Roan Resources to be acquired by Citizen Energy Operating in $1bn deal

first_img Citizen Energy Operating to acquire Roan Resources (Credit: Pixabay) Oklahoma-based Roan Resources has agreed to be acquired by Warburg Pincus-backed Citizen Energy Operating in an all-cash deal worth around $1bn (£810m) — including net debt of around $780m (£634.37m).Roan Resources is engaged in the development, exploration and acquisition of unconventional oil and natural gas reserves across the Merge, SCOOP and STACK plays of the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma.Roan Resources was formed in 2017The company was created in 2017 through contributions of nearly 140,000 net acres from Linn Energy and Citizen Energy, II in the Merge/SCOOP/STACK plays. Since then, the company is said to have added additional acreage for a total of around 177,000 net acres, of which 115,000 acres are in the Merge play.Roan Resources claims to have produced around 49,000 barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) per day by the end of the first quarter of 2019.In May 2019, Roan Resources engaged Citigroup Global Markets and Jefferies to assist it in evaluating strategic alternatives.As per the terms of the merger deal, Citizen Energy is offering to pay $1.52 (£1.24) per share to Roan Resources’ stockholders.Roan Resources board executive chairman Joseph Mills said: “This transaction is the culmination of our Board’s extensive review of strategic alternatives to maximise value for our stockholders, including a comprehensive process during which we engaged with a considerable number of counterparties.“Ultimately, the Board unanimously determined that an all-cash transaction with Citizen Energy is in the best interests of our stockholders and the Company and will deliver value to our stockholders at a premium to our recent share price.”The merger will be subject to Roan Resources’ stockholder approval, regulatory approvals and the meeting of other customary closing conditions, with closing expected to occur during the fourth quarter of this year.Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Citizen Energy is focused on developing horizontal play concepts in the US onshore region. The company’s management team is said to have horizontal technical experience across the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Roan Resources is active in the Merge, SCOOP and STACK plays of the Anadarko Basin in Oklahomalast_img read more

