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In this list

Duke selling Latin American assets; Peabody's met coal deal signals reversal of down cycle

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Duke selling Latin American assets; Peabody's met coal deal signals reversal of down cycle

Top News

Duke Energy to sell Latin America power business for $2.4B

In linewith its planned exitfrom its international energy business, DukeEnergy Corp. entered into a pair of deals Oct. 10 to sell its LatinAmerican holdings to China Three GorgesCorp. and I Squared Capitalfor about $2.4 billion in combined cash and assumed debt.

's leadership expectsthe backing of private equity firm First Reserve will help the company move beyondpast struggles and grow faster than it possibly could have as a publicly tradedentity. "It will be the status quo, but we'll be private. … Ourfocus will be growing organically, as well as inorganically through acquisitions,"Gas Natural's president and CEO, Gregory Osborne, said in an Oct. 10 interview.

Followinga rally in the spot market, a recent deal points to the fourth-quarter 2016 metallurgicalcoal benchmark likely doubling versus both the prior quarter and the year-ago periodto settle above market expectations, reversing a down cycle that lasted more thanfive years.

Power

* EntergyTexas Inc. is asking Texas regulators to approve a new "highly efficient and economical"combined-cycle natural gas generating unit near Willis, Texas. The subsidiary filed an applicationfor a certificate of convenience and necessity with the Public Utility Commissionof Texas for the planned 993-MW Montgomery County Power Station.

* subsidiary entered intoa deal to supply electricity to U.S.Steel Corp. for a five-year term ending in December 2021. The contractis subject to the approval of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, accordingto a company statement.

* has of an approximately$110 million environmentalupgrade project at unit 2 of Columbiacoal-fired plant in Wisconsin. The selective catalytic reduction system is intendedto reduce NOx by at least 50%. The company expects to complete the project by theend of 2018.

* has agreed topurchase 10% of the output of a planned 253-MW wind project in Scurry County, Texas,to power its operations in the state, according to a newsrelease. The Amazon WindFarm Texas project will sell 90%of its output to Amazon.comInc. The project, which is expected to go online in October 2017, isowned by Lincoln Clean Energy LLC.

Natural gas/midstream

* BrighamResources LLC is said to be exploring strategic options, including a possible saleand an IPO, according to TheWall Street Journal. The Austin, Texas-headquartered private oil and gascompany owns 72,000 acres of drilling land that could be valued at more than $2billion.

* Cheapnatural gas has helped fuel a manufacturingrenaissance in the United States, according to a recent report fromthe White House's National Economic Council. The report said the U.S. has added800,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector since early 2010.

* WunderlichSecurities Inc. downgraded Gas Natural Inc. to "sell" from "buy"after private equity firm First Reserve signed a deal to buy all of the outstanding common stock in Gas Natural."Despite the 'go-shop' agreement and a reasonable expectation of the deal closing,the risk reward trade-off in owning EGAS shares remains unattractive, in our view,"analyst Liam Burke wrote in an investor note.

* is suingthe estate of its former CEO — the late Aubrey McClendon — and challenging the roleof estate executor Thomas Blalock, TheOklahoman reports. Chesapeake Energy alleges that Blalock, who also waschief legal officer for American Energy Partners, cannot represent the interestof the estate and the creditors as an "essential fact witness and potentialparty with liability" to the proceedings. McClendon had founded American EnergyPartners after leaving Chesapeake Energy.

Coal

* Inan interview with CNBC,Murray Energy Corp. CEORobert Murray called Tesla MotorsInc. a "fraud" for failing to make a "penny yet in cashflow" despite receiving $2 billion in taxpayer subsidies. Tesla CEO Elon Muskresponded in a tweetthat the "real fraud going on is denial of climate science" and that hiscompany "gets pennies on dollar vs coal."

* Themorning after a contentious second presidential debate, coal advocates Republican candidate DonaldTrump for his heavy focus during the final moments of the event on the challengesfacing the industry.

* JERACo., a joint venture of Tokyo ElectricPower Co. Holdings Inc. and ChubuElectric Power Co., signed a nonbinding deal to buythe coal-trading business of EDF TradingLtd. The parties expect to sign a final deal in December.

* Earlyreporting coal mine production data indicates operations that survived a precipitousdownturn may be taking advantageof recent improvement in demand and prices. Most of the first 23 U.S. coal mineswith third-quarter production available are reporting increases in production overthe prior quarter.

Commodities

* Therally in crude oil prices that began with the meeting of OPEC members on Sept. 28prompted an influx ofbuying from "smart money" traders who appeared to be willing to bet onthe rally lingering for a while. Traders in natural gas reversed a trend of newlong additions that had lasted several weeks and showed that they may have addedto shorts just before the rally gained momentum.

* Followingan impressive rally in natural gas futures alongside supportive weather outlooks,term prices across the U.S. were biasedhigher during the week ended Oct. 7. In gas futures trading, modestgains defined the opening session of the workweek Oct. 3 with the front-month Novembercontract adding 1.7 cents to close at $2.923/MMBtu, which extended by 4.1 centsthe following day, Oct. 4 to rise to $2.964/MMBtu.

* Afterending the week's opening session up another 8.2 cents at $3.275/MMBtu, Novembernatural gas futures initially took to the defensiveovernight ahead of the Tuesday, Oct. 11, open but regained footing to last tradeat new 21-month highs. Last deals were pegged 1.5 cents higher at $3.290/MMBtu.

* Day-aheadpower prices could move in divergingdirections Tuesday, Oct. 11, as traders consider jumbled demand forecastsfor midweek alongside the recent volatility in natural gas futures trading. Afterrallying 8.2 cents and reaching a 21-month high in the prior session, front-monthNovember natural gas futures were easing slightly early Tuesday.

New from RRA

* OnOct. 6, the New Jersey Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities committee Senate Bill 2276, which wouldcreate a New Jersey Solar Energy Study Commission, as well as increase the amountof energy that would be required to be produced from solar. The legislation willnow be sent to the Assembly floor, where it will be read for a second time.

Quoted

"Theimpact of this [hurricane], and what we thought was going to happen from the forecastswe were getting, we were ready: we had resources in place, they were staged andthey were lined up with what we expected to happen. But the punch was bigger,"Duke Energy Storm Director Bobby Simpson said,projecting service should be restored to all customers by Oct. 16.

The day ahead

* Earlymorning 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.