Air passenger advocacy group asks top court to hear ticket refund case

Air travellers seek SCC

An advocacy group is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear a case on passenger refunds as frustration over flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to simmer.

The Air Passenger Rights organization sought leave to appeal Monday a Federal Court of Appeal decision that dismissed the group's attempt for an injunction compelling the Canadian Transportation Agency to remove a post about refunds from its website temporarily while a broader case about the statement's validity is ongoing.

The CTA said in March that airlines have the right to issue travel credits instead of a refund for cancelled trips in the "current context," though the agency later clarified that the online statement was "not a binding decision."

Canadian airlines have generally offered credit valid for two years or more but avoided offering reimbursement to customers whose flights were called off because of the coronavirus crisis, with carriers citing the agency's stance in response to consumer complaints and analyst questions.

Air Passenger Rights founder Gabor Lukacs says the CTA's statements misled travellers about their right to a refund and contradict the quasi-judicial body's previous decisions.

"If people believe they have no right to a refund, they will just not pursue it," he said in an interview.

"This case is about whether a public body can mislead the public without facing some kind of judicial scrutiny."

Some passengers may not be able to fly in the next two years for health or financial reasons, advocates say. Meanwhile, the airfare they paid amounts to a no-interest loan to airlines.

The pandemic has devastated the airline industry, with billions of dollars in losses for Canadian carriers amid grounded flights and tight international borders.

In contrast to Canadian authorities, the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation have required airlines to refund passengers. The U.S. and European countries including France and Germany have also offered billions in financial relief to struggling carriers, however, while Ottawa has provided no industry-specific bailout to airlines.

Since February, passengers have filed a handful of proposed class-action lawsuits and three petitions garnering more than 109,000 signatures that call for customer reimbursement.

The CTA did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

In March, the agency said passengers "should not simply be out-of-pocket for the cost of cancelled flights," but also stated that airlines facing a plunge in revenues and customer volumes "should not be expected to take steps that could threaten their economic viability."

"The CTA believes that, generally speaking, an appropriate approach in the current context could be for airlines to provide affected passengers with vouchers or credits for future travel, as long as these vouchers or credits do not expire in an unreasonably short period of time (24 months would be considered reasonable in most cases)," it said on March 25.

The online statement is not an official CTA decision — these are issued periodically on complaints brought before the body — but Lukacs argues it amounts to an unsolicited advance ruling on how the agency will treat passenger complaints, and thus deters them.

Responses by officials in the airline industry and government suggest the post is viewed authoritatively.

On a conference call Friday, Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu told analysts that "the CTA spoke clearly on the topic, and at this point...I've got no reason to believe that they'll change that."

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has also framed the online post as an authoritative ruling.

"The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled on this issue and has ruled that, in the present circumstances and in a non-binding way, it is acceptable for airlines to offer credits for up to two years," Garneau told the special all-party COVID-19 committee on May 28.

Customer reimbursement for services that were never rendered is a fundamental principle of consumer protection legislation across multiple provinces, Lukacs said.

The CTA's statement touting travel credit as an alternative has served to "undermine" that right, the court submission says, particularly since some credit card and insurance companies have cited the statement as a reason "to deny policy coverage for actual travel disruptions," the court submission says.

The Supreme Court does not automatically hear appeals and instead issues a written decision, usually within one to three months, on whether it will consider a case.

Air Passenger Rights' leave to appeal relates to the Federal Court of Appeal's dismissal of its request for an injunction against the CTA while the case over the travel credits statement is ongoing.

Air Passenger Rights states that the appeal court's test to determine eligibility for such an injunction is too stringent, and could affect not only interprovincial transportation but all areas of federal law, including immigration and refugees, intellectual property law and Indigenous claims.

Moores parent company files for bankruptcy, closing stores

Moores files for protection

Moores Clothing for Men, which has locations in Kelowna and Kamloops, is the latest retail chain to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid the pandemic.

