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Leadership changes sweep through oil, gas sector; BP a rare Q2 oil outperformer


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Leadership changes sweep through oil, gas sector; BP a rare Q2 oil outperformer

Top News

US Senate panel vows legislation after review of temporary energy tax credits

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance plans to put together legislation soon regarding energy tax credits, including many that have expired or are set to do so soon, after a committee task force finished a review of the incentives that involved gathering feedback from industry.

Leadership changes sweep through oil and gas sector

From producers to utilities, the oil and gas industry's revolving door of CEOs, CFOs and COOs is significantly busier than usual.

BP shines as sole Q2 earnings outperformer among top majors

Capital expenditures, share buybacks, rising Permian production and planned divestitures were several of the key themes discussed by executives on the integrated oil and gas majors' second-quarter earnings calls, as weaker energy prices weighed on downstream and chemical margins and overall second-quarter earnings proved disappointing, analysts said.

Global thermal coal prices to drag on US producers in 2020 as hedges roll off

As the coal sector wraps up its second-quarter earnings calls and moves through the third quarter, experts are projecting that international thermal coal prices may weigh on the sector later this year and perhaps more heavily in 2020.


"The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been the most thoroughly reviewed infrastructure project in the history of our region," Dominion Energy Inc. spokesperson Samantha Norris said in an Aug. 14 statement responding to environmental groups' call for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to rescind a Clean Water Act certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, designed to move Appalachian production to mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets.


* Disrupted in recent years by an uncoordinated rollout of distributed energy resources across their service territories, U.S. electric utilities are increasingly exploring how to benefit from rooftop solar arrays, batteries and other small-scale resources by combining them into virtual power plants.

* A court-appointed compliance monitor found that PG&E Corp. is failing to trim trees that pose wildfire threats, the Los Angeles Times reported.

* A committee of the Denver City Council has advanced a proposal to impose an excise tax on the electricity and natural gas usage of industrial and commercial customers.

* A record amount of wind power capacity entered U.S. transmission interconnection queues in 2018, and wind represented 36% of total generating capacity in those queues, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's annual market report on wind technologies. Continued growth is uncertain if Congress allows tax credits to expire.

* Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds reportedly blocked state Attorney General Tom Miller from joining other states in suing the Trump administration over its Affordable Clean Energy rule, which replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, according to The Associated Press.

Natural gas

* An environmental group asked the Delaware River Basin Commission to claim jurisdiction over the PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC natural gas transportation project that would run between the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing a proposal to end oversight of methane leaks at oil and gas facilities, Bloomberg News reported. A formal announcement is expected within weeks.

* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a positive environmental assessment to Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC for its proposed Greene Interconnect natural gas project in West Virginia that would allow developers to provide customers with up to 1 Bcf/d of firm transportation service into the Columbia Gas Transmission LLC system.

* Two anti-fracking advocacy groups are seeking to reopen a case that stopped Longmont, Colo., from enacting a fracking ban, the Boulder (Colo.) Daily Camera reported.

* Avista Corp. reached a settlement agreement with all parties involved in its natural gas rate request in Oregon. If approved, the settlement would result in an increase in annual natural gas billed revenues by 4.2%.

* Halcón Resources Corp. has appointed Ragan Altizer as executive vice president, CFO and treasurer. Altizer was CFO of Ajax Resources LLC until the company substantially sold all of its assets to Diamondback Energy Inc.

* Papua New Guinea's petroleum minister warned that talks to renegotiate its LNG agreement with Total SA could end "disastrously," according to Reuters.


* Magellan Midstream Partners LP teamed up with exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. to auction dock-capacity rights to its Texas terminals for holders of ICE Permian West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contracts.

* The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board imposed a C$40,000 fine on ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. due to a "near miss" incident last fall when a dropped chain narrowly avoided injuring several workers, according to The Canadian Press.

* The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate granted Equinor ASA permission to start up the Utgard oil field in the North Sea in September, according to an Aug. 14 release from the agency.

* Koch Industries Inc. reached an agreement to sell its leases in Canada's oilsands to Cavalier Energy Inc., the Financial Post reported.

* NuStar Energy LP received its first shipment of Permian crude at its Corpus Christi North Beach Terminal in Texas.

* Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC will begin laying off some union workers at its refinery this Thursday, according to Reuters.


* Contura Energy Inc. is keeping several options on the table should it secure the bankruptcy auction purchase of certain Blackjewel LLC coal assets, including a resale or relatively quick pivot to reclaiming the acquired Powder River Basin mines, executives said on an Aug. 14 earnings call.

* Though the seaborne price on coal used for steelmaking has recently faltered, experts speaking at a coal industry event suggested the decline is likely cyclical and should see a midterm recovery.

* Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear will be reviewing whether coal companies are posting performance bonds to cover payroll cost for their workers, after learning that Blackjewel failed to do so when it filed for bankruptcy.


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Since the beginning of June, at least 19 C-suite executives have announced plans to leave their posts in the oil and gas sector.

New from RRA

* Settlements adopted by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on July 17 for New Mexico Gas Co. Inc. in Case No. 18-00038-UT rely on a test year that was historical at the time the proceeding was initiated, and because it took more than 17 months for the case to be decided, the test year was close to two years old when the company was permitted to implement the first step of the increase in August 2019. Even though state law permits the use of forecast test years, the PRC has rejected forward-looking test years when they have been proposed.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for 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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Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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