Congressmen React To GOP-Backed ACA Change

first_img Related Stories Some Georgia Congressmen are reacting to a Republican-backed bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Friday – a bill that could bring changes to the Affordable Care Act.House Republicans – with the help of 39 Democrats –passed the Upton Bill, which was spearheaded by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton.As heard on the radio2:06The bill calls for a temporary reinstatement of some canceled individual insurance policies. Under the proposal, insurers could continue selling plans through next year that don’t meet the coverage standards set by the Affordable Care Act.Speaking on the House floor before the vote, Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson called the plan “an attempt to sabotage the president’s signature legislation.”“There are over 100,000 people who’ve now been able to attain insurance under the Affordable Care Act. It’s working. We need to work to improve it, and I stand ready to do so,” Johnson said.The clunky rollout of the Affordable Care Act and criticism over canceled plans prompted President Obama Thursday to change course on the law. Just like the Upton Bill, the president’s proposed fix allows those whose individual plans were canceled to stay on their existing policy through next year.In contrast, the Upton Bill allows new customers to also buy those plans, even though those individuals would eventually have to move off those policies because they don’t include all the benefits required by the law.Critics contend that would upend progress on the Affordable Care Act’s rollout because it would drive people, mainly young, healthy individuals, away from more comprehensive – though possibly more expensive – policies. Republican Rep. Robert Woodall said new customers are key to those reinstated plans’ continued – though temporary – success.“If you and I are in a plan together, and I drop out, there’s no risk sharing anymore. It’s all you as the risk. The insurance pool doesn’t work unless we’re sharing risk,” Woodall said.And Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey points to the much-derided federal health exchange website, saying people who’ve struggled to sign up for individual plans might face a gap in their coverage, and therefore need other options.“If you slowly move people off these policies … and they are not able to get a replacement policy from their health insurance company or on the exchange because our government has failed to allow them to get on these exchanges, and there’s a gap in their coverage, and they’re going bare, and they get run over by a Mack truck, what’s going to happen to them?”Republican Rep. Tom Price said the option to choose one of the reinstated policies shouldn’t be limited to pre-existing holders.“What we’re trying to do is make it fair – make it fair for individuals to choose what they want,” Price said.But both Woodall and Price say Republicans don’t have any promises that insurers will continue to sell those reinstated plans.  Woodall said the Upton bill wasn’t meant to fix that problem.“The president made promises,” Woodall said. “Those promises have broken. And the Upton Bill today does not and cannot make good on those promises.”Gingrey, meanwhile, questions the legality of Obama’s move, saying the president needs congressional approval to change his own law.“Now he could come back to Congress and ask for a change – and indeed we did that in the House of Representatives. We made that change. It took the pressure off of him in a way so that there was no question about him breaking the law or doing something that’s unconstitutional,” Gingrey said.The president has threatened to veto the Upton bill. It’s unclear how Senate Democrats will proceed.  Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility 2:06 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List For Whom The Bell Rings Share ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img read more