Tailored Brands, which also owns Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank stores, said over the weekend it will continue to operate most stores during restructuring and expected to reduce its funded debt by $630 million.

COVID-19 restrictions have severely limited weddings and office work since March, hitting the clothing retail and rental sectors particularly hard. 

It is still not known whether the Kelowna or Kamloops locations will stay open. The company said online in a statement it is still deciding what stores will close permanently.

Dinesh Lathi, chief executive of Tailored Brands, said in a statement to clients over the weekend the pandemic has altered the way people live and work.

“It means fewer in-person meetings, wedding celebrations and special events. Simply put, people are staying home more, and our clothes are better suited to being out and about,” Lathi said.

He said the company is “making major shifts” by creating a leaner structure to adapt to the realities of today’s retail environment.

“In July, we announced some store closures. However, we will continue to have stores across Canada operating as usual. Nothing about our decision to seek Chapter 11 protection changes that.”

Meanwhile, Lord & Taylor, the oldest retailer in the U.S., also said it was seeking bankruptcy protection over the weekend, lengthening the list of major retail chains that have faltered during the pandemic.

Household names, many longtime anchors in malls, were already struggling to keep up with consumers moving to online sales.

Lord & Taylor, which began as a Manhattan dry goods store in 1824, was sold to the French rental clothing company Le Tote Inc. last year. Both filed for bankruptcy protection, separately, on Sunday.

Lord & Taylor says it’s looking for a buyer.

Tailored Brands was struggling even before the pandemic lockdowns smothered any demand for suits or ties.

It wasn’t alone.

Last month, Brooks Brothers, the 200-year-old company that dressed nearly every U.S. president, filed for bankruptcy protection. Its rival, Barneys New York, is being dismantled after filing for bankruptcy last year.

Dozens of retailers, big and small, have filed for Chapter 11 protection this year. The pace through the first half of 2020 far exceeds the number of retail bankruptcies for all of last year. About two dozen stores have sought bankruptcy protection since the pandemic started.

Others include J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Lane Bryant in addition to Ann Taylor.

Stingray reports lower Q1 revenue, earnings as pandemic hits radio business

Radio revenues clobbered

Stingray Group Inc. says revenue in its fiscal first quarter ended June 30 fell by 35 per cent to $52.3 million as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit revenue from radio operations.

Stingray owns and operates K96.3 and Country 100.7 in Kelowna and Radio NL, K97.5 and Country 103.1 in Kamloops. 

It is reporting net income of $7.02 million, down 23.5 per cent from $9.18 million on revenue of $80.4 million in the same period of 2019.

The Montreal-based company, which provides an advertising-free music service, says it had $13.5 million or 18 cents per share in earnings adjusted to exclude one-time items, beating analyst expectations of 16 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

That compared with an adjusted profit of $16.7 million or 21 cents a year earlier.

Radio revenues decreased by 62 per cent, while broadcasting and commercial music revenues were down by 3.7 per cent in the quarter.

It says revenues in Canada fell by $28 million or 50 per cent from $56.1 million in the year-earlier period, while revenues in the United States increased 12.7 per cent to $10.3 million, mainly due to organic growth in subscriptions.

"The full impact of COVID-19 hit the radio segment during the quarter," said CEO Eric Boyko in a statement.

"For provinces and cities that opened their economies faster, we are seeing encouraging signs of recovery and we are confident that key markets for us, such as Toronto and Ottawa, could follow similar patterns."

Honda Canada recalls 53,770 Odyssey, Passport and Pilot vehicles

Large Honda Canada recall

Honda Canada is recalling 53,770 vehicles for repair.

The recall in Canada covers 2018 to 2020 Honda Odysseys, 2019 to 2020 Honda Passports and 2019 to 2021 Honda Pilots.

The automaker says that depending on the vans or SUV, it may need one or more of four free repairs, including two software updates, replacement of rear view camera and replacement of sliding door outer handle cables.

