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Relief For Harvey Victims From E&Ps, Energy Firms Pouring In

The energy industry continues to step up efforts to help Texas and Louisiana residents impacted by Harvey, with millions of dollars in relief effort pouring into charities.

The donations began on Monday after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and continued through Thursday, as thousands of people were left homeless after massive rainfall and flooding.

Houston-based ConocoPhillips Co., the world's largest independent, said late Wednesday it would increase its donation to $5 million, with another $2.5 million directed to the American Red Cross. It already had pledged $2.5 million to the United Way of Greater Houston.

ConocoPhillips has also "taken multiple actions to address employee needs and support their individual outreach efforts," including matching personal donations from employees and retirees.

"Our thoughts are with all of those who are dealing with the impact of this unprecedented natural disaster," CEO Ryan Lance said. "Our priority remains ensuring the safety of our employees and our operations. However, as members of a much larger community that needs our help, we stand ready and willing to do our part. We encourage others to follow."

ConocoPhillips employs more than 12,200 people operating across 17 countries. The company’s global portfolio includes producing assets in the Harvey-affected Eagle Ford Shale and GOM.

Tulsa-based Williams is contributing $500,000 to the United Way of Greater Houston's flood relief fund and deploying direct assistance efforts for any of its nearly 900 employees in need in Houston and surrounding areas.

“Williams has had a major presence in the Houston area for decades and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected, and especially our employees and their families, many of whom have deep roots in the community,” said CEO Alan Armstrong. “While the effects of Hurricane Harvey are still ongoing and uncertain, we are focused on making sure our employees remain safe and are receiving necessary assistance. Additionally, we are committed to supporting the long-term recovery and rebuilding of the Texas Gulf Coast.”

Houston’s NRG Energy and its subsidiary Reliant also announced efforts to assist millions of Texans impacted, agreeing to provide more than $2 million, including $1 million in cash donations and in-kind relief efforts valued at more than $1 million in community support and customer assistance. The funding is to be used for impacted employees, power generation to assist first responders, backup power and phone chargers for Houstonians and enrollment and billing assistance to affected customers.

“We are devastated to witness the hardship and suffering endured by so many in and around Houston, Corpus Christi and southeast Texas,” said NRG CEO Mauricio Gutierrez. “Houston is our home, and NRG and our employees will do everything we can to provide assistance and resources to those in need and who are bearing the tragic effects of this historic natural disaster.”

Houston-based independent Halcon Resources Corp. said Thursday it would match all employee donations up to $3,000 to support relief efforts, in addition to a $250,000 donation to the JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund. The company also is assisting employees directly impacted by the storm.

"The Halcon family's thoughts and prayers are with those that have been and continue to be affected by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating flooding in Houston and surrounding communities," management said. "The company is thankful all of its employees are safe. Halcon's operations were unaffected during the hurricane and continue without interruption thanks to the efforts of its dedicated employees, vendors and contractors.

“Halcon is proud of its employees who are actively volunteering in their neighborhoods and communities. It will take all businesses, government agencies and volunteers working together to rebuild the community."

Linn Energy Inc., another Houston-based producer that emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year, said it would do its part to help out after the storm by donating $100,000 to the Red Cross. Linn also is putting up as much as $100,000 to match employee donations to relief efforts.

"Our Houston community has been hit hard by Harvey,” Linn CEO Mark Ellis said. “The devastation is widespread and the damages are only now being assessed in areas where water has receded. Recovery efforts will be a very long road and many of those affected the worst are our own employees and others with limited resources to recover. We are committed to supporting the community and our employees during this time. We are proud to be able to support an agency that is already on the ground providing assistance to those that need it the most."

Beyond the efforts by operators with Gulf Coast operations, PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest power grid, said it would donate $20,000 to the American Red Cross and match employee donations.

“We’re moved by the images of stranded families, heroic rescues and people in great need of help,” said Senior Vice President Nora Swimm of corporate client services. “Giving back to our communities and helping those most in need is a hallmark of the PJM culture of caring. Our thoughts are with the people of Texas who are impacted by this catastrophic hurricane and flooding.”

Investment bank Jefferies, which has deep ties to the energy industry, said Thursday it would donate $5 million to 14 organizations to help victims of Harvey. Jefferies earlier this week said it would donate all net trading commissions on Wednesday (Aug. 30) from U.S., European and Asian equity, fixed income and foreign exchange trading. It also planned to donate $1 million directly to the relief effort.

In addition to its $1 million direct contribution, Jefferies clients helped to generate more than $3.2 million in donations from net trading commissions on Wednesday, while the firm's 3,324 employees totaled another $800,000.

Many reputable organizations have set aside specific areas for Harvey-related contributions, including  the American Red Cross, the United Way of Greater Houston, Samaritan’s Purse, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Houston Food Bank and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. Houston Texans defensive star J.J. Watt’s ongoing relief fund effort underway through youcaring.com, the Houston Flood Relief Fund, which is where Natural Gas Intelligence chose to contribute. Watt had begun the fund initially to raise $200,000; as of Thursday afternoon it had raised close to $11.8 million.

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