Interview: Impact of Cheap Oil on Plugging and Abandonment

first_imgDecomWorld interviewed Tom Leeson, principal consultant & well P&A manager for Reverse Engineering on his views of the impact of low oil prices on decommissioning and well plugging and abandonment. Leeson believes that now is actually a good time to embark on decommissioning campaigns and discusses the options available for the industry.Will bargain-basement oil bring forward P&A?Not right away, says P&A expert Tom Leeson, though now would be a very good time to start In December, hotel occupancy rates in Aberdeen dropped 4.5% compared to the same period in 2013, according to market analysts LJ Research. It’s just one of the knock-on effects of the fall in oil prices, with other, more obvious ones being the abrupt slowdown in drilling and near-dailyannouncements of new job cuts across the sector.Other effects are harder to predict. For instance, cheap oil makes many developments economically unfeasible, so operators will face business and legislative pressure to bring forwarddecommissioning and abandonment campaigns. Equally strong, however, will be the countervailing pressure to cut costs and delay any expenditure that doesn’t directly boost revenue. One expert in plug-and-abandonment (P&A) believes that now is actually a good time to embark on decommissioning campaigns.Tom Leeson, until recently Halliburton’s global well abandonment strategic business manager, and now principal consultant and well P&A manager with Reverse Engineering, says business logicsupports operators grasping the P&A nettle.“In cases where companies have put aside funds for decommissioning this could be a very good time to do the work because the unit rates for the rigs and services you need are going to fall,” hetold DecomWorld. “They’re falling already.”However, he is not surprised that a burst of P&A activity has not happened yet, not least because no one knows how long the period of bargain-basement energy will last.“What I expect to see is an increased focus on strategic planning and engineering because there are going to be more assets that fall into that anticipated window of retirement,” he said, “and that window seems to have got closer because of the drop in oil prices. But by the same token everybody is short on cash, and that will put a squeeze on executing non-revenue-generating activity. So I do not predict any explosion in activity in the short term.”Meanwhile, the cash squeeze highlights a dilemma facing the industry. The costs of decommissioning and P&A are notoriously hard to estimate, but generally acknowledged to be high. To bring them down requires the oilfield services sector to invest in research and innovation, but to date the sector has been reluctant to make this investment because operators, who naturally focus on exploration and production, put off P&A for as long as they possibly can.“Unless the service sector has got line of sight on both a volume of work and schedule of when it will happen, there will be a strong reluctance to spend the money on developing the technology or building the tools,” said Leeson. “What happens then is that the industry piecemeals the business and the tools never get built. The service companies do not get the opportunity to make money out of new and better services and the buyers don’t get the benefit of innovation, so nobody wins. So for me what’s exciting is how to try and get everybody together to come to the party and make it happen.“For instance, one of the things you really ought to do to get well abandonment costs down is eliminate the need to bring a drilling rig to the location. That doesn’t mean you need to compromisethe standards of the barrier you put in the well: it means you need to think differently about how you execute those barriers. For example, a traditional method might involve section milling, and,again traditionally, to undertake section milling, you really need a rig.“How could you do it differently? You could come up with something that doesn’t need the rig’s capability. You would need a downhole technology that is an alternative to section milling. Thereare some on the market and some are getting some traction with at least reasonable results, although some operators are not entirely happy and the tendency is to section mill because they’re notconfident that an adequate solution has been brought to the table yet.“Or you could come up with a unit that has some of the rig’s capabilities but that doesn’t look like a rig and doesn’t cost what a rig costs. Now the economics of that are tricky because you wouldn’thave the flexibility of deploying it into the drilling market when decommissioning work dries up. But it could be a cost-effective alternative to the rig, and also release more rigs to go and do whatthey’re designed to do, which is drill. But who is going to invest in designing and building a unit like that when you don’t know when the work is coming?”Unknown unknownsThere is anecdotal evidence that the costs of decommissioning and P&A tend to turn out higher than the original estimate. This is a generalisation, and there are exceptions, but in some cases the costs are significantly higher.The fact is, operators are only just beginning to grapple with this. In 2013 the Performance Forum, the group of global operators who share data and commission research, completed a piece ofunprecedented research into actual decommissioning costs in the North Sea. “This is the first time anyone’s actually gathered completed project data to be able to come up with real numbers,” saidAileen Jamieson, Performance Forum director and vice president of natural resources for consultant Turner & Townsend. The full results were not made public, but the exercise was deemed important enough for the group to embark on a similar study for P&A costs.According to another expert, poor integrity from the beginning of wells’ lifecycle and a lack of monitoring after they are shut in creates nasty, costly surprises when it comes to permanentabandonment. “Conditions always change,” said Dr. Liane Smith, director and founder of asset-integrity company Wood Group Intetech, in a 2014 interview with DecomWorld. “So the fluidsselected for suspending the wells originally may no longer be suitable. And yet, those wells might have been off the radar for operational monitoring for several years and nobody has any recordsabout their conditions.”Leeson invokes US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s famous formulation about “unknown unknowns”.“The difficulty,” he said, “is if the cost overruns are caused by unknowns, how do you estimate for that? It takes time and a high level of attention to detail to get reasonable numbers.“In one case I know of an organisation used what they thought was an appropriate methodology to isolate and abandon multiple reservoirs, and when they’d finished there was still pressure on theannuli. Where was that coming from? Whatever method they’d used, it hadn’t worked, and in some cases we don’t really know why the method fails. You can’t get your hands on a well bore like you can on a structure on the seabed to examine what you have. There’s no choice but to do it again.”“Over the past couple of years operators around the world have become aware that decommissioning and abandoning wells are serious issues. Wells comprise anywhere from 30% to 60% of the total decommissioning cost, and it’s the area decommissioning managers feel most uncomfortable about because it’s the area of biggest uncertainty and potential for cost overruns. Is it a problem on people’s desks now? Yes. Definitely.”last_img read more

