Author Archive: Clark Williams-Derry

Energy Finance Analyst Clark Williams-Derry served for 18 years as director of energy finance and research director for the Sightline Institute, a multi-issue sustainability think-tank based in Seattle, where his research focused on U.S. and global energy markets. He was also a senior analyst for Environmental Working Group.

IEEFA: The Goldilocks predicament: For oil and gas, there are no “just right” prices

Low oil and gas prices killed profits, but high prices are killing demand

North America’s oil and gas sector is patting itself on the back for dramatic improvements in its financial performance last quarter. With prices at a seven-year high, fossil fuel companies are finally generating cash—and stock market investors are rewarding them with rising equity prices and glowing reviews. But today’s market has also exposed a long-term […]

IEEFA U.S.: Booming U.S. natural gas exports fuel high prices

U.S. is exporting natural gas, and importing price volatility

As fall utility bills start hitting people’s mailboxes, more households will start feeling the pinch of higher natural gas prices. The wholesale price of U.S. gas has roughly tripled from last summer’s lows, and utilities are passing on rising costs to their customers. But it’s not just householders who will feel the pinch. Businesses are […]

IEEFA U.S.: Shortage of high-quality sites threatens future Bakken oil and gas production

Decline in top-tier wells forces shift to less-productive Bakken oil and gas regions

November 3, 2021 (IEEFA) — A shortage of high-quality drilling sites poses a long-term risk to oil production in the Bakken formation, according to an analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). Since the Bakken boom began 13 years ago, producers have focused on core areas where horizontal wells provide easier […]

IEEFA: Canada ban on shipping coal would equal scrapping as many as 3 million cars

Change in Canadian policy could have major implications for U.S. coal market

The border between the United States and Canada is currently open for vaccinated travelers—but it may soon be closed to trainloads of American coal that pass through Canadian export terminals on their way to overseas markets. In a late August announcement that drew little attention outside Canada, the governing Liberal Party pledged to ban all […]

IEEFA: Spiking coal prices: Don’t blame the energy transition

Volatility highlights urgency for renewables-based energy solutions

“Energy crisis.” The phrase evokes nearly-forgotten images of gasoline queues in the 1970s, but increasingly describes the spike in global fossil fuel prices. A handful of commenters eagerly lay the blame on renewable energy, which they claim has distracted the world’s attention from investments in oil, gas, and coal production that could have calmed markets. […]

IEEFA U.S.: LNG newcomer Tellurian asks investors to gamble on Driftwood project

Tellurian’s history, finances and new LNG deals raise questions about profitability

August 31, 2021 (IEEFA) — At first glance, Tellurian Inc.’s proposed Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) project looks like a cause for optimism for the U.S. LNG market after a dismal 2020 saw demand and prices plummet while the COVID-19 pandemic raged. However, a closer look at Tellurian’s history, finances and structure of its newly […]

IEEFA: Despite strong Q2, ExxonMobil upstream continues to underwhelm

Exxon’s U.S. upstream division makes up little ground in the Permian Basin

August 9, 2021 (IEEFA) – ExxonMobil’s U.S. upstream operations have yet to regain their footing after a decade of turmoil. While the second quarter of 2021 was the company’s best in years, ExxonMobil has invested $61.5 billion on U.S. upstream capital projects since 2013, only to report $5.3 billion in cumulative losses. These losses may […]

IEEFA U.S.: Prices are up—but the oil industry’s return is more complicated

Rising oil prices fail to mask long-term fundamental weaknesses for oil business

Former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond advanced the idea in the 1980s that the quality of management trumped all else in evaluating the oil industry’s prospects. He believed oil company executives were in the best position to project supply and demand, ride worldwide growth cycles, and provide robust returns to investors, no matter how oil markets […]

IEEFA: ExxonMobil investors need to drill deeper to find the truth

Data suggests Exxon’s Permian well productivity falls short of promises

Late last month, ExxonMobil’s investors issued a stunning rebuke to the company’s management. At the annual meeting, shareholders elected three new board members over management’s objections. Much has been said about what upheaval means for cutting carbon emissions, but shareholders not only passed resolutions calling for greater climate responsiveness, they also demanded transparency. The shareholder […]

IEEFA U.S.: ExxonMobil touts Permian Basin success but achieves mixed results

Data suggests that ExxonMobil is underperforming in the Permian Basin

June 9, 2021 (IEEFA) – ExxonMobil’s claims that its Permian Basin oil and gas reserves are world-class will need the immediate attention of the new board, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). In recent investor presentations, ExxonMobil has highlighted the superior performance of its oil wells […]