speed bump

Chevron's $53B acquisition of Hess Corp. sees hiccup

Chevron has a new speed bump on the road to a big acquisition. Photo via Chevron

Chevron warned Monday that its pending $53 billion acquisition of Hess may be in jeopardy because it will require the approval of Exxon Mobil and a Chinese national oil company, which both hold rights to development of an oil field off the coast of the South American nation Guyana.

The disclosure in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission raised investor qualms, depressing shares of both Chevron and Hess. Chevron's stock price fell 3% Tuesday morning before rebounding; Hess stock lost 4% of its value but bounced back slightly.

Chevron's acquisition of Hess would add this major oil field in Guyana as well as shale properties in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Guyana is a country of 791,000 people that is poised to become the world’s fourth-largest offshore oil producer, placing it ahead of Qatar, the United States, Mexico and Norway. It has become a major producer in recent years, with oil giants including Exxon Mobil, China’s CNOOC, and Hess squared off in a heated competition for highly lucrative oil fields in northern South America.

Chevron said it's been engaged in discussion with Exxon and CNOOC, aka China National Offshore Oil Co. Both companies hold rights of first refusal for decisions regarding the oil field in question, known as the Stabroek Block. Exxon Mobil operates the Stabroek Block and holds 45% interest. Hess holds 30% interest, and CNOOC holds the remaining 25% interest. Production capacity at the field is expected to reach more than 1.2 million barrels per day by the end of 2027, Exxon said in November.

If those discussions and subsequent arbitration fail to set aside those first refusal rights, Chevron said, “the merger would not close.”

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A View From HETI

A Houston-based initiative has been selected by the DOE to receive funding to develop clean energy innovation programming for startups and entrepreneurs. Photo via Getty Images

Houston has been selected as one of the hubs backed by a new program from the United States Department of Energy that's developing communities for clean energy innovation.

The DOE's Office of Technology Transitions announced the the first phase of winners of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters, or EPIC, Round 3. The local initiative is one of 23 incubators and accelerators that was awarded $150,000 to support programming for energy startups and entrepreneurs.

The Houston-based participant is called "Texas Innovates: Carbon and Hydrogen Innovation and Learning Incubator," or CHILI, and it's a program meant to feed startups into the DOE recognized HyVelocity program and other regional decarbonization efforts.

EPIC was launched to drive innovation at a local level and to inspire commercial success of energy startups. It's the third year of the competition that wraps up with a winning participant negotiating a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT worth up to $1 million.

“Incubators and Accelerators are uniquely positioned to provide startups things they can't get anywhere else -- mentorship, technology validation, and other critical business development support," DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of OTT Vanessa Z. Chan says in a news release. “The EPIC program allows us to provide consistent funding to organizations who are developing robust programming, resources, and support for innovative energy startups and entrepreneurs.”

CHILI, the only participant in Texas, now moves on to the second phase of the competition, where they will design a project continuation plan and programming for the next seven months to be submitted in September.

where they’ll implement their programming and design a project continuation plan over the next 7 months. In September they will submit their plans with the hope of being selected to negotiate a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT, worth up to $1 million each.

Phase 2 also includes two national pitch competitions with a total of $165,000 in cash prizes up for grabs for startups. The first EPIC pitch event for 2024 will be in June at the 2024 Small Business Forum & Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last fall, the DOE selected the Gulf Coast's project, HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub, as one of the seven regions to receive a part of the $7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The hub was announced to receive up to $1.2 billion — the most any hub will get.


The DOE's OTT selections are nationwide. Photo via energy.gov

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