News Roundups

The oil industry is flailing, PPP loan recipients' data reveals troubling patterns, and more

Weekly news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from Dec 4, 2020.


Exxon Faces Historic Writedown After Energy Markets Implode

Exxon Mobil Corp. is about to incur the biggest writedown in its modern history as the giant U.S. oil and gas producer reels from this year’s collapse in energy prices.

Exxon -- traditionally far more reluctant to cut the book value of its business than other oil majors -- on Monday disclosed it will write down North and South American natural gas fields by $17 billion to $20 billion. That could make it the industry’s steepest impairment since BP Plc’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that killed 11 workers and fouled the sea for months. Meanwhile, capital spending will be drastically reduced through 2025.

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Chevron Slashes Spending Plans as Coronavirus Hammers Oil Demand

Chevron said it would cut its annual capital spending budget by 26% next year and sharply through the middle of the decade, as the coronavirus pandemic forces an industrywide reappraisal of fossil-fuel investment.

Chevron said it would spend $14 billion next year and no more than $16 billion a year through 2025. It previously said it would spend $19 billion to $22 billion a year through 2024 before the pandemic.

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Fed Reserve banks examine energy and the overall economy

“As you know, we had a severe contraction in the second quarter of 2020,” said Robert Kaplan, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as he opened a recent conference on energy and the economy, held in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

That contraction was about 32 percent in the second quarter, he said, describing it as a very brief but severe contraction, with the economy bottoming out in April.

That contraction resulted in what Kaplan called a demand shock for the oil and gas industry, with oil demand plunging as economies around the globe closed and people sheltered in place because of the pandemic. That was coupled with what he called a supply shock this spring as Saudi Arabia decided to open its oil spigots after it couldn’t reach a production cut extension with Russia.

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Release of PPP loan recipients' data reveals troubling patterns

Sweeping data released by the Small Business Administration on who benefited from pandemic relief programs raises questions about the equitability and distribution of loans intended for small businesses, an initial analysis by NBC News shows.

The analysis found that tenants paying rent at properties owned by the Trump Organization as well as the Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, benefited financially from the program. These tenants received loans, which they then were required to put toward rent for the loans to be forgiven. The data did not show that the Trump Organization received PPP loans for its properties.

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