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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This week will show how some of the biggest oil-and-gas companies are recovering from the pandemic that's still weighing on demand for their products.

Driving the news: Companies including BP, Shell, Chevron and Exxon will report first-quarter earnings over the next four days.

Why it matters: The latest reports come after a year in which companies reported steep losses and huge write-downs on the value of their assets.

  • Crude prices have significantly recovered, with the first three months being the strongest by far since the pandemic began.
  • "[T]he industry has had a shot in the arm from the recovery in crude prices since late 2020, which will be evident in company results for the first time," HSBC analyst Gordon Gray tells The Guardian.

But, but, but: Bloomberg's detailed earnings preview notes that Big Oil's revived cash flow isn't expected to be a bonanza for investors.

  • "For Exxon Mobil Corp. and Total SE, which bore the financial strain of maintaining shareholder payouts last year, any extra cash will go to easing debt," it reports.
  • "Chevron Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have said they want to resume buybacks, but not yet."

Threat level: The path ahead for the sector remains fraught.

Prices have lost ground over the last month, with Brent crude currently around $65 compared to nearly $70 in mid-March.

That's partly due in part to a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases in India, a major oil consumer.

Go deeper

Debt investors retreat from funding dirty energy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Banks are coming under fire from all sides for their role in funding fossil fuel companies, even though most have pledged to pull back over the coming decades.

What's happening: Despite pressure from activists, shareholders and Democratic politicians to finally divest from carbon-spewing businesses as the planet warms, the biggest American banks are still energetically backing dirty energy.

Updated 11 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

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