Fairplay relocates in Germany

first_imgAs HLPFI reported here, Fairplay Towage announced plans to acquire Bugsier in June 2017, with Bugsier continuing as a brand in the corporate group of Fairplay Towage.To reflect the acquisition, which aimed to expand and strengthen the group’s presence in Germany and across Europe, Fairplay has established a joint location in Hamburg.The office will be the administrative headquarters for all of the activities of the Fairplay Towage Group.“After the merger last year, moving into a joint office was the next logical step,” said Walter Collet, managing director of the Fairplay Towage Group.“It is very important that we integrate the departments and optimise communication channels. Combining our forces will strengthen our market position.”According to Collet, the requirements in the towage industry have changed considerably and in recent years, Fairplay has invested in the renewal and modernisation of its fleet to keep up with the ever-increasing size of container vessels.The Fairplay Towage Group operates more than 100 tugboats in 29 European ports. Next to assisting seagoing ships in ports, the offshore industry is an important and growing segment for the company.In this industry its fleet of specially equipped offshore tugs are employed in the international oil industry.
www.fairplay-towage.comwww.bugsier.delast_img read more

Scores of Senegalese troops deployed to The Gambia test positive for…

first_imgBANJUL, GAMBIA – JANUARY 22: A soldier of ECOWAS troops patrols in a street after the former President Yahya Jammeh fled the country, in Banjul, Gambia on January 22, 2017. Yahya Jammeh left Gambia after agreeing to relinquish power earlier in the day, bring an end to a political crisis that has gripped the country since his election defeat last month. Soldiers track and control vehicles at crossing points. (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) BANJUL, GAMBIA – JANUARY 22: A soldier of ECOWAS troops patrols in a street after the former President Yahya Jammeh fled the country, in Banjul, Gambia on January 22, 2017. Yahya Jammeh left Gambia after agreeing to relinquish power earlier in the day, bring an end to a political crisis that has gripped the country since his election defeat last month.(Photo by Xaume Olleros/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Scores of Senegalese soldiers deployed to neighboring The Gambia have tested positive for COVID-19.“Out of a contingent of over 600 men, fewer than 100 tested positive,” a Senegalese army spokesman said on Thursday.According to the spokesman, the army had recalled its soldiers to the village of Toubacouta just north of the Gambian border “as a precautionary measure.”Further tests were underway, the spokesman said, adding that the soldiers who had tested positive have been placed in a hotel in the coastal village of Guerero, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital Dakar.He, however, did not specify when or where the soldiers had been infected.The troops are a part of a West African peacekeeping force deployed in January 2017 to The Gambia after the country’s former dictator, Yahya Jammeh, refused to hand over power after losing a presidential election. Mumbai mayor tests COVID-19 positive Related The Gambia’s President Barrow enters self-isolation after deputy tests positive for COVID-19center_img The majority of the troops in the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) force are Senegalese, which completely surrounds the tiny former British colony.“So far, The Gambia has recorded 3,239 COVID-19 cases with 99 fatalities.Senegal has recorded 14,150 cases and 293 fatalities. Gambia government ravaged by COVID-19last_img read more