There have been no reports of crashes or injuries associated with the voluntary recall, said Honda spokeswoman Laura Heasman.

The recall comes after Honda recalled 1.6 million vehicles in the U.S., citing faulty software that can stop the display of the speedometer, engine oil lights, gear positions and rear cameras.

In Odyssey minivans, water can enter the door handle cables and freeze, preventing the doors from latching, and water can also distort the rear-view camera.

Tampa teenager accused in Twitter hack pleads not guilty

Twitter hack not guilty plea

A Florida teen identified as the mastermind of a scheme that gained control of Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to multiple counts of fraud.

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, is accused of using the hijacked Twitter accounts to scam people around the world out of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin.

He is charged with 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, and one count each of organized fraud of more than $5,000 and accessing computers or electronic devices without authority. The brief hearing in Tampa took place via the video conferencing service Zoom.

Clark is scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday. He remains in the Hillsborough County Jail with bail set at $725,000, according to court records.

Clark was arrested on Friday in Tampa, and the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office is prosecuting him as an adult, a news release said.

Two other men were also charged in the case. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, U.K., and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando were charged separately last week in California federal court.

As part of the high-profile security breach, bogus tweets were sent out on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.

The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.

Court papers in the California cases say Fazeli and Sheppard brokered the sale of Twitter accounts stolen by a hacker who identified himself as “Kirk,” and said he could “reset, swap and control any Twitter account at will” in exchange for cybercurrency payments, claiming to be a Twitter employee.

The documents do not specify Kirk’s real identity but say he is a teen being prosecuted in the Tampa area.

Twitter has said the hacker gained access to a company dashboard that manages accounts by using social engineering and spear-phishing smartphones to obtain credentials from “a small number” of Twitter employees “to gain access to our internal systems.” Spear-phishing uses email or other messaging to deceive people into sharing access credentials.

Although the case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said his office is prosecuting Clark in state court because Florida law allows minors to be charged as adults in financial fraud cases when appropriate. He called Clark the leader of the hacking scam.

“This defendant lives here in Tampa, he committed the crime here, and he’ll be prosecuted here,” Warren said Friday.

Fazeli’s father told The AP on Friday that he's 100% sure his son is innocent.

“He’s a very good person, very honest, very smart and loyal,” Mohamad Fazeli said. “We are as shocked as everybody else. “I’m sure this is a mix up.”

Husky targets 25% GHG emissions intensity cut, vows to hire more female leaders

Husky seeks 25% GHG cut

Husky Energy Inc. is joining other major oilsands producers in setting a short-term emissions intensity reduction target as a preliminary step as it works on a way to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

In its 2020 environmental, social and governance report, it calls for a 25 per cent emissions per barrel reduction by 2025, noting it is a "start" while it invests in new technologies and carbon offsets to reach its longer-term goal.

Husky also announced a gender diversity commitment to have 25 per cent of its senior leadership roles occupied by women by 2025, up from 16 per cent last year.

Fellow Calgary-based oilsands producers Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. have set targets to reach a 30 per cent reduction in carbon intensity per barrel by 2030 and Cenovus has also endorsed the net-zero-by-2050 goal.

Oilsands producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has also pledged to work toward a zero-emissions target without giving a specific date.

Last month, Ottawa unveiled rules associated with its new Impact Assessment Act that would require proposed projects that will still be operating in 2050 to include a plan to get to net zero emissions in order to be approved.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the plan is in keeping with Canada's goal to exceed its Paris climate agreement targets by 2030 and then reach net zero, which means any greenhouse gases emitted are absorbed by natural or mechanical means, rather than left to amass in the atmosphere where they contribute to global warming.

BC Liberal MLA says let restaurants sell liquor with take-out permanently

Let takeout booze stay?

Allowing restaurants to permanently sell liquor with delivery and take-out sales would support thousands of small businesses across B.C., according to Richmond MLA John Yap.