Speech: Chancellor speech: German Family Business Conference 2018

first_imgThank you for inviting me here today.It is good to speak, at this time of great change for our continent, at the German Family Business conference.Both because family businesses have historically been, and continue to be, the very heart of our economies, and the bedrock of our communities.And because of the shared values that great family businesses here in Germany, in the UK, and across Europe, hold and represent:The belief in taking a long-term view of the economy and the world, and an ability to prosper, generation after generation;A focus on adapting in order to stay relevant – as the modern world changes around us;A view that to succeed is to leave your business in a stronger state than you inherit it.And the nations of Europe must adopt the same values:We must take a long-term view; we must adapt as the world around us changes – particularly as the technological revolution takes hold; we must ensure the decisions we take leave our countries and societies in a better place than we found them….…and we must work together – as a family of nations – to take on the common challenges that we face.And our continent faces many common challenges.The global and European economies have recently enjoyed a period of relative strength……but risks clearly remain.There’s been a rising tide of sentiment among our electorates, that questions the conventional wisdom of free trade, open markets, and globalisation……and whether our economic model is working for people across our continent…A challenge, that as leaders in government and business, we will have to take on, and win, all over again.We face a technological revolution – that, while presenting untold opportunities for improving living standards and driving progress……will also give rise to anxiety about the pace of change in the economy……and will require us collectively to evolve our tax, regulatory, and competition systems, so they are fit for the digital economy of the 21st Century.…to ensure people have the skills they need in a world of increasing automation……and to convince them that everyone will share in the benefits of technological change and the economic growth that flows from it.And beyond the borders of Europe we’ve seen an increasingly uncertain geopolitical context……earlier this week I returned from Canada with my German, French, Italian, and other G7 colleagues……and today our leaders meet to discuss some of these challenges too:From the threat of an emboldened and re-arming Russia on Europe’s east;The ongoing escalation of tensions across the Middle-East;…and the uncertainty around the policies of Europe’s largest trading partner, the US.We are all deeply concerned by the US decision last week to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Europe, and other allies around the world.We continue to raise these concerns with the US, and our close cooperation with Germany, the EU, and colleagues in other member states is a vital part of a unified response.These are challenges that we all face together as Europeans.Responding to them will require collaboration and co-operation.And if we want our shared values – German values, British values, French values – European values – to prevail, we must ensure that Europe continues to speak with one voice.I have enjoyed many productive discussions with my German counterparts on these shared challenges over the years that I have been Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer……and I look forward to working with this German Government to determine how we will continue to work together on key issues – in an increasingly uncertain global context.And that is my central message today:That while Britain is leaving the political institutions of the European Union, we are not leaving Europe.Every family business – in Germany, in Britain, or anywhere in Europe – has a unique story to tell.And so too, do the individual nations of Europe.Each with its own history, culture, and experiences.Britain’s Island story has led us to a different conclusion about political integration in Europe……than that of Germany, or indeed, France……but we still respect the strong and consistent role that Germany has played in European integration……and understand the central place that the European Union occupies in German and wider European political and business philosophy.The Brexit vote makes us no less European.It makes us no less committed to a rules based international system, free trade, democracy, free speech and human rights.Just look at our foreign policy since the EU referendum:We remain firmly committed to the Paris Climate agreement;We are a vocal defender of the Iran nuclear deal;We continue to be the biggest advocates for free international trade, and the rules based trading system;We took action, with our French and American allies, when Assad used chemical weapons against his own people in his horrifying attack in Douma.We are working together to deliver stability and security in the Western Balkans, ahead of an important summit meeting in London next month.Our intelligence agencies collaborate to counter the evolving threat of terrorism, that has tragically affected us all in recent years.Our military shares the burden of protecting Nato’s eastern borders.And we are working with our allies to counter the unacceptable behaviour of the Russian state……which we in Britain experienced so recently in Salisbury.And we very much appreciate the solidarity of Germany and other European states in the days and weeks since.So when we say that Britain is leaving the political institutions of the European Union, but not leaving Europe, we really mean it.And I hope that in the Brexit negotiations we can draw upon these shared values, as we work towards a deep and comprehensive future partnership……and reach an outcome that supports our shared prosperity.Delivering benefit to both Britain and the EU.It was Britain’s and Germany’s economies that powered Europe out of the financial crisis -Between us, we have been responsible for almost half of all economic growth in the EU since 2010……and created more than half of all new jobs.And so it is my hope that the economic partnership and longstanding friendship between our two countries……that has helped bring about peace, security, and prosperity on this continent for over seventy years……can be mobilised to support our common goal of a deep, special, and mutually beneficial partnership between the EU and the UK in the future.Because while Europe has enjoyed a period of robust growth, we cannot be complacent.And our economies are not so strong that they can afford to be exposed unnecessarily to economic and financial stability risks from a bad Brexit outcome.And this isn’t just about the UK economy, but the German economy, and the EU economy.Germany exports more to the UK than any other country bar the US ……and from Aldi, to BMW, Bosch, to Sixt, German companies, many of which