Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the print edition of The Observer on March 20.Notre Dame will award Sister Norma Pimentel — head of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley — the 2018 Laetare Medal, the University announced in a press releaseSunday.Each year, Notre Dame awards the Laetare Medal to an American Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”According to the release, both of Pimentel’s parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States and she spent much of her childhood traveling between the two countries. After completing her final vows and entering the Missionaries of Jesus, she worked closely with immigrants, who were often brought to the sisters’ convent.Pimentel said this experience shaped her understanding of her faith in concrete ways.“Scripture comes to life and our faith becomes flesh,” she said in the release. “It is not until you find yourself in front of the face of the immigrant child or mother that you will understand this. It is a moment of realizing we are all one human family.”Since 2008, Pimentel has directed charitable programs for the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, including “emergency food and shelter, housing assistance, clinical counseling and pregnancy care to all four counties in the Rio Grande Valley.”University President Fr. John Jenkins said Pimentel has lived out the call to recognize Christ in the marginalized through her work with refugees and migrants.“Jesus said, ‘when I was a stranger, you invited me in.’ Sister Norma Pimentel has given her life to welcoming Christ in the immigrant and refugee,” Jenkins said in the release. “In awarding her the Laetare Medal, Notre Dame celebrates her witness of seeking and generously serving Christ in the most vulnerable.”Pimentel said in the release that she was grateful to receive the 2018 Laetare Medal.“I am truly honored to receive this award,” she said. “This year’s Laetare Medal brings forth the cries of the suffering for the world to hear. I would like to thank the University of Notre Dame for this recognition and for being a voice for immigrants in our midst.”Pimentel will be awarded the medal on May 20 at commencement.Tags: 2018 Commencement, Commencement 2018, Immigration, Laetare Medal, Sister Norma Pimentel
The Upstream Oil and Gas Special Regulatory Task Force (SKK Migas) said on Wednesday that it would allow upstream companies to postpone paying annual Abandonment and Site Restoration (ASR) fees in a bid to keep Indonesia’s production levels on track as the COVID-19 crisis continues.The fees, which are used to address environmental issues associated with inactive oil and gas wells, will be collected next year instead. Companies are required to apply to SKK Migas for the relief.“This is our way to ensure that targets for this year and the following years are met,” said SKK Migas head Dwi Soetjipto in a statement. He said with the ASR relaxation, companies would have more liquidity to service and maintain their existing oil and gas wells. “Without that incentive, in the short term – two or three years ahead – the production decline might be sharper than in previous years,” he wrote in a text message.Oil and gas producers in Indonesia have welcomed SKK Migas’ ASR relaxation as it gives them more room to adjust their cash flow, said Indonesian Petroleum Association (IPA) executive director Marjolijn Wajong.IPA members comprise many of Indonesia’s top oil and gas producers, such as California-based Chevron, Texas-based ExxonMobil and London-based BP.“But at the end of the day, the incentive will help some companies while, for others, it may [not],” she told the Post on Thursday, explaining that IPA members’ financial circumstances differed.Many multinational oil companies have winded down investment in Southeast Asia because of economic pressures, said Angus Rodger, upstream research director at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific, in a press note on July 15.“If governments genuinely want more spending on big development throughout the region, they are going to have to fight for it,” he said.Topics : Postponing ASR payments is one of several relaxations SKK Migas has promised to oil and gas companies to keep their output in line with annual targets, despite this year’s crude oil price crash and the collapse in fuel demand.The price of Brent, an international oil trading benchmark, hit a low of US$19.33 per barrel on April 21. On Friday, it was $43 per barrel. Experts say that despite signs of recovery, crude oil prices will likely remain low – below $50 a barrel – until next year, when the health crisis is expected to abate.The task force has already revised down its 2020 oil production target by 4 percent to 725,000 barrels per day. It also revised down its gas production target by 14.2 percent to 5,727 million metric standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd), as a result of economic pressures.“The contribution of annual ASR fees to expenses is, as far I know, a fixed amount, and it’s quite significant under such price conditions,” oil and gas observer Tumbur Parlindungan told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.