Yap – who represents Richmond-Steveston and is the BC Liberal Critic for Liquor and Gaming – introduced legislation to that effect Wednesday in the legislature.

“As everyone is well aware, the past four months have been extremely challenging for British Columbia’s restaurant and hospitality sector,” Yap said during the afternoon legislature session.

“The COVID-19 pandemic…also meant plummeting revenue for restaurants, which already operate on profit margins that are so thin during the best of times.”

In March, the B.C. government amended its liquor laws to temporarily allow restaurants to sell sealed liquor products alongside meals ordered for takeout or delivery. The off-site sales allowance was put in place to help restaurants and pubs that were struggling due to the pandemic.

While those rules were originally set to expire July 15, they were extended earlier this month. The new end date is Oct. 31.

The extension was recommended by B.C.’s Business Technical Advisory Panel, made up of liquor and hospitality industry representatives, according to the province.

Yap said allowing off-site liquor sales was one of the “common-sense” solutions implemented by the provincial government over the course of the pandemic, and gave restaurants a “fighting chance.”

“Those changes are set to expire this fall. This bill aims to make those changes permanent,” he said.

The bill – known as the Liquor Control and Licensing Amendment Act 2020 – would also allow establishments to buy liquor from any licensee, including private sellers.

This would help keep costs down for business owners and provide opportunities to support local liquor retailers, according to Yap.

He said the bill would also provide the “necessary amendments” to support the Vancouver Park Board’s decision to allow drinking in 22 of that city’s parks.

The bill will be before the legislature for second reading at the next sitting, Aug. 10. 

Ford CEO Hackett to retire, COO Jim Farley to lead automaker

Change at the helm of Ford

Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley will lead the storied automaker into the future starting Oct. 1 when current CEO Jim Hackett retires.

The company has struggled in recent years and is in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan designed to make it leaner and crank out new vehicles to replace what was an aging model lineup.

As COO, the 58-year-old Farley led the company's global markets and product development. He was in charge as Ford rolled out a revamped F-150 pickup, the new Bronco off-road SUV brand and the electric Mustang Mach-E SUV.

Farley was hired away from Toyota by then-CEO Alan Mulally in November of 2007 to run Ford's marketing operations.

The 65-year-old Hackett took over for the ousted Mark Fields in May of 2017. Almost immediately he began reviewing Ford's management structure and flattened the organization so it could move faster. But his often lengthy directives confused employees who weren't clear on where the company was headed.

Hackett, a retired Steelcase CEO who had run Ford's mobility efforts, will stay on as an adviser to Farley through March of 2021.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford, praised Hackett for modernizing the company and reducing bureaucracy.

“We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as full vehicle connectivity. And we are becoming much more nimble,” Ford said. He cited Ford’s quick shift to make ventilators, face shields and other protective equipment to help alleviate shortages at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was apparent that Farley would take over as CEO in February, when Ford announced a management shakeup after a poor fourth-quarter financial performance and the botched launch of the Explorer SUV.

Farley's chief rival, automotive President Joe Hinrichs was pushed out and retired effective March 1, and Farley was named chief operating officer.

Ford’s full-year profit plunged last year by more than $3.6 billion, and it lost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter. Hackett said the company fell short of expectations for the year, and he blamed the performance largely on the flubbed launch of the new Explorer at a factory in Chicago.

New Explorers came off the assembly line with multiple problems and had to be shipped to a Detroit-area factory for repairs, delaying deliveries to customers and costing the company sales.

Since then the company has focused on making its new product changes simpler and easier to manufacture.

Just after the change was announced Tuesday morning, Ford shares rose 2.9% to $6.88 in early trading.

Trump fires Tennessee Valley Authority chair, cites high pay

Trump fires executive

President Donald Trump said Monday that he had fired the chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority, saying the executive was getting paid too much and was hiring foreign workers.

Trump told reporters at the White House that he was formally removing the authority's chair of the board and another member of the board, and he threatened to remove other board members if they keep hiring foreign labour.

