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Calif. decarbonization may mean more gas exports; US refiners expect windfall

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


Calif. decarbonization may mean more gas exports; US refiners expect windfall

Top News

Calif. decarbonization may mean more gas exports as western markets seek balance

Massive quantities of natural gas in western markets will need to find a new home if California moves forward with its plans to cut power sector carbon dioxide emissions to zero.

Coal sector report to DOE: 'Assess, support, reform, renew' to optimize fleet

A report created by a coal industry-led council recommends the U.S. Energy Department take on a four-step strategy to assess and support the existing U.S. fleet of coal-fired power plants through reformed regulations and renewed investment in coal generation technology.

US refiners expect windfall from tighter marine fuel sulfur standards

U.S. refining executives expect their firms to see a windfall from tougher marine fuel sulfur standards that will hit the global oil and petroleum product markets at the start of 2020.

After Gordon made landfall, Alabama Power says it 'dodged a bullet'

Electric utilities in Alabama and Mississippi are still working to restore power after Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall, but one company said it "definitely dodged a bullet" regarding outages that could have been worse.

Quoted

"I'm a skeptic of unauthorized regulation, illegal regulation, regulation that's outside the bounds of what the laws passed by Congress have said. And that is what is at the root of our administrative law and jurisprudence," U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh said during his confirmation hearing on the Chevron deference, a long standing precedent under which courts generally defer to federal agencies' interpretations of regulations that are ambiguous or silent on a particular issue.

Power

* As firefighters continued to battle the massive Mendocino Complex blaze, the largest wildfire in California's history, state legislators scrambled to come up with a last-minute law that would shield investor-owned electric utilities from billions of dollars in damages that result when electrical equipment ignites brush or trees.

* Carlyle Group LP agreed to acquire a 612-MW wind generation portfolio in New York from Noble Environmental Power for an undisclosed sum. The transaction represents the asset manager's first wind investment.

* NextEra Energy Partners could engage in third-party M&A to complement a just-announced $1.28 billion organic growth transaction, according to the CFO of NextEra Energy Inc.

* Capital Power Corp. signed an agreement to acquire the 580-MW Arlington Valley combined-cycle, gas-fired power facility Arizona from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP and its co-investors for $300 million.

* Duke Energy Corp. has decided to extend its net-metering program in South Carolina after reaching a deal with environmentalists and solar energy advocates, The State of Columbia, S.C., reported.

* The U.S. Senate on Sept. 4 passed by voice vote two bills directly impacting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. One of those bills aims to ensure that stakeholders have a way to challenge rate changes that go into effect automatically due to FERC's failure to act, and the other seeks to reconcile the thresholds for determining when the agency is required to approve various kinds of transactions.

Natural gas

* Freeport LNG Development LP made an agreement to support the planned fourth train of its Texas LNG export facility through an expected long-term off-take arrangement with a Japanese conglomerate described as a "foundation customer."

* Cheniere Energy Partners LP intends to offer $1.1 billion of senior notes due 2026 to prepay all of the outstanding term loans under its senior secured credit facilities due 2020. The offering is subject to market and other conditions.

* Funds affiliated with Ares Management LP closed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and business interests of Paradigm Energy Partners LLC from an affiliate of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The acquisition consists of two oil and natural gas gathering systems in North Dakota and a third in South Texas, along with joint venture interests in Sacagawea Pipeline Co. and various logistics assets in North Dakota.

* Tailwind Energy Ltd. has agreed to acquire EOG Resources Inc.'s U.K. business, which includes 100% of the producing Conwy oil field and a 25% non-operated interest in the Columbus gas development project.

* A New Jersey Resources Corp. unit wants to increase the capacity of a segment of a Pennsylvania natural gas pipeline project that will carry Marcellus gas supplies to the Philadelphia market.

* Exxon Mobil Corp. signed a framework agreement for a chemical complex in China's Guangdong province. The agreement also confirms the province's support in progressing the Huizhou LNG receiving terminal, in which ExxonMobil plans to participate.

Oil

* The board of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. voted to give back its net proceeds from the sale of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline system and expansion project to shareholders, with the return of capital to holders of restricted shares estimated at about C$1.2 billion.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government may appeal a ruling that overturned approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, according to Reuters. Trudeau also told Albertans not to expect short-term legislative fixes to put the pipeline project back on track quickly, The Globe and Mail reported.

* The U.S. Department of State plans to issue its court-mandated environmental review of the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of the year, according to a court document filed Sept. 4.

* The Minnesota Department of Commerce has concluded that Enbridge Inc.'s insurance does "not cover damages from crude oil spills to any significant degree, if at all," the Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

* Flint Hills Resources plans to expand its Ingleside crude oil export project along the Corpus Christi Ship Channel with four new crude oil storage tanks and 60,000 barrels per of hour of loading capability, the Houston Chronicle reported.

* Suncor Energy Inc. is putting a hold on planned crude expansions until it has "more clarity on pipelines," Reuters reported.

* Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the operator of Alaska's main oil pipeline, will cut its workforce by 10%, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Coal

* West Virginia saw a 149.5% year-over-year jump in severance tax revenue through August, with coal the major source of the increase, Gov. Jim Justice said at a Sept. 4 news conference.

* Export growth for seaborne coal continued in August, keeping upward pressure on high-quality bituminous coal prices.

ChartWatch

Demand for battery storage systems by Californian homes and businesses drove a 60% surge in U.S. energy storage additions in the second quarter of 2018 compared to a year ago, according to a new report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, formerly known as GTM Research, and the Energy Storage Association.

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New from RRA

* In a recommended decision issued Aug. 20, Pennsylvania administrative law judges recommended that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approve a $2.8 million rate increase for UGI Utilities Inc.

The day ahead

* The EIA natural gas storage and the petroleum status reports are due out today.

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* 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.

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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