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Calif. aggregators eye battery-backed solar; US gas storage rule finalized


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Calif. aggregators eye battery-backed solar; US gas storage rule finalized

Top News

Citing 'all-time low' prices, Calif. aggregators eye more battery-backed solar

After inking their first power purchase agreements for geothermal energy, Monterey Bay Community Power and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, two local government-run power agencies procuring electricity for dozens of cities and counties in Central and Northern California, are considering deals for more geothermal and battery-backed solar resources.

US pipeline safety agency finalizes overdue gas storage facility rule

U.S. pipeline safety regulators finalized eagerly anticipated regulation governing the nation's natural gas storage facilities, fulfilling an outstanding mandate three years after the accident that prompted Congress to order the rulemaking.

Permian's 10-year shale boom may slow in 2020, Texas trade group says

Direct oil and gas employment in the Permian Basin doubled in the 10-year period between 2009 and 2019 as part of the shale-led resurgence, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association said in a new report.

Siemens to fulfill contract for Adani's Carmichael coal mine amid backlash

German conglomerate Siemens AG will not pull out of a contract to help Adani Enterprises Ltd. develop the contentious preproduction-stage Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, amid protests from climate activists.


"[T]hese [upstream] companies have the balance sheets of a college kid without a job. If you add all their ratings together, you barely get to investment grade," Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC portfolio manager Matt Sallee said in a Jan. 13 podcast.


* The Southeast U.S. could see about 110 GW of solar capacity additions from 2020 through 2029, even as federal tax subsidies for solar projects phase out, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research.

* Staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to weigh in on whether NorthWestern Corp. can block an environmental resolution from going to a vote at its 2020 annual meeting, leaving the utility and shareholder to duke the matter out in court or reach a deal.

* Sonoma County, Calif., is planning to take PG&E Corp. to court over $725 million in damages to property and business from Kincade Fire and four power shutdown events, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

* Separately, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s settlement over the cost of decommissioning Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant would cost its customers nearly $3.9 billion through 2027.

* PG&E could save nearly $470 million in state and federal taxes through the $1.68 billion settlement the utility reached with California over 2017 and 2018 wildfires, according to Bloomberg News reported.

* DTE Electric Co. is encouraging Michigan regulators to support its integrated resource plan after an administrative law judge criticized the company's vision for meeting energy and capacity needs.

* An administrative law judge with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission recommended approval of an agreement that would allow Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to recover costs for three wind farms, The Journal Record in Oklahoma City reported.

* Utilities are underusing advanced metering infrastructure, missing out on ways to reduce energy consumption, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Natural gas

* The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they found felled trees and potentially harmful traps along an access road to a construction site for TC Energy Corp.'s Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. project.

* Rover Pipeline LLC asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to increase the certificated natural gas transportation capacity on its up-to-3.25-Bcf/d mainline, a conduit between the Marcellus and Utica shales and markets and pipeline connections in the Midwest and Canada.

* Frustrated Pennsylvania environmental regulators ordered Appalachian shale gas driller Range Resources Corp. to plug a Lycoming County, Pa., well that they say is leaking methane into nearby private water wells or face further regulatory action.

* Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. intends to grow its heat pump offerings and explore options for renewable natural gas, hydrogen and geothermal heating as it continues to attempt to reduce gas use in Westchester County, N.Y., amid supply constraints.

* The Trump administration is nearing a decision on a new policy to allow transportation of LNG by rail, the Financial Times.

* The Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany might not begin operations until the first quarter of 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, signaling a possible further delay to the controversial project.


* Fire resulting from a reported explosion at the Sasol Ltd. petrochemical plant near Lake Charles, La., on Jan. 13 was extinguished by plant personnel, the company said.

* Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced its 2020 capital expenditures budget of C$1.10 billion to C$1.20 billion that is expected to generate annual average production of 140,000 boe/d to 144,000 boe/d.

* The Railroad Commission of Texas released 803 drilling permits in December 2019, a drop from the 958 permits it issued in November 2019 and 811 permits in December 2018.

* Alta Mesa Resources Inc. oil and gas gathering subsidiary Kingfisher Midstream LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just a couple of months after its parent company did, The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 13.

* U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Brian Schatz and Martin Heinrich pressed the four largest shareholders in Marathon Petroleum Corp. about the oil refiner's lobbying against climate action, particularly its efforts to unwind fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.

* Speculative-grade default rate for U.S. oil and gas companies rose to 12% at the end of October 2019 from 5% in January 2019, Forbes reported, citing Moody's.

* Shares of Nigerian oil company Lekoil Ltd. were suspended on the London Stock Exchange after it reported an alleged scam in connection with a loan agreement from Qatar Investment Authority, the Guardian reported.

* U.S. crude oil futures declined 1.6% to $58.08 per barrel, a fifth decline in a row, after tensions in Middle East tapered off, The Wall Street Journal reported.


* U.S. coal consumption is likely to decline sharply again in 2020, though the current roster of planned and completed coal plant retirements suggests the year may not be quite as rough as the past two.

* Electricité de France SA will terminate operations at its 580-MW Havre coal power plant in Le Havre, France, by April 1, 2021, Reuters reported, citing the country's energy ministry.

* German utility RWE AG will receive around €2 billion in state compensation for shutting down 2.5 GW of lignite coal power capacity in the country by 2022, Reuters reported, citing government and industry sources.

* The U.S. retired or converted nearly 15.1 GW of coal-fired power generation in 2019, the second-fastest decline on record in power production from the fossil fuel, Reuters reported.


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Investors and lenders got an early peek at EQT Corp.'s fourth-quarter 2019 results Jan. 13, and they did not like what they saw despite production and pricing numbers within expectations.

New from RRA

* Staff of the Michigan Public Service Commission, Indiana Michigan Power Co. and intervenors in the company's electric rate case have filed a settlement agreement resolving all issues in the case and supporting a rate increase of about $36.4 million, effective Feb. 1.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower 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.

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