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Norway fund's oil exit signals loss of confidence; mine sector eyes automation


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Norway fund's oil exit signals loss of confidence; mine sector eyes automation

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Dutch government speeds up coal plant closure to meet court-ordered CO2 cuts

The Dutch government will legislate to close a 630-MW coal-fired power plant in Amsterdam owned by Swedish utility Vattenfall AB five years earlier than scheduled in a bid to reach higher emissions reduction targets that were forced by an environmental lawsuit in 2015.

Norway fund's oil, gas divestment signals loss of confidence in sector

The Norwegian government's decision to sell the stocks of oil and gas exploration and production companies held in its sovereign wealth fund may not have much of an immediate impact on share prices but signals a huge loss of confidence in the oil and gas industry, according to analysts on Wall Street and environmental advocacy groups.

Mine sector eyes digitization, automation to solve array of challenges

Mining companies hold high hopes that technology and automation will help the industry solve problems related to resource depletion, employee safety and environmental impacts.

Permian drillers temper zeal for growth amid low oil prices, investor caution

Adapting to low oil prices has put many big Permian drillers in the same state of mind: Each is focused on cutting spending, building efficiency and generating free cash flow to reward investors.


"We've got the growth rate of ESG investing at a clip of about 12% compared to industry average of 5% and no sign of this going away any time soon," Libby Bernick, managing director and global head of Trucost Corporate Business at S&P Global Inc., said at S&P Global Market Intelligence's 32nd Annual Power and Gas M&A Symposium.


* New Hampshire regulators are remaining steadfast against requiring electric distribution companies to buy electricity at above-market prices from six uneconomic biomass power plants until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission weighs in on a state subsidy.

* More than two dozen Arizona public officials, including Arizona Corporation Commission member Andy Tobin, violated state law by tapping public resources to influence voters to reject a renewable energy ballot measure in November 2018, the Arizona Attorney General's Office determined.

* Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law a bill that is intended to save coal-fired power plants in the state, effective July 1. The measure requires utilities to first seek a buyer for a coal plant that they intend to retire, among other things.

* Pennsylvania state Rep. Thomas Mehaffie plans to introduce a bill today that would require preferential treatment for five nuclear power plants in the state, The Associated Press reported.

* Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is urging the state Department of Public Utilities to reconsider its decision that allows utilities to keep approximately $40 million in tax savings.

* In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., called for a "pragmatic" policy approach to address climate change.

* The District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld the approval of an initiative to place select transmission systems underground to improve electric service reliability and reduce the impact of storm-related outages.

* Rhode Island lawmakers are considering resolutions to release the findings of a study on the social and economic impacts of the Green New Deal, which calls for clean energy sources and energy efficiency projects to lower greenhouse gas emissions, according to the AP.

* A report from the National Interagency Coordination Center confirmed that 2018 was the worst year of wildfires for California. A total of 25,790 structures were destroyed by wildfires in 2018, more than double the previous record.

Natural gas

* A proposed new compressor station that would increase the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal's gas access would not significantly impact the environment, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's staff environmental review.

* Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC can start service on another piece of its Gulf Xpress natural gas pipeline expansion in Kentucky, having secured Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval.

* President Donald Trump formally announced his intent to nominate David Bernhardt as secretary of the Department of the Interior. Bernhardt currently serves as acting secretary and deputy secretary of the Interior.

* A bill that would change the way Colorado regulates the oil and natural gas industry is now heading to the state Senate after clearing three legislative committees, The Denver Post reported.

* Alaska Gasline Development Corp. is collaborating with BP PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. on ways to advance the Alaska LNG project.

* FERC approved Empire Pipeline Inc.'s proposed Empire North Project, which would allow the company to provide an additional 205,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation service to local gas distribution markets and market centers in the northeastern U.S. and Canada.

* In embracing the fracking revolution, China is also experiencing social and environmental challenges, including earthquakes linked to the drilling activity, The New York Times reported.


* Production of crude oil across the U.S. ended 2018 with a small sequential dip while still standing 18% higher year over year.

* Noble Midstream Partners LP closed its option with Epic Midstream Holdings LP to acquire a 30% equity interest in the EPIC Crude Pipeline. A $104 million catch-up payment for the project was contributed at close.

* Venezuela has to pay subsidiaries of ConocoPhillips more than $8 billion to settle a yearslong dispute over the seizure of land and assets in 2007, according to documents released March 8 by the World Bank Group's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

* The U.S. is expected to export more oil and liquids than Saudi Arabia, given the continued rise in oil production from its shale plays and the increased oil export capacity from the Gulf Coast, Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy said in a new report.

* Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras plans to reduce its operational costs by $8.1 billion cut from 2019 through 2023, according to Reuters. The state-owned company also is looking to offload some mature oil fields in Brazil.


* NACCO Industries Inc. will increase its 2019 capital expenditures year over year as it expands Mississippi Lignite Mining Co.'s mining area, according to a Form 8-K filing.

* Atrum Coal Ltd. said it is raising A$20 million by issuing 114.3 million shares in a two-tranche placement at 17.5 Australian cents per share.

* The federal government is paying $550,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration failed in preventing the 2010 explosion at the Performance Coal Co.-operated Upper Big Branch mine, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail reported. The suit was filed by the wife of a victim.


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The U.S. entered the first month of 2019 with 16 new power plants amounting to 1,760 MW of generating capacity. Gas accounted for 46%, or 806 MW, followed by solar with 586 MW and wind at 368 MW. Two units amounting to 66 MW were also shut down, bringing the total net capacity of additional power to 1,694 MW.

New from RRA

* On March 1, David Clark, a Republican, began serving a second six-year term on the Public Service Commission of Utah that extends to March 2025. This action follows his recent reappointment by Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, and his Feb. 5 confirmation by the Utah Senate.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed 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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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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