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This summer, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) signaled a significant change in how it thinks about what constitutes a threat to companies: It now considers cyber vulnerabilities to be an existential business risk. This was evident in fines levied against two companies over inadequate disclosures of cybersecurity issues--British publishing company Pearson and First American Financial. In mid-August, the SEC announced that Pearson had agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that it misled investors following a 2018 breach and theft of millions of student records. And in June, the SEC announced another settlement and $500,000 fine against real estate services company First American Financial for lack of disclosure controls following the discovery of a vulnerability in its system that exposed 800 million image files, including Social Security numbers and financial information. These fines signal a major shift, and one that could profoundly change the way companies think about cybersecurity threats, communicate internally about these threats, and disclose breaches.
Project management is quite different from engineering. An engineer is normally responsible only for his or her own work product and generally deals with the reactions of inanimate substances that follow the laws of physics. A project manager is required to be responsible for the quantity, quality, and timeliness of work products that generally do not follow any physical laws. To succeed as a project manager, the most important thing is to ensure good communication within the project team. Communication can be accomplished in many forms (verbal, written, formal, and informal), but one size does not fit all, and the project manager is responsible for communications concerning the project and its execution. The communicator, not the listener, is responsible for ensuring that the message has been received and understood. It is also important to understand that the final cost of a project is affected more by its design than by its execution. The decisions made in developing a concept have a much greater impact on cost than those made later on, as indicated in Figure 1.1. Figure 1.1--Ability to influence project costs vs. project life cycle. For our purposes, a project is defined as the group of tasks necessary to reach a given goal in the required timeframe.
According to DNV's just-released 2021 Energy Transition Outlook, the world is not meeting Paris ambitions and a rapidly shrinking window of opportunity exists to close the gap. "Even if all electricity is'green' from this day forward, the world will still fall far short of achieving the 2050 net-zero or the'well-below 2 C' global warming ambitions of the COP21 Paris Agreement," said DNV in a press release announcing the release of the report. "Despite every effort being made," global emissions will reduce only 9% by 2030 and the planet will most likely reach global warming of 2.3 C by the end of this century, the firm said. Remi Eriksen, DNV's chief executive officer, said, "We've seen governments around the world take extraordinary steps to manage the effects of the pandemic and stimulate a recovery. However, I am deeply concerned about what it will take for governments to apply the resolution and urgency they have shown in the face of the pandemic to our climate. We must now see the same sense of urgency to avoid a climate catastrophe."
The US Interior Department will resume sales of oil and gas leases following a preliminary injunction entered by a district court on the Biden administration's moratorium on new leasing. Federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing programs will continue as required by the court while the government's appeal of the injunction is pending. Department of Justice filed a brief advising the district court of the steps taken by the Interior Department to comply with the preliminary injunction, including next steps in the offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing processes. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will submit the Record of Decision for Lease Sale 257 in the Gulf of Mexico to the Federal Register by the end of August. The sale notice for Lease Sale 257 is expected to be published in September.
Basic Energy Services has commenced voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas to facilitate a trio of asset sales to different contractors. Basic has entered into asset purchase agreements with Axis Energy Services Holdings, Berry Corporation, and Select Energy Services for different pieces of the contractor's business. Axis will acquire substantially all of Basic's Well Servicing and Completion and Remedial segment assets outside of California. Berry will acquire substantially all of Basic's assets in California for $27 million. Select will acquire substantially all of Basic's Water Logistics segment assets outside of California, including all of the assets of Agua Libre Midstream.
The US military and the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations accused Iran of being behind a deadly attack on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea. The US Central Command said it had collected and analyzed substantial evidence that the 29 July attack on the HV Mercer Street in international waters in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman that killed two people was carried out by an Iranian drone loaded with a military-grade explosive. "US experts concluded based on the evidence that this UAV was produced in Iran," it said, using the military term for an "unmanned aerial vehicle." Britain's UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward identified the drone as a Shahed-136 UAV, telling reporters after the UN Security Council discussed the tanker attack behind closed doors that "these are manufactured only in Iran." Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States said the attack was "a clear violation of international law."
Fernando C. Hernandez is an experienced commercial and technology specialist in energy, and the principal at Hernandez Analytica. He has more than 15 years of industry experience. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, appointed Hernandez as a business ambassador (GlobalScot) for Scotland, in Americas’ Energy Sector. Hernandez collaborates with Scottish Development International on diverse energy projects and has two additional appointments: Technology Mentor for the Net Zero Technology Centre (UK), and Chairman at the Marine Technology Society (US). He is also a selected Forbes contributor. He provides industry contribution to the likes of Mexican Institute of Petroleum, Scottish Enterprise, American Petroleum Institute, US Coast Guard, US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and Pipeline Research Council International.
Summit Midstream Partners will pay $35 million in criminal and civil penalties related to a North Dakota pipeline leak that spilled 29 million gallons of produced water over a 5-month period in 2014–2015--believed to be the largest inland spill in history. The penalty comes as the US Department of Justice filed criminal charges under the Clean Water Act against Summit for contaminating land, groundwater, and more than 30 miles of tributaries of the Missouri River. The discharge emanated from a ruptured pipeline at Blacktail Creek near Marmon, North Dakota, owned by a Summit operating subsidiary Meadowlark Midstream Company LLC, which at the time, was a subsidiary of, and operated by, Summit Midstream Partners. The spill ran unchecked for 143 days. "Summit prioritized profits over the environment," said Todd Kim, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Russian oil major Lukoil agreed to acquire the 50% operator interest held by Houston-based Fieldwood Energy in Mexico's Area 4 offshore shallow-water project for $435 million plus 2021 expenditures incurred up to the closing date of the transaction, Lukoil announced. Fieldwood Energy and PetroBAL, the oil and gas subsidiary of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Bal Sa De CV, won rights in October 2015 to develop Block 4 under a production sharing agreement (PSA). The partners' lone bid in Mexico's second licensing round granted 74% of the pretax profit to the Mexican government but without any increases to the minimum local work program requirements. In August 2020, Fieldwood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in June won approval of its plan to restructure $1.8 billion of debt and invest an estimated $7 billion in environmental cleanup, according to Bloomberg. The Chapter 11 plan was approved in late June after 5 days of virtual testimony and argument in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas which highlighted such issues as the legal ins and outs of plugging oil wells that are no longer in use, Bloomberg reported.
Employment in America's energy technology and services sector increased by an estimated 8,002 jobs in June, a fourth consecutive month of growth, according to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and analysis by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. The 1.3% growth comes after the sector added nearly 24,000 positions over the past 3 months after hitting a pandemic low of 591,413 jobs in February, according to BLS data. Gains over the past 4 months bring the sector to a net increase of an estimated 9,043 jobs in 2021. Texas far outpaced other energy-centric states in job growth. The state added an estimated 4,400 jobs over the 30-day period--more that the next 10 states combined, including Louisiana (745), Oklahoma (679), Colorado (362), New Mexico (334), California (327), and Pennsylvania (323)--over the same period.