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Texas pipeline overbuild looms; US oil, gas producers may be ripe for M&A

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Plan to save Pa. nukes calls for zero-emission resource requirement

Pennsylvania lawmakers want electric distribution companies to get a portion of their electricity from zero-emission resources such as nuclear power to keep open plants declared to be at risk of shutting down.

Texas pipeline overbuild looms as companies rush to add Permian infrastructure

The race to transport ballooning oil and gas supplies from the Permian Basin to markets on the Gulf Coast risks turning into an infrastructure glut unless some pipeline companies either combine or cancel their projects.

MSHA's efforts to blur mining divisions get a nod in president's budget

President Donald Trump's fiscal-year 2020 budget request includes funds to further an effort to consolidate coal and metal/nonmetal divisions of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

US oil, gas producers may be ripe for M&A, but buyers hard to find, analysts say

Lower valuations for independent oil and gas producers could set the stage for consolidation, according to some industry analysts. But the reality of low oil prices and a disciplined spending climate may make buyers hard to come by.


"For the state legislature to ignore the challenges facing these plants, it would be one of the most irresponsible and irreversible decisions we've made in a generation," Pennsylvania State Rep. Tom Mehaffie said during a press conference to introduce a bill to require electric distribution companies to get a portion of their electricity from zero-emission resources such as nuclear power to keep open plants declared to be at risk of shutting down.


* A looming battle over Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s assumed right to reject contracts with energy suppliers as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization will remain before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Northern California after a federal district court judge on March 11 denied motions from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and contract counterparties for the issue to be withdrawn from the bankruptcy court.

* California Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly told S&P Global Ratings analysts that he is considering an overhaul of the state Public Utilities Commission, The Wall Street Journal reported. Newsom could unveil the plan "in a matter of weeks."

* President Donald Trump proposed an 11% cut to the U.S. Department of Energy's budget for fiscal year 2020, with large declines sought again for the agency's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

* A new study released by the University of Wyoming's Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy shows that New Mexico is the lowest-cost state for wind farm development in the West, followed by Montana, Colorado and Wyoming.

* Mineral Gap Data Center and Sun Tribe Solar LLC received funding from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to turn an abandoned coal mine into a 3.5-MW solar facility, the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier reported.

Natural gas

* At CERAWeek by IHS Markit, S&P Global Market Intelligence sat down with Tellurian Inc. President and CEO Meg Gentle to talk about the company's financial structure, its potential business partners, and trade tensions.

* The Florida state Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill that would ban some forms of fracking for oil and gas exploration in the state, according to The Associated Press.

* The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission said indigenous artifacts found at the work site of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project were not likely in their original location. "However, a definitive determination on their exact location of origin can not be made," the regulator said.

* Private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP agreed to acquire a majority stake in oilfield water infrastructure provider Goodnight Midstream LLC from Tailwater Capital LLC and other private investors for about $930 million.

* The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reached a settlement with Diversified Gas & Oil Corp., Diversified Oil & Gas LLC and Alliance Petroleum Co. LLC over abandoned wells. The companies agreed to a $7 million surety bond for the wells, plus additional bonds for each abandoned or nonproducing oil and gas well in the acquired in the future.

* The Mississippi Public Service Commission set aside $5 million for potential expansion of natural gas lines in rural areas across the state, the AP reported.


* The U.S. in 2018 led the world in crude oil production growth and for the first time in two decades also became the leader in demand growth, as consumption increased more than 500,000 barrels per day, the International Energy Agency said March 11.

* Top oil executives, including BP PLC CEO Bob Dudley and Royal Dutch Shell PLC director of integrated gas and new energy Maarten Wetselaar, plan to urge the industry at a conference to address climate change and technology concerns because they scare investors away, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* BP PLC lobbied to weaken rules on methane emissions in the U.S., despite campaigning for reducing emissions to combat climate change, the Financial Times reported.

* A U.S. judge tossed a lawsuit by Petróleos de Venezuela SA to recover money from alleged bid-rigging by oil traders, The Wall Street Journal reported. Separately, buyers like CITGO Petroleum Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. are attempting to return Venezuelan oil due to U.S. sanctions on state-run Petróleos de Venezuela, according to Reuters.

* Power blackouts in Venezuela caused crude oil production in the country to plunge, Bloomberg News reported.

* Colombia's National Hydrocarbons Agency and Royal Dutch Shell PLC signed two exploration and production contracts for the COL 3 and GUA OFF 3 blocks located in the Colombian Caribbean Sea.


* Two bills intended to benefit coal producers in West Virginia received final legislative approval on March 9 and now await the signature of Republican Gov. Jim Justice, whose family owns several coal companies in Appalachia.

* JRL Energy Inc., a company formed to mine metallurgical and thermal grade coal in southeast Kentucky, raised an additional $10 million from a second U.S. Department of Agriculture-backed credit facility.

* Global insurance group Mapfre SA will no longer underwrite construction of coal mines and coal-fired power plants or invest in electric utilities that derive at least 30% of their revenue from coal-produced energy, the company announced during its annual general meeting March 8.

* Canada's federal budget could include more aid for coal industry workers to transition to new jobs, according to The Canadian Press.


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More than 7,400 MW of aging and little-used gas-fired generating capacity is expected to be retired in the U.S. between 2019 and 2026, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

New from RRA

* M&A activity in the U.S. utility sector has been fairly robust in recent years. Since 2017 there have been 11 transactions totaling almost $75 billion completed, with three of these — aggregating to a transaction value of $27 billion — closing in the first few weeks of this year.

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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