US coal companies batten down the hatches as COVID-19 poised to slash demand
Metallurgical coal producer Contura Energy Inc. announced March 23 that it drew down $57.5 million under its revolving credit facility as a precautionary measure. Peabody Energy Corp., the largest coal mining company in the U.S., recently said it borrowed $300 million under its $565 million revolving credit facility "to ensure ample financial flexibility in light of current global market uncertainty caused by COVID-19."
Data Dispatch: Power grids see flat to falling loads as COVID-19 shuts economies
Eight of the nine regional power grids in the U.S. and Canada, including California ISO, Midcontinent ISO and PJM Interconnection, saw flat to declining load in their month-to-date average load in the four full weeks from March 1 to March 28, compared to the same period in 2019, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of data.
Big deals on ice as Europe's utility sector hits pause on M&A amid coronavirus
With financial and commodity markets in turmoil, and both company and asset valuations going haywire as a result, industry experts said deal flow could significantly slow down over the coming months. Some large sales processes are already being delayed, and a prolonged crisis could also hamper the steady sales of power plant portfolios and even large-scale takeovers, as utilities focus on maintaining critical infrastructure and investors reevaluate potential transactions.
Data Dispatch: Federal royalty relief offers mixed bag for fossil fuel producers, experts say
A growing chorus of industry voices has called on the U.S. government to ease oil, gas and coal royalty payments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices, but market observers said it is not clear how much benefit such a move would bring to these sectors.
Other energy headlines
* Unitil Corp.'s natural gas utility subsidiary Northern Utilities Inc. received the approval of the Maine Public Utilities Commission for a $3.6 million, or 7.8%, increase in operating revenues, effective April 1.
* Oil and gas supermajor Exxon Mobil Corp. cut its capital budget for 2020 by 30%, or $10 billion, in response to low energy prices caused by collapsing demand. Exxon said it would also cut its cash operating expenses by 15% to survive the downturn.
* Vestas Wind Systems A/S suspended its guidance for 2020, citing uncertainty on the duration of the coronavirus pandemic and its full global impact. The Danish turbine maker previously targeted revenue in the range of €14 billion to €15 billion this year.
The New York ISO interconnection queue shows 8,541 MW of potential storage resources, of which 5,575 MW are located in the ISO's Zone J, covering New York City, or in Zone K, covering Long Island. Three-quarters of storage resources in the queue have proposed in-service dates by 2022.
Research and data
* Financial Focus: Utility earned ROEs held up well during last recession, averaging 10.6% in 2009
* Financial Focus: Midstream EBITDA may eventually erode to levels observed in 2015 and 2016
* Financial Focus: Critical water infrastructure investments continue amid COVID-19 shut down
Top pick of the day
FERC greenlights PJM transmission cost revisions in response to court remand
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