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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Subsidies - The Invisible Ones are Worse Than the Obvious Ones!  (Read 6446 times)

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German Government plans to phase out support for fossil fuel heating systems by 2020 

The federal economy ministry (BMWi) plans to phase out support for heating systems that run entirely on fossil fuels by 2020, as part of its new “Energy efficiency and heat from renewable energies” strategy.   

Industry opposition to the plans is inevitable, Dana Heide writes for Handelsblatt.

The government aims to clean up the current parallel, and sometimes muddled” support for energy efficiency measures in buildings, Heide says.

In a press release, state secretary Rainer Baake said the plans “implemented an important measure of Germany’s Climate Action Plan 2050”. But it remains to be seen if the strategy will be carried through by a new government after the federal elections in September, the article says.


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Agelbert NOTE: ALL of the following events are part and  parcel of just ONE aspect of the PREDICTED Catastrophic climate change activity from having TOO MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE in our Atmosphere. There will be a LOT MORE of them. This is just the leading edge. Catastrophic climate Change is HERE NOW. Every COST we incur because of these storms is a HIDDEN SUBSIDY for the fossil Fuel Fascist Polluters. 

Have a nice day.   

Sky split open: Moscow hit by ‘downpour of the century’ (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)   

Published time: 30 Jun, 2017 15:18

Moscow Region has been hit by a powerful storm that brought heavy torrential rains and hail. The capital has not seen such a storm in almost 100 years, according to meteorologists.  :o                     


Driving home today (in NY State) I was in the hardest downpour I have ever seen. I was driving uphill on had 6 inches of water on the road. There was rain mixed with sleet and small branches. Two lanes reduced to 5 MPH all with flashers on. Then after about 15 minutes it stopped.

There will be more of these events and they will occur more often. They are called microbursts. Their increasing frequency and duration are part of the predicted Catastrophic climate Change now arriving thanks to the fossil fuel polluter fascists.

We had a couple of them recently in Vermont:

Two Microburst Event on 18 May 2017
1.) Introduction:
On 18 May 2017 scattered strong to locally severe thunderstorms erupted across portions of the Champlain Valley, as well as parts of central and northern Vermont. A warm, moist, and unstable air mass was in place from the Eastern Adirondack Mountains into Vermont with surface temperatures in the mid-80s to lower 90s. The temperature reached 93 degrees in Burlington, VT, which tied the all-time record for warmest maximum temperature for the month of May, along with breaking the daily maximum temperature for the date. This impressive heat helped to fuel the afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms.

This severe weather event had three areas of concentrated that included Western Addison County on Potash Bay Road, South Burlington/Williston area, and across the Northeast Kingdom near Barton, VT. The NWS Burlington Office determined from a storm survey the damage which destroyed a camp and knocked down trees and powerlines on Potash Bay Road in the town of Addison, VT was caused by a microburst with estimated wind speeds of 80 to 100 mph. Another microburst occurred in South Burlington causing trees and power lines to come down, along with a measured 58 mph wind gust at Burlington International Airport, before we lost power to the observing equipment. Additional damaging thunderstorm wind gusts blew over a tractor trailer in Barton, VT with areas of trees and powerlines down in parts of the Northeast Kingdom. Figure 1 below shows a plot of storm reports across the North Country on 18 May 2017.
See Appendix A for entire listing of severe weather reports received by NWS BTV.

Read more at link:


The Fossil Fuelers   DID THE Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 02:43:43 pm by AGelbert »
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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The Republican Crocodile Tear "Tax Reform" SCAM to get more SWAG for Rich Corporate Welfare Queens

"Skinny Repeal" Failed  ;D, So Watch Out for "Tax Reform" Next (w/Congressman Keith Ellison)

July 28, 2017

Thom is joined by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN, 5th District, Deputy Director - DNC) to talk about the failure of "Trumpcare" and what tricks republicans will be up to next that we'll need to shut down.

Congressman Ellison and Senator Sanders will counter the Republican attempt to cut more money from badly needed social services by offering a bill that REALLY can cut Government costs a LOT  (but the Repukians will be quiet as DEATH about that OBVIOUSLY excellent TAX REFORM Bill because it CUTS the subsidy SWAG from the fossil fuel "Industry" polluter  WELFARE QUEENS).