are family owned and represented here today, employ 412,000 people in the UK……and in return almost one in ten foreign companies here in Germany, are British.And just last week my favourite sandwich chain – Pret a Manger – was bought by a German family-owned investment group!The UK is a significant part of the EU marketplace.We represent almost 13 percent of the population of the EU……and 15 percent of its GDP.And it is clear to me that ensuring that businesses can continue to operate across that whole marketplace after Brexit……is essential to delivering a prosperous future relationship between the EU and the UK.We have made significant progress since Article 50 was triggered……both in our internal debate in the UK about what Brexit should mean……and in our negotiation with the EU.The first stage in the negotiations successfully settled many withdrawal issues……including the UK’s financial obligations to the EU.And in March we reached agreement on a transition period, running until the end of 2020……during which businesses in Germany, the UK and across Europe can continue to operate as before……ensuring that they will have only one set of changes to navigate at the end of that period.We’re currently focused on our future customs relationship……which I know from my discussions is a top priority for businesses in this room……and so it should be a top priority for European governments too.Germany exported more cars to the UK last year than to the US and China combined……10% of all French cheese exports go to the UK……80% of all Irish poultry exports.The UK is exploring two possible future customs models……both are “works in progress”……but we are confident that, building on the work we have done……we can develop from them a solution that responds to the concerns of businesses……minimises frictions and burdens at, and behind, the border……protects the hard-won progress in Ireland……and sustains our trade with our EU27 neighbours.And recognising that these future models will take time to develop and establish……and that businesses in the UK and across Europe need certainty as soon as possible……yesterday we published our proposals for a temporary customs arrangement……in line with our commitment in the December Joint Report to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.Beyond customs, we continue to work on a model for a comprehensive future economic partnership……a partnership that protects the supply chains and established trade relationships that I have just talked about……safeguards jobs and businesses that depend on them, on both sides of the Channel……and promotes the values we share across the continent of Europe.And of course, in doing so, we don’t have to start from scratch.The UK and the EU27 start in a unique position……with deeply interconnected economies and supply chains……equivalent regulatory standards and regimes……and unrivalled collaboration in everything from trade, security, and defence……to education, science, technology and culture.We will set out more detail in the coming weeks on key elements of the British Government’s ambition for a mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and the UK:But for example, we’ll seek a comprehensive system of mutual recognition to ensure that, as now, products only need to undergo approvals in one country, to show that they meet regulatory standards across Europe;We’ll explore the terms on which the UK could maintain a relationship with EU agencies, such as those for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace, so that they continue to benefit from UK expertise, and we can deliver such a system of single approvals;And on services, we all have an opportunity to establish the most ambitious free trade agreement ever – with continued recognition of professional qualifications, a labour mobility framework that enables travel to provide services to clients in person, to a bespoke partnership in financial services – to enable the ongoing delivery of cross-border financial services, in both directions, for the benefit of businesses and citizens on both sides of the channel, while protecting financial stability, and maintaining fair competition.But reaching agreement on all these key elements, and delivering on our vision of a future economic partnership that protects businesses, jobs, and prosperity, will only be possible if both sides want the same thing.“Zum Tango gehören immer zwei.”And I say this today – because I fear that some EU opinion-formers, in government and in business, have succumbed to the temptation to see the Brexit challenge as a problem for the UK to resolve alone.I understand the instinct that says: “They voted to leave – let them sort it out”.But this has to be a two-way conversation.And it has to reflect the political realities on both sides.One the one hand, the EU must recognise the British people’s vote to be outside of the EU’s political structures……and regain control of their borders.And on the other, we must recognise that anything that undermines the integrity of the Union, or looks like ‘cherry-picking’ will not be acceptable to the EU.Wir verlangen keine Extrawurst!Instead we recognise that we need to find a new balance of rights and responsibilities in our economic relationship……and that while the UK will no longer have all of the responsibilities it currently has……we will have to give up some advantages of membership too.We want both sides to work together creatively to reach a final-outcome that……allows business to carry on……protects European jobs and prosperity……and allows Britain to continue to contribute to Europe’s security.I recognise that what we are proposing is a uniquely close third county relationship……but the fact is that all of the EU’s third country relationships are unique……and so it would be perverse for the future UK-EU relationship to be uniquely ‘off the shelf’!For it was always forseen that the EU should have close relations with its neighbours……as Article 8 of the Treaty says……”the Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness”.And I passionately believe that all of us in this room, and across Europe, should be interested in an outcome that allows that……an outcome that properly reflects the 45 years that we have spent together as members of the EU……and I believe that with the political benefits of such a solution articulated by Member States……and the economic logic articulated by the voice of business……we can make this case, and win the argument for a future partnership that works in the common interests of all of our citizens.Reflecting the lessons of out Continent’s long history;Working together to ensure Europe remains an open, outward looking, free-trading Continent;Attracting talent and investment from around the world;Building a future partnership that we can be proud of……one that stands the test of time, and that will support the prosperity, security, and living standards of our children, and our children’s children.Thank you.last_img read more

