Daily Archives: October 14, 2014
The 10 Biggest Energy Company Bankruptcies
Running a multi-billion dollar energy company isn’t easy. Just ask the executives in the corner suites of some of the energy companies that have gone bust over the years. Some, like Enron, were brought down because of insider malfeasance. A few, like ATP, blamed damaging government policies, while others went off the rails due to market forces that left the company and its shareholders flat-footed, deep in debt, and eventually broke. Here are the bankruptcies that will be etched into the tombstones of failed energy fortunes for time immemorial.
1. Enron. Bankrupt December 2, 2001. Assets $65.5 billion
Enron grew from a simple pipeline company into the world’s largest energy trader by using the Internet to buy and sell natural gas and electric power to help utilities and industrial power users hedge against price fluctuations. By 2000, Enron was worth an astonishing $68 billion, but when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission started investigating, it was revealed that much of the money was based on shady accounting practices and un-recorded losses. In one year, Enron’s stock price plummeted from more than $90 to less than $1, resulting in $11 billion in shareholder losses. The subsequent bankruptcy remains the largest in U.S. history. CEO Kenneth Lay and fellow Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling were convicted in 2006 of fraud and conspiracy. Lay died from a heart attack while awaiting sentencing. Skilling is still in prison.
2. Energy Future Holdings. Bankrupt April 29, 2014. Assets $36.4 billion
Energy Future Holdings became the largest power producer in Texas in 2007 after a $45 billion buyout of TXU Corp. But the company struggled under the weight of $40 billion in debt after revenues plunged due to lower prices for natural gas and electricity. Energy Future Holdings was broken up in April under the terms of a restructuring deal.
3. Pacific Gas & Electric Company. Bankrupt April 6, 2001. Assets $36.1 billion
California’s largest publicly-owned utility went bust after deregulation led the company to incur billions in debt. After selling its gas power plants, the company had to buy power from other energy companies. Buying at fluctuating prices and selling at fixed prices led to losses and eventual bankruptcy. But according to Time, wholesale prices eventually dropped, and the day the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2004, its stock was worth three times as much as when it filed for protection.
4. Texaco. Bankrupt April 12, 1987. Assets $34.9 billion
Texaco started out in 1901 as the Texas Fuel Company and was independent for 100 years before merging with Chevron in 2001. However, in the 1980s, Texaco became embroiled in a legal battle with Pennzoil, and ended up owing the company $10.5 billion. That led to Texaco filing for bankruptcy, which at the time, was the largest in U.S. history.
5. Calpine Corporation. Bankrupt December 20, 2005. Assets $26.6 billion
In the mid-2000s, Calpine was the biggest owner of natural gas-fired plants in the U.S. But soaring fuel costs led the company to incur more than $22.5 billion in debt. The subsequent bankruptcy filing followed the ouster of top executives after they lost a fight with bondholders to use proceeds from asset sales to buy fuel. The company received $2 billion in financing to allow it to keep its plants supplying customers.
6. ATP Oil & Gas. Bankrupt April 17, 2012. Assets $3.6 billion
In 2009, ATP Oil & Gas, an offshore oil producer, refinanced $1.5 billion in debt, with the goal of doubling its production to 50,000 barrels a day. Then came the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. A 2010 moratorium on deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico meant ATP was not able to complete wells on its Titan production platform. Forced to spin off Titan and borrow $350 million, ATP spiralled downward, crushed by $2.7 billion in debt obligations. In a Forbes article, ATP’s CEO blamed the Obama Administration and “its illegal ban on deepwater drilling in the wake of the BP disaster,” for the implosion of the company.
7. Patriot Coal. Bankrupt July 9, 2012. Assets $3.6 billion
As the largest producer of thermal coal in the eastern U.S., Patriot Coal was particularly vulnerable to low coal prices, competition from cheap natural gas, a slowing U.S. economy and tougher environmental rules. Patriot Coal lost money every year since 2010, and in 2012 recorded a loss of $198.5 million. To stay afloat during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the company received $802 million from three major banks.