Yeah, I know. The Bought and paid fors like Pelosi and the other Blue Dog and **** Devilcrats will not support the Sanders/Ellison Bill either. 

Sorry Grandma. Meals on wheels was just cancelled so that subsidies for our loyal servants, the Fossil Fuel Industry, would not be. Have another banana, Grandma. 
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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The U.S. Tax Code — $4.6 Billion In U.S. Oil Company Subsidies    Per Year

October 14th, 2017 by Cynthia Shahan

In a new study of 800 undeveloped U.S. oil fields, researchers found that about half of the fields will never go into production … if oil company tax breaks are taken out of the picture. In related matters, without a shadow of a doubt, renewable energy offers jobs. Renewable energy offers jobs with a future — not temporary part-time work, but jobs that are probably sustainable well on into the future.

Obama was supporting such policies — an end to oil and other fossil fuel subsidies, solar power for low- and moderate-income families that also created jobs, a program to train 25,000 veterans for new solar jobs, and much more. He was pushing for a fresher, more productive future.

What person does not want pure air to breathe, clean water to drink, a future for their children that makes them less likely to get cancer, heart problems, etc.? Yet, we still have oil subsidies — taxpayers covering oil company costs in a variety of ways.

“In a new study Monday in Nature Energy, SEI researchers looked at newly discovered U.S. oil fields that have not yet been put into production — all 800 of them,” Tim McDonnell of The Washington Post reports.

“The researchers found that about half of these undeveloped fields would never go into production, (assuming an oil price of $50 per barrel, close to where it is today) — if oil company tax breaks are taken out of the picture. The study is based on the current range of subsidies and doesn’t account for changes that could result from the new GOP plan.

“But if the range of subsidies offered today remain, those new wells could produce up to 17 billion barrels over the next few decades, SEI found, which in turn would produce around six gigatons of carbon dioxide. To meet the goal set out under the Paris climate agreement to keep warming ‘well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels,’ the United States can emit no more than 30 to 45 gigatons of CO2 between now and 2050.”

A society of sustainable, productive work in clean energy is inspiring. Instead, sacrificing jobs, the economy, and American health and well-being, the current White House wants to go in the wrong direction. It is something akin to the infamous delusion of a young, uneducated queen saying, “Let them eat cake.” That is what the administration sounds like too many days of the week. Fortunately, useful information continues to stream.

This is how you create jobs:

Tax reform is a vitally important issue. It can help fight climate change. McDonnell clearly points out, “Just not the kind of tax reform Trump and Republicans are proposing.”

Going on: “the oil industry is still calling it a win, citing proposals that would make it easier for oil companies to recover their investments in exploration and to shield profits earned from drilling overseas, in addition to lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.”

Can someone please ask Trump on what kind of planet he sees his grandchildren and great-grandchildren living if he continues to ignore clean air initiatives?

Maybe an imploding planet is a metaphor for the president’s state of health.

“The tax blueprint also expands Trump’s reversal of Obama-era climate measures. In 2009, President Barack Obama joined other Group of 20 leaders in a pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies eventually. The GOP tax plan gives little indication of keeping that commitment — and that could have significant implications for U.S. oil production and the climate.”

Backwards, backwards, backwards — into a quicksand of confusion and tragedy for the well-being of the general population. This heartless tax shelter for the profiteers of future pre-existing conditions — and not a few dollars to help hungry children in schools. Ignoring solar job potential while subsidizing some of the richest companies in the world.

McDonnell continues, “Already, the U.S. oil industry benefits from a dozen specialized subsidies adding up to about $4.6 billion per year, according to a 2015 review by the Obama administration. Among other things, the subsidies reduce the costs of labor and equipment involved in drilling — and shield some of the profits earned on the oil itself. Those tax breaks and other subsidies don’t just help the industry a little bit. In many cases, they determine whether it’s even worth drilling in the first place, according to a study earlier this year from the Stockholm Environment Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

Without federal and state subsidies, nearly half of U.S. oil production — about 45 percent — would be unprofitable at current prices, the researchers found. So, unless oil prices go rocketing up, reducing or eliminating those subsidies would likely lead to a significant reduction in oil production over time".