Robert “Rob” D. Meyer – Brookville

first_imgRobert D. Meyer, of Brookville, was born on August 1, 1950 in Fort Collins, Colorado, a son to John and Rachel Fritzler Meyer.  After completing his education, Rob moved to San Francisco where he met his life partner Thomas D. Bredwell.  Rob and Thomas owned floral and gift shops in both San Francisco and Cincinnati.  Continuing the entrepreneurial spirit, they later moved to Brookville and opened Rileybrook Hall.  Rob was a talented chef, and Thomas was quite the entertainer and together they created many memorable dining experiences for their patrons over the years.  Rileybrook also served as a venue for beautiful weddings and private gatherings for their closest friends.  Many will remember Rob’s quiet, thoughtful nature and his wonderful smile.  On Monday, October 29, 2018, at the age of 68, he passed away at his residence.Those surviving who will cherish Rob’s memory include his sister, Delores Daubert of Silver Spring, MD; his brother and sister-in-law, John and Lynn Meyer of Fort Collins, CO; five nieces and two nephews; Darlene and Bob Koontz and children; Cindy Padgitt, and many friends. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his partner of 47 years, Thomas Bredwell.To celebrate Rob’s life, friends are invited to gather with the family on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 929 Main Street, Brookville, from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m.  Rev. James Orr will close the evening with remembrances and prayer.  Private burial will be in Maple Grove Cemetery.Donations in Rob’s memory can be made to the Franklin County Fine Arts Council or to Franklin County EMS.  To sign the online guestbook please visit  The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Rob Meyer.last_img read more

Ferndale scores four in sixth to beat Waldorf in NCS semifinal

first_imgFerndale >> Trailing late in the game with their season on the line, the reigning North Coast Section Division VI champions showed what being a champion is all about.Down 3-0 against a pitcher that had befuddled them for five innings, the Ferndale Wildcats (12-11) scored four runs in a wild sixth inning to snatch an NCS D-6 semifinal victory, 4-3, over San Francisco Waldorf on Friday at Ferndale High School, advancing to the section championship for the second-consecutive year. “It’s just a …last_img read more

Giants’ bats silenced by Padres

first_imgScoring runs continues to be a struggle for what is left of the Giants.With only four of eight opening day position players still in uniform as the final week of the season began, the Giants lost 5-0 to the Padres on Monday night, falling to 4-17 for the month of September.The Giants have averaged just 2.6 runs in those 21 games, topping five runs just once.The day after the Padres lost 14-0 to the Dodgers, the NL West’s last-place team got a near-complete game from right-hander Bryan …last_img read more

