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Avangrid, PPL considering $67B merger; gulf widens between renewable, E&P stocks

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Avangrid, PPL considering $67B merger; gulf widens between renewable, E&P stocks

Top News

Report: Avangrid, PPL considering $67B merger

Avangrid Inc. and PPL Corp. are in talks to combine all or parts of their businesses, which could result to a more than $67 billion deal, the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the discussion.

Record prices in Mass. offshore wind lease sale influencing UK seabed auction

For the first time in a decade, the U.K. is preparing to auction off new areas of its seabed for offshore wind development, and the agency in charge of the process has admitted that record high prices being paid for seabed leases along the U.S. East Coast influenced its structure.

Gulf widens between renewable and beaten-down E&P stocks

The fortunes of renewable energy and fossil-fuel investors have diverged dramatically in the past year, with shares in wind and solar companies boosted by long-term growth forecasts, while oil and gas producers face deep skepticism that their newfound capital discipline will last.

New York threatens fines over National Grid gas moratorium, orders gas hookups

New York regulators threatened millions of dollars in fines against National Grid USA and ordered the company to immediately restore service to more than 1,000 downstate customers impacted by an ongoing moratorium on gas hookups.

Analyst: BP's write-down reflects 'difficult market' for upstream asset sales

BP PLC's announced write-down of as much as $3 billion in the third quarter due to recent divestments highlights the challenging nature of the current M&A environment, RBC Capital Markets analysts said.

Quoted

"We've been very consistent about M&A for a long time and … we're very disciplined about it," NextEra Energy Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Jim Robo said in describing his company's approach to potential acquisitions. "And what do I mean by disciplined? It's got to make financial sense."

Power

* Sempra Energy agreed to sell its equity interests in its Chilean businesses, including its 100% stake in Chilquinta Energia SA to China's State Grid International Development Co. Ltd. for $2.23 billion in cash, subject to adjustments for working capital and net indebtedness and other adjustments.

* While it is not shutting the door on fossil fuels, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. is targeting 2,600 MW of wind, solar and storage capacity to replace its aging coal-fired fleet.

* Increased use of energy-efficient appliances and electronics, including light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, may be driving a downward trend in electricity consumption in the U.S., with average residential electricity consumption dropping to 10.4 MWh annually in 2017, from a peak of 11.5 MWh in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

* Efforts by Boulder, Colo., to form its own municipal electric utility took a step forward Oct. 10 when the Colorado Public Utilities Commission verbally approved the city's request for permission to condemn certain Xcel Energy Inc. assets.

* Things "did not go well" at Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s operations center in San Francisco the week of Oct. 7 when the utility implemented precautionary blackouts to its customers in the state, with its website going down and its communications and computer systems faltering, The New York Times reported.

* Separately, Pacific Gas and Electric said Oct. 12 that it had restored power to more than 99.5% of customers impacted by the public safety power shutoff.

* In a tweet, grid operator Southwest Power Pool announced that it set a renewable-penetration record of 73.67% on Oct. 9.

* SPower resubmitted an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board for its 212-MW Seneca County Wind Farm, The Advertiser-Tribune of Tiffin, Ohio, reported.

Natural gas

* The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has denied permits to the 116-mile PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC natural gas transportation project and closed the application, state Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

* Australia's LNG Ltd. reached an agreement to push back the deadline for finalizing a deal for its proposed Magnolia LNG LLC export terminal in Louisiana to supply 2 million tonnes per annum of LNG to support a gas-to-power project in Vietnam.

* Total SA has expanded its partnership with Adani Group to supply and market natural gas in India. The French energy company will acquire a 37.4% stake in gas distributor Adani Gas Ltd. through a tender offer and a direct share purchase.

* Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC agreed to pay a $2.15 million fine and submit to court-supervised compliance with environmental protections to settle a lawsuit brought by Virginia's attorney general over the developer's alleged environmental violations.

* California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill limiting oil and gas development in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported.

* Natural gas developers are optimistic that findings of a recent report by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission on water quality could prevent a potential fracking ban by the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Oil

* Seven U.S. lawmakers are asking President Donald Trump not to let refining company Citgo Petroleum Corp. fall into Russian hands, if it defaults loan payment to PJSC Rosneft Oil Co. , the Houston Chronicle reported. Venezuelan state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA used Citgo as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan from Rosneft in 2016.

* ConocoPhillipsagreed to sell its Australia-West assets and operations to Santos Ltd. for $1.39 billion, plus customary closing adjustments.

* The U.S. Census Bureau made corrections to its data that showed crude oil exports to Mexico in July and August, Bloomberg News reported. The corrections came after the Mexican government denied importing oil this year.

* Oil leakage from Suezmax tanker, the Sabity, is coming to an end and the situation is under control, its owner National Iranian Tanker Co. said in a statement Oct. 11, and denied reports of fire in the vessel.

* Energean Oil & Gas PLC agreed to sell Edison Exploration & Production SpA's U.K. and Norwegian subsidiaries to Neptune Energy Group Holdings Ltd. for $250 million in cash. The deal is contingent on Energean completing its offer to acquire Edison E&P.

Coal

* PacifiCorp's recently announced plan to retire nearly 2,800 MW of coal-fired generation by 2030 and nearly 4,500 MW by 2038 to make way for renewable energy and battery storage capacity could undercut the coal sector's argument that the fuel is necessary for reliable energy generation.

* The International Monetary Fund has suggested that one of the best ways to prevent average global temperatures from exceeding 2 degrees C would be to set a global tax on carbon that would "rise rapidly" to $75 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions in 2030. In contrast, a recent scientific paper said that starting with a high price on carbon and cutting it over time could be an even more effective strategy.

ChartWatch

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A coal industry trade group tossed natural gas under the bus in a blog post calling for more development of carbon capture technologies to limit global carbon emissions, noting that U.S. carbon emissions increased in 2018. The spike comes amid an ongoing trend in power plants switching to gas fuel.

New from RRA

* The Oregon Public Utility Commission authorized Avista Corp. a $3.6 million gas base rate increase in an order issued on Oct. 8, following the adoption of two settlements in Docket No. UG-366. New rates are to become effective Jan. 15, 2020.

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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