Agelbert NOTE: These God Damned (and I'm not swearing here) Fossil Fuel Polluter WELFARE QUEENS go out of business or most humans die, PERIOD.
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Scott Pruitt    says subsidies give renewables an unfair edge, and here’s why he’s a monumental hypocrite

Mom says I’m good at Photoshop, ok?  ;D Image credits me / ZMEScience, free to use with attribution.

In a pioneering display of cognitive dissonance, EPA chief Scott Pruitt said on Monday that he would to do away with subsidies for renewable energy and let them “stand on their own and compete against” other sources of energy, such as fossil the latter being heavily subsidized, and has been so for decades. 

Another week, another Pruittism This Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator said that he believes federal tax credits for wind and solar power should be eliminated in the interest of fair play on the energy market.

I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar,” he told attendees at a Kentucky Farm Bureau event.

“I’d let them stand on their own and compete  ;) against coal and natural gas and other sources, and let utilities make real-time market decisions on those types of things as opposed to being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits that occur, both in the federal level and state level,” he further explained.

Now, I like hypocrisy just as much as the next guy (spoiler alert: I don’t ) but Mr. Pruitt definitely went to previously un-dredged lows with that announcement. To see why, let’s take a look at what subsidies are and how they play out across the energy sector.

Here’s the too long; didn’t read version, presented by David Hochschild, a commissioner with the California Energy Commission, at the Energy Productivity Summer Study in Sydney in February 2016. Image via CleanTechnica.

Subsidy, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary

A grant or gift of money: such as:
a) a sum of money formerly granted by the British Parliament to the crown and raised by special taxation
b) money granted by one state to another
c) a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public.

We’re interested in the latter meaning of the word. Let’s take a look at the subsidies Mr. Pruitt would do away with:

1.Wind power currently enjoys a tax credit of about 2.3 cents per kWh produced, and the measure starts phasing out this year and will expire completely in 2020.
2.Solar energy investments get tax credits equal to 30% of their sum to encourage companies to invest in the sector. These credits will expire completely by 2022.

These incentives enjoy wide support among environmentalists and Democrats, while direct competitors of renewable in the energy market obviously oppose them, as do some Republicans. They’ve been touted again and again as the sole reason why renewable energy has seen such rapid growth in recent years, and the fossil fuel industry has been endlessly complaining they’re an unfair advantage.

Now let’s take a look at the subsidies oil, gas, and coal receive, as quantified by researchers at Oil Change International (full report at the bottom of the article). The sums in brackets are the estimated costs per year of these subsidies. Find a comfy seat, ’cause this is going to take a while.

The monetary black hole that is fossil fuel subsidies

Exploration and production related:

1.Intangible drilling oil & gas deduction ($2.3 billion): Independent producers can fully deduct costs that aren’t directly related to the final operation of wells (such as labor, surveying, ground clearing, including development costs). Integrated companies can deduct 70% up front and the rest of 30% over five years.
2.Excess of percentage over cost depletion ($1.5 billion): Independent fossil fuel producers can deduct a percentage of their gross income from production, reflecting reservoir depreciation.

Non-production related:

1.Master Limited Partnerships tax exemption ($1.6 billion): A special corporate form that is exempt from corporate income taxes and publicly-traded on stock markets, primarily available to natural resource firms, the majority of which are fossil fuel companies.
2.Last-in, first-out (LIFO) accounting ($1.7 billion): Allows oil companies to assume for accounting purposes that they sell the inventory most recently acquired or manufactured first. When inventory is experiencing increasing prices, LIFO assigns the most recent prices to cost of goods sold and oldest prices to remaining inventory, hence resulting in the highest amount of cost of goods sold and lowest taxable income for the company. It gets even better! LIFO-like measures are prohibited under international financial reporting standards.

Fire-sale on federal lands:

Author’s note: these methods hand over energy resources from public lands and federally-controlled waters to the fossil fuel industry at extremely low relative prices.

1.Lost royalties from onshore and offshore drilling ($1.2 billion): outdated royalty exemptions, rate setting, and procedures for assessing oil and gas production on federal lands shortchange taxpayers by more than a billion dollars each year. If the federal government were to charge a 20% royalty rate for onshore drilling, the lowest rate charged by the state of Texas, taxpayers would benefit from an additional $3 billion in revenues.
2.Low-cost leasing of coal-production in the Powder River Basin ($963 million): allows coal companies to lease federal land at low costs in the Powder River Basin (PRB), a mostly federally-owned coal-producing region in Wyoming and Montana that accounts for 40 percent of U.S. coal production (and 85 percent of coal production from federal lands). By exempting from ‘major coal producing region’ status, the federal government did away with requirements to plan and monitor coal production according to a systematic management process, making for significantly lenient lease rates in the PRB.

From now on I’ll just give a few examples in each category, and I’ll keep them short because most of you are probably dozing off by now.

Coal Bailouts:

Author’s note: as coal companies become insolvent, taxpayer dollars cover their obligations to communities and workers.
1.Inadequate industry fees recouped to cover the Abandoned Mine Land Grant Fund ($400 million).
2.Inadequate industry support to cover worker health impacts ($330 million).

Pollution subsidies:

1.Deduction for oil spill penalty costs ($334 million).
2.Tar sands exemption from payments into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund ($47 million).

Subsidies that lock in fossil fuel dependence:

1.Enhanced oil recovery credit ($235 million in 2017, could cost $8.8 billion over the next decade according to The Office of Management and Budget).
2.CO2 sequestration credit ($95 million).

Gets hard to follow, so here it is in chart form for 2016:

Add everything up and you get $14.7 billion in federal subsidies and $5.8 billion in state-level incentives, for a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare. One-fifth of that goes to coal, the rest to oil and gas. Another factor at play here is continuity and length of these subsidizing schemes.

Another graph presented by Hochschild in Sydney, showing the short-term nature of the subsidies for renewable energy.

“There is a myth around subsidies, but there is no such thing as an unsubsidised unit of energy,” Hochschild told RenewEconomy after his presentation, and CleanTechnica later picking up on the quote here. “The fossil fuel industry hates to talk about that,” he added.

He explained that oil depletion allowances have been in place since 1926 and would continue, despite the fact that oil is “one of the most profitable industries in the world.” Insurance costs for nuclear plants, “without which there would be no nuclear plants,” are also a subsidy, CleanTechnica goes on to write. Drilling or fracking, which have been made exempt from compliance with the safe drinking water act, also serve as a subsidy by allowing natural gas companies to cut costs.

US wind and solar industries were stifled with repeated changes to their federal support mechanisms. The tax credits have been changed seven times in a decade, according to Hochschild.

“How can you plan a wind turbine factory or project in those types of conditions?” he asked.

A sliver of a crumb

Everything I’ve listed above is only part of the direct subsidies fossil fuel companies receive in the US, because the OCI only looked at direct production subsidies. OCI notes that the estimates of state-level subsidies are probably low, since many states don’t report the costs of tax expenditures (i.e., tax breaks and credits to industry), so data is difficult to come by.

Add to the above roughly $14.5 billion in consumption subsidies (things like Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps residents pay for heating bills,) $2.1 billion in subsidies for overseas fossil fuel projects, and probably the single greatest offender, indirect subsidies. This latter category involves things like the money the US military spends to protect oil shipping routes, or the unpaid costs of health and climate impacts from burning fossil fuels, which are naturally really hard to quantify precisely but navigate in the region of hundreds of billions of dollars.

It’s not happening in the US alone. According to the International Energy Agency, global subsidies for fossil fuels outweigh those for renewable energy more than 10-fold — CleanTechnica estimates it’s more than 13-fold if you don’t count biofuels. Vox reported that the International Monetary Fund estimates the world spends $500 billion in direct subsidies for fossil energy, a figure that increases to about $5.3 trillion a year after indirect spending (including environmental damages) are factored in.

But only Mr. Pruitt has the audacity to claim subsidies unfairly favor renewables, and they should be scrapped. It’s both hilarious and infuriating when the chief of the EPA says that, considering that the US’ subsidy policy on renewables is “hey we’ll help cover a bit of the cost of each unit of energy a wind turbine produces, and any company that invests in building solar energy will get just shy of 1/3 of that investment as a tax reduction. For the next 3-5 years.” Then it turns around and shells some $30 billion to fossil fuel companies every year.

