Volume 1, Issue 2
February 8, 2016 – February 14, 2016
Jason Mulderrig | Anushka Dasgupta

Oil and Gas:
Chesapeake Energy Plunges on Bankruptcy Fears http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2016/02/08/chesapeake-energy-plunges-on-bankruptcy-fears/#161aefaa3ea3
February 8, 2016 | Christopher Helman                                                                                               Shares in Chesapeake Energy, the second-largest natural gas producer in the U.S., tumbled 27 percent from Monday morning to closing time. Despite recent attempts by the company to improve liquidity and restructure, its shares have fallen 56 percent this year. Chesapeake is also heavily in debt, a worrisome fact for investors who are already concerned about absurdly low oil prices. Chesapeake assures investors that the company is not filing for bankruptcy. -AD

IEA Raises Estimate of Surplus Oil Supply on Higher OPEC Output http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-09/iea-raises-estimate-of-surplus-oil-supply-on-higher-opec-output
February 9, 2016 | Grant Smith                                                                                                        Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have ramped up oil production in the last month even as demand for oil has decreased, said the International Energy Agency in its monthly report. The agency raised its estimate of the surplus oil supply from last month’s 1.5 million barrels of oil a day to 1.75 million barrels of oil a day, noting that oil prices are likely to become more volatile than ever. Experts say that international production will eventually drop, but in the meantime, a lack of cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers has left U.S. oil producers struggling to compete with their low prices. -AD

OPEC Production Cut Unlikely Until U.S. Oil Output Falls Another Million Barrels Per Day http://www.forbes.com/sites/arthurberman/2016/02/10/opec-production-cut-unlikely-until-u-s-production-declines-another-million-barrels-per-day/#e66d97357398
February 10, 2016 | Art Berman                                                                                                      The writer of this article examines the state of extremely-low global oil prices and investigates possible scenarios that oil-producing countries could take to increase oil prices to profitable levels. He comes to the conclusion that a cut in the oil production and oil reserves of the OPEC countries would only have a temporary effect on increasing oil prices. Instead, a cut in the oil leaving the United States is the only way for the global oil prices to increase. However, the author believes that such a cut will be hard to achieve given the increase in available capital to US oil drillers, particularly in the Bakken Basin in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford and Permian Basins in Texas and New Mexico. -JPM

Stung by Low Oil Prices, Companies Face a Reckoning on Debts http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/business/dealbook/as-oil-prices-plummet-mounting-debt-catches-up-with-us-producers.html?ref=energy-environment
February 9, 2016 | Clifford Krauss and Michael Corkery                                                                                                      With oil prices forecasted to remain low for the next 12 months, US oil companies are bracing themselves for a year of little profit and high debt. In other words, another downturn has hit the US oil industry. The companies that are expected be hardest hit are small oil companies that borrowed money, usually through hedges, to establish operations during the shale oil boom. Now that the boom has largely passed and the hedges are expiring, many small oil companies will struggle to pay off debts and will be forced into bankruptcy or merger. The anticipated folding and merging of dozens of oil companies will undoubtedly shake up the US oil industry in the coming months. -JPM

Energy Policy:
A Skeptical Supreme Court Suspends Obama’s Clean Power Plan                                                   http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2016/02/09/a-skeptical-supreme-court-suspends-obamas-clean-power-plan/?ss=energy#3d9ef74a96a8
February 9, 2016 | Daniel Fisher                                                                                                     The Supreme Court announced on this past Thursday that they have suspended the enforcement of the Clean Power Plan pending the review of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The Clean Power Plan would have required states to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions by forcing power utilities to switch their plants from coal to natural gas and renewable energy. Several states brought the Plan to suit in the DC Circuit on the grounds of unconstitutionality and the potential for a wide undesirable disruption in the energy market. The suspension of the measure by the Supreme Court is a powerful statement on the heels of the COP21 conference in Paris this past December. This case became increasingly interesting this past Saturday with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative who voted to have the measure suspended. For more information regarding the possible future of the Clean Power Plan in the Courts after Scalia’s death, please read the Atlantic article provided below. -JPM

Will a Reconfigured Supreme Court Help Obama’s Clean-Power Plan Survive?http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/antonin-scalia-clean-power-plan-obama-climate-change/462807/
February 14, 2016 | Robinson Meyer

China Could Have a Meltdown-Proof Nuclear Reactor Next Year  https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600757/china-could-have-a-meltdown-proof-nuclear-reactor-next-year/
February 11, 2016 | Richard Martin                                                                                             Officials at China’s Tsinghua University say that the Nuclear Engineering Construction Corporation will have an industrial nuclear plant running in Shandong province by 2017. Based on a German design, the high-temperature reactors in the plant will run on uranium fuel in pebble form. The graphite casing on the fuel and the reactions’ tendency to slow past a certain temperature combine to make the plant, scientists say, “immune” to meltdown. Its construction will be a landmark step for China, where commercial-scale nuclear power could soon become viable. -AD

SolarCity and Other Rooftop Providers Face a Cloudier Future http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/11/business/energy-environment/rooftop-solar-providers-face-a-cloudier-future.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0
February 10, 2016 | Diane Cardwell and Julie Creswell                                                                                                          Merely a few years ago, rooftop solar companies and their financial supporters were forecasting an optimistic future ahead of them. But today, the story has changed: rooftop solar companies are currently struggling to make profits and reduce debts. Even though the federal government extended an important tax credit, local states are considering eliminating subsidies for rooftop solar companies. Nevada has been especially harsh to solar: they state recently applied a rate system that is not favorable to current and future Nevada solar customers. Even though many leaders of rooftop solar companies are still optimistic about the future of rooftop solar, the companies will continue to face a harsh financial environment for the foreseeable future. -JPM

Scientists make first direct detection of gravitational waves             http://news.mit.edu/2016/ligo-first-detection-gravitational-waves-0211
February 11, 2016 | Jennifer Chu                                                                                                          In case you haven’t heard, the detection of gravitational waves – first predicted by Einstein 100 years ago – were publicly confirmed last week. Here is the link to MIT’s article about the finding. Within that article, there is a really quickish yet informative video that summarizes the findings and their implications quite well. Enjoy! -JPM