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High valuation for Sempra questioned; Aramco's US expansions may be limited

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Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021

Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


High valuation for Sempra questioned; Aramco's US expansions may be limited

Top News

After activism drives Sempra stock bounce, 'inflated' valuation questions emerge

Wall Street analysts and Sempra Energy investors are beginning to question the "inflated" valuation inferred by activist shareholders pushing to restructure the company and unlock $11 billion to $16 billion in new equity.

FERC denies attempts to recall approval of 2-Bcf/d Mountain Valley pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied requests for rehearing of the order that approved the EQT Midstream Partners LP-led, 2-Bcf/d Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project.

Effort to stop Trump intervention in energy markets may need an act of Congress

President Donald Trump's decision to invoke national security in a bid to preserve U.S. coal and nuclear power plants could present a major obstacle to the many opponents of potential government intervention in electricity markets unless they can persuade Congress to take action.

Saudi Aramco's downstream US expansion options limited as valuations may rise

As Saudi Arabian Oil Co. eyes global downstream expansion to fuel its growth, its options to do so in the U.S. through its Motiva Enterprises LLC subsidiary may be limited at a time when asset valuations may increase, experts say.

Quoted

"Tariffs will harm American and Chinese businesses and consumers, and will put economic growth in both countries at risk," said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, responding to President Donald Trump's imposition of 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China.

Power

* The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has asked the inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to widen the scope of and speed up its probe into multiple ethics violation allegations involving Administrator Scott Pruitt's activities.

* New Mexico lawmakers are reviving part of a bill pushed by the Public Service Co. of New Mexico to help it recover costs of closing the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

* The Tennessee Valley Authority board has approved a fixed fee on utilities, which will likely be passed on to customers, according to The Associated Press.

* Newly released documents appear to indicate Entergy New Orleans LLC paid a public relations contractor to recruit supporters and speakers for a controversial proposed gas plant, but do not show the utility knew those supporters would be paid.

* The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has met with Hawaiian Electric Cos. and Hawaii Energy to develop a response plan to address the loss of renewable generation from the shutdown of the Puna Geothermal Venture power plant.

* The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority received an $18.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a nationwide research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry.

Natural gas

* SandRidge Energy Inc. has been contacted by 17 potential buyers, with activist investor Carl Icahn among them, the oil and gas producer announced June 15. One of the bidders, however, accused SandRidge of mischaracterizing the nature of their negotiations.

* China is threatening tariffs on U.S. energy products like natural gas and crude oil in response to the $50 billion tariffs imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Reuters.

* Natural gas pipeline companies that moved to absorb their sponsored partnerships can protect their pipeline tariff rates and revenues amid federal tax policy changes, a veteran researcher of the midstream energy sector said.

Oil

* General Electric Co. is slimming down with urgency to raise cash and reduce debt and may let go some of its iconic businesses, CNN reported. Melius Research CEO Scott Davis sees GE eventually ditching its majority stake in oil services giant Baker Hughes and its health care and power divisions.

* Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is considering an investment on the Trans Mountain pipeline if the returns are attractive, Bloomberg News reported.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not force large oil refiners to blend additional biofuels into their gasoline, which were waived under the small refinery hardship waiver program, according to Reuters.

* A study is being conducted in northwestern Ontario on the impact of crude and bitumen spills on lakes, according to The Canadian Press.

Coal

* FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. received bankruptcy court approval to reject a contract with coal producer Contura Energy Inc., a move the power generator says will likely save $20 million by the end of the 2020 contract expiration date.

* Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit over the reclamation plan for the Kayenta coal mine, which is the sole supplier for the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, AP reported.

* An Australian railroad issue watched closely by international metallurgical coal buyers and sellers could soon be resolved, taking the air out of recent high prices, an analyst said.

* The administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to divest a stake in the state-run Coal India Ltd., Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

ChartWatch

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Dominion Energy Inc.'s Cove Point terminal in Maryland shipped nearly 9 Bcf of LNG in April after entering commercial service, U.S. government data shows.

New from RRA

* New permits to drill, active rig levels, and well completions continue to expand in the Permian, despite several major impediments to the free exit of new production from the basin.

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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