Why? Well, as OCI concludes:

“In the 2015-2016 election cycle, oil, gas, and coal companies spent $354 million in campaign contributions and lobbying and received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies in total over those same years — an 8,200% return on investment.”

Every penny of that is paid from your pocket. Every year, your taxes pay for a company’s search for new deposits and the means to exploit them, its tax breaks, covers accounting artifices that are banned under international financing standards, forfeiture of royalties, dirt-cheap leasing, and finally they cover the costs when that company pollutes your air and water or simply fracks up big time and spills something or goes insolvent. Every year, some starting as far back as the 1900s.

All of it so that a fossil fuel company can keep making money, despite the fact that renewables can take up the job for less spending, fewer health impacts, less wealth concentration. And with 100% less global warming cover-up shenanigans.

So tell me again about how energy companies need to “stand on their own and compete” Pruitt, you brass-necked hypocrite.

OCI’s full report is available here. For a more comprehensive list of the subsidy schemes energy companies enjoy, as well as more details for the ones I’ve listed here, you can use the Green Scissors database.


The Fossil Fuelers DID THE Clean Energy  Inventions suppressing, Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   

« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 06:55:05 pm by AGelbert »
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Agelbert NOTE: Check out how much Corporate Welfare we-the-people are coerced to hand out to the 🦕🦖 Hydrocarbon Fuels 😈 "Industry" Crooks and Liars.

Robert Reich: How Corporate Welfare
 Hurts YOU

Robert Reich 👍👍👍

Published on Jul 16, 2019

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains the policies that line the pockets of corporations while hurting ordinary Americans.
Watch More: The Truth of Privatization ►►

Category News & Politics

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US Subsidizes Fossil Fuels To The Tune Of $4.6, $27.4, Or $649 Billion Annually, Depending On Source 

August 20th, 2019 by Michael Barnard

There are frequently complaints bandied about by the usual suspects about the horrendous subsidies for renewable energy, along with claims that renewables would die without them. It’s worth looking at the state of energy subsidies in the US in that context.

There are a set of increasing numbers that are worth considering. Congressional research puts the minimum number at $4.6 billion annually. An NRDC G7 annual analysis puts the number at $27.4 billion annually. An IMF full accounting including negative externalities related to health and global warming puts it at $649 billion annually.

Per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US subsidizes fossil fuels to the tune of $649 billion annually, above the non-war defense budget (wars get special funding).

The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.

The study defines “subsidy” very broadly, as many economists do. It accounts for the “differences between actual consumer fuel prices and how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs” and other damage, including premature deaths from air pollution.

The IMF, by the way, is an international organization of 189 countries including the US, founded in 1945 with the primary purpose of ensuring the stability of the international monetary system — the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. It’s a very serious global organization.

Direct fiscal support for fossil fuel extraction and production in the US comes in a few forms. There are numerous permanent tax code funding credits available for fossil fuel exploration and extraction, adding up to $4.6 billion annually, per a 2019 Congressional Research report on energy subsidies. That report is the smallest estimate of fossil fuel subsidies, yet historically they indicate that total fossil fuel subsidies have exceeded renewables subsidies since 1978 and in 1982 exceeded the highest annual subsidies for renewables in any year.

Graph of historical and projected energy subsidies 1978-2022
Graph courtesy of US Congressional Research Service

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Oil Change International (OCI), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) publish an annual scorecard of fossil fuel subsidies in the G7 countries. They put the US total number higher, at $27.4 billion. All G7 countries pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies well over a decade ago, but the worst performer in terms of removing them has been the USA.

The United States ranked last on progress in removing fossil fuel subsidies, due to the massive amount of subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production, as well as for backtracking on previous pledges to end support to fossil fuels.

And using the G7 measures of fiscal incentives for energy, it’s clear that the US has provided vastly more support to fossil fuels than it has to renewables.

Of course, none of these studies tries to calculate the geopolitical costs of US military action related to defending oil supplies. That’s a thornier problem, but it’s clear that the US military has spent a lot of its global budget specifically in regions which provided the US with a lot of fossil fuels for politically strategic reasons which are now going away.