The TVA is a federally owned corporation created in 1933 to provide flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region that was hard hit by the Great Depression. The region covers most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky as well as small sections of Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

He said the TVA board must immediately hire a new chief executive officer who “puts the interests of Americans first." According to Trump, the CEO earns $8 million a year.

“The new CEO must be paid no more than $500,000 a year,” Trump said. “We want the TVA to take action on this immediately. ... Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

U.S. Tech Workers, a non-profit that wants to limit visas given to foreign technology workers, took out an ad to persuade Trump to stop the TVA from outsourcing much of its information technology division. The group, led by Kevin Lynn, criticized the TVA for furloughing its own workers and replacing them with contractors using foreign workers with H-1B visas.

Trump made the announcement as he signed an executive order to require all federal agencies to complete an internal audit to prove they are not replacing qualified American workers with people from other countries. The White House said the order will help prevent federal agencies from unfairly replacing American workers with lower cost foreign labour.

The order followed the TVA’s announcement that it would outsource 20% of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries. TVA’s action could cause more than 200 highly skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to foreign workers hired on temporary work visas, according to the White House.

But Republican Sen. Labor Alexander of Tennessee said the TVA doesn't get any taxpayer money. Commenting on the issue in April, Alexander said the White House was spreading misinformation. He said that TVA chief executive officers' pay is lower than other large utilities and that TVA energy rates are among the lowest in the nation.

U.S. stock markets move higher to start August; gold up

U.S. stock markets higher

U.S. stock markets started the month higher as the price of gold briefly surpassed US$2,000 an ounce.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 118.61 points at 26,546.93. The S&P 500 index was up 18.14 points at 3,289.26, while the Nasdaq composite was up 113.36 points at 10,856.90.

The S&P/TSX composite index was closed due to the Civic Holiday in many provinces.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.44 US compared with 74.60 on Friday.

The September crude contract was up 17 cents at US$40.44 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was 15.3 cents at US$1.95 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract, which had the highest trading volume, was down US$3.20 at US$1,982.70 an ounce after peaking at US$2,009.50. The September copper contract was up 4.15 cents at nearly US$2.91 a pound.

Pompeo says Trump to take broad action on Chinese software

Microsoft may buy TikTok

President Donald Trump plans to take action on a what he sees as a broad array of national security risks presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

Pompeo’s remarks followed reports that Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, which has been a source of national security and censorship concerns for the Trump administration.

The deal would also see Microsoft own and operate the app in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

“These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat — there are countless more ... are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” Pompeo said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to. Those — those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of," he said.

TikTok’s U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access, and its biggest investors come from the U.S., the company said Sunday. “We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

Trump had said on Friday that he would soon ban TikTok in the United States. A federal committee is reviewing whether that's possible, and its members agree that TikTok cannot remain in the U.S. in its current form, because it "risks sending back information on 100 million Americans,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“We all agree there has to be a change ... everybody agrees it can’t exist as it does," Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC's “This Week.”

As speculation grew over a ban or sale of the social media's U.S. business, TikTok posted a video on Saturday saying: “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”

TikTok's catchy videos and ease of use has made it popular, and it says it has tens of millions of users in the U.S. and hundreds of millions globally. Its parent company, Bytedance Ltd., launched TikTok in 2017. It bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the U.S. and Europe, and combined the two. It has a similar service, Douyin, for users in China.

But TikTok's Chinese ownership has raised concern about the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials as well as censorship of videos critical of the Chinese government. TikTok says it does not censor videos and it would not give the Chinese government access to U.S. user data.

“The President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people,” Pompeo said. “That’s the mission set that he laid out for all of us when we get — we began to evaluate this now several months back. We’re closing in on a solution. And I think you will see the president’s announcement shortly.”

The debate over TikTok parallels a broader U.S. security crackdown on Chinese companies, including telecom providers Huawei and ZTE. The Trump administration has ordered that the U.S. stop buying equipment from those providers to be used in U.S. networks. Trump has also tried to steer allies away from Huawei over concerns that the Chinese government has access to its data, which Huawei denies.

