5 key power-sector storylines to watch at US federal agencies in 2020
With a slate of key rulemakings either finalized or nearing completion, 2020 could see a slew of crucial court rulings and federal agency actions that shape the fate of the Trump administration's energy deregulatory agenda.
Facing threats to pipeline development, industry seeks to reset conversation
Municipal gas bans and environmental opposition to new natural gas infrastructure are a threat to the industry but are a big leap away from crippling the pipeline sector, according to veteran energy executive Stan Chapman III.
API calls on Trump to end trade war, positions itself for election year
The U.S. oil and gas industry's largest trade group is going on the offensive in the 2020 election year, rolling out a series of television commercials aimed at politicians and swing-state voters and pushing a message of civil compromise, while acknowledging the industry's responsibility to help prevent climate change.
Mont. regulators, Navajo Transitional Energy extend sovereign immunity waiver
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC reached a 65-day extension on an interim limited waiver of sovereign immunity that will allow the Spring Creek coal mine to remain open.
"The Iranians are going to say, 'In one of those sectors, are there easy targets that I can go after?' The answer is yes," James Lewis, senior vice president and director of the technology policy program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said regarding U.S. companies in the energy, telecoms and finance spaces that remain vulnerable to cyber attacks carried out by Iranian proxies in retaliation for the killing of the country's senior security commander.
* Last year Germany produced more power from renewables than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time ever, as high prices for carbon emissions drove record numbers of coal plants off the grid.
* Affiliates of Google LLC and NV Energy Inc. agreed to power a new $600 million data center in Henderson, Nev., near Las Vegas, through what they say is the world's biggest battery-backed solar deal for a corporate customer.
* U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were 12% lower compared to the 2005 levels, putting the country at risk of missing its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17% reduction by the end of 2020, according to a report by Rhodium Group.
* A host of high-profile regulatory changes and new laws are set to sweep through Europe's biggest energy markets this year, impacting everything from coal retirements and new renewables development to grid planning and the M&A landscape.
* The government-owned electric utility of Puerto Rico has been working to reestablish power across the island following a series of powerful earthquakes that caused infrastructure damage.
* Virginia could trim electric bills, improve public health and reduce carbon emissions by adopting the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard included in a proposed Clean Economy Act bill, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
* Global solar installations are projected to reach 142 GW in 2020, 14% more than 2019, according to a report by IHS Markit. The 142-GW mark will be seven times the global solar capacity 10 years ago.
* Eleven institutional investors who manage £130 billion and 100 individual shareholders co-signed a petition for Barclays PLC to stop financing energy companies, including gas and electric utilities, that are not aligned with the Paris climate deal, the Financial Times reported.
* All the power plants in Puerto Rico were taken offline after an earthquake, Bloomberg News reported. The regional electricity authority said the restoration process is underway.
* The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC faced another legal setback Jan. 7 when the U.S. Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit vacated a state air permit for a compressor station in Buckingham County, Va., finding inadequate consideration of both environmental justice and the potential use of electric turbines at the station.
* Energy Transfer LP subsidiary Energy Transfer Operating LP priced an underwritten public offering of $4.5 billion of senior notes and $1.6 billion of preferred units to repay debt, among other purposes.
* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Chesapeake Utilities Corp.'s proposed Del-Mar Energy Pathway Project that will supply 11.8 MMcf/d of additional natural gas and 2.5 MMcf/d of off-peak transportation service.
* TC Energy Corp. will delay restarting construction on a section of its C$6.6 billion Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. project pending negotiations with First Nations groups that issued an eviction notice to workers at the site.
* Pembina Pipeline Corp. revised its proportionate share of capital costs related to the propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene upgrading facility to C$2.7 billion after entering a lump sum engineering, procurement and construction contract with Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corp.
* Greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas companies could increase by 30% to a projected total of 990.5 million tons by 2025, compared to their combined emissions level in 2018, The Hill in Washington, D.C., reported, citing a report by the Environmental Integrity Project.
* With the impending sale of some of its U.K. upstream interests to Premier Oil PLC for $625 million, BP PLC is one step closer to completing its $10 billion divestment program, reducing debt and starting buybacks, according to analysts.
* On average, prices of Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate were both $7 per barrel lower in 2019 than their average prices in 2018, according to the Energy Information Administration.
* Oilfield services companies face another challenging year in 2020 languishing at the bottom of the investment pool before valuations improve and recovery gets underway in 2021, Raymond James analysts said.
* Oil prices climbed late Jan. 7 after Iran fired ballistic missiles at Iraqi airbases hosting U.S. military in retaliation for an airstrike that killed a top military commander last week.
* Nabors Industries Ltd. priced a $1 billion private placement of senior guaranteed notes in two tranches to finance the repurchase of up to $800 million of senior notes and any remainder for repaying other debt.
* Oil shippers are raising their rates by as much as 14% compared to previous rates to carry crude from and through Persian Gulf as risks mount after Iranian retaliation, Bloomberg News.
* Apache Corp. and TOTAL SA on Jan. 7 said they made a "significant" oil discovery at the Maka Central-1 well offshore Suriname on Block 58.
* China National Petroleum Corp. called back its staff at the West Qurna-1 oilfield in Iraq as the tension in the region continues to escalate, Reuters reported.
* Consol Energy Inc. made an initial investment in the coal-to-products space by acquiring a 25% equity interest in CFOAM Corp., which owns manufacturing facilities in Triadelphia, W.Va., through a subsidiary. CFOAM Ltd. owns the remaining 75% of CFOAM Corp.
* The closure of coal-fired plants and the addition of new natural gas units in the U.S. from 2005 to 2016 saved an estimated 26,610 lives in the immediate vicinities of the shuttered coal plants, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Sustainability.
The top 20 U.S. electric and multi-utility companies covered by the S&P Global Market Intelligence recorded a total market capitalization of $783.97 billion at the close of the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase from $776.79 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2019.
New from RRA
* American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. recently implemented new electric rates following the conclusion of the company's first Arkansas-jurisdictional base rate case since 2009.
The day ahead
* The U.S. EIA petroleum status report is due out today.
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