Saturn, the Bringer of Youth

first_imgMore discoveries of youthful phenomena contradict Gustav Holst’s musical tribute to “Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age.”Recent analyses of Cassini data continue the theme of Saturn’s music, which is more like Peter Pan than Holst. As you interpret the following news stories, keep in mind that the moyboy ages are upper limits. They could be much lower. What surprises planetary scientists is that these phenomena exist at a time when humans can observe them. If they were billions of years old, how could that be?Saturn and its rings as seen by Cassini, April 25, 2016.Young RingsSaturn’s Rings Are Beautiful, But They Won’t Last ( “But if you could travel 300 million years into the future, you would need to, because by then, chances are those rings would be gone — and they could disappear even faster.”Saturn Is Losing Its Rings (Live Science). “We are lucky to be around to see Saturn’s ring system, which appears to be in the middle of its lifetime,” lead author James O’Donoghue. Ring rain is only one drain on Saturn’s rings, reports Meghan Bartels. The scientists measured such a high rate of loss, it implies the rings are losing “a huge amount of the icy rings, between 925 and 6,000 lbs. (420 to 2,800 kilograms) every second.” But there’s more:The fate of the rings looks even grimmer considering research published earlier this year using Cassini data, which looked at a different, still-more-voluminous, type of infall from Saturn’s rings that’s descending into the planet. O’Donoghue and his co-authors didn’t include that infall in the estimates presented in their paper, but suggested in an accompanying statement that the two phenomena combined could gorge through the rings in more like 100 million years.Saturn is losing its rings at ‘worst-case-scenario’ rate (Science Daily and NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Particles are being drawn into Saturn hourly in a process called “ring rain.” Looking back over time, the scientists give the rings a maximum age of 100 million years – just 1/45th the assumed age of Saturn. What happened so that we see them in the human era of telescopes? See the problem discussed in video clips from NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. After explaining ring rain, the narrator puts an upper limit on age of 100 million years for the rings. He says, “This means Saturn wasn’t born this way, as the planet is known to be over 4 billion years old.” But is that really known? Nobody was there to measure it. Believing in 4 billion years creates a conundrum of explaining how Saturn got its rings so recently. These are incompatible beliefs.“We estimate that this ‘ring rain’ drains an amount of water products that could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn’s rings in half an hour,” said James O’Donoghue of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years, but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn’s equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live.This is relatively short, compared to Saturn’s age of over 4 billion years.” O’Donoghue is lead author of a study on Saturn’s ring rain appearing in Icarus December 17.A recent origin for Saturn’s rings from the collisional disruption of an icy moon (Icarus). The latest attempt to solve the ring age problem comes from John Dubinski. In this paper, he calls on the planetologist’s favorite tool – an impact – to get the rings to form just when humans can see them. Simultaneously, it solves the heat problem for Enceladus. Convenient for him, there is no way to prove it, because the Mimas-size impactor was never observed.Dione, Tethys, Pandora and Saturn’s rings from Cassini, Sept 22, 2005Young MoonsEnceladus is mentioned in the above articles as another body constantly losing material to Saturn. “The team also discovered a glowing band at a higher latitude in the southern hemisphere,” NASA Goddard says. “This is where Saturn’s magnetic field intersects the orbit of Enceladus, a geologically active moon that is shooting geysers of water ice into space, indicating that some of those particles are raining onto Saturn as well.” From there, the article sidesteps the problem of Enceladus’ age, preferring a hydrobioscopic dodge about possible life on Enceladus.Long-term stability of Enceladus’ uneven ice shell (Icarus). This paper by European planetologists tries to keep Enceladus old, despite those hundred-some-odd geysers blasting material out to space every hour, creating the E-ring around Saturn and losing some of that ice to Saturn itself. They invent a model that keeps the ice shell in a steady state, but that doesn’t explain why heat flow up to 60 watts per square meter is coming out of that little bitty moon, the diameter of Arizona or Iowa (not that those states are little bitty, but that’s small for a solar system object).Implications of nonsynchronous rotation on the deformational history and ice shell properties in the south polar terrain of Enceladus (Icarus). One of the conclusions of this paper is that “Enceladus’s tiger stripes are on the order of 100,000 years old.” That’s a wildly young age for standard views of the age of the solar system. Why did it happen that recently instead of billions of years ago?Artwork of the Cassini spacecraft flying through the geyser plumes of Enceladus.Orbital evolution of Saturn’s mid-sized moons and the tidal heating of Enceladus (Icarus). Here’s another attempt to keep Enceladus old, this time by Japanese scientists using N-body simulations. Right off the bat, though, they identify two problems: tidal forces that should pull the inner moons into Saturn over time, and the Enceladus geysers that shouldn’t be there. Tidal heating, they say, is “orders of magnitude” too low to keep that small moon’s inferred ocean liquid. Their simulations “may” explain how these problems could be surmounted, but their model falls far short of proof. In the end, they call for ‘future study” of the possibilities.The formation and orbital evolution of Saturn’s inner mid-sized moons – Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, and Mimas – are still debated. The most puzzling aspects are 1) how the Tethys–Dione pair and the Mimas–Enceladus pair passed through their strong 3:2 mean-motion resonances during the tidal orbital evolution, and 2) the current strong heat flow from Enceladus, which is a few orders of magnitude higher than the tidal energy dissipation caused by the present orbital eccentricity of Enceladus.Saturn’s moon Dione Covered by Mysterious Stripes (NASA Astrobiology Magazine). Parallel lines and intersecting lines on the surface of Dione are “unlike anything else we’ve seen in the Solar System,” says one planetary scientist. The material making the lines, dubbed “linear virgae,’ could be coming “from Saturn’s rings, passing comets, or co-orbital moons Helene and Polydeuces.” Ignore the astrobiological speculation inserted without justification. Whatever the stripes are, “they are among the youngest surfaces on Dione” says Alex Patthoff, co-author of a paper on Geophysical Research Letters. The paper says, “Here we seek to constrain whether the linear virgae are endogenic, suggesting that the surface of Dione has been geologically active recently or if they are exogenic, suggesting a recent, or even ongoing, process in the Saturn system.” They argue for the latter, but either way, they’re young.Next Young Object?Looking ahead, the New Horizons spacecraft that found Pluto looking much younger than expected (16 July 2018) is due to reach its next target, Ultima Thule, on New Year’s Day (BBC News). The 30-km-wide object will be the most distant body in our solar system seen up close. Any bets on how young this object will appear?They’re still not taking our proposed compromise. We’ll give them 100 million years, if they accept that as the age of the solar system. No takers? Strange. Must be because that is not nearly enough time for Darwinism on Earth.I’ve been following the ring problem for many years. I wrote my first paper about it in a solar system astrophysics class back in December 1989, 29 years ago this month. I read each article about it by ringmasters Jeff Cuzzi, Larry Esposito, Carolyn Porco and others in Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. When the internet made scientific papers accessible, I followed the current thinking each year. At JPL I got to meet some of the ringmasters and hear their talks. They knew of all the erosional processes since Voyager days, but kept hoping a mechanism would be found to keep the rings old. Nothing worked. As a member of the Cassini team, I followed the new discoveries about ring age. Now, we see that the erosion is faster than earlier thought. The evidence is now unquestionable: the rings are young. These articles didn’t even mention micrometeoroid bombardment, sputtering, collisional spreading and other processes that should destroy the rings in short order.Are you seeing a trend in the solar system? Everything seems to be “younger than thought.” In biology, complex organisms and traits keep appearing “earlier than thought.” Both trends bring bad news to old-age Darwinian materialists. (Visited 515 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Taking African bush lore to Oz

