Clark Williams-Derry

Clark Williams-Derry is the deputy director of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute.

IEEFA/Sightline analysis: The fracking depreciation dodge

Accounting tricks hide the industry's biggest secret: it’s a losing game.

The US oil and gas boom continued in full force during 2018. By year’s end, America’s oil and gas output reached record highs, squeezing the nation’s net petroleum imports to their lowest point since the early 1970s. But this production frenzy came at a tremendous financial cost. Despite the highest oil prices since 2014, fracking-focused […]

IEEFA Update: Oil and gas industry caught in a capex conundrum

Invest in the future or return cash to shareholders?

The oil and gas industry confronts a host of challenges that would have been inconceivable a decade ago: weak cash flows, meager profits, slumping stock values, volatile revenues, unreliable demand growth, and rising competition from renewables, to name just a few. The industry now faces a quandary. Should companies continue to invest in new drilling […]

IEEFA U.S.: More red flags on fracking-focused companies

As earnings season begins, a worrisome trend persists

The U.S. fracking sector continued to spill alarming volumes of red ink in the first half of 2018. We detail the trend in a research brief published jointly today by IEEFA and Sightline Institute that describes how fracking companies continue to struggle.  Even after two and a half years of rising oil prices and growing expectations […]

IEEFA update: Whether prices are high or low, the oil and gas industry is freighted with risk

As technology advances, fossil fuels are expensive at any price

Over the past few years, the rationale for investment in fossil fuels has changed from being one supported by blue-chip, long-term value into a more speculative, volatile proposition driven by quarterly dividends. As a result, the direction of oil prices is increasingly relevant, having become the lens through which investment is assessed, and revenue and […]

IEEFA Guest Commentary: Cloud Peak Pulls Back From Once-Ambitious Coal-Export Plans

In Reworking of Pacific Rim Contracts, an Acknowledgement of Market Realities

In another sign of the collapsing prospects for West Coast coal exports, Cloud Peak Energy—one of the largest coal producers in the American West and the best positioned coal exporter in the vast Powder River Basin—recently announced that it had extricated itself from long-term contracts to move coal into Pacific Rim markets. It was a costly retrenchment: the […]

Five Facts About Declining Coal Markets

A Few Fundamentals That Bear Repeating

I spend so much time immersed in the minutiae of coal markets that I forget that most people—the normal ones, I mean—pay almost no attention to trends in the global coal industry. There’s no shame in that, obviously. Still, based on conversations I had with friends and family over the holidays, it’s clear that lots […]

Cloud Peak to Put Coal Exports on Hold

Cloud Peak to Put Coal Exports on Hold

Coal prices now so low that Cloud Peak is paying Westshore NOT to export its coal

After the stock markets closed last Wednesday, Cloud Peak Energy dropped a bombshell announcement: the company now expects to put all coal exports on hiatus from 2016 through 2018. It was shocking news, coming from a company that had long made Asian exports the centerpiece of its growth strategy. But what made the news all the more shocking […]