Surging Oil Industry Brings Opportunity To Rural California

Samson Resources Corp., owned by private-equity firm KKR & Co., is working with restructuring advisers, as the steep decline in oil and gas prices complicates its efforts to stem losses and manage debts. “The Tulsa, Okla., company is working with law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s restructuring practice and Blackstone Group LP’s restructuring advisory group on options for dealing with its $3.8 billion in long-term debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

Companies hire restructuring advisers to explore options to raise capital, sell assets or cut debt through out-of-court restructurings or bankruptcy filings. It isn’t clear what options Samson is considering, though the company has previously said it is looking to sell some oil and gas fields.” [WSJ]

Pot growers could raise electricity rates in Ashland, OR due to indoor growing operations, according to a city official. ““Indoor marijuana growing operations are intensive — I would even say extreme — electricity consumers,” City Administrator Dave Kanner said in testimony to a recent local government listening session of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates legal cannabis.

Growers, of course, will be expected to pay their own power bills, but the problem is that excessive power use inside Ashland, a city-owned utility that buys energy from the Bonneville Power Administration, could cause the city to jump a category, from Tier 1 to Tier 2, which would increase rates for all the power it buys, said Kanner. “A large-scale, commercial, indoor grow operation can use hundreds of 1,000-watt metal halide light bulbs. Oregon has no energy-efficiency standards for indoor agricultural operations, which is something the Legislature may need to address, but in the meantime I believe the OLCC has the opportunity to address this issue as it applies specifically to large-scale indoor marijuana growing operations.” [The Herald and News]

Google is making its latest renewable energy investment with a $300 million project to support approximately 25,000 SolarCity Corp. rooftop power plants. “Google is contributing to a SolarCity fund valued at $750 million, the largest ever created for residential solar, the San Mateo, California-based solar panel installer said Thursday in a statement.

Google has now committed more than $1.8 billion to renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents. This deal, which may have a return as high as 8 percent, is a sign that technology companies can take advantage of investment formats once reserved only for banks.

“Hopefully this will lead other corporations to invest in renewable energy,” SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive said in a phone interview.” [Bloomberg Business]