first_imgEcoTraining runs the first structuredfield-guide training course in South Africa,with a dedicated venue, a comprehensivecurriculum, and instructors who cut theirteeth at the finest game lodges in thecountry.(Image: EcoTraining) Students on the Field Guides Associationof South Africa 1 course learning toidentify animal tracks.(Image: Jennifer Stern) Each student gets a chance to be the“tracker” and occupy the hot seat.(Image: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternInnovative South African wildlife training company EcoTraining is going international, setting up a branch in Australia. The first camp will open in the Bamuru Plains area next to Kakadu National Park Region in the Northern Territory near Darwin in October 2008, offering a field guide course, with plans to add birding and indigenous culture courses.EcoTraining was started in 1993 by a group of bush guides from Londolozi and Sabi Sabi who realised that, with the end of apartheid, international tourists would pour into South Africa. And, they reckoned, wildlife and safaris would be a big part of the attraction. While food, décor and position play big role, it is the quality of the guides that sets a game lodge apart.So EcoTraining began to run the first structured field-guide training course in South Africa, with a dedicated venue, a comprehensive curriculum, and instructors who cut their teeth at the finest game lodges in the country. Around the same time, the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) was set up to – among other things – standardise field guide qualifications.Anton Lategan joined EcoTraining as an instructor in 1997. By the end of the year he and veteran field guide and wildlife photographer Lex Hes had teamed up with to buy the company. At the time they operated from a corner in the north of Sabi Sands with one Series 3 Land Rover, one bucket shower, one pit toilet and a few tents.Rough, ready, and part of natureThey’ve come a long way since then, with three dedicated camps, but they’re definitely not planning to go the luxury route. The camps are not fenced, and it’s happened more than once that course participants couldn’t get to the showers before supper because a small herd of elephants were snacking on the trees near the ablution blocks. But that’s what it’s all about. It’s part of the strategy to remind aspirant guides that they are an integral part of nature.The company offers a range of courses, including special interest courses such as birding, animal tracks and trailing, and wildlife photography. A course popular with both tourists and locals who fancy getting to grips with the bush is the Eco Quest course, on which trainees learn how to track, drive a 4×4, and approach dangerous animals in the wild. The emphasis is on getting a better understanding of nature and of animals, but it’s not tied to a career path.The mainstay of the company, though, is the field guide courses – Level One, Level Two and Trails Guide. These 28-day courses comply with the regulations and standards laid down by the Tourism and Hospitality Education and Training Authority, and the South African Qualifications Authority. But not everyone who does these courses wants to work as a guide. Some attend for their own personal development, and an opportunity to really learn about the bush.One such person was Mark Hutchinson, an Australian who visited South Africa to do the Level 1 course at Karongwe in the winter of 2006. He not only had a great time, he also saw the potential of the EcoTraining model, and approached the owners to negotiate setting up a branch in Australia.This was not EcoTraining’s first venture beyond South Africa’s borders. Of the 2 000 or so people the company has trained, a number are from Botswana, Namibia and Kenya. Some students are school leavers, others postgraduates, and some illiterate. Course participants span the spectrum from wealthy gap-year kids from Europe to rural people from African villages. EcoTraining aims to reach a wide audience with its conservation message through guide training.EcoTraining Australia is a partnership between Anton Lategan and Lex Hes of EcoTraining South Africa, and Australians Mark Hutchinson, owner of Fishabout Tours and Untamed Tracks, a travel audiovisual marketing company, and Charles Carlow, owner of Wilderness Australia, which runs a number of upmarket lodges.Plans are afoot to build more camps in Australia to take advantage of the extensive wilderness areas, the fascinating cultural heritage, and the abundance of interesting animals and plants. EcoTraining also plans to set up something more permanent in Kenya, and are negotiating with interested parties to set up bases in the Zambezi Valley.A role in conservationWhile field guide training is important to the tourism industry, there is a more serious reason to do it as well.“EcoTraining is uniquely positioned to play a role in conservation through our professional network, our experienced team and our commitment to our mission of teaching people about the natural environment,” says Lategan.“Well-trained professional guides inspire people throughout the world to become environmentally conscious and proactively involved in conservation. This has a kind of multiplier effect when you consider the repeated exposure guides have to tourists from all over the world on a continuous basis.”When asked about expansion plans, smiled and said, “We are a humble organisation with a serious mission, and an excellent foundation to build on. So yes there will be expansion, but I don’t see expansion as growth for growth’s sake. The natural world is being destroyed, and we need to stand up and be counted in whichever arena we are needed.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email [email protected] articlesSouth Africa’s national parksSouth Africa’s tourist highlightsHot idea keeps tuskers at bayRescuing the white rhinoTracking elephants across AfricaEcotourism reaps rich rewardsUseful linksEcoTrainingField Guides Association of South AfricaEcoTraining AustraliaSouth African National Parkslast_img read more