8. James River Coal. Bankrupt April 8, 2014. Assets $1 billion.
Another victim of the U.S. coal downturn, James River Coal declared itself bankrupt in April, 2014, having emerged from a previous bankruptcy in 2004. The company listed $818.7 million in debt after being forced to close a dozen mines. James River Coal was granted a $110-million loan to keep operating under court protection. At the time of the bankruptcy, the company’s stock was trading for 36 cents, compared to $60 a share in 2008.
9. OGX. Bankrupt Oct. 30, 2013. Debts $5.1 billion
Darling of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, OGX Petróleo e Gas Participações SA filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to reach an agreement with creditors to negotiate part of its $5.1 billion debt. The bankruptcy was the largest in Latin America. The blow to Batista’s mining and oil and gas empire came after disappointing output from offshore wells set off a crisis of investor confidence.
10. Suntech. Bankrupt March 20, 2013. Debts $1.6 billion
The Chinese solar panel manufacturer, one of the world’s biggest, was forced into bankruptcy court after the company missed a $541 million payment to bondholders. The company’s misfortunes were blamed on a glut in the market for solar panels, which collapsed prices. Another solar industry giant, Germany’s Q-Cells, was caught in the downturn the year earlier.
By Andrew Topf of Oilprice.com
Sweden – Ship of fools
Hat Tip: BB
American Certified: World’s Largest store for Made in USA Products
I want to introduce to you a great site for holiday gifts – American Certified, which provides 1.5 million products made in full or part in America. American Certified makes it easy for all of us to shop for products that create American jobs. Just as importantly, we all know USA Made means quality and safer products we can trust in our homes. This holiday, I recommend you visit www.AmericanCertified.com/Gifts and make it an All-American holiday.
In March 2012, a feature story in Consumer Reports stated that 74% of Americans had tried to buy an American-made product during the prior year. The problem, according to the article, was that 41% of these people couldn’t identify which items were actually produced domestically. This conundrum is what inspired Marvin Weinberger to create American Certified.
To date, American Certified (AC) is the largest online store in the world for USA-made products. The site features over 1.5 million items, and accumulates more every day.
The goal of American Certified is to empower Americans to buy high-quality American-made products that directly support US workers, American manufacturing, and the overall economy. And because AC is part of the Amazon Affiliate program, the site offers the same reliable Amazon.com pricing and delivery!
When you Buy American, you’re supporting well-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector. For every direct factory job, an estimated 6.8 additional indirect jobs are created among suppliers and service suppliers. And Every dollar spent in American manufacturing also generates an additional $1.35 through the economic multiplier effect and co-investment into the community. That is a lot of growth!
Weinberger started the business because he’s extremely passionate about this country and wanted to help producers connect with customers who share their unique interests and values. He’s been manufacturing products domestically for 15 years. Going against many of his friends‘ advice to “follow the smart money by moving [his] production overseas,” he recognized the willingness of many consumers to pay a premium to support American workers and has never regretted that decision.
The company is also creating a comprehensive national directory of American ‘Makers’. The directory includes manufacturers of all sizes. Certification is available at no charge to all who qualify.
American Certified makes buying American easier, faster, and more affordable, without sacrificing selection. The ongoing mission is to empower Americans to buy USA made clothing, Sporting goods, appliances, and more. With millions of American-made products across thousands of categories, American Certified makes it simple for consumers to know where their products come from and where their money goes.
The Five-Dollar Lady, the GOP & Rob Maness for U.S. Senate
By: Lloyd Marcus
Six years ago I wrote the song, “American Tea Party Anthem” http://bit.ly/1D155uv and was asked to perform my song at rallies across America on a Tea Party Express national bus tour. Back then, I was not politically savvy; clueless about how all this political stuff worked; back room deals, positioning, strategic narratives, optics and so on.
