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Federal fears in Western grid debate; coal firms tout strong export market in Q2

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Federal fears in Western grid debate; coal firms tout strong export market in Q2

Top News

Former FERC chair: Federal fears misplaced in western regional grid debate

As California state lawmakers continue their debate over legislation that would enable the California ISO to transition into a regional transmission organization for the western U.S., they can rest assured that doing so would not bring on additional scrutiny from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, former FERC Chairman Norman Bay said.

Trump's Turkey tariff hike expected to hit Kinder Morgan gas pipeline project

President Donald Trump's plan to double tariffs on steel imported from Turkey to 50% could place additional financial pressure on Kinder Morgan Inc.'s proposed 1.98-Bcf/d Gulf Coast Express Pipeline LLC and dampen prospects for future U.S. natural gas projects.

Coal producers tout strong export market in Q2 that reduced domestic supply

Many U.S. coal companies reported that they benefited from a strong export market through the second quarter that helped tighten the domestic sector.

Demand for OPEC oil seen at 33.40 MMbbl/d in H2; July output was 32.32 MMbbl/d

OPEC still has to show the market more crude oil barrels if it wants to avoid a supply squeeze later this year, the producer group's own analysis shows.

Quoted

"From elections to electricity, we know that Russia will continue to launch cyberattacks on our systems. Unless we act now, the United States will continue to remain vulnerable to the 21st century cyberarmies looking to wage war by knocking out America's electricity grid," U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in a letter to federal agencies and major utilities inquiring about Russian cyberattacks and the steps being taken to thwart them.

Power

* A top solar module manufacturer expects the U.S. market to strengthen through the second half of the year, with tax policy helping to drive development after activity slowed in the wake of new import tariffs that the Trump administration imposed in January.

* PG&E Corp. CEO Geisha Williams is blaming climate change for wildfires in California, as she tries to shield the company from being on hook for $17 billion in potential liabilities, Bloomberg News reported.

* Funds controlled by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners Inc. are selling their ownership interest in Washington state utility Puget Sound Energy Inc.

* American Electric Power Co. Inc. units Appalachian Power Co. and Wheeling Power Co. filed a settlement agreement with West Virginia regulators that would allow customer rates to remain stable for two years, according to The Associated Press.

* DTE Energy Co. will have a tougher path to weaning off coal by 2040 with coal usage to produce power at 65%, compared to fellow Michigan utility Consumers Energy Co. at 32%, Crain's Detroit Business reported.

* Compared to the Cape Wind project that preceded it, the Vineyard offshore wind project offers much cheaper electricity, the Boston Globe reported.

* First Solar Inc. has observed production dips at its solar farms near wildfires in California, although the company told Bloomberg News that "reductions have not reached a level of concern."

* Colorado rural electric cooperatives are looking at ending their contracts with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc. over high power costs and limits on developing local renewable energy, The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colo., reported

* Xcel Energy Inc. is seeking support from the Pueblo City, Colo. Council for its plan to decommission two coal-fired units at the Comanche and replace them with renewable power, The Pueblo Chieftain reported.

Natural gas

* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a flurry of orders late Aug. 10 that upheld approvals for major interstate natural gas pipeline projects. The decisions, coming in the last hours of Republican Commissioner Robert Powelson's term, emphasized the split between Republicans and Democrats with regards to evaluating public need and climate impacts.

* The New Hampshire Business and Industry Association is endorsing Liberty Utilities Co.' Granite Bridge gas pipeline project because it is critical to the state's economy, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

* Chesapeake Energy Corp. agreed to end a four-year federal class-action battle over natural gas royalties with Pennsylvania leaseholders for $7.75 million but left the door open to walking away from the settlement if the state's attorney general does not drop an unfair-trade action in state court.

* The Kenai Peninsula Borough has petitioned FERC for intervenor status on the Alaska LNG project's environmental impact statement, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

Oil

* Petrofac Ltd. has been awarded a $370-million contract for the expansion of the central processing facility at the Majnoon oil field in southern Iraq.

* Despite its pledge to increase output, Saudi Arabia's oil production dropped in July, the Financial Times reported.

* Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to invest more than $11 billion in refineries, according to Reuters.

Coal

* European thermal coal traders have been hesitant to participate in the Turkish market amid the ongoing lira/dollar depreciation, despite demand from utilities, sources said Monday, Aug. 13.

* Glencore AG struck deals with Japanese utilities that set the Australian thermal coal import contract for April 2018 to March 2019 at $110 a tonne, according to Reuters.

* China imported 29.01 million tonnes of coal in July, up almost 50% from the year-ago levels and up 23.9% from June, Reuters reported, citing data released by the country's General Administration of Customs.

New from RRA

* Transmission rate base among utilities in the PJM Interconnection demonstrated strong growth from 2017 to 2018 based on newly available data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher 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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