Looks like someone made enough money from high gas prices over a few days during the Texas energy crisis to reduce debt and increase dividends.
BTW, buried in this story is that Chevron raised its dividend and Continental Resources reinstated its dividend. It's heartwarming to know that Texans freezing to death is good for business.
I'm reading through the filings for Continental Resources. They swung from a Q1 2020 loss of $200M to a Q1 2021 profit of $400M DESPITE producing 15% less energy. Keep in mind that Q1 2020 was barely touched by COVID. This shows how profitable the Texas Energy Crisis was.
The TX Energy Crisis was a money-printing machine for gas cos, who were rewarded handsomely (obscenely?) for unreliable production.

Continental sales:
Q1 2020: $774M (oil) + $89M (gas)
Q1 2021: $729M (oil) + $469M (gas)
Do you see how ridiculous this is?

Gas sales went up $380M for the entire quarter for Continental b/c of high prices over a 5-day period.

Keep in mind that gas companies were declaring Force Majeure & cutting off FIRM supply contracts BUT MADE HUGE PROFITS ANYWAY.
Why would natural gas producers winterize their system when they can instead sit back and let their wells freeze up & make a huge profit anyway?

The power sector has an independent market monitor to investigate for fraud and market manipulation. The natural gas market doesn't.
The result: natgas producers have incredible moral hazard.

Namely unreliable supplies create scarcity which creates high prices. There's a price incentive to allow some production to freeze. There's a price disincentive to winterize. They will only winterize if it's mandated.
My conclusion? Let's save natural gas for direct use for heating our homes and buildings and let's get our power sector off gas as fast as possible. There are too many other ways to generate electricity so we shouldn't rely on a fuel that won't be there when we need it.
Another conclusion: it's absolutely unconscionable to me that the markets for something as critical as gas are so murky and do not have an independent monitor. The whole system is just inviting abuse and manipulation.
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More from @MichaelEWebber

23 Apr
The Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) paid ENVERUS to prepare a report.

The report says gas = good & wind/electricity = bad

Are you surprised that a consulting company gave its customer a report that makes them look good?

The report is highly flawed. Let’s dig in. [THREAD]
Main problem: It says that gas supply disruptions were because of power outages rather than the other way around.

But that doesn’t make sense from an engineering perspective: gas supplies started to fail Feb 10-12 & load shedding in ERCOT didn’t begin until 1:20 a.m. Feb 15.
The report makes a fundamental mistake, confusing OUTAGES for LOAD SHED. There are always outages, but rarely load shed.

This mistake undermines the entire logic of the report's conclusions. This sequence (gas failed first, power failed second) is critical, yet they missed it.
Read 13 tweets
21 Apr
In 2009 TX had <7 MW of total installed solar capacity, almost entirely rooftop PV and 0 MW utility-scale.

In 2021 installed solar is 8+ GW (up >1000x) of utility-scale alone, not including rooftop PV.

That TX would eventually dominate the solar market was entirely obvious.
Here is an article I wrote for @ASES_Solar "Solar Today" magazine in November/December 2009 where my co-author Erin Keys and I explain the positive fundamentals of the TX solar market and predicted "don't be surprised if Texas takes the lead in solar generation."
What are the fundamentals that make Texas such a hotspot for solar farms?

*Lots of cheap, flat sunny land

*Robust transmission infrastructure

*Competitive markets that reward low marginal cost generators

*Ease of permitting/construction

*Weak enviro opposition (cont'd)
Read 7 tweets
25 Mar
Winter Storm Uri 5+ weeks ago knocked out power, heat & water to millions of Texans, including me.

I installed several technologies at home to make it resilient. I thought you be interested to hear how they performed through the energy crisis. [THREAD]

Image: @weatherchannel
B/c of the 2011 TX freeze that knocked out power I installed several solutions to make my house robust against shortages:

1) super-efficient windows, insulation, etc.
2) electric heat pumps
3) natgas backup to the central heat pump in case the power went out
4) large solar array
#1 was very helpful, but items #2, 3 and 4 all failed.

This chart shows the last three months of consumption (in red) and solar panel generation (in green) for my house.
Read 13 tweets
12 Mar
A year ago today my wife @JuliaCWebber and I evacuated France. Our daughter called us at 2:30 am Paris to say President Trump was shutting down the borders. We got up, packed a duffel bag for each of us & our 14 yo son, shut down the house and left for the airport. It was scary.
The Trump Administration did not coordinate with airlines, airports, or border officials. It was mayhem. It didn't have to be.

It was unnecessary. Trump's announcement misrepresented basic facts about his policies, which made evacuations of returning expatriates more expensive and difficult than they needed to be.

Read 12 tweets
27 Feb
I keep thinking about the interdependencies of the gas and power networks in Texas.

The natural gas system depends (partly) on power.

The power system depends (heavily) on natural gas.

This creates a risk of cascading failures from one to the other. [THREAD]
These two interdependent have two asymmetries, both of which benefit gas:

1) The power system has a price cap of $9000/MWh for generators in the wholesale market.

The gas system does not have a cap.
2) The power system is isolated in Texas and cannot lean on neighbors for help.

The gas system connects to national and international markets. Out-of-state providers can help fill in shortfalls of gas.
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
Please consider this a public thank-you letter to @AustinEnergy for working around the clock to get the power back on and prevent an even bigger catastrophe.

People are mad. But believe me, it could have been worse. Their good decisions staved off a complete disaster. [THREAD]
In May 2020 I wrote for @ASMEdotorg that I considered utility workers to be society’s hidden heroes – after the Texas energy crisis I believe that is even more true today than before.

I know people are frustrated with the power outages-- I lost power for 2.5 days – I know what it was like.

Read 10 tweets

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