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Wash. city plan could push gas ban boundaries; Occidental's divestment options


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Wash. city plan could push gas ban boundaries; Occidental's divestment options

Top News

SEC proposed rule would have blocked 614 ESG resolutions since 2010, data shows

Since 2010 more than 600 environmental, social and governance-related resolutions likely would have never advanced under a newly proposed rule by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to data the Sustainable Investments Institute shared with S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Electric retrofit proposal could push gas ban boundaries in Wash. city

A city in the Pacific Northwest is poised to consider building electrification measures that would push the envelope in the growing gas ban movement, going beyond the new-building-focused requirements other municipalities have laid out.

Making Western Midstream independent may ease Occidental's path to divestment

Enabling Western Midstream Partners LP to operate as an independent midstream company could make it easier for independent driller Occidental Petroleum Corp. to find a buyer for the master limited partnership, industry analysts said.

Wood Mackenzie: Australia fires unlikely to significantly disrupt coal exports

While the fires in Australia are reportedly not expected to die down anytime soon, Wood Mackenzie does not expect a significant impact to the massive coal-exporting nation's supply chain.


"It's going to be interesting when we lose 700 total megawatts of baseload power," Montana Republican state Sen. Duane Ankney said, after two coal-fired steam turbines operating since the mid-1970s at the 2,094-MW Colstrip power plant in Montana were shut down Jan. 5, nearly two-and-a-half years earlier than the legally mandated deadline imposed by a settlement agreement reached between environmental groups and the plant's six owners.


* Developers and grid operators in Europe are increasingly looking to battery storage to protect against, and ultimately profit from, the volatility created by an electricity system with a growing amount of intermittent renewable power. But installations are still relatively few.

* Electric utilities in the U.S. state of California and in Australia face similar challenges serving wildfire-prone regions, but Fitch Ratings has assigned a lower "exposure to environmental impacts" risk score to two utilities Down Under than it gave to three major electric companies in the Golden State.

* El Paso Electric Co. and the Infrastructure Investments Fund filed an unopposed stipulation with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission regarding the fund's proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the utility. The commission is scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter Jan. 16.

* Although the potential sale or restructuring of Florida municipal utility JEA has been scrapped, documents from the solicitation process show that any buyers would not have been obligated to become involved in the utility's long-running legal entanglements related to power contracts for the delayed Vogtle nuclear project.

* The wave of switching coal-fired power generation to natural gas in the U.S. saved more than 26,000 lives over the past decade, according to a University of California, San Diego, study published in the journal Nature. About 334 coal-fired units were retired from 2005 to 2016, while 612 new gas-fired units started commercial operations.

* Morgantown Energy Associates Inc., owned by controlled affiliates of Starwood Energy Group Global LLC, terminated its electricity purchase agreement with Monongahela Power Co.

Natural gas

* A New York state agency, pushed out of a permitting role by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after the state agency decided against the Williams Cos. Inc.-led Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC natural gas transportation project, wants its authority back.

* Outrigger Energy II LLC signed a long-term definitive gas gathering and processing agreement with XTO Energy Inc. to service the latter's production in Williams County, N.D. The gathering system will comprise a 70-mile, rich gas pipeline originating in eastern Williams County and terminating at a new 250-MMcf/d cryogenic gas processing plant located west of Williston, N.D.

* Exports of U.S. LNG cargoes to Europe remained strong in October 2019 as LNG producers continued to rely on the region to play a key role in balancing the global LNG market.

* Burning fossil fuels such as gas, oil and propane in buildings accounts for 10% of total greenhouse emissions in the U.S., according to a report by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Building infrastructure in 10 states, including New York, California and Illinois, accounts for 56% of those emissions.

* Range Resources Corp. announced a 2020 capital budget of $520 million that will help maintain a daily production capacity of 2.3 Bcfe/d. The company expects fourth-quarter 2019 production to be near the high end of its prior guidance of 2.33 Bcfe/d to 2.35 Bcfe/d.


* Premier Oil PLC is acquiring Andrew Area and Shearwater assets from BP PLC for $625 million and purchasing an additional 25% stake in Tolmount Area from Dana for $191 million plus contingent payments of up $55 million.

* Separately, hedge fund Asia Research & Capital Management Ltd. said it will oppose the proposed acquisitions by Premier Oil, stating that the deals would expose the company's balance sheet to significant incremental risks. The fund holds more than 15% of the company's debt.

* U.S. crude oil and petroleum net imports declined for the third consecutive year to 1.0 million barrels per day in 2019 to set another record low, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* Occidental Petroleum's plan to make Anadarko Petroleum Corp. an independent entity is expected to trim approximately $7.8 billion of its debt, Bloomberg News reported.

* Enterprise Products Partners LP unit Enterprise Products Operating LLC priced a $3 billion senior note offering consisting of $1 billion of senior notes due Jan. 31, 2030; $1 billion of senior notes due Jan. 31, 2051; and $1 billion of senior notes due Jan. 31, 2060.

* Enbridge Inc. withdrew its application with the U.S. Maritime Administration for a permit to build a crude oil export terminal near Freeport, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported.

* Diamondback Energy Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2019 average daily production of 301.3 MBOE/d, up 65% from the same period of 2018. Viper Energy Partners LP, a subsidiary of Diamondback, posted fourth-quarter average daily production of 26.1 MBOE/d, an increase of 29% from fourth quarter of 2018.


* Creditors of Beijing-based Wintime Energy Co. Ltd. proposed that the coal conglomerate file for bankruptcy after it defaulted on about US$2 billion of bonds, Reuters reported, citing a relevant document.


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After falling more than $92 billion in the third quarter of 2019, the market capitalization of the five largest publicly traded oil and gas companies recovered by only $2.36 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

New from RRA

* PG&E Corp. was the best-performing utility overall in December 2019, gaining 45.7% compared to the overall average gain of 4.1%.

* 2020 kicks off with considerable uncertainty at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as industry stakeholders anxiously await critical policy direction from FERC on equity returns, transmission incentives and pipeline certificate reviews.

* January is poised to be a very busy month for the electric and natural gas utilities and their regulators. Numerous pending rate cases could be decided, and several others are expected to see major developments.

The day ahead

* 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.

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