Here’s a recap on the top Eagle Ford news stories from the past week. Energy producers continue to struggle with depressed oil prices and two oil majors abandoned plans for a merger as opposition from regulators mounted.
5. Exxon sees smallest profit in 16 years, Chevron posts loss
DALLAS (AP) — Motorists are saving billions on cheaper gasoline, but the long slump in oil prices is taking a heavy toll on companies that find and produce crude.
Exxon Mobil posted its smallest quarterly profit in more than 16 years Friday, while Chevron lost $725 million, its worst showing since 2002, and raised the number of jobs it expects to cut this year from 7,000 to 8,000. Other oil companies are expected to report weak earnings in the next few days.
Oil prices have tumbled from their 2014 highs of over $100 a barrel, bottoming out at under $30 in mid-February, because of a worldwide glut. Giant companies like Exxon and major petroleum-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia have continued to pump more from the ground despite the slide in prices.
4. Energy producers weather historic oil market collapse
The oil market collapse has put more pressure on energy producers than ever before, causing an unprecedented financial crisis, according to industry officials.
On average, an oil company earns only $26 for each barrel of oil sold at current oil prices, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle. In February, oil prices in the United States fell to a 13-year low of $26 per barrel. Drillers could not generate cash at those prices, but still had to pay off debts.
Margins had never been slimmer, one industry specialist said Wednesday at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
3. US rig count drops 11 this week to 420, another all-time low
HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by 11 this week to 420, again reaching an-time low amid depressed energy industry prices.
A year ago, 905 rigs were active.
Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday 332 rigs sought oil and 87 explored for natural gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.
2. Former Southwestern Energy worker guilty of $450K theft
HOUSTON (AP) — A former financial employee of Southwestern Energy Co. faces up to 80 years in prison for embezzling more than $450,000 from the oil and gas company.
Kendra Walker of Houston pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of wire fraud. The 28-year-old Walker remains free on bond pending sentencing in federal court in Houston.
1. Energy explorers Halliburton and Baker Hughes abandon merger
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two companies crucial to the business of U.S. energy exploration, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, have abandoned their planned merger in the face of opposition by regulators who said it would hurt competition.
Prospects for the merger, which was valued at nearly $35 billion when it was announced in 2014, seemed especially bleak after the Justice Department sued to block the deal on April 6.
The government claimed the merger would lead to higher prices by unlawfully eliminating significant competition in markets for almost two dozen services and products crucial to finding and producing oil and natural gas in the United States.