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Energy News: Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)

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Chesapeake to Keep Stake In FTS After Value Tumbles (Rigzone)
Not long ago Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) touted its stake in hydraulic-fracturing company FTS International as a $2 billion plum. Chesapeake planned to sell the stake to help shore up its balance sheet amid slumping natural-gas prices. Lately, however, FTS, carrying a heavy debt load, has seen its valuation plummet as gas drilling slowed, turning the company into a drag on the balance sheets of Chesapeake and FTS’s other owners. Last year, they had to pony up $360 million to keep FTS from tripping conditions tied to debt that helped fund its 2011 buyout by a group of private-equity investors.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)First Solar to Face Wall Street Questions After Brown Leaves (Bloomberg)
James Brown, executive vice president for global business development, is leaving the company effective today, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a regulatory filing. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) has been completing power plants faster than new contracts have come in, and it’s not clear whether the company will be able to keep its project pipeline full, said Rob Stone, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in Boston. Building and selling large solar farms accounts for about two-thirds of sales.

Exxon Mobil must pay $236M in NH pollution case (Boston Herald)
A jury found Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) liable Tuesday in a long-running lawsuit over groundwater contamination by the gasoline additive MTBE, and ordered the oil giant to pay $236 million to New Hampshire to clean it up. “We appreciate the jurors’ service during this long trial, but erroneous rulings prevented them from hearing all the evidence and deprived us of a fair trial,” said Exxon Mobil lawyer David Lender.

Chesapeake (NYSE:CHK) Predicts Utica Shale Production Boost (Energy and Capital)
According to Steve Dixon, the newly-named acting CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), this year we should see a significant increase in production from the company’s Utica Shale wells thanks to the development of several new production facilities that would drive oil and natural gas production up. In terms of numbers, Columbus Business First reports that Chesapeake is aiming for net production volumes exceeding 330 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent each day from the Utica by the end of 2013. Current levels, for comparison’s sake, are at about 75 million cubic feet per day.

ExxonMobil wins safety award from corporate-backed group (Grist Magazine)
We at Grist would like to apologize to the folks at Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) for going on and on about their dismal safety record. About how the company in 2011 waited 46 minutes to shut off a pipeline that was dumping oil into the Yellowstone River. About that old Exxon Valdez thing. We apologize because last week a group controlled by executives from ExxonMobil and similarly dangerous corporations bestowed upon ExxonMobil an award recognizing its stellar emphasis on safety. Yes, the nonprofit National Safety Council — whose board of directors includes Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) Safety VP Jeffrey Woodbury and former ExxonMobil exec Michael Henderek — awarded ExxonMobil the Green Cross for Safety medal.

First Solar Competing Against Silicon Panels on Efficiency Gains (Bloomberg)
First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), the biggest maker of thin-film solar modules, said efficiency improvements are accelerating, which will cut production costs and help it compete with rivals that use polysilicon. The company’s newest panels can convert 16.1 percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity, a record for cadmium- telluride technology, and may reach 18 percent in 2016, Chief Technology Officer Raffi Garabedian said today during an analyst day presentation.

Energy company donates $25K to county (Cleburne Times-Review)
Johnson County’s Emergency Operations Center, completed about a year ago, will soon receive an upgrade, thanks to a $25,000 donation from Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK). Leah M. King, senior director of public affairs for Chesapeake, presented the donation to Johnson County commissioners during the court’s Monday meeting, saying that the company is…

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