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: After a terrible 2020, the oil industry’s story has turned political

For 2021, expect conflict and infighting to further muddy the industry’s prospects

It was a dismal year for oil and gas. As the pandemic sucked the wind from the sails of the global economy, oil demand slumped, stockpiles swelled, prices sagged, capital spending collapsed, debt ballooned, profits evaporated, and bankruptcies skyrocketed. After this torrent of bad news, the energy sector ended the year in last place in […]

IEEFA U.S.: Frackers cut capex to $5.8 billion during third quarter, lowest level in a decade

Free cash flow surges as capital reductions may mark beginning of end for shale boom

December 8, 2020 (IEEFA) —Facing low prices and weak demand, a cross-section of 33 shale-focused oil and gas producers cut their capital expenditures (capex) to their lowest level in more than a decade, according to an analysis released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Thirty-two of the 33 companies cut capex […]

IEEFA U.S.: Appalachian frackers report $504M in negative free cash flow despite capex slashing

Tide of red ink shows little sign of ebbing any time soon for shale-focused regional gas producers

December 3, 2020 (IEEFA)—Even after cutting their capital expenditures (capex) by more than one-third from the previous year, nine shale-focused gas producers in Appalachia spent a half-billion dollars more during the third quarter on drilling and building projects than they earned from selling oil and gas. Capex investments during the third quarter were the lowest […]

IEEFA U.S.: Decline in coal exports adds to Navajo-owned company’s problems

Weak demand and low prices are likely creating steep losses for NTEC

U.S. coal exports to Asia—once heralded as the saving grace for struggling coal producers in the western United States—are facing new strains from low prices and weak demand in the wake of the global COVID-19 crisis.  In its third-quarter financial statement released earlier this month, Westshore Terminals in British Columbia, the primary terminal for U.S. thermal coal […]

IEEFA update: Peabody Energy flirts with bankruptcy—again

Bear market for coal, new financial pressures push world’s largest coal company towards default

Just three-and-a-half years after emerging from its previous bankruptcy, Peabody Energy—the world’s largest private coal miner—admitted to investors on Monday that it could face yet another trip to bankruptcy court in the coming months. Coal bankruptcies in the United States have become increasingly common. Cheap gas and renewable power have steadily replaced coal in the […]

IEEFA update: ExxonMobil’s dismal third quarter

Cash results disappoint, raising questions about dividends

ExxonMobil today posted third quarter cash results that were significantly worse than those of its four peers, Shell, Total, BP and Chevron. These disappointing results challenge the company’s repeated claims that the fundamentals of the oil and gas industry have not changed.  “ExxonMobil needs a business model that manages decline, generates stable profits and contributes […]

IEEFA: What Australia can learn from Texas’ embrace of clean energy

In the home of U.S. oil and gas, private investors are pouring money into renewables

19 October 2020 (IEEFA Australia): The Australian government’s plan for a gas-fired economic recovery from COVID-19 ignores the market’s clear preference for renewables over fossil fuels. That’s the conclusion of a new note from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) that argues Australia could learn from the experience of U.S. oil and […]

IEEFA U.S.: Weakness of fracking accentuated by plunging cash flows during pandemic quarter

Amid increasing bankruptcies, companies outspent cash flows by more than $3 billion

September 15, 2020 (IEEFA)— A cross-section of 34 North American shale-focused producers continued a long-term losing streak in the second quarter of 2020, spending $3.3 billion more on drilling and other capital projects during the quarter than they generated from selling oil and gas. Low prices and declining sales volumes slashed revenues, leaving the fracking […]

IEEFA U.S.: Capex cuts fail to stem gusher of red ink for Appalachian frackers

Nine major E&P companies collectively lost more than $1 billion over past year

September 10, 2020 (IEEFA) — Even after cutting capital expenditures to their lowest quarterly point in more than six years, nine Appalachian shale-focused gas producers continued to hemorrhage money, reporting more $134 million negative free cash flows in the second quarter of 2020.  Together, they have spilled $1.1 billion in red ink over the past […]

IEEFA brief: Second quarter results show that shareholder dividends pushed oil supermajors deep into red

ExxonMobil, recently kicked out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, posted the worst performance among supermajors in Q2

August 25, 2020 (IEEFA)— One day after ExxonMobil was kicked out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a new analysis shows that the company suffered through one of its worst quarters in years, characterized by sharply negative free cash flows and massive borrowing to sustain its shareholder dividends. Overall, the five global oil and gas […]