4 Energy Stock Stories Making a Midweek Commotion

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK): Closing price $24.85

Landowner and legal sources have told Reuters that Chesapeake has given up on a two-year legal fight to keep thousands of acres of natural gas drilling leases in New York state. Owners of land in Broome and Tioga counties, who had leased acreage to Chesapeake during the past decade, had struggled against the oil driller in court to block it from extending the leases under their original terms, as several of them has been signed long before a boom in hydraulic fracturing moved across the United States. However, according to a letter some landowners received two weeks ago from their attorney at Levene Gouldin & Thompson, Chesapeake is now prepared to abandon the leases, potentially permitting the landowners to renegotiate new arrangements with other drillers at a higher rate, should New York state end a five-year fracking ban.

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BP (NYSE:BP): Closing price $41.23

On Wednesday, United States District Judge Carl Barbier upheld a magistrate’s ruling that BP must pay over $130 million in fees to the court-supervised administrator of a multibillion-dollar resolution over the company’s 2010 Gulf oil spill. The new decision came only hours after Magistrate Sally Shushan heard arguments from a BP attorney and the court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau. The ruling is imposed as BP endeavors to temporarily block claims payments while allegations of misconduct by an attorney who worked on the settlement program are being looked into.

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TransCanada Corp. (NYSE:TRP): Closing price $45.02

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are not impressed by an ethics probe of the contractor assessing the pipeline’s environmental impact. The State Department inspector general’s office reported that it is looking at conflict-of-interest complaints linked with the contractor writing the analysis of the $5.3-billion pipeline, which would link Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in the American Gulf Coast. In Berkeley, Friends of the Earth campaign coordinator Ross Hammond observed that the review is “hopelessly tainted,” due to conflicts between the contractor, ERM Group Inc., and TransCanada, and said that “The review should be tossed out and the review process started again.”

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Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA): Closing price $64.03

A spokeswoman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said Tuesday that Nigeria’s oil output should rise to 2.5 million barrels per day during the next two weeks while repairs are completed on a key pipeline which Shell Petroleum Development Co. closed in April. She added that “In a fortnight, repair works on the Nembe Creek Trunk Line which has a daily capacity of 150,000 [barrels a day] is expected to be fully completed. On completion, daily average crude oil production is expected to increase to 2.50 [million barrels a day].” The subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell shut the pipeline in April so as to remove crude oil theft connections and to look into suspected oil theft leaks. The pipeline’s shutdown caused the firm to declare force majeure on its exports of Bonny Light crude oil.

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