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EQT separation details puzzle some analysts; miners signal production pullback

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EQT separation details puzzle some analysts; miners signal production pullback

Top News

Details from EQT's midstream separation, simplification puzzle some analysts

EQT Corp.'s announced plans to separate its midstream and upstream businesses came as no surprise to analysts who cover the Appalachian gas producer. But the details of the move left some scratching their heads, given that some driller-sponsored pipeline master limited partnerships continue to benefit from their symbiotic relationships with their parent oil and gas producers.

Miners in largest US coal basin signal production pullback in face of headwinds

Top producers in the largest U.S. coal basin are guiding investors to further declines in coal volumes from the region in 2018.

FirstEnergy aims for 6% to 8% regulated growth rate after $2.5B equity infusion

Fresh off a $2.5 billion equity infusion from a group of prominent and active investors, FirstEnergy Corp. unveiled a 6% to 8% regulated operating earnings growth rate through 2021.

Power

* The U.S. Department of Energy is working on a North American modeling tool for grid reliability and resiliency, Bruce Walker, DOE assistant secretary of the Office of Electricity Delivery, told a meeting of the agency's Electricity Advisory Committee in Virginia.

* New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a bill into law that requires the state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 11 states and Puerto Rico committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change and taking action on climate change despite President Donald Trump's effort to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.

* Separately, New Jersey lawmakers are set to hold a hearing today on proposed legislation to rescue Public Service Enterprise Group Inc.'s Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants in the state, The Associated Press reported.

* Three Midwest utilities have settled on a proposed route for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Project, a $500 million, 345-kV transmission line planned for Iowa and Wisconsin to improve regional reliability and increase access for renewable energy resources.

* New Mexico Public Regulation Commission hearing examiner Elizabeth Hurst recommended that the PRC reject Xcel Energy Inc.'s interim rate proposal for its two planned wind farms, the The Albuquerque Journal reported.

* Preserving the site of the unfinished V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project will cost Santee Cooper $16 million a year, The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., reported, citing a letter from utility's acting chairman Bill Finn to Gov. Henry McMaster.

* Mayors of 236 U.S. cities have come out in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, saying the repeal "would put our citizens at risk and harm our efforts to address the urgent threat of climate change."

* S&P Global Ratings removed Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.'s BBB- long-term corporate credit rating from CreditWatch with positive implications and revised its financial risk profile to significant from intermediate after the renewable power producer used additional debt used to fund the cash portion of its acquisition of Alterra Power Corp.

Natural gas/Oil

* Surging Asian LNG demand over the winter boosted Cheniere Energy Inc.'s 2017 results and prompted the company to raise financial expectations for 2018, executives said on a fourth-quarter 2017 earnings call.

* U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has met with California Gov. Jerry Brown to hear the latter's concerns on the proposed offshore drilling program, The Hill in Washington, D.C., reported.

* A U.S. Geological Survey scientist resigned after the agency agreed to release data from a study of Alaska oil and gas deposits to Zinke "several days in advance of the information's public release, in contradiction of my interpretation of USGS fundamental science policy," according to Mother Jones.

* Devon Energy Corp. shares tanked after the company missed on production projections and revealed no plans to return cash to shareholders, while fellow oil and gas producer Concho Resources Inc. was rewarded on Wall Street after easily beating earnings and production estimates.

* General Electric Co. is no longer considering the sale of its majority stake in Baker Hughes in the next few years, CNNMoney reported.

Coal

* Coal's share of energy supply will drop to its "lowest level since the Industrial Revolution" by 2040 as fast-rising renewables drive a transition to "the most diversified fuel mix the world as ever seen," according to BP Plc's latest global energy outlook.

* The Trump administration's legislative outline for infrastructure development could raise transportation costs along inland waterways for the coal industry, stakeholders say.

* Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants the coal industry and not the state to shoulder costs in challenging California's coal regulations in court, The Associated Press reported. The costs would go toward a lawsuit that will seek to block regulations that make Utah coal unmarketable in California.

* India's coal imports are expected to increase this year as Coal India Ltd.'s production struggles to meet demand, Bloomberg News reported Feb. 19, citing Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the World Coal Association.

* Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali SpA announced a climate change strategy that includes divesting €2 billion from coal and increasing exposure to green businesses.

Commodities

* Following a 4.3-cent uptick in the prior session to finish at $2.659/MMBtu, NYMEX March natural gas futures pulled back overnight ahead of the Thursday, Feb. 22, open and the midmorning release of the weekly storage data that is expected to show a slower rate of stock erosion.

* Next-day power values could unwind Thursday, Feb. 22, as mostly softer demand projections for the close of the workweek conspire with renewed losses in natural gas futures.

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New from RRA

* Spire Missouri Inc.'s and Missouri Gas Energy's gas distribution rate proceedings have concluded. In an order issued Feb. 21, the Missouri Public Service Commission authorized Spire Missouri and Missouri Gas Energy a 9.8% return on equity (54.2% of capital); however, at the time of this writing, the authorized rate changes were unavailable, but they are expected to be quantified in the near future.

Quoted

"The Panama Canal and the LNG industry are, together, going through a learning curve," said Eric Bensaude, Cheniere Energy Inc.'s managing director of commercial operations and asset management, after discussions with canal officials on how the waterway can prepare for a wave of American natural gas exports over the next few years.

The day ahead

* The following companies will hold their earnings conference calls: PPL Corp. at 8:30 a.m. ET; Chesapeake Energy Corp., Energy Transfer Equity LP, Great Plains Energy Inc., OGE Energy Corp. at 9 a.m. ET; Westar Energy Inc. and WPX Energy Inc. at 10 a.m. ET; Archrock Inc. and CenterPoint Energy Inc. at 11 a.m. ET; and Edison International and IDACORP Inc. at 4:30 p.m. ET.

* The EIA natural gas storage report is due out today.

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. equity markets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here. To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some links may require registration or a subscription. S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.