SA improves on mining investment attractiveness index

first_img5 March 2014 South Africa moved up 14 places to 53th out of 112 jurisdictions surveyed in the latest Fraser Institute ranking of the world’s most attractive regions for mining investment. The Canada-based think-tank’s 2013/14 Survey of Mining Companies, released on Monday, is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 690 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 112 jurisdictions around the world. The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of US$4.6-billion in 2012 and $3.4-billion in 2013. In the previous survey, for 2012/13, South Africa was ranked 67th out of 79 jurisdictions in the survey’s overall Investment Attractiveness Index. South Africa’s rise to 53rd in the latest rankings was accompanied by an improvement in its score from 47.8 to 54.7 out of a possible 100, and put the country at seventh-best for mining investment attractiveness in Africa, after Botswana (24th), Ghana (33rd), Namibia (34th), Zambia (41st), Eritrea (48th) and Burkina Faso (49th). Topping the Fraser Institute’s rankings for 2013/14 is Western Australia, followed by the US state of Nevada, Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, Finland and Alaska. The institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining two other indices, a Policy Perception Index which measures the effects of government policy on mining companies’ attitudes toward exploration investment, and a Best Practices Mineral Potential Index which rates regions based on their geological attractiveness. On the Policy Perception Index, South Africa improved its score from 35.0 to 39.8 out of a possible 100, while remaining at 64th place in the rankings – although the number of jurisdictions surveyed had grown from 96 to 112. According to a report in Business Day on Tuesday, South Africa “picked up points in investor perceptions of its current regulations, its legal system, tax and infrastructure. But investors were less complimentary about its environmental regulations, regulatory efficiency and labour regulations. On labour regulations, it ranked fourth from the bottom – only two places above Venezuela.” On the Mineral Potential Index, South Africa climbed 13 places from 50th out of 96 jurisdictions to 37 out of 112 jurisdictions, making it the fifth most geologically attractive African country after the Democratic Republic of Congo (26th), Zambia (28th), Botswana (30th) and Ghana (32nd). SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

