High-yield debt defaults in the U.S. oil and natural gas sector are expected to increase in the following months amid stricter lending standards and expiring hedging contracts, according to Moody's Investors Service. In the second quarter, seven of the 15 companies that defaulted on risky debt were oil producers, it said. The sector's liquidity stress index also increased from 3.8% in June 2014 to 10.4% in June this year, the firm said.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Monday said he will form a coalition of states and other parties to challenge the recently announced Clean Power Plan rules on power plant carbon emissions reductions in court. The plan, which imposes a 32% emissions reduction target by 2030, "blatantly disregards the rule of law and will severely harm West Virginia and the U.S. economy," he said. Morrisey did not disclose the other states that will take part in the lawsuit.
A surge in U.S. natural gas supplies is expected to enter Mexico amid a rise of infrastructure development and energy policy reform in the country, writes Bob Black, director of analytics and geology for Drillinginfo. Gas exports to Mexico are pegged to rise from 3% of output in April this year to 5% by 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The Environmental Protection Agency's final Clean Power Plan ignores shale natural gas as a contributor to emission cuts and power generation, oil and natural gas industry groups said Monday. The U.S. can maintain such progress without the rules that do "more harm than good" to consumers and economic growth, said API Senior Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman.
The final carbon emissions rules for power plants serve President Barack Obama's interest to gain moral authority for a U.N. climate change summit this year and boost the share of alternative fuels in power generation to unattainable targets, according to the editorial board of The Washington Examiner. The rules "are based on the scientifically unfounded notion that small but painful incremental reductions in carbon emissions can avert a worldwide environmental cataclysm," it writes.
Drillers may not always find profit in refracturing wells, as laboratory and field workers are still needed to enable the technology to yield consistent results, observers say. Robert Clarke, research director for global unconventional oil and gas at Wood Mackenzie, said the technology relies on various factors, such as rock mechanics, play and costs. Stephen Holditch, petroleum engineering department head at Texas A&M University, said that apart from keeping workers and equipment busy, the technology creates value from performing the correct procedure and having the right candidate wells.
NextEra Energy Partners said Monday it entered into a $2.1 billion deal to buy NET Midstream, which holds, among other assets, seven natural gas pipelines in Texas. The transaction will enable the company to transport 3 billion cubic feet of shale gas per day and possibly expand capacity by 1 billion cubic feet.
Halliburton and Baker Hughes on Monday said they received and complied with an additional request for information from the Justice Department over antitrust issues involving their proposed $34.6 billion merger. The companies have also agreed to a Nov. 25 deadline for completion of the department's review of the deal and to a Dec. 1 target date for completing the deal. Last week, they also received additional questions from the European Commission to which they have not yet responded.
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in California has asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to impose penalties against Plains All American Pipeline for an oil spill caused by a pipeline in Santa Barbara County. The prosecutor is authorized by law to seek as much as $25,000 per day of violation and $25 per gallon of oil spilled in penalties. Plains All American spokeswoman Meredith Mathews said the company will continue working with involved authorities to clean up the spill.
The number of oil rigs in operation in North Dakota as of Monday remained relatively steady at 74, compared with the previous month, state data show. Meanwhile, oil production in May approached a record level set in December 2014, hitting 1.2 million barrels per day, the state Industrial Commission reported. BENTEK Energy analyst Sami Yahya said the data reflect producers' improving efficiency, with an average three- to five-day decrease in drill times in most domestic shale plays.