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Matador (MTDR) to Pay $6.2M Fine for Polluting Permian Basin

Matador Resources Company MTDR has agreed to pay $6.2 million in fines and mitigation measures involving 239 oil and gas well pads in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Environment Department (“NMED”) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) alleged that Matador failed to sufficiently capture air emissions from tank batteries on the well pads, comply with inspection, monitoring and record-keeping requirements, and obtain proper state and federal permits at 25 oil and gas production facilities.

Matador’s facilities illegally released air pollutants, contributing to global warming, and are associated with several types of respiratory illnesses. The violations caused an excessive release of pollutants like smog-forming volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.

As part of the settlement, Matador will pay $1.15 million in civil penalties to be shared between the EPA and NMED. Besides this, the company will pay $1.25 million in diesel engine replacements and $500,000 for aerial monitoring of the facilities to detect methane leaks and other issues.

The company will also pay $800,000 in mitigation costs to offset certain environmental impacts resulting from the violations. The settlement will not only improve air quality for nearby communities but also help limit climate change. It will also ensure that Matador does not profit from its violations of environmental laws.

Matador agreed to pay the penalties and make upgrades at its 239 well pads to comply with the federal Clean Air Act and state regulations. The company’s settlement is estimated to reduce emissions by 16,000 tons, with an additional reduction of methane and other greenhouse gas emissions by 31,000 tons. This is equivalent to taking 6,060 gasoline-powered vehicles off the road per year.

Headquartered in Dallas, TX, Matador is an independent energy company that explores, develops, produces and acquires oil and natural gas resources in the United States. The company’s upstream operations are mainly concentrated in the Delaware Basin, which is among the country’s most prolific oil and gas plays.

Matador currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the energy sector may look at the following companies that presently carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

W&T Offshore, Inc.’s WTI fourth-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) of 10 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 3 cents. The strong quarterly results were driven by higher production and the realization of commodity prices.

W&T Offshore has been generating positive free cash flows for 20 consecutive quarters. In 2022, the company’s free cash flow of $376.4 million increased fourfold from $90.9 million reported a year ago. This reflects the company’s strong operations.

Liberty Energy Inc.’s LBRT fourth-quarter 2022 earnings per share of 82 cents handily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents. The outperformance reflects the impacts of strong execution and increased service pricing.

As part of its shareholder return policy, LBRT repurchased $125 million of its stock at an average price of $15.29 a piece since July and reinstated a quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents in the fourth quarter.

Valero Energy Corporation’s VLO fourth-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings of $8.45 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $7.45 per share. The strong quarterly results were driven by increased refinery throughput volumes and a higher refining margin.

Valero can benefit from the Gulf Coast export volumes as fuel demand recovery gets support from Asia economies. The Gulf Coast contributed 59.4% to the total throughput volume in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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