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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Chevron announced a $10 billion to $11 billion write-down on several natural gas assets and one of its oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Driving the news: The company said yesterday that the downward revision in its long-term price outlook means that it will "reduce funding to various gas-related opportunities."

  • The decision largely focuses on shale gas holdings in Appalachia, but also the Kitimat LNG project in Canada and other international holdings.
  • The company is exploring options including asset sales.
  • It also said its revised oil price outlook led to the impairment charge on its Big Foot project.

The intrigue: There's a couple ways of looking at this. One is that it's simply a way to be judicious with capital when there's lots of your product in a competitive market when prices are low and you think they'll stay that way.

  • In particular, there's a gas glut in North America that has made the resource very cheap.
  • CEO Mike Wirth said in a statement that "capital discipline and a conservative outlook" require "tough choices" to benefit shareholders.

But, but, but: Another view would be that it says something deeper about the industry in a world slowly transitioning to cleaner sources and, in fits and starts, getting more serious about global warming.

This Wall Street Journal piece gets to the second point. They write (emphasis added)...

  • "The sobering reappraisal by one of the world’s largest and best-performing oil companies is likely to ripple through the oil-and-gas industry, forcing others to publicly reassess the value of their holdings in the face of a global supply glut and growing investor concerns about the long-term future of fossil fuels."

Bloomberg goes there too, noting:

  • "Chevron follows Schlumberger Ltd. and Repsol SA in ascribing a lower value to their assets at a time when the growing adoption of cleaner energy stokes speculation that demand for fossil fuels may peak in a few years, while supplies keep rising."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.

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