Onthe heels of announcing plans to shut down three coal-fired plants in southernIllinois, Dynegy Inc.is considering mothballing an additional 500 MW and looking to restructure theportfolio of Illinois assets it acquired from Ameren Corp. in 2013, executives said May 4.
Thefederal pipeline safety regulator is working to release rules governingunderground natural gas storage within the next six months. Spurred into actionby a multi-month leakat the Aliso Canyon gas storage field in California, the U.S. Pipeline andHazardous Materials Safety Administration plans to produce a rulemaking settingminimum safety standards for underground storage facilities on an"aggressive" timetable, PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguezsaid May 3.
Publiclytraded U.S. coal producers that have managed to stay amid stricter , cheap natural gas andwarmer weather, now face the additional challenge of rivals from restructuring relieved ofdebt burdens and operating at lower costs.
*NRG Yield Inc. appointedChristopher Sotos as president and CEO, effective May 6. Interim President andCEO Mauricio Gutierrez will transition the role to Sotos through the secondquarter, and will assume the role of chairman of the NRG Yield board, accordingto a company statement. In more news, NRG Energy Inc. unveiled its intentionto offer NRG Yield an opportunity to acquire the remaining 51.05% stake in the250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch facility during the second quarter of2016.
* Celebrity businessman Donald Trump is the presumptiveRepublican nominee for president, meaning that his stance on energy and otherlightly mentioned policy areas could take greater shape in the coming months.
*The U.S. NRC has directedits staff to redo its analysis and consider additional "severeaccident minimization" at Entergy Corp.'s Indian Point nuclear plant inWestchester County, N.Y. The move came after the commission found that staff'sprevious analysis of "severe accident minimization" at facilityviolates the National Environmental Policy Act. The decision was hailedby New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
*Separately, the NRC approveda request by Duke EnergyCorp. to increase the generating capacity of Catawba unit 1 by 1.7%to 1,187 MW from about 1,167 MW. Duke intends to implement the uprate in May.
*SolarCity Corp. haslaunched a new set of services for utility and grid operators, includinginstallation, financing, and consulting services for utility-scale solar andenergy storage resource development, as well as advanced controls for demandresponse, distributed energy resources and aggregated grid services, accordingto a company statement.
*The Iowa Utilities Board has put Energy Transfer Partners LP's Dakota Access LLC onnotice for engaging in construction-related activities without notifyinginspectors, according to a news release.While the board did not impose a penalty on Dakota Access, it warned that anyfuture violations of its orders may result in action by the board, includingcivil penalties. The Dakota Access pipelineproject is an approximate 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline that willconnect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka,Ill.
*TransCanada Corp. haswithdrawn the pre-merger notification for its planned acquisition of andwill file newdocuments with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on May 6.
* Former Chairmanand CEO Charif Souki is "aiming to undercut" rival LNG companies by 15% to 20% with hisrecently launchednatural gas liquefaction and export company called Tellurian Investments, The FinancialTimes reports. The newcompany, which will offer mid-scale natural gas liquefaction andexport projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast, is targeting first shipments in2022. The plan could require up to $12 billion in financing.
*Phillips 66 PartnersLP is selling 11 millioncommon units at $52.40 per unit to help repay a portion of the notes payable toPhillips 66 Co. inconnection with the partnership's acquisition of the Standish Pipeline and the remaining75% ownership interest in Phillips 66 Sweeny Frac LLC.
*An administrative lawjudge of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and itssubsidiaries to withdraw controversial bonus plans and to pay a civil penalty of $150,000 tothe Secretary of Labor within 40 days starting May 2.
*Without disclosing the number, is layingoff some office employees, the Casper(Wyo.) Star-Tribune reports. The layoffs do not include miningpersonnel.
*Amid an ongoing reviewof the program's rules this year, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative officialsare considering making some majorchanges to the Northeast carbon cap-and-trade program. While thereare several market design issues that will be scrutinized, first and foremost,RGGI officials should look to tightenthe program's emissions cap and alter, or even do away with, the costcontainment reserve.
*Spot natural gas prices weredown year over year in April even as temperatures were coolerversus the year-ago period. During the month, spot prices in the northeastaveraged the highest of all regions at $1.963/MMBtu, and posted both thelargest gain versus the prior month and the lowest year-over-year decline.
*After ending the prior session up 5.5 cents at $2.141/MMBtu, June natural gasfutures were nearunchanged overnight ahead of the Thursday, May 5, open, absent anysignificant revisions to fundamentals, with the weekly storage report due outat midmorning poised to become the next major catalyst for change.
*Power prices for day-ahead delivery could be mixed with a Thursday, May 5, astraders consider expectations for jumbled but predominantly declining load atthe close of the workweek alongside lackluster trading activity at the naturalgas futures complex.
*The weekly natural gasinventory report to be released by the U.S. Energy Information Administrationat 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 5, is expectedto show natural gas inventories climbing at a slower rate than theprevious week as another surge of colder weather impacted natural gas demand.
New from RRA
*On May 4, the TexasPublic Utility Commission extended to June 10, the deadline for the PUC to respondto motions for reconsidering the commission's March 24 order conditionallyapproving the proposed acquisition of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC by a consortium ofinvestors led by HuntConsolidated Inc. However, the commissioners indicated that theyplan to issue a ruling in this proceeding at a May 19 open meeting.
* OnMay 4, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, nominated David Sweet to fill a vacancy on thePennsylvania Public Utility Commission that was created when formerCommissioner Pamela Witmer, a Republican, announced that she would leave the PUC at the end ofApril to take a position in the private sector.
"We'remuch more interested in solar than we are wind," Dominion Chairman,President and CEO Thomas Farrell II said during the company's first-quarter 2016 earningscall. "Wind is not a good asset, in the territories where we do business,for producing power reliably. Solar is better."
The day ahead
* At9 a.m. ET, Energy Transfer EquityLP and EnergyTransfer Partners LP will holdtheir first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At9 a.m. ET, EversourceEnergy will holdits first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At9 a.m. ET, NRG EnergyInc. will holdits first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At9 a.m. ET, OGE Energy Corp.will holdits first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At10 a.m. ET, Alliant EnergyCorp. will holdits first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At10 a.m. ET, Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC will hold its first-quarter 2016earnings call.
* At10 a.m. ET, Williams Cos.Inc. and WilliamsPartners LP will hold theirfirst-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At10:30 a.m. ET, NRG YieldInc. will holdits first-quarter 2016 earnings call.
* At10:30 a.m. ET, WGL HoldingsInc. will holdits second-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings call.
*The EIA natural gas storage report is due out today.