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Calif. utilities get a lifeline; FERC to speed up LNG project reviews

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. utilities get a lifeline; FERC to speed up LNG project reviews

Top News

As wildfire risks mount, Calif. legislators toss utilities a lifeline

State legislators passed a last-minute bill to shield California utilities from bankruptcy resulting from the wildfires sweeping across the state, but the companies are still exposed to billions of dollars in potential liabilities.

PJM stakeholders tackle questions on FERC capacity market order

PJM Interconnection stakeholders will have another opportunity to develop some consensus on reforms to the grid operator's capacity market now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has extended a deadline for comments.

FERC unveils federal agreement, new processes to speed up LNG project reviews

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission took steps to speed up its reviews of natural gas liquefaction and export projects with an agreement to collaborate with a federal safety agency and the release of environmental review schedules for a dozen proposed export terminals.

US coal exports surge 26% YOY in Q2, led by growth in India

The U.S. saw a 25.8% growth in coal exports during the second quarter compared to the year-ago period, shipping about 7.8 million more tons overseas.

Schlumberger CEO: Mindset change, investment needed to maintain market balance

Four years of record low activity in the international production base and headwinds in U.S. land-based production signal a need for a significant mindset changes and industry investment, Schlumberger Ltd. Chairman and CEO Paal Kibsgaard said Sept. 4 during the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference.

Quoted

"They've been increasing at a time that you'd think they'd be decreasing, with prices going up," said Energy economist Karr Ingham, on the increase in the number of drilled but uncompleted wells in the Permian Basin according to the EIA's latest Drilling Productivity Report, indicating that a capacity-related slowdown is starting to occur.

Power

* Federal regulators have accepted proposed revisions to PJM Interconnection's long-term financial transmission rights auction rules that will eliminate the three-year, long-term FTR auction product and adjust the treatment of auction revenue rights.

* NextEra Energy Partners LP has agreed to acquire a renewable portfolio, totaling 1,388 MW, from NextEra Energy Resources LLC for approximately $1.28 billion. In connection with the deal, the partnership also entered a $750 million convertible equity portfolio financing with a fund managed by BlackRock Global Energy & Power Infrastructure.

* A White House review of the Trump administration's proposal to replace the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan resulted to the removal of "dire climate change warnings" from the recently unveiled Affordable Clean Energy rule, according to Bloomberg News.

* The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected New England Power Generators Association's challenge to rules that require power generators to limit greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Associated Press.

* A new economic analysis finds that a domestic offshore wind industry would triple the number of wind energy jobs in five U.S. states and add $3.6 billion to the U.S. economy.

* Nevada has filed an appeal against U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission member David Wright's refusal to recuse from involving himself in decisions on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the AP reported.

* Public Service Co. of New Mexico has requested state regulators to expedite approval of two solar plants for Facebook's planned data center, the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal reported.

* Colorado Coalition of Ratepayers, which was put together by the Independence Institute, is considering an appeal of the state Public Utilities Commission's approval of Xcel Energy Inc.'s plan to decommission two units at the Comanche power plant, The Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain reported.

Natural gas

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit denied environmental groups' and a landowner's requests to review a Pennsylvania agency's decision that granted a permit to Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLCs 1.7-Bcf/d Atlantic Sunrise pipeline expansion, the last pieces of which are due in service in September.

* Investors were disappointed with the announced $1.87 billion sale of Southwestern Energy Co.'s Fayetteville Shale operations to a young, private-equity-backed driller, but the sale could be good news for midstream operator Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP, analysts said.

* The Oregon Department of Energy staff is recommending that the agency deny developers of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project an exemption to the typical regulatory process, the Willamette Week reported of Portland, Ore.

* The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit that aims to stop putting the proposed gas tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot, according to the AP.

Oil

* U.K. prosecutors are saying that former Afren plc CEO Osman Shahenshah and COO Shahid Ullah have defrauded the oil and gas company to increase their pay, Bloomberg News reported.

* The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said 9.23% of oil production and 9.06% of natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico was shut-in as of Sept. 4 in preparation for Tropical Storm Gordon. This amounts to 156,907 barrels of oil per day and 232 million cubic feet per day.

* Colorado officials said its methane pollution rules are working amid the Trump administration's move to roll back some of methane emissions rules, because leaks have decreased in the state, the AP reported.

* Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company announced Sept. 2 that it is considering adding approximately 75,000 barrels per day of fuel oil upgrading capacity to its portfolio of oil refining and petrochemical facilities.

* Between January 2013 and July 2018, deals in the Permian Basin totaled more than $90 billion, the San Antonio Express-News reported, citing a new report by two members of Ralph E. Davis Associates.

Coal

* Peabody Energy Corp. released thousands of acres of federal leases in the Powder River Basin in 2017, because it has determined that coal quality is "uneconomical in current market conditions," the Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune reported.

* The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is accepting bids for lease of 160.82 acres of federal land in Jefferson County, Ala., in response to a lease application filed by Best Coal Co.

* China is looking to invest $90 million into coal production in South Africa as part of a deal between Baobab Mining & Exploration Pty. Ltd. and China Railway International Group made during President Cyril Ramaphosa's state visit in China, the City Press reported Sept. 3.

ChartWatch

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Wholesale power prices in California joined the broader uptrend year over year in August, despite subdued demand.

New from RRA

* On Aug. 29, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission issued an order in Public Service Co. of Colorado's pending gas rate case granting the company a $46.6 million interim rate increase that is to become effective Sept. 1, subject to refund with interest, pending the commission's final decision in the case.

The day ahead

* Early morning 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.

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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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