Monthly Archives: August 2015

PVN đã khai thác trên 346 triệu tấn dầu thô

Tổng doanh thu bán dầu PVN thu được lên tới trên 140 tỉ USD, nộp ngân sách từ xuất bán dầu 67 tỉ USD. Hiện PVN vẫn đang khai thác 25 mỏ dầu khí ở trong nước và 10 mỏ ở nước ngoài.

Trong thư gửi PVN nhân 40 năm thành lập, Thủ tướng Nguyễn Tấn Dũng đánh giá cao kết quả đạt được nhưng yêu cầu PVN phải nâng cao trình độ, kỹ năng và phẩm chất đạo đức của đội ngũ, nỗ lực vượt khó khăn.

Thủ tướng nêu nhiều mỏ dầu sản lượng đã qua thời đỉnh cao, việc thăm dò khai thác ngày càng khó khăn, giá dầu biến động bất lợi… Vì vậy PVN cần tập trung tái cơ cấu từng đơn vị, tiết kiệm để giảm chi phí, nâng cao năng lực cạnh tranh.

Can you legally rescind a job offer?

Rescinding an accepted job offer could be an expensive exercise, with employers told to be sure before inviting their prospect to sign on the dotted line.

Most employees in Singapore commence their employment with a probationary period of three to six months, after which they are made permanent.

Employers are entitled to terminate the employment contract before the probationary period comes to an end, by providing notice of usually 1-2 weeks or as stated in the contract, or by paying salary in lieu of notice.

However, HR teams have been advised to be aware of their responsibilities as soon as their employee signs their name on an employment contract.

Law firm David Lim & Partners LLP’s litigation department head Doris Chia told HRD Singapore that a job offer is the same as any other offer – it has to first be accepted by the employee in order for it to be binding on the employer.

“If the job offer was made but not yet accepted, then there is no binding contract which can be breached by the retraction of the job offer,” she explained.

However, if an employee has indeed been given a contract to sign, it is not as easy for a HR manager to go back on the offer and change their mind.

“A revocation of the job offer will cause the employer to be in breach of contract and it will be liable for any damage which may be suffered by the employee,” Chia told HRD.

For example, Chia said if the potential employee had resigned from his or her old job as a result of the job offer this could result in liability, particularly if any new job they find ends up paying less and disadvantaging them financially.

“The loss will be the difference between what the employer would have paid him and what he was earning in the previous position or in the new ‘second choice job’,” Chia said. “However, such compensation must be reasonable and depends on the circumstances of each case.”

Employees in Singapore are governed by the Employment Act or the terms of their employment contract, and employers and HR staff are obliged to follow legal obligations under contracts, including probationary periods.

There are a number of reasons employers can choose to terminate employees under the Employment Act. They include unsatisfactory probation performance, breach of contract by an employee, employee dismissal on grounds of misconduct, employee dismissal on grounds other than misconduct, employee transfers, employee retirement and employee retrenchment.

Are you asking illegal interview questions?

Have you ever asked a job applicant on their plans to have children, their religious denomination, or whether they drink or smoke?

All of the above are unlawful in Singapore.

But if you have, you’re not alone – a CareerBuilder survey released this month showed that one in five employers has unknowingly asked an illegal interview question, with at least one in three employers unsure about the legality of certain interview questions.

The following questions are definitely off the cards:

– What is your religious affiliation?
– Are you pregnant?
– What is your political affiliation?
– What is your race, colour or ethnicity?
– How old are you?
– Are you disabled?
– Are you married?
– Do you have children or plan to?
– Are you in debt?
– Do you socially drink or smoke?

Leading Singapore employment lawyer Susan de Silva, partner at ATMD Bird & Bird, told HRD Singapore the above questions are contrary to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

“The first principle of such Fair Employment Practices is that employers should recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability.

“These questions fall into the “regardless” group of considerations, and are inappropriate.”

An employer also runs the risk of breaching the Personal Data Protection Act with such questions, de Silva said.

“Singapore’s data privacy laws [require] organisations to ask only for personal data which is reasonably necessary for the purpose for which the data is being collected. These questions [above] are not evidently necessary for the purpose of evaluating a person’s ability to do the job.”

Companies with discriminatory hiring practices can expect to be subject to additional scrutiny by the Ministry of Manpower and, in serious cases, may have their work pass privileges for hiring foreign employees curtailed by MOM, she said.

de Silva provided some tips for employers around structuring interviews:

  • Have a list of selection criteria to be applied consistently to all candidates.
  • Prepare a list of interview questions directly related to the selection criteria identified and review whether these questions are relevant to the job.
  • Should questions which may be perceived as discriminatory be asked, the reasons for asking such information should be made known to the candidate to prevent misunderstanding.
  • Undertake interviews with more than one interviewer, if possible, and ensure that interviewers are familiar with the principles of fair employment.

