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 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 […]

IEEFA: New U.S. LNG export projects face quartet of stiff headwinds

Glut, rising costs, fickle demand and Qatar threaten U.S. LNG rebound

June 7, 2021 (IEEFA)—Like many businesses, the U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry spent most of 2020 in a state of financial quarantine. As COVID-19 spread through gas-importing nations in Europe and Asia, global LNG demand fell, prices plummeted—and major U.S. liquefaction facilities stood mostly idle for the summer, their capacity neither needed nor wanted. […]

IEEFA: ExxonMobil reserve portfolio posts small quarterly return despite price increases

Upstream U.S. investments continued to perform poorly during first quarter

April 30, 2021 (IEEFA) — Despite an extraordinary rise in the price of oil for ExxonMobil’s U.S. operations, the company’s U.S. reserve portfolio managed a meagre $363 million in earnings, according to an IEEFA analysis of its first-quarter earnings report. Oil prices rose to an average of $56.20 during the first quarter of 2021, a […]

IEEFA: Frackers produce positive cash flows in 2020 with deep capital expenditure cuts

Beleaguered fracking sector generates $1.8 billion cash flow, but only after $20 billion cuts in capex

March 24, 2021 (IEEFA)—A cross-section of 30 shale oil and gas producers marked the first full year of positive free cash flows since the fracking boom began—but only after deep cuts to capital expenditures that raise troubling questions about the industry’s future. The report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found […]

IEEFA U.S.: Financial rationale for Mountain Valley Pipeline has evaporated in changing market

Falling demand, legal and regulatory challenges spell financial peril for pipeline project

March 8, 2021 (IEEFA) — A 303-mile pipeline that would move natural gas from the Appalachian Basin to markets in the eastern and southern U.S. is in financial jeopardy because of reduced demand projections and legal challenges, according to a report released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The Mountain […]

IEEFA: Oil supermajors made $20.5 billion in 2020 but spent $49.9 billion to please investors

Five largest private-sector oil supermajors have dropped more than a half-trillion on shareholders over last decade

March 4, 2021 (IEEFA) —The world’s five largest private-sector oil and gas companies collectively spent $29.4 billion more on shareholder payouts than they generated from operations, according to a new report by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The five supermajors—ExxonMobil, Chevron BP, Total and Shell—generated $20.5 billion in free cash flow, […]

IEEFA: ExxonMobil 2020 results come as no surprise: still not covering dividends

Spent $2.6 billion more cash on capital projects than it generated from operations

This morning, ExxonMobil reported its first-ever annual loss, with cash flows from operations falling by more than half year-over-year. And even though the company cut capital spending by roughly 29% from the previous year, ExxonMobil still spent $2.6 billion more cash on capital projects than it generated from operations. Yet despite these shortfalls, the company […]

IEEFA: ExxonMobil must change direction to thrive

For oil majors, rising prices no longer guarantee financial success

By virtually every measure, the global oil and gas industry had a dreadful 2020. Demand slumped; prices sagged; stockpiles swelled; profits evaporated; and, for the fifth time in seven years, the energy sector ended the year in last place in the stock market.  Amid this rout, ExxonMobil stood out for its poor performance. The company’s stock lost 40 percent […]