John Deere introduces new 5R Series Tractors and 540R Loader

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest John Deere introduces its new 5R Series Tractors that leverage existing technologies normally found in large tractors, to provide customers with unrivaled maneuverability, an easy-to-use transmission, increased visibility, loader integration, and operator comfort.A 7.4-foot wheelbase paired with a 60-degree steering angle, provides a tight turning radius of 12.1 feet. Customers working in confined areas such as barns, will be able to easily maneuver in tight areas increasing their productivity.Shifting is virtually effortless with two fully electronic transmission options, CommandQuad Manual and Command8. Using a multi-range selection, the operator can toggle from B range through D range without stopping. “Base equipment also includes AutoClutch, leveraged from our larger row-crop tractors. That means no clutching is necessary, ever. Step on the brake and the clutch automatically disengages,” says Chris Lammie, global product line planner for John Deere.Upward visibility has been improved 80 percent through the Premium Panorama cab roof, compared to a John Deere 5M Tractor with the Premium Cab. Forward visibility is 7 percent better thanks to single-piece front windshield, making it ideal for loader applications.Six halogen work lights (two front, two rear, and two side) are included as standard equipment to shine brightly and improve visibility in low-light conditions. For maximum illumination, owners can choose to replace the halogen lights with optional factory- or field-installed LED lights.An interactive display located in the right hand cornerpost, is placed out of the line of sight from the operator. “Tractor operations can be customized by the operator to best fit their preferences,” says Lammie.A high-back swivel seat features thicker cushions and wider armrests than those found on John Deere 5M Tractors. Options normally found in larger John Deere row-crop tractors also are now available for the 5R. New to the utility tractor lineup, optional cab suspension provides a more comfortable ride for long work days.The 5R can be equipped with the new John Deere 540R Loader. The loader’s automatic mast latch, single-point hydraulic connection, remote implement latch and slide-slung self-leveling links provide an integrated loader experience for the 5R Tractor operator. Removal or installation of the loader can be accomplished with a single trip out of the cab, thanks to a latch system that automatically connects the loader once contact is made between the loader boom and mounting frames, simplifying the connection process.To improve loader operation, a mechanical or electrohydraulic loader joystick option is integrated into the swivel seat. Gear-shift buttons and a joystick reverser are built into the loader joystick control. “Its simple one-handed operation lets you control loader, speed, and direction, all without letting go of the joystick,” Lammie says.For more information about the 5R Tractor and 540R Loader, contact your local John Deere dealer or visit read more

Minimize the risk of harvest fires

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dry corn and soybean fields have put farmers at greater risk of their combines catching on fire while harvesting crops.At least three combine fires were sparked across Ohio in one week this fall. Two happened during the recent week-long heatwave: one in Crawford County on Sept. 22, another in Miami County on Sept. 24. A third combine fire happened Sept. 28 in Shelby County leaving a man with serious burns, according to news reports.Combines can catch fire when the dry plant material or grain dust mix with heat generated by the combine’s motor, belts or exhaust system or by the static electricity produced as the combine is driven through a field, said Rory Lewandowski. He is an agricultural and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.Every year, harvest comes with some risk of combine fires, but this year was especially dry so the risk is higher than usual, Lewandowski said. The recent rains have certainly helped, but have not eliminated the risk.Having machinery equipped with a trustworthy fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense against field fires, said Dee Jepsen, state safety leader for OSU Extension. Combines should carry an ABC 10-pound fire extinguisher, while tractors are recommended to have a 5-pound unit. Every vehicle in the field should have a fire extinguisher, she said.“Nothing is worse than watching the combine go up in flames while you’re running to the end of the field to retrieve the fire extinguisher on the grain cart,” Jepsen said.Another safety measure is to attach a chain to the frame of the combine and allow it to drag along the ground, which can reduce the buildup of static electricity, Lewandowski said. Clearing away chaff from various parts of the combine could also reduce the odds of fire, he said.“We wouldn’t have near the risk of fires if we were harvesting under wet conditions,” he said.The week-long heat wave that began Sept. 21 and ended Sept. 27 included multiple record-high days, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for OSU Extension.In the first half of September, temperatures averaged 2 to 9 degrees below normal, then in the second half of the month, the mercury rose. During the heat wave, the northern part of Ohio was 12 to 16 degrees above normal, and the southern part of the state was 8 to 12 degrees above average.“It’s a pretty extreme shift,” Wilson said.Additional safety tips to avoid a combine fire include the following:Keep machinery in good repair. Apply grease to bearings and oil chains regularly to reduce friction. It is advisable to perform maintenance checks at the end of the day, rather than at the beginning, to detect any hot or smoldering areas that may break out into flames overnight.Keep machinery clean and free of plant materials, especially around the wrap points. Wipe up any fuel or oil leaks to eliminate additional fuel sources; and do not leave oily rags on equipment or in the cab.Take time to cool down the equipment each night, and check for any hot spots.last_img read more