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Proposed steel tariff likely to hurt US pipelines, boost metallurgical coal

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Proposed steel tariff likely to hurt US pipelines, boost metallurgical coal

Top News

Proposed steel tariff would hurt US pipelines, industry advocate argues

An import tariff on steel would create costly complications for oil and gas pipeline operators, which often get their materials from outside the U.S., an industry representative said in response to a Feb. 16 U.S. Department of Commerce recommendation.

Commerce Department recommendations on steel may boost US metallurgical coal

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is recommending President Donald Trump takes "immediate action" to impose tariffs on imports of steel, a move that could be a boon to U.S. metallurgical coal producers.

PJM board to send 2 capacity market design options for FERC's pick

The PJM Interconnection will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to consider competing proposals for redesigning the regional transmission organization's capacity market to address state subsidies, including those for nuclear power.

Power

* SCANA Corp., now in the midst of a contentious acquisition proposal from Dominion Energy Inc., began exploring a sale several months before the abandonment of the V.C. Summer nuclear expansion, according to details revealed in a recent filing.

* Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., an investment company, rebuffed a recent news report by The Post & Courier that it made an offer to acquire the troubled South Carolina utility Santee Cooper, according to the Charlotte (N.C.) Business Journal.

* A day before federal regulators voted to remove market barriers to energy storage projects, a Republican utility commissioner from Arizona argued in favor of the emerging technology while voicing concern about building new natural gas infrastructure, underscoring how quickly the country's electricity sector is evolving.

* The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority plans to reduce its energy reserve by 450 MW to help save $9 million a month, after a federal judge rejected the authority's plan to tap a $550 million loan from Puerto Rico's central government, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* Massachusetts electric utilities and state officials have picked Central Maine Power Co.'s 1,200-MW New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project as the alternative winning bid in a "clean energy" solicitation if the previous winning bid, Eversource Energy's 1,090-MW Northern Pass project, fails to appeal its permitting denial in New Hampshire by March 27.

* NorthWestern Corp. told Beowulf Energy LLC that it is not interested in buying the 107-MW coal-fired Hardin Generator Project in Big Horn County, Mont., the Billings (Mont.) Gazette reported. The power plant faces closure by spring if it does not find a new owner, the Gazette noted.

* Bankrupt battery maker Alevo Manufacturing Inc. will be selling its remaining assets to an unspecified bidder for $5 million, The Charlotte Observer reported. The buyer will transfer the equipment to New York, the Observer added.

* The U.S Department of Energy is providing up to $11.5 million in new funding to deploy energy infrastructure on tribal lands.

* Entergy Corp. is backing a bill in Mississippi that would make it harder for state Attorney General Jim Hood to sue the company again, The Associated Press reported. Hood is suing the company for $1.1 billion, plus penalties, over how it charged its Mississippi unit for wholesale electricity, AP noted.

* Saudi Arabia has invited U.S. firