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Shale pioneer Chesapeake Energy files for bankruptcy

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© Reuters. To match Special Report CHESAPEAKE-MCCLENDON/LOANS

By David French and Rama Venkat

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chesapeake Energy Corp (N:) filed for Chapter 11 on Sunday, becoming the largest U.S. oil and gas producer to seek bankruptcy protection in recent years as it bowed to heavy debts and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on energy markets.

The filing marks an end of an era for the Oklahoma City-based shale pioneer, and comes after months of negotiations with creditors to lay the groundwork for the restructuring. Reuters first reported in March the company had retained debt advisers.

Over more than two decades, late wildcatter Aubrey McClendon built Chesapeake into one of the world’s biggest producers before resigning in 2013, after a corporate governance crisis and investor concerns over his heavy spending.

At that time, current CEO Doug Lawler inherited a company saddled with about $13 billion in debt. Lawler managed to chip at the debt pile with spending cuts and asset sales, but this year’s historic oil price rout left Chesapeake without the ability to refinance that debt.

“Despite having removed over $20 billion of leverage and financial commitments, we believe this restructuring is necessary for the long-term success and value creation of the business,” Lawler said in a statement announcing the filing.

Under the restructuring plan, Chesapeake will eliminate approximately $7 billion of its debt, the statement said. A separate court filing indicated that Chesapeake has liabilities worth more than $10 billion, while its assets were also listed as being valued at upwards of $10 billion.

The company has entered into a restructuring support agreement, which has the full backing of lenders to its main revolving credit facility – some of which are providing $925 million of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing which will help support its operations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

The agreement also has backing from portions of other creditor classes, including those behind 87% of its term loan, and holders of approximately 60% and 27%, respectively, of its senior secured second lien notes due 2025, and senior unsecured notes.

While the statement does not name Chesapeake’s creditors, investment firm Franklin Resources (NYSE:) is among the most significant. On June 15, Reuters reported that Chesapeake’s impending restructuring would turn over control of the company to creditors including Franklin.

Chesapeake also has agreed the principal terms for a $2.5 billion exit financing, while some of its lenders and secured note holders have agreed to backstop a $600 million offering of new shares, to take place upon exiting the Chapter 11 process, the statement added.

Chesapeake will be the largest bankruptcy of an U.S. oil and gas producer since at least the start of 2015, when law firm Haynes & Boone began publishing data on restructurings.

The filing came in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Chesapeake’s team of advisers are investment banks Rothschild & Co and Intrepid Partners, law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and turnaround specialists Alvarez & Marsal.

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Buffet decision shows LNG on shaky political, economic ground – Canada News – Castanet.net

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Legendary investor Warren Buffett’s decision to walk away from a proposed export terminal for liquefied natural gas in Quebec is being held up in a new report as a sign that the LNG sector in Canada and elsewhere is on shaky ground.

The Global Energy Monitor report released Monday says Buffett’s move in March underscores the growing political and economic uncertainty that LNG projects are facing even as governments around the world tout liquefied natural gas as a clean alternative to coal power.

Canada has emerged as a major proponent of expanding liquefied natural gas as a way to fight climate change abroad and create jobs and revenue at home, with numerous multibillion-dollar projects to facilitate LNG exports to Asia and elsewhere in the works.

Yet Global Energy Monitor suggested Buffett’s decision to withdraw investment firm Berkshire Hathaway’s planned $4-billion investment in an LNG export terminal in Saguenay, Que., is a sign of things to come.

Neither Buffett nor Berkshire Hathaway explained their reasons for the move, but the company behind the terminal project blamed “the current Canadian context” — an apparent reference to nationwide rail blockades and protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C. at the time.

“While many projects face opposition from local communities, the case of the Energie Saguenay LNG Terminal in Quebec shows the potential for a local protest to galvanize a national movement,” said the Global Energy Monitor report.

Global Energy Monitor is an international non-governmental organization that catalogues fossil-fuel infrastructure around the world and advocates for more investments in renewable energy.

Monday’s report goes on to suggest that political opposition is only one of many new challenges to the LNG sector, with another being a dramatic drop in the price of gas due to an oversupply at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has sent demand plummeting.

The result: plans to build pipelines, terminals and other infrastructure in Canada and around the world have been put on hold — or dropped entirely.

The report lists 13 LNG projects in Canada alone that have been cancelled or suspended in recent years. That includes a $10-billion LNG export facility in Nova Scotia, which is now in limbo as the company behind the project tries to decide whether to move ahead or not.

Pieridae Energy, the company behind the Nova Scotia project, announced in May a delay in making a final decision on proceeding. Spokesman James Millar said that was due to technical obstacles created by COVID-19, not market conditions.

One project apparently not affected is LNG Canada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, which was the target of this year’s protests and blockades over a route that crosses traditional Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. The company said last month that it plans to have 2,500 people working on the 670-kilometre pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat by September.

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How home buyers are competing in the GTA's fired up market amid COVID-19 pandemic – CTV News

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TORONTO —
People looking to buy a home in the Greater Toronto Area are facing stiff competition to secure their purchase.

Peter Yu and his wife are currently learning what it’s like to be buyers in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area.

“There’s a lot of competition still in the market. It’s not what we were anticipating, but it’s a process we’re working through,” Yu said.

The couple started looking into purchasing a home in the city in May. They missed out on one house already after they were out bid by five per cent.

As COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions have lifted, findings from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board show a fired up market.

Sales in the month of May compared to June spiked up to 89 per cent, and the average selling price for all homes in June was $930,869 — up 11.9 per cent compared to last year.

house

Bosley Real Estate Broker Davelle Morrison told CTV News Toronto Tuesday that there are many people who have decided they want to buy a home after being cooped up for months.

She said people living in condos are looking for homes, and people with homes are looking for cottages.

Morrison said she’s aware of several properties in the GTA which received multiple offers and is aware of one place in Toronto’s west end that received dozens of bids before it sold over the asking price.

“We got a bit of pent up demand and now the number of showings is basically back to pre-COVID levels. Everybody is ready to get out of their house and they want a new home,” Morrison said.

Morrison’s advice for buyers is to get a mortgage broker, have finances lockdown and do research.

Toronto couple with $1.1M budget looking to buy a home for a year

Together for a decade, Grégory Thinet and husband Jason Chow would love to upgrade from their two bedroom condo and buy a house.

couple

They want a backyard, and have more space for pets and family.

“It’s been very frustrating to find our little piece of heaven because of how crazy the situation is in Toronto,” Thinet said.

The couple both have steady employment, but said they have yet to put in an offer because many properties sell for two to three hundred dollars above the listed price and therefore are out of reach.

“We’re hopeful. We’re always hopeful,” said Chow.

“This is our next step in our life, and we’d like to take it, but we can’t right now.”

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Oil Price Rally On Hold After API Reports Rising Crude Inventories – OilPrice.com

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Oil Price Rally On Hold After API Reports Rising Crude Inventories | OilPrice.com

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated on Tuesday a build in crude oil inventories of 2.048 million barrels for the week ending July 3.

Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 3.114 million barrels.

In the previous week, the API reported a major decrease in crude oil inventories of 8.156 million barrels, after analysts had predicted a much smaller build. It was the largest crude draw this year.

WTI was trading slightly down on Tuesday afternoon prior to the API’s data release with prices feeling minor pressure from an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States.

Oil production in the United States has now fallen from 13.1 million bpd on March 13 to 11 million bpd for June 26, according to the Energy Information Administration, for the second week in a row.  Production has rebounded somewhat from week ending June 12, which saw an average of 10.5 million bpd produced.

At 3:23 pm EDT on Tuesday the WTI benchmark was trading down on the day by $0.20 (-0.49%) at $40.43. The price of a Brent barrel was trading down on Tuesday as well, by $0.20 (-0.46%), at $4290—both benchmarks are trading up on the week.

The API reported a draw of 1.825 million barrels of gasoline for week ending July 3—compared to last week’s 2.459-barrel draw. This week’s draw compares to analyst expectations for a smaller 2,000-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate inventories were down by 847,000 barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 2.638-million-barrel build, while Cushing inventories saw a build of 2.219 million barrels.

At 4:42 pm EDT, WTI was trading at $40.33 while Brent was trading at $42.78.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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