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White House backs strategic power reserve; drillers keep focus on NGL production


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White House backs strategic power reserve; drillers keep focus on NGL production

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White House backs strategic power reserve that could favor coal, nuclear units

The U.S. electric grid could benefit from a voluntary electricity generation reserve that gives preference to nuclear and coal-fired units, the White House said in a new report.

US drillers keep focus on NGL production, export amid Q4'18 commodity price drop

Natural gas liquids production remains a key focus for many of the U.S.'s top shale drillers, even as low commodity prices weighed on company earnings in the fourth quarter of 2018.

State efforts to boost coal production, demand largely symbolic, observers say

Several state legislatures took up bills aimed at boosting coal during their 2019 sessions, but industry observers said the efforts will do little to turn the tide for the struggling sector.

US Gulf Coast oil exports reach record high as imports fall to near 33-year low

During the last two months of 2018, the U.S. exported more Gulf Coast crude oil than it imported, the Energy Information Administration reported March 18, as shipments into the region slumped to a near 33-year low in December 2018.


Carbon capture and sequestration "is a promising technology, but extremely costly and unproven thus making it inappropriate for nationwide utility application," The American Public Power Association said on the role of carbon capture in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to ease carbon dioxide limits on new and modified coal-fired power plants.


* Following a winter of intense storms that officially ended California's yearslong drought, the state's sunshine has returned to full strength. California's still-growing fleet of solar power plants took advantage of that in recent days, setting new state records for harnessing sunlight.

* The Maryland Senate gave a preliminary approval to a bill that would increase the state's renewable energy portfolio standard from 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. The Senate also approved an amendment that disqualifies energy generated by burning trash from "green" energy subsidies, The Baltimore Sun reported.

* Nevada state Sen. Chris Brooks, D-Nev., introduced a bill March 18 that would require NV Energy Inc.'s utilities to obtain half the power they deliver to customers from renewable generation sources.

* EDP - Energias de Portugal SA plans to use asset sales to help fund an accelerated expansion into wind and solar, and in an investor presentation March 12, said those plans include the sale of majority stakes in about 7,000 MW of projects around the world.

* Oil major BP PLC is in talks with Lightsource BP Renewable Energy Investments Ltd., which it partially owns, to purchase solar energy and power its operations in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported.

* SK Innovation Co. Ltd. has started construction of its $1.67 billion electric vehicle battery factory in the Jackson County, Ga. The factory is SK Innovation's first in the U.S. and is expected to have a production capacity of 9.8 GWh beginning in 2022.

Natural gas

* Investors were lukewarm on Williams Cos. Inc.'s gas gathering and processing joint venture with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board even as industry analysts praised the partnership's benefits for the pipeline heavyweight's balance sheet.

* Tellurian Inc. co-founder Charif Souki is backing carbon tax, despite its potential "hundreds of millions of dollars" in costs to the company, Axios reported.

* Sunoco Pipeline LP's Pennsylvania pipeline headaches got a little worse after inspectors from the state's Public Utility Commission continued to investigate on March 19 a possible leak in a 14-inch gasoline pipeline outside Reading, Pa.

* An appeals court in Pennsylvania allowed the state attorney general to bring claims against Chesapeake Energy Corp. over landowner gas royalty payments, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

* Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will supply 45% of the nation's natural gas by 2040, according to an IHS Markit study.


* Following a downturn that began in 2014 when crude oil prices crumbled, a recovery in the global oilfield service sector could take 11 years, likely occurring in 2025, according to Norwegian research and consulting firm Rystad Energy.

* A Texas appellate court temporarily stopped Corpus Christi officials from voting on a Carlyle Group LP-backed oil export facility, Reuters reported.

* U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., plans to introduce legislation to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on hydrogen cyanide emissions, The Denver Post reported.

* First Nations are backing British Columbia's plan to create a permitting system for companies transporting hazardous substances through the province, according to The Canadian Press.

* Peru's Petroperu will stop operations at its Talara oil refinery in November to finish a $5 billion expansion project, according to Reuters.

* Brazil's state-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras said March 18 that it has settled its export credit notes with Banco do Brasil SA, amounting to 7 billion Brazilian reais, due in 2022.

* India's Accord Group has reached a $3.85 billion deal with Oman's Ministry of Oil and Gas to build an oil refinery in Sri Lanka, Reuters reported.

* Iraqi Kurdistan-focused oil producer Genel Energy plans to pay its first dividend despite recording an annual loss in 2018, the Financial Times reported.


* The White House has decided not to push through with the nomination of veteran lawyer David Hill as a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member after pressure from Energy Secretary Rick Perry and major coal companies Alliance Resource Partners LP and Murray Energy Corp., Politico reported, citing two people familiar with the effort. Hill, a former Energy Department counsel under President George W. Bush, criticized the Trump administration's plan to give financial aid to coal power plants.

* The private sector could make "some very exciting announcements" about carbon capture technology within weeks, a U.S. Department of Energy official said at a March 19 industry event.

* Conuma Coal Resources Ltd. has named John Schadan president, effective March 31. Schadan most recently served as vice president of operations for KMC Mining Corp. and was previously president of Westmoreland Coal Co.

* Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is proposing a budget that would restore $5 million to the state's coal-mining reclamation fund, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.

* The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis warned in a report that Montana and Wyoming could face deeper downturns amid the long-term decline in the Powder River Basin coal industry.

* A Chinese state-owned investment holding company with more than 1 trillion yuan in assets under management exited the coal sector ahead of schedule, The Australian Financial Review reported.


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Pennsylvania's shale gas production in January picked up nearly 1% from the previous month as drillers moderated their pace in keeping with promises they made to Wall Street to spend less by drilling wells that produce more.

New from RRA

* Avista Corp. tendered its first request for a gas base rate increase in Oregon since 2016. Coming soon after the company's failed acquisition by Hydro One Ltd., the filing cites continued investment in the replacement of aging pipelines, distribution system expansion and technology upgrades as the drivers of the rate request.

The day ahead

* The Energy Information Administration petroleum status report is due out today.

* 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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