Areas of law employers need to be aware of when interviewing applicants include:

HRDs face tough new foreign recruitment laws

Singapore firms will come up against stricter laws for foreign employee recruitment from 1 October 2015 according to the immigration attorneys at Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL).

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) changes to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) will affect the FCF’s advertising requirements with firms expected to “publish the salary range of the job vacancy in the Jobs Bank”. Failure to comply will result in the employment pass application being rejected. This is expected to “make the job terms clearer to Singaporean job seekers and improve labour market transparency” according to a recent MOM press release.

There is also the possibility of further scrutiny of local firms by MOM especially with regards to hiring professionals, managers and executives (PMEs). Those with a “weaker Singaporean core of PMEs” may find themselves having to submit more information during recruitment. BAL reports that this “may increase processing times” and create more challenges for firms looking for foreign PMEs to fill positions already affected by the country’s talent shortages. These additional requirements may include providing details of:

  • The number of Singaporean applications received
  • Proof that these local PMEs were interviewed
  • The company’s present employee statistics

This move is in line with current trends for foreign workers announced on 14 July by the Minister of Manpower. With growth rates slowing from 19% to 3% year-on-year from 2007–14, the need to focus back on the local workforce is something the ministry takes seriously. “Employers and Singaporean PMEs have important roles to play. Employers should support the development of Singaporean PMEs and consider them fairly for career opportunities,” MOM stated. “The ministry is actively encouraging employers to transfer expertise from foreign workers to Singaporeans,” BAL adds.

China Oil Giants Seek to Join Spree of Global Energy Deals

(Bloomberg) — PetroChina Co., the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, signaled it’s looking to join a wave of global energy deals as crude’s collapse makes it the right time to buy and sell assets.

“Low crude prices are a good opportunity for acquisitions,” Wang Dongjin, the company’s president, said at a briefing on Thursday after it reported a 63 percent slump in profits during the first half of the year. “Timing is really important now. We have been tracking some assets for a while and are waiting for the time to come.”

Oil’s collapse to a six-year low has prompted a wave of acquisitions across the energy industry. Three of the last five quarters have exceeded $160 billion in deal volume, surpassing even the late 1990s, a period when many of the world’s largest energy corporations were formed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While China’s big three oil companies have sat out this latest round, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. also said Thursday it’s seeking overseas assets, signaling that at least two of them are now ready to join the spree.

PetroChina is in talks with some international oil companies to swap assets, especially in North America, Wang said, without elaborating. The act would save transaction fees and allow the explorers to achieve better economies of scales in a low crude price environment.

“Hopefully we will have something big to announce soon,” Wang said.

Global Oversupply

While the fall in prices is presenting an opportunity for deals, it’s been a drag on profits as the company depends on exploration and production for most of its revenue. Crude has tumbled as producers sustain output to protect market share, worsening global oversupply amid concern that demand growth from China is stalling. Brent, the benchmark for about half the world’s crude, averaged about $59 a barrel in the first half of the year, down 45 percent from the same period in 2014.

PetroChina plans to produce more than 120 billion cubic meters of natural gas from conventional and unconventional sources annually in China by 2020, Wang said at the briefing. Conventional gas output in 2020 will reach as much as 90 billion cubic meters, while shale output from Sichuan will reach 10 billion cubic meters, Wang said. Tight gas output, also considered an unconventional resource, will stabilize at 30 billion cubic meters a year by 2020.

Natural gas will be a major profit contributor for PetroChina in the five years to 2020 as crude languishes, Wang said.

Pipeline Spinoff

Spinning off pipeline assets from state-owned energy companies is the right direction, he said.

Petrochina’s state-owned peer China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. has received a draft of the spin off plan from the country’s economic planner, Chairman Wang Yupu said in a separate briefing Thursday, without giving details.

PetroChina’s pipeline assets could be worth as much as $300 billion, according to an estimate by Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Bloomberg first reported the spin off plan in May.

PetroChina’s net income dropped to 25.4 billion yuan ($4 billion) in the six months ended June 30 from 68.1 billion yuan a year earlier, the Beijing-based company said Thursday in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The average of three analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg was a profit of 30.3 billion yuan.

‘Tougher Competition’

“The global oil price is likely to keep fluctuating at a low level,” the company said in its earnings release. “The growth of domestic demand for oil and gas will slow down and the market competition will get tougher.”

The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials fell to a 16-year low this month and is down 17 percent this year as a glut of raw materials from oil to iron ore meet cooling demand from China, the world’s biggest consumer of energy, metals and grains.

PetroChina’s domestic rivals were also struck by oil’s fall. Cnooc Ltd.’s first-half income dropped 56 percent, while the decline at China Petroleum, Asia’s biggest refiner known as Sinopec, was softened to 22 percent because of better fuel- making margins over the period.

–With assistance from Sarah Chen in Beijing.