News Roundups

Oil bankruptcies, lingering pandemic pain, and more

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from October 2, 2020.

Oasis Petroleum files for bankruptcy

Oasis Petroleum has filed for bankruptcy protection, the latest big US oil and gas group to hit the wall since the coronavirus pandemic sent the market into freefall.

The shale group, with production in Texas and Montana, blamed the “severe downturn in oil and gas prices” as it announced the move and joined dozens of producers to have succumbed to the price crash.

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U.S. oil producers on pace for most bankruptcies since last oil downturn

Oasis Petroleum Inc and Lonestar Resources US Inc’s bankruptcy filings are the latest in a slew of restructurings that put oil-and-gas producers on track for their biggest year of bankruptcies since the 2016 shale downturn.

Thirty-six producers with $51 billion in debt filed for bankruptcy protection in the first eight months of the year, according to the law firm Haynes and Boone. The coronavirus pandemic crushed fuel demand and left debt-laden producers without access to credit.

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Big Oil's $110 billion asset sale target could prove big ask

Leading energy companies are hoping to sell dozens of oil and gas fields and refineries worth more than $110 billion to curb both their ballooning debt and their carbon footprints.

But with the outlook for oil and gas prices uncertain because of the coronavirus pandemic and a shift to cleaner energy, finding buyers and striking deals might prove tricky.

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Unsanitized: The Pandemic Prop-Up of Fossil Fuel Companies

This space has been saying for months that the nature of the CARES Act has created a deeply unequal economic recovery, with expired relief for the vast majority of the public and enduring benefits for those at the top. The Washington Post put numbers to that, showing the stark impact of the pandemic on inequality. More of the job loss has affected Black and Latino workers, young people, women, and the working poor. The rich and Caucasian have barely felt the effects.

The economic impact mirrors the mortality impact, which has also been concentrated in low-income communities. But the nature of the relief, and the impact of putting so much on the plate of a Federal Reserve whose channels inherently funnel money upward, has an impact.

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Dems blast financial regulator for ANWR probe

A group of Senate Democrats faulted a federal financial regulator yesterday for pledging to investigate banks that are backing away from oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

Prominent investment banks — including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citibank and Wells Fargo & Co. — have said in recent months they will not finance drilling in the Arctic, particularly in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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The University of California's Investment Chief Said It's 'Fossil Free.' So Why Does It Own Oil Companies?

On May 19 at a University of California Board of Regents meeting, chief investment officer Jagdeep Bachher made a bold announcement: “As of today, the endowment, the pension, and all of our working capital pools are fossil free at the University of California. In fact, you could extend that to say that our $125 billion of assets are fossil free.”

Months earlier in September 2019, Bachher and Regents board member Richard Sherman wrote in a Los Angeles Times article that during the five years since Bachher had joined the investment fund, “we made no new investments in fossil fuels and four years ago, we sold our exposure to coal and oil sands.”

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One Day, Thousands of Job Cuts: Economic Pain Is Deepening

Tens of thousands of job cuts announced by blue-chip companies in a 24-hour period are a warning sign for the world’s recovery and emerge just ahead of two key reports forecast to show limited progress in the U.S. labor market.

In one of the biggest layoff announcements since the pandemic caused widespread economic shutdowns, Walt Disney Co. said late Tuesday that it’s slashing 28,000 workers in its slumping U.S. resort business. In the hours that followed, the pace of job cuts at some of the world’s biggest companies -- across in a range of industries from energy to finance -- quickened.

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House approves $2.2T COVID-19 relief bill as White House talks stall

House Democrats on Thursday approved a massive, $2.2 trillion package of coronavirus relief, lending political cover to party centrists in tough races while putting fresh pressure on Senate Republicans to move another round of emergency aid before the coming elections.

The vote arrived only after last-ditch negotiations between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday failed to yield a bipartisan agreement — and it sent a signal that the prospects for such a deal before Nov. 3 have dimmed considerably.

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