Like millions of my fellow Americans, all I knew was Obama, the Democrats and the MSM were pushing my country down the wrong road; exploiting the occasion of the first black president to force their dreamed socialist/progressive agenda down our throats. Insidiously, all opposition was branded racist. For this reason, I joined the Tea Party.
The hardworking decent patriots across America who attended the rallies, mostly white, mostly Christian, middle-aged and grandparents treated our team (speakers and performers) like rock stars. We were their voice in the national arena, pushing back against Obama’s tyrannical overreaches, fighting for traditional principles and values which they held dear.
They were frustrated and through with voting for soulless politicians on both sides of the isle who said whatever necessary to get elected without really giving a hoot about the desires and best interest of their constituents.
A remarkable unforgettable incident from one of the early bus tours was a whistle-stop. Our team had completed a huge rally in the state and was headed to our next rally in Memphis. Our rally coordinators informed our team that some folks requested that we make a brief unscheduled road side stop before heading to Memphis; supposedly 50 or so people wanted to meet us.
As our Tea Party Express tour bus pulled up to the location off a major highway, a State Trooper was directing traffic. Five hundred or more people greeted our bus cheering and waving U.S. flags. They showered our team with baked goods, hand-knitted patriotic gifts and requests to take pictures with them and their kids. Because it was not supposed to be a rally, the truck with our sound system and staging was on its way to Memphis.
Our team climbed up on the back of a pick-up truck and some guy handed us a bullhorn. After encouraging and thanking the crowd, and spontaneous outbreaks of the crowd chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”, we closed with everyone singing “God Bless America”. There were very few dry eyes in the house (on side of the road). They were extremely grateful because we were their representatives, fighting, speaking out and working for them. They trusted us. We were their heroes.
Fast forward six years. Praise God, I have grown to become Chairman of the Conservative Campaign Committee; much more politically savvy.
Frankly, the GOP establishment candidates with unlimited resources have been kicking most of our true conservative Tea Party candidate’s butts in the primaries. The GOP joined the Democrats in branding the great Americans I met at over 400 tea party rallies on numerous national bus tours, a bunch of extremists and racists for simply expecting candidates to honor the Constitution and stay true to their word.
Having said that, a third party is a loser right now. While the GOP is not perfect, it is the political party closest to supporting our principles and values. Therefore, it is wise to support the GOP while working to infiltrate its ranks with as many conservatives as possible. This means that on occasion we must vote for GOP candidates who may not be as conservative as we would like.
It is crucial that we (Republicans) win the Senate. I get that. After all, I am more mature and politically savvy.
However, there is one last race in which there is a true conservative, Col. Rob Maness (ret.) running for U.S. Senate Louisiana. Folks, tea party groups and people that I respect are understandably supporting Bill Cassidy because he is polling better than Maness against the Democrat and we really need that seat. Fine. But folks, I can not do it.
I thought about the five dollar lady that I met at one of the early rallies. She took my hand and placed a crumpled up five dollar bill in it for gas for the tour bus. With tears in her eyes, she shared how Obama’s policies had caused her to fall upon hard financial times and thanked me for fighting for people like her.
Folks, for me to support Bill Cassidy is a betrayal of the five dollar lady, the patriots at the whistle-stop and the tea party movement.
Bill Cassidy is a liberal whose behavior is an anathema to the Tea Party. He trashed Ronald Reagan and campaigned for Michael Dukakis. Not only did Cassidy contribute to Democrat politicians, he contributed to Mary Landrieu, the same Obama sycophant incumbent Democrat senator he is trying to unseat. How bizarre and politically soulless is that?
Cassidy repeatedly voted to increase the debt limit. He received a failing “F” grade from FreedomWorks and was labeled too liberal by Senate Conservative Fund.
