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) is still risking our aquifer and still risking the fragile sandy soils of our state," said Bold Nebraska's Executive Director Jane Kleeb in a statement. "When TransCanada first submitted their route to the U.S. State Department, their designation of the Sandhills was much larger and much more accurate to the reality of the Sandhills region."</p> <p>Nebraskans get about 85 percent of their drinking water from regional aquifers, a November report published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology states. The study found few published groundwater case studies on the fate of tar sands oil, the type of crude designated for Keystone XL, but noted there may be a residual impact. The report recommended for the pipeline a "risk-managed route." </p> <p>That route targets a section of the state that was "intensely spray-irrigated, row-cropped (and) underlain by contaminated groundwater." This route, the report finds, would provide easier access should any emergency response be needed for Keystone XL.</p> <p>Supporters of Keystone XL say the project is needed to ensure U.S. energy security and support jobs. U.S. Rep Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the pipeline could "create an estimated 100,000 or more direct and indirect jobs" for American workers. Detractors, like Bold Nebraska, however, said any potential benefits far outweigh the risks.</p> <p>The journal report finds that pipeline spills have declined considerably during the past 10 years. While it's unclear what action the PHMSA may consider in its safety review, it's clear that, despite high-profile concerns like the so-called fiscal cliff, regulators are taking pipeline issues seriously as the North American energy boom gains steam.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/Keystone%20XL%20Protests.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="180" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In a series of meetings starting Tuesday, 17 December, US Regulators will meet on oil and natural gas pipeline safety standards in the wake of a massive oil spill in Michigan, deadly gas pipeline explosion in California and other related issues. </p> <p>Perhaps the fate of Keystone XL pipeline will be determined in the meetings.</p> <p>Keystone XL pipeline has met with a series of vehement protests in recent times. </p> </div> </div> </div> Business Crisis Management Energy Keystone XL Pipeline Keystone XL Pipeline fracking Keystone XL Pipeline Obama Keystone XL Pipeline project Small Business the Keystone pipeline Top Story United States Mon, 17 Dec 2012 05:31:15 +0000 Dinesh Dhiman 1701712582 at http://themoneytimes.com Mexico to Privatize State Oil Company Pemex? http://themoneytimes.com/featured/20121215/mexico-privatize-state-oil-company-pemex.html <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Big potential changes south of the border. Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto has announced that he wants increased private investment in the nation's energy industry.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-label">lead:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The new regime in Mexico has announced certain investment-friendly measures. What does that mean for the US?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Will this include Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, more familiarly known as Pemex?</p> <p>The question is significant for the U.S.</p> <p>Mexico is, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, now America's second largest source of imports. Of the United States' total crude oil imports averaging 9,033 thousand barrels per day (tbpd), Mexico provides 1,319 tbpd, exceeded only by Canada with 2,666 tbpd.</p> <p>No, says Pena Nieto. Speaking to reporters in Ottawa last month, Nieto said, “I have publicly talked about Mexico's need to open ourselves up to the participation of the private sector in the energy sector, however this doesn't mean privatizing state run companies. I hope that this will happen with investments in Pemex but we can't postpone the benefits that Mexicans deserve to get through energy development.”</p> <p>Following a lunch with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Pena Nieto told reporters, "Clearly, if we evaluate Mexico's energy potential, it will require more infrastructure development and investment for exploration and exploitation of this important resource, and eventually, for refining."</p> <p>The upside for Mexicans? The country's constitution stipulates that the nation's oil and gas in Mexico belongs to the Mexican people, and Pemex is the only company allowed to develop it.</p> <p>On a national scale this leaves Mexico without energy captains of industry or private oil companies, but bereft of foreign investment, technology and expertise.</p> <p>And the sad reality is that Pemex oil production is in decline , from 2006 Pemex's average daily oil output was 3.3 million barrels per day, but in 2011, just 2.54 million bpd.</p> <p>On the plus side, last month Pemex announced the discovery of a field 16 miles from Villahermosa, Tabasco, that may contain reserves of 500 million barrels of crude oil. In any case, Pena Nieto is moving quickly to reorganize Pemex. Pena Nieto has appointed energy secretary Joaquín Coldwell, president of the National Executive Committee of the PRI to replace current Pemex president Jordy Herrera. </p> <p>Pena Nieto is pressing forward on reforming the country's energy sector, in order to attract foreign investment. Mexican energy analysts believe that foreign capital could be crucial to reviving Pemex's declining oil output, sharing the profit on private projects for exploration and production in deep waters as well as allowing foreign private capital to participate in the new business of developing new unconventional shale gas and shale oil reserves.</p> <p>But Pena Nieto's efforts to open Mexico's closed energy sector still face an uphill struggle, as any real energy reform would require Constitutional changes, which have stymied previous governmental efforts.</p> <p>Still change is in the air, as Nieto and leaders of Mexico's three largest political parties have agreed to work toward allowing competition into some of Pemex's operations, as well as revising mining royalty agreements. Nieto signed a document stating that Mexico will make “the necessary reforms to create a competitive environment in the economic processes of refining, petrochemical, and transportation of hydrocarbons.”</p> <p>As Mexico is currently the world's No. 7 oil producer, the implications of Nieto's efforts are significant.</p> <p>But U.S. oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico might have competition for Pemex assets. Four months ago China's State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. proposed buying Canada's Nexen Inc. (NYSE:NXY), paying roughly $15.1 billion for Nexen Inc.'s common and preferred shares for Nexen's worldwide operations including the North Sea, Colombia and the Gulf of Mexico. </p> <p>The Gulf of Mexico concessions from the U.S. government are the potential deal breaker for CNOOC, so, should other operations there arise, then America's oil companies can likely expect some eastern competition.