Oil giants lost billions as pandemic crushed demand for fuel

Oil giants lost billions

Two American oil giants lost more than $9 billion in the second quarter as the pandemic kept households on lockdown, cutting a gaping hole into a once-thriving business as the need for oil diminished around the world.

Exxon lost $1.1 billion in the second quarter, and the Irving, Texas-based oil producer brought in $32.6 billion in revenue, less than half of what it brought in at the same time last year. Chevron Corp. lost $8.27 billion during the quarter, a sharp contrast to the $4.3 billion it earned a year ago.

The quarter was one of the worst on record for the oil industry. The price of a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude fell below $0 in April, a stunning downfall that had not before been seen in the industry. Producers had been pumping far more oil than the world was using as global travel all but shut down, and storage tanks were filling up. Petroleum consumption fell to a more than 30-year low in April, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil prices have recovered somewhat since, but have been stuck at around $40 a barrel for weeks, fetching 30% less than a barrel did a year ago and well below what most producers need to make ends meet.

As a result, the U.S. oil industry lost more than 100,000 jobs since February, with 45,000 of those jobs shed by upstream oil and gas companies in Texas alone, according to Rystad Energy, a consulting firm.

“Simply put, the demand destruction in the second quarter was unprecedented in the history of modern oil markets,” said Neil Chapman, senior vice-president at Exxon, on a conference call with investors Friday. “To put it in context, absolute demand fell to levels we hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. We’ve never seen a decline of this magnitude and pace before, even relative to the historic periods of demand volatility following the global financial crisis and as far back as the 1970s oil and energy crisis.”

Exxon expects gasoline and diesel fuel consumption to rebound to levels similar to last year in the fourth quarter, but jet fuel will take longer to recover, Chapman said.

Exxon Mobil Corp. announced in April that it would cut its capital spending budget by 30%, to $23 billion, and its cash operating expenses by 15%, in 2020. The company is on track to exceed that goal and is exploring other ways to cut expenses, including evaluating its workforce around the world, Chapman said.

The pandemic is also making some of Exxon's work more expensive as it tries to keep employees safe. “We’ve had to charge planes to move our rotating operating staff all over the globe without the availability of commercial planes,” Chapman said. “We’ve had to lease hotels in multiple cities to quarantine our folks before they start their 30-day rotations.”

Exxon produced 3.6 million barrels of oil-equivalent, down 7% from last year. That included a 12% drop in natural gas production. But it boosted production in the Permian Basin by 9% compared to last year.

San Ramon, California-based Chevron brought in $13.49 billion in revenue, about a third of what it brought in last year.

Most of Chevron's losses hit its upstream operations, or oil and gas production, including a $2.1 billion hit to its U.S. upstream operations and a $4 billion loss in its international upstream operations. Some of its assets lost value. Chevron wrote off a $2.6 billion investment in Venezuela noting a challenging operating environment there and saying it's unclear whether the company would recover its investment.

“While we are disappointed by the impairment in Venezuela, we intend to maintain the presence in the country and resume normal operations one day,” said Pierre Breber, chief financial officer and vice-president of Chevron, in a conference call with investors.

“With health, economic and social crises all happening at the same time, this is a challenging quarter for Chevron and its stakeholders,” Breber said.

Elsewhere, Phillips 66, the Houston-based oil refining and logistics company, lost $141 million during the quarter, reversing a year-earlier profit.

Despite the rough quarter, larger companies such as Exxon and Chevron have an advantage over smaller producers because they presumably have better balance sheets and access to capital markets, said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA.

“The biggest unknown is what happens with the price deck, and that’s really anybody’s guess,” said Glickman, adding that while prices have stabilized at around $40, they could fall into the thirties as COVID cases rise. “I’m not really optimistic about the path of oil prices."

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