The United States, unlike many countries, doesn’t have a direct consumption subsidy for fossil fuels, which is what some defenders of the industry use as the basis of their false claim that there are no subsidies. The International Energy Agency tracks direct consumption subsidies in material it publishes annually, and the United States doesn’t show up in that list. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China lead the pack in terms of those subsidies, but China is tracking well in terms of reducing subsidies across the energy space, including on fossil fuels.

It’s worth comparing and contrasting this to the subsidies that wind and solar energy get in the USA. Unlike fossil fuels, these subsidies aren’t in the permanent tax code but in a temporary code category.

The Production Tax Credit for wind energy has been an on and off credit per kWh for electricity generated from wind farms. In late 2015, it was extended through 2020 starting at $21 per MWh for the first ten years of production with a 20% reduction for new wind farms each year, ending in 2019. That means that a wind farm built in 2019 would get about $4 per MWh for the next decade, but one built in 2020 will get no tax credits.

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar had a different trajectory. It was extended through 2022 and offered 30% tax credits for home, commercial, and utility projects. In 2022, that will be reduced to 10% for commercial solar and utility projects only, with no tax credits for home projects. That’s obviously reduced substantially in a calculated stepdown as well.

That’s right. In 2022, new wind energy will get zero financial assistance of any kind and new solar will get very little, while fossil fuels will continue to get $4.6 billion annually in the best possible accounting, $27.4 billion in a reasonable accounting and $649 billion in a full accounting including negative externalities.

Chart showing impacts of PTC and ITC scenarios on renewable energy
Chart courtesy US EIA

As the EIA chart on the impacts of different scenarios for the PTC and ITC shows, there are substantial upsides for the US grid to extending the PTC and ITC, just as there are substantial upsides for elimination of fossil fuels subsidies.

It’s worth noting that the deal that extended the PTC and ITC came about because Congressional deal makers gave (mostly) Republicans a very specific, fossil fuel win. The deal removed the US restriction on exporting crude oil, a policy which was put in place around the OPEC Oil Crisis for energy security reasons. So the ITC and PTC temporary extensions came with the USA being able to ship more fossil fuels of different types to other countries, permanently.

And it’s also worth noting that nuclear generation also has permanent tax code breaks worth $1.6 billion annually as well. That excludes the insurance liability cap on nuclear plants which the United States taxpayer is on the hook for in the case of a Fukushima- or Chernobyl-scale incident. Anything over $13 billion is the responsibility of the US government, hence taxpayers. Since Fukushima’s total economic costs are likely to be closer to a trillion USD than not if everything is counted in, $13 billion doesn’t look like a lot.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2019, 01:41:44 pm by AGelbert »
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The Biggest Losers Of The US Shale Bust
« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2019, 06:43:26 am »
Nothing new here for RR readers, but the bill has... finally... come due. Sad. :)

Meet The Biggest Losers Of The US Shale Bust

Authored by Anes Alic via OilPrice.com,

After a decade of unprecedented growth and seemingly endless investments, the writing is now on the wall: the Great American Shale Boom is slowing down and this could have some grave consequences both the industry and the financial markets. 

A total of 32 oil and gas drillers have filed for bankruptcy through the third quarter, with the total number of bankruptcy filings since 2015 now clocking in at more than 200.

Unlike Phase 1 of the oil bust that featured shale production declining due to an epic global price collapse, the current slowdown is being driven partly by industry-wide core operational issues, including declining production due to wells being drilled too close to one another as well as production sweet spots running out too soon. 

Yet, the most important underlying theme precipitating the collapse is a growing financial squeeze as banks and investors pull in the reins and demand that shale drillers prioritize profitability over production growth.

The shale industry has been built on mountains of debt and the day of reckoning is finally here. 

As many company executives who hoped to drill their way out of debt are belatedly discovering, trying to squeeze a profit from shale-fracking operations is akin to trying to draw blood from stone with the industry having racked up cumulative losses estimated at more than a quarter of a trillion dollars.

From the Permian of the Southwest to the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken of central North America, the future is looking decidedly bleak for shale companies that racked up the most debt and expanded too aggressively.

