News Roundups

Fed is running out of ways to help the economy, other central banks flexing their green muscle, and more

Daily news headlines about the stimulus and recovery from October 29, 2020.

The $16 Million Was Supposed to Clean Up Old Oil Wells; Instead, It’s Going to Frack New Ones

North Dakota's top oil and gas regulator had a problem. With winter bearing down, his department had yet to spend $16 million in federal coronavirus relief funds earmarked for cleaning up abandoned oil and gas well sites across the state, and the arrival of cold weather would halt the work. 

If the money wasn't spent by the end of the year, the state would lose it. So Lynn Helms, director of the state's Department of Mineral Resources, proposed a different use for the funds: paying oil companies to hydraulically fracture new wells.

Read more

Chevron to lay off about 25% of Noble Energy employees after merger

Chevron Corp <CVX.N> will lay off about 25% of Noble Energy's employees who joined the oil major after its $4.1 billion purchase of the smaller rival earlier this month, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

A collapse in crude oil prices has forced most oil and gas producers to drastically cut costs by laying off thousands of employees and cutting down on drilling. For many companies, consolidation with larger players at low or no premiums is becoming the only option to survive.

Read more

Why ExxonMobil is sticking with oil as rivals look to a greener future

In late 2011, ExxonMobil announced plans to drill for oil in disputed land between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. Baghdad’s government, fearing the move could break up the country, threatened to eject the company from a big project near Basra, in the south of the country.

Exxon ignored them, knowing the encounter was a mismatch. Iraq’s revenue from oil sales that year amounted to about $80bn. Exxon’s revenue came in at more than $430bn. The move exemplified the geopolitical chutzpah of America’s best-known energy producer — the kind of clout that persuaded Donald Trump to make Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s then chief executive, his first secretary of state.

Read more

Central banks flexing their green muscle for climate fight

Central bankers fighting to save the global economy from the coronavirus fallout are preparing to deploy their firepower in another unprecedented battle -- against climate change.

The wildfires, floods and droughts that ravaged large parts of the earth this year were reminders that COVID-19 is not the only crisis damaging the world economy. Such climate-driven events increasingly affect inflation, economic growth and financial stability.

Read more

As Washington delays stimulus, the Fed is running out of ways to help the economy

Federal Reserve officials have been pressing Congress to provide more fiscal help to the U.S. economy, and with good reason: The central bank is running out of ways it can help.

Since the expiration of key provisions of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act lifeline that Congress extended in March, the Fed again has been relied on as the economy’s key support system. The central bank has kept policy extraordinarily loose, continuing to offer its lending and market-boosting programs, and now resolving that it likely won’t raise short-term interest rates for years.

Read more