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/Pemex.jpg" alt="Mexico to Privatize State Oil Company Pemex" title="Mexico to Privatize State Oil Company Pemex" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="180" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The latest announcement to privatize state oil company Pemex by Mexico is significant for US concerns.</p> <p>US Imports a big chunk of its oil from Mexico.</p> <p>US companies will face tough competition from Chinese ones when it comes to bidding for Pemex. </p> </div> </div> </div> Cost Management Enrique Pena Nieto Mexico oil company Pemex Mexico President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto pemex mexico Small Business Top Story United States Sat, 15 Dec 2012 04:24:22 +0000 Dinesh Dhiman 1701712574 at http://themoneytimes.com Keystone XL: Welcome to the Proxy Energy War http://themoneytimes.com/featured/20121214/keystone-xl-welcome-proxy-energy-war.html <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Now that elections are over, everyone is waiting for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, but it's not so easy amid the atmosphere of protests that have even traditionally oil-friendly Texans putting up a fight.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-lead"> <div class="field-label">lead:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Keystone XL Pipeline is back in focus after the elections. Which way will it go?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lawsuits, intensifying protests, conflicts of interest and the underlying notion that the pipeline is not really essential are causing the Obama administration no end of discomfort.</p> <p>At stake in this atmosphere of civil disobedience is a $7 billion, 1,179-mile pipeline project that will transport Canadian tar sands to refineries in south Texas, courtesy of TransCanada. In Texas alone, the pipeline affects some 850 landowners.</p> <p>TransCanada has been playing dirty, and Texans won't have it. If there is one state in the US where the phrase ‘ eminent domain' sparks revolutionary panic, it's Texas. </p> <p>And while the pipeline protests were earlier the strict purview of ‘tree-hugging' activists, it became a local Texas issue when TransCanada started having private land condemned by the court so it could buy it up on the cheap. So far, it has acquired 100 tracts of land in this manner, out of the 800 it has to date acquired.</p> <p>One Texan has gone so far as to sue the state over its handling of the pipeline, which is supposed to cross his land. Specifically, he's suing the Railroad Commission of Texas, which is tasked with regulating pipelines.</p> <p> According to the lawsuit, the Commission wrongfully granted TransCanada a permit and is failing to protect water supplies and ensure safety precautions. The landowner is also seeking an injunction and restraining order against the Commission.</p> <p>On Monday, the situation took a headline-grabbing turn when two activists blockaded themselves inside a pipeline in East Texas.</p> <p>In Oklahoma, things have gone a bit smoother, with construction already under way in full force.</p> <p>In Nebraska, the pipeline is challenged by the environmental risk to the Sandhills region. On 4 December, a public hearing opened on the Nebraska route, which will lay the groundwork for a final decision by the state's governor.</p> <p>In Washington, though, support for Keystone XL seems to be moving along nicely, though it still does not have the final approval of the State Department, which is necessary as the pipeline crosses an international boundary.</p> <p>While some politicians say the pipeline is a no-brainer, others disagree. Democrats are divided over the issue, with those in states whose economies depend on oil generally supporting the construction, while others balk. Republicans are generally united in support over Keystone XL.</p> <p>Will the pipeline bring thousands of jobs? Probably—estimates range from 3,000 up to 20,000. Is it vital to US energy security? In so much as Canada is vital to US security. So, not really.</p> <p>Energy security expert Michael Levi, of the Council on Foreign Relations, told Oilprice.com that the Keystone XL Pipeline is both “non-essential to US energy security” and “not disastrous to climate change.”</p> <p>“It has been overblown by both sides in the debate. It is one pipeline that would carry a modest, but non-trivial amount of crude, and that would help create economic incentives to increase production, again, by a modest but not earth-shattering amount.”</p> <p>From Levi's perspective, the real issue here is trends. “I think if you replicate a pattern like the one that some would like to see for Keystone and you start blocking pipelines all over the place, then that becomes a larger economic problem.”</p> <p>So welcome to the proxy war over energy.</p> <p>Overall, there is a general optimism that the pipeline will go ahead, eventually. But here's another new sticking point: the nomination for US Secretary of State, Susan Rice, who happens to hold shares in TransCanada, which is seeking State Department approval for Keystone XL.</p> <p>It's a bit of a conflict of interest that promises to get messy. Rice and her husband have stock in TransCanada valued at between $300,000 and $600,000. She also has some $1.25 million in stock in Canada's Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO), as well as in a handful of smaller Canadian oil companies.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="http://themoneytimes.com/files/imagecache/picturethumb/Keystone%20XL%20Pipeline.jpg" alt="Keystone XL: Welcome to the Proxy Energy War" title="Keystone XL: Welcome to the Proxy Energy War" class="imagecache imagecache-picturethumb imagecache-default imagecache-picturethumb_default" width="180" height="180" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-box"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Keystone XL pipeline is back into focus after the elections in the US.</p> <p>Widespread protests are being witnessed against the pipeline for the feared displacement and large scale cutting down of trees</p> <p>Susan Rice, who has withdrawn her bid for US Secretary of State, holds shares in TransCanada, the owner of the project</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-imagecaption"> <div class="field-label">imagecaption:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>People protesting against Keystone XL Pipeline</p> </div> </div> </div> Crisis Management Keystone XL Pipeline Nebraska Oklahoma President Obama Small Business Susan Rice Top Story TransCanada United States Fri, 14 Dec 2012 10:31:31 +0000 Dinesh Dhiman 1701712573 at http://themoneytimes.com