Bingeing on debt

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK) is widely considered the posterchild of debt-fueled shale investments gone woefully wrong. A decade ago, the company’s deceased CEO, Aubrey McClendon (aka the Shale King), was the highest paid Fortune 500 CEO. McClendon had a rather unusual modus operandi: instead of trying to sell oil and gas, he was essentially flipping real estate using borrowed money to acquire leases to drill on land, then reselling them for 5x- 10x more.

He was unapologetic about it, too, claiming it was far more profitable than the drilling business.

McClendon’s aggressive leasing tactics finally landed him in trouble with the Oklahoma authorities before he was killed in a car crash shortly after being indicted. 

He left the company that he founded in a serious liquidity crunch and corporate governance issues from which Chesapeake has never fully recovered--CHK stock has crashed from an all-time high of $64 a share under McClendon in 2008 to $0.60 currently. 

The shares plunged 30% in early November after management fired a warning that the company was at risk of defaulting on an important leverage covenant, something that would trigger the entire balance immediately coming due:

‘‘If continued depressed prices persist, combined with the scheduled reductions in the leverage ratio covenant, our ability to comply with the leverage ratio covenant during the next 12 months will be adversely affected, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.’’

Unmitigated disaster for shareholders 

Yet, if shale companies are having it rough, shale investments have been nothing short of disastrous for individual shareholders and investors.

As Steve Schlotterbeck, former CEO of largest natural gas producer EQT, has attested:

“The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions. In fact, I'm not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”

According to Schlotterbeck, the scale of value destruction has been mind-boggling with the average shale company obliterating 80% of its value (excluding capital) over the past decade.

Chesapeake and the 200+ companies that have gone under should serve as a cautionary tale for an industry that’s big on promises and loves to finance its big ambitions on borrowed dimes with little to show for it in the way of profits. 

Yet, the vicious cycle of high debt, high cash burn and poor returns refuses to go away. Starved for cash, energy companies have devised a new instrument with which to court investors and continue bankrolling their operations: shale bonds. These companies are now floating asset-backed securities wherein producers transfer ownership interests to investors with proceeds from the wells used to pay off the bonds.

A good case in point is Denver-based oil and gas company Raisa Energy LLC, which closed the first shale bond offering in September. Raisa will pay nearly 6% interest on the best quality wells, with higher rates offered on riskier assets. 

After years of low interest rates, fixed-income investors are finding junk bonds increasingly attractive and might find the lure of shale bonds irresistible. But these bonds are a potentially high-risk investment considering that modeling future production remains an inexact science due to the complex geology of shale basins.

Investors will only have companies’ estimates when trying to model potential returns, never mind the fact that there are literally thousands of shale wells that are pumping well below forecasts. 

To get a better grasp of the underlying risks, consider Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL) whose June 2018 unsecured bonds recently traded as low as 57.8 cents on the dollar.

It’s not just retail investors getting torched in this shale snafu. 

Bloomberg has reported that former shale billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks have seen their Permian shale investments decimated in the latest oil bust.

Energy independence

As Schlotterbeck deadpanned: 

“Nearly every American has benefited from shale gas, with one big exception--the shale gas investors.”

No one can deny that the US shale industry has been highly beneficial to the country in a number of ways. For starters, it has helped to lower gas and energy prices for the consumer while freeing the nation from over-dependence on oil imports. Indeed, in November, the US posted its first full month as a net exporter of crude oil in 70 years, with Rystad Energy predicting the country is only months away from achieving total energy independence.

But unless these companies can figure a way to drill profitably and stem the ballooning debts, this is going to continue being a race to the bottom with investors at the bottom of the totem pole paying the highest price.


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By Dharna Noor Today 8:30AM • Filed to: 🦕🦖 FOSSIL FUEL

Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies Could Be Even More Beneficial Than We Realized

The world wastes trillions of dollars every year on fossil fuel direct and indirect subsidies. Trillions! The U.S. alone spends hundreds of billions of dollars on them, ten times as much as it spends on education.

Full article

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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The End Polluter Welfare Act
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2021, 01:22:33 pm »
Senator Leahy <Senator_Leahy@leahy.senate.gov>
Thu, May 13, 10:26 AM (2 days ago)
to me

Dear Mr. Gelbert:

Thank you for contacting me about reining in subsidies for fossil fuel companies.  I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.

Climate change poses an existential threat to our planet and all who live here.  Yet responsibility for this crisis is not shared evenly.  For decades, fossil fuel companies have known about anthropogenic climate change and their sector’s contribution to it and spent millions of dollars promoting climate denial and disinformation.  In fact, the twenty largest fossil fuel companies account for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era.  Despite this, they continue to receive direct federal subsidies and benefit from significant tax loopholes.  I strongly believe that it is time to transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy infrastructure and a just transition to a green economy.  One of the goals of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is to eliminate tax preferences for fossil fuels and to make sure polluting industries pay for environmental clean-up.  As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working with President Biden and my colleagues in the Senate to achieve these goals.

On April 15, 2021, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act.  This bill would close a number of tax loopholes and eliminate an estimated $150 billion in federal subsidies over the next decade for the oil, gas, and coal industries. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, of which I am not a member.  Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the End Polluter Welfare Act or any legislation related to the fossil fuel industry come before the full Senate for consideration.

Again, thank you for contacting me.  Please keep in touch.


United States Senator

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Jun 24, 2021, 2:01 PM to me

Dear  Mr. Gelbert:

Thank you for contacting me to voice your support for ocean conservation. Like you, I support protecting and restoring the health of our oceans, fisheries, and coastal economies.

As you know, our oceans play a key role in human and environmental health. In fact, the ocean produces more than half of the world’s oxygen, and is crucial to planetary climate regulation. It also stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere, and is home to an estimated one million species of animals. In light of the increasing number of threats facing our oceans – including warming temperatures, ocean acidification, and marine pollution – I believe we must take immediate action to preserve our precious marine ecosystems for future generations.

That is why I cosponsored the Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature last Congress, which establishes the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our nation’s ocean and land by 2030. I also cosponsored the COAST Anti-Drilling Act, the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, and the West Coast Ocean Protection Act to prohibit drilling on the outer Continental Shelf and the Arctic. Lastly, I cosponsored the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which helps to address the precipitous decline in shark populations around the world by prohibiting the sale, transport, or purchase of shark fins and shark fin products.

As a member of the Senate environment and natural resources committees, and as a longtime supporter of marine conservation programs, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate consider legislation on ocean conservation.


United States Senator

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Jun 24, 2021, 2:10 PM to me

Dear  Mr. Gelbert:

Thank you for contacting me to voice your concerns with the Growing Climate Solutions Act. I have heard from a number of Vermonters like you who are concerned with the impacts of this bill on small farmers and our environment, which is why I voted against this legislation.

As you know, agriculture and land use practices can be hugely effective in sequestering carbon, making farming, ranching and forestry an important part of the fight against climate change. The Growing Climate Solutions Act would expand the involvement of farmers and foresters in the carbon market by establishing the Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program, which would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide resources to private landowners on participating in the carbon market. However, as you mentioned in your letter, there are concerns that this bill would exacerbate pollution in low-income communities and communities of color, and would strengthen corporate agriculture while hurting small farms.

Please know I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue to support legislation that addresses the existential threat of climate change. 


United States Senator

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders <Senator@sanders.senate.gov>
Jun 24, 2021, 2:12 PM to me

Dear  Mr. Gelbert:

Thank you for contacting me to voice your support for the Block All New (BAN) Oil Exports Act. You will be pleased to know that I am an original cosponsor of this important piece of legislation.

As you may know, the United States is expected to be the largest oil and liquefied natural gas exporter in the next few years. In fact, national crude oil and products exports has increased 770 percent since 2006. As the wealthiest country on the planet and the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States needs to lead the fight against global climate change, and that means swiftly transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable sources of energy. 

That is why I joined Senators Markey, Merkley, and Wyden in reintroducing the BAN Oil Exports Act, which would reinstate the ban on exporting American crude oil and natural gas abroad. This bill would also impose restrictions on the export of other harmful products, including coal, petroleum products and petrochemical feedstocks. The BAN Oil Exports Act is currently before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, of which I am not a member. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to support this bill and other efforts to address climate change.

Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you. For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please sign-up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at https://www.sanders.senate.gov/contact/newsletter-signup


United States Senator

« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 01:10:14 pm by AGelbert »
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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