Conservative Rob Maness is an American patriot who served 32 years in the U.S. Air Force. Maness has been a fighter to defund and repeal Obamacare. He has proposed a Constitutional conservative agenda of lower taxes, reducing the size and scope of government, and expanding our personal liberties; in essence, restoring what Obama and company are incrementally taking away.
Rob Maness has received thumbs up from Sarah Palin, Conservative Campaign Committee, Tea Party Express and Gun Owners of America. http://bit.ly/1nh5lSl
All you folks who choose to hold you nose and vote for Cassidy, I get it and do not judge you. You are my patriot brothers and sisters doing what you believe to be best for our country.
I am simply saying that I can not support a RINO when there is a real conservative in the race; not after looking into the eyes of the five dollar lady. For me to go along to get along would feel like a slap in the face betrayal.
The man in my mirror forces me to support conservative Rob Maness for U.S. Senate Louisiana; staying true to my patriot sister, the five dollar lady. http://www.robmaness.com/
Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Chairman, Conservative Campaign Committee
In Kentucky last night, Alison Lundergan Grimes vs Mitch McConnell, the debate between the fox and the hound.
By: Nelson Abdullah
Conscience of a Conservative
One of the key races for control of the U.S. Senate is the seat presently occupied by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is currently the Kentucky Secretary of State. Mitch McConnell is a 30-year veteran representing Kentuckyin the U.S. Senate. Before running for the Senate in 1984 McConnell was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Gerald R. Ford. In 1977, McConnell was elected the Jefferson County, Kentucky Judge/Executive. Alison Lundergan Grimes is the daughter of former Kentucky Democratic Party State Chairman Jerry Lundergan. Prior to running for Secretary of State in 2011, Grimes was a practicing attorney in Lexington. While Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes have both been engaged in a lifetime of politics, McConnell forged his career on his own as Grimes coasted along on her father’s coattails boasting that she has been working for the Democratic Party since the day she was born. McConnell’s long career in Washington has made him a recognized establishment Republican with knowledge and clout and had he not made disparaging remarks against the Republican-leaning Tea Party he would likely have not found himself in a heated primary. But now after winning his primary Kentucky Republicans are supporting his reelection. Grimes was likely chosen to run against McConnell solely due to McConnell’s primary with the thought that Republicans had been weakened by the experience. Whatever the reason, the media seems fixed on the sex appeal of the liberal Democrat befitting my observation that last night we had the debate between the fox and the hound.
Watching the debate between Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell one thing is certain: it was nearly impossible to get any clear, concise answers from the Democrat. Grimes was asked several questions last night ranging from everything that included how will you create new jobs to who did you vote for in 2012 for president. Her responses were nothing but obfuscation and distortion. She tried to twist every response into an attack on Republican Mitch McConnell instead of giving simple replies. Her answer to how will she create new jobs was to increase the minimum wage despite the fact that the business community agrees this will cause more unemployment. Then she added how many times Mitch McConnell had repeatedly voted against it. Her now classic retort to her vote for president in 2012 invoked a lengthy spiel about the constitutional privilege to a secret ballot, blah, blah, blah, ignoring the fact that there was only one Democrat running for president that year.
Several times Grimes mentioned her endorsement by the United Mine Workers Union in spite of Barack Hussein Obama’s declared war on the coal industry but then Mitch McConnell replied that the United Mine Workers Union is a working partner and member of the pro-Democrat American Federation of Labor. In 2008 the UMWU and the AFL wholeheartedly endorsed Democrat Obama but after Obama famously declared that his EPA policies would bankrupt any coal-fueled powerplant and the mine workers in Kentucky started losing their jobs, these unions sat out the 2012 elections without making any presidential endorsements. But the unions did endorse every other Democrat who supported Obama and voted for his bills.
