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Wednesday, Sep 30th

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Fracking Firms Fail, Rewarding Executives and Raising Climate Fears

Fracking firms fail

The day the debt-ridden Texas oil producer MDC Energy filed for bankruptcy eight months ago, a tank at one of its wells was furiously leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. As of last week, dangerous, invisible gases were still spewing into the air.

By one estimate, the company would need more than $40 million to clean up its wells if they were permanently closed. But the debts of MDC’s parent company now exceed the value of its assets by more than $180 million.

In the months before its bankruptcy filing, though, the company managed to pay its chief executive $8.5 million in consulting fees, its top lender, the French investment bank Natixis, later alleged in bankruptcy court.

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Drone strikes knock out half of Saudi oil capacity, 5 million barrels a day

Saudis shut down half of oil output after attackDrone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, people with knowledge of Saudi's oil operations told CNN Business.
Yemen's Houthi rebels on Saturday took responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, according to the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency.
Five million barrels per day of crude production have been impacted after fires raged at the sites, one of them the world's largest oil production facility, people with knowledge of the kingdom's operations said. The latest OPEC figures from August 2019 put the total Saudi production at 9.8 million barrels per day.

Wholesale energy prices dip below zero because of California’s solar power

Solar power in CaliforniaSolar power shines bright in California, and wholesale energy prices prove it. Last winter and early spring’s dependence on solar drove wholesale energy prices to negative prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Solar power in the California Independent System Operator accounted for nearly 40% of net grid power for three hours on March 11, 2017, the administration reports —a major first.

These figures don’t translate for the consumer into retail prices, which are based on averages. But the move will likely cause energy companies to pay more attention to green energy options.

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Nuclear reactor at Indian Point plant in N.Y. shut down again after leak found

Indian Point reactor leakOne of two reactor units at a nuclear power plant near New York City has been taken offline for the second time in four months after leakage was found in a pipe that pumps water into the facility, officials said Friday.

Reactor Unit 2 at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y., was shut down Thursday after discovery of the malfunction. Officials said the leak was found in a non-radioactive part of the plant.

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Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone

Portugal runs four days on renewable energyPortugal kept its lights on with renewable energy alone for four consecutive days last week in a clean energy milestone revealed by data analysis of national energy network figures.

Electricity consumption in the Iberian country was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday, the analysis says.

News of the zero emissions landmark comes just days after Germany announced that clean energy had powered almost all its electricity needs on Sunday 15 May, with power prices turning negative at several times in the day – effectively paying consumers to use it.

TVNL Comment:  Why, just why, are we always behind other countries in so many things?  Just asking...

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Big Banks Aided Firm At Center Of International Bribery Scandal

Big BanksNo business can operate without bankers — not even the bribery business.

British financial giant HSBC and American bailout kingpin Citibank processed transactions, managed money and vouched for Unaoil, a once-obscure firm that is now at the center of a massive international corruption scandal. Police raided Unaoil’s Monaco offices and interviewed its executives on Thursday, a day after The Huffington Post and Fairfax Media first exposed the company’s practices. Law enforcement agencies in at least four nations are involved in a wide-ranging probe of the company and its partners.

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U.S. Oil Industry Giant Paid Millions To A Company At The Center Of Huge Corruption Scandal

KBRThe American engineering and construction firm KBR hired Unaoil — an obscure Monaco-based company now involved in a massive international bribery scandal — to help it win oil and gas contracts in Kazakhstan. KBR, which until 2007 was part of the oilfield services giant Halliburton, paid Unaoil millions of dollars from 2004 until at least 2009, according to thousands of internal documents obtained by The Huffington Post and Fairfax Media.

Halliburton and KBR have been in trouble for bribery in the past. After a years-long federal investigation, KBR pleaded guilty in 2009 to multiple criminal counts of violating U.S. foreign corruption laws by bribing Nigerian officials. KBR agreed to pay $402 million as part of a settlement. Halliburton and KBR also paid $177 million to settle SEC civil charges related to the same conduct. Three years later, Albert “Jack” Stanley, KBR’s former CEO, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in the scandal. As part of the deal with the Justice Department, KBR agreed to waive many of its legal rights if it was caught violating bribery laws again.

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