News Roundups

States forge ahead, Exxon layoffs, and more

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from October 23, 2020.

North Dakota seeks to repurpose coronavirus aid for fracking

North Dakota officials say they want to repurpose $16 million in federal coronavirus aid and spend it on grants to encourage fracking instead of using it to clean up abandoned oil well sites.

Regulators have presented the proposal as a way to create jobs and help stabilize state revenue, while some in the environmental community view it as a bailout for the oil industry, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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With federal stimulus talks dragging, Md. governor announces $250 million package for small businesses

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced $250 million of state cash Thursday to provide grants and some loans to restaurants, small businesses, closed entertainment venues and struggling arts organizations.

As federal stimulus talks drag on in Congress, Hogan (R) announced he would use about half of the state’s budget savings from last year to expand existing programs and fund new ones to help small businesses struggling because of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The sum roughly doubles what the state already has pumped into similar programs.

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ChartWatch: Big fish eating smaller fish in US shale oil as low prices linger

Driven by low crude oil prices, U.S. independent shale oil drillers are consolidating at an increasingly rapid rate while the premium that buyers are paying for those acquisitions is declining, recent deal announcements show.

With U.S. crude oil prices stuck near $40 per barrel, smaller independents are in a life or death struggle where only a takeover keeps them alive. "Investors are not paying for longer-term resource upside," Mizuho Securities USA LLC Vice President Vince Lovaglio said Oct. 21. "We believe the recent trend of consolidation is indicative that oil managements are aware of investor concerns and not confident in higher prices either."

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Refineries face headwinds as COVID cases rise

Oil refineries along the Gulf Coast are facing another slowdown amid a fresh round of COVID-19 restrictions, six months after global fuel demand fell off a cliff following government-ordered shutdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Even as gasoline and diesel demand has bounced back in recent months, states including New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are expanding restrictions on visitors from out of state as infection rates climb across the country. International borders with Mexico and Canada remain closed to all but essential travel. European cities, including Paris and London, are cracking down on nightlife, with curfews and early pub closings

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Delivering a Green Recovery: What Will it Take to "Build Back Better”?

The impact of, and response to the Covid-19 crisis varies considerably across markets. The European Union, Germany, France or South Korea have committed to mobilize unprecedented amounts of public finance in favor of a “green recovery”. Whilst this historic response is rightly celebrated, the complexity and urgency of delivering recovery plans and maximizing their impact on the economy and the climate cannot be understated. Which green stimulus measures can boost activity the most effectively? What share of the spending can go to less mature sectors like hydrogen on the basis of their long term potential? How can stimulus spending best be distributed between SMEs and larger corporations? What roles do mechanisms like the taxonomy or carbon border adjustments play in ensuring that stimulus delivers a sustainable transition to a low-carbon economy?

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