While the Republican Party presently holds the minority position in the U.S. Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes still feels they are responsible for all the bad bills that came into law. Never mentioning that the healthcare wreaking Affordable Care Act known as ObamaCare was voted into law only by Democrats and that not one single Republican voted for it. Another thing about the debate that was missing was an admission that Democrat Majority Lead Harry Reid has been sitting on over 300 bills that were passed by the Republican controlled House of Representatives. And of course, Grimes never mentioned how she would successfully oppose the absolute control of her parties’ majority leader should the Democrats remain in control of the Senate after the November elections.
Even the moderator of the PBS broadcast had to repeat his questions to Grimes in an attempt to make her answer. All to no avail. Considering the pro-Democrat slant of Public Broadcasting I found that somewhat surprising. Alison Lundergan Grimes admittedly is an admirer of the Clintons and seems to have adopted slick Willie’s tactics to avoid being boxed in a corner. After the debate was over I still had no idea where she stood on the issues.
My name is Nelson Abdullah and I am Oldironsides.
Qatar Awareness Campaign – Tucson Unified School District @StopQatarNow
QATAR AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
Adelita S. Grijalva
Tucson Unified School District
1010 E. Tenth St.
Tucson, AZ 85719
Dear Ms. Grijalva:
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of Qatar. The Tucson Unified School District has accepted grant money from the Qatar Foundation to fund an Arabic language program. Qatar is a state-sponsor of terrorism, including Hamas, who routinely use civilians, including children , as human shields.
Qatar is the host country of the Muslim Brotherhood, a stateless political organization which came to maturity at the same time as the Nazi Party in Germany. Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Third Reich shared many of the same aims in World War II, including the extermination of Jews. Their collaboration is well-documented.
A socially-minded, subversive organization, one particular focus of the Muslim Brotherhood has always been education. In fact, the most prolific Brotherhood author and “philosopher” was the racist Sayyid Qutb, an inspector for the Egyptian Ministry of Education. Likewise, Qatar as their host country, funds various educational initiatives around the globe, primarily through the Qatar Foundation.
Although Hamas’s disregard for civilian and children lives is notable, it is eclipsed by the wholesale violence committed by the Qatari-financed Islamic State (aka ISIS). Mass executions of innocents shock the conscience, and the Islamic State enthusiastically cleanses its conquered territory of all who oppose it: Christians, Yazidis, and more secularly minded Muslims included. The Islamic State even beheads young children, and teaches other children how to behead.
Here are additional facts regarding Qatar’s inroads to public education in the United States:
- The Qatar Foundation International operates an Arabic Language and Culture program in partnership with public school systems. This includes, as of September 2013, the New York City Department of Education.
- In May 2014, the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district in Texas sent ten high school students to Qatar to learn Arabic through a grant by Qatar Foundation International. A few months later, Qatar-backed Hamas began a rocket offensive aimed at Israeli citizens.
- The Al Harma Academy in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts is partnered with the Qatar Foundation International to offer full-immersion courses in Arabic. Al Hamra was accredited by the New England Association of School and Colleges 2007.
- The Qatar Foundation’s WISE Initiative focuses on bringing Qatari ideals to education around the world. In this endeavor, they have a partner in the United Nations.
In light of your partnership with the Qatar Foundation, consider that Qatar is arguably the preeminent sponsor of terror in the world today. It is a benefactor of the genocidal armies of ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; it is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell; and profits from operating a virtual slave state. Qatar has leveraged its relationships with violent jihadi groups to its own benefit, and to the detriment of the United States and her allies.
The QAC Coalition and petitioners ask that you consider the attached sourced report on Qatar’s activities. The links cited are vetted and credible sources. We hope you take the time to verify the truth of the statements for yourself.
After doing so, the Coalition of the Qatar Awareness Campaign calls on you to exert due influence on the Qatari government to cease any type of involvement in all forms of Islamic terrorism, slavery, and drug trafficking!
Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy
Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America
& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.
Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
** Select signatures as of 9/27. The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 25 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.
CC: Mayor Bill De Blasio, New York City. Al Hamra Academy. Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School Distict.