Senator Kamala Harris, Democratic vice presidential nominee, speaks during the U.S. vice presidential debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.


Kim Raff/Bloomberg News

Kamala Harris in Wednesday’s debate declared that Joe Biden’s Administration would make the U.S. “carbon neutral” by 2035—a more ambitious goal than even California has set—while at the same time disavowing plans to ban fracking for natural gas. We look forward to Mr. Biden explaining this apparent contradiction in the next debate, if there is one.

Meantime, it’s worth highlighting a new Energy Information Administration report that shows how fracking and competitive energy markets have done more to reduce CO2 emissions over the last decade than government regulation and renewable subsidies. Vice President Mike Pence made this point on Wednesday night, and he’s right.

According to the report, energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell 2.8% last year as many utilities replaced coal and heating oil with less expensive natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling has unleashed a gusher of natural gas production in the Midwest and Southwest. As a result, natural gas prices have plunged, putting many coal plants out of business.

CO2 emissions from coal declined by more than 50% from 2007 to 2019, the report notes, and by 15% in 2019 alone. Between 2016 and 2019 the share of electricity generated by natural gas rose to 38.1% from 33.7% and by non-carbon generation (including nuclear and hydropower) to 38.2% from 35.5%. Coal generation during this period plunged to 23.3% from 30.3%.

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Oasis Petroleum  (OAS) – Get Report shares slumped after the oil-and-gas fracking-services provider said it filed under Chapter 11 of U.S. bankruptcy law.

The stock recently traded at 21.67 cents, down 49%. It has lost 93% of its value this year.

“Due to historically low global energy demand and commodity prices, we determined that it is best for Oasis Petroleum to take decisive action to strengthen our liquidity and overcome the headwinds now challenging both our company and industry,” the Houston company’s chief executive, Thomas Nusz, said in a statement.

The company said it filed the Chapter 11 petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Oasis has entered a restructuring-support agreement with substantially all its lenders on its revolving-credit facility and holders of 52% of the face amount of its bonds regarding a comprehensive prepackaged restructuring, Oasis said in a statement.

Its lenders have committed $450 million of debtor-in-possession financing.

“Through this financial restructuring, Oasis Petroleum intends to reduce its total indebtedness by $1.8 billion, representing 100% of its senior unsecured notes and senior unsecured convertible notes,” it said. 

When it leaves Chapter 11, Oasis said, it expects to have $340 million of borrowings under its credit facility. 

It expects to complete an accelerated restructuring process and exit Chapter 11 in November, subject to the bankruptcy court’s approval.

Oasis Midstream Partners MLP  (OMP) – Get Report isn’t included in the bankruptcy proceedings.

The coronavirus pandemic and the plunge in energy demand and prices this year hammered most energy companies. 

A number of other energy companies have filed for protection from creditors in Chapter 11.

“We remain committed to the highest standards” related to “environmental stewardship, safety and operational excellence,” CEO Nusz said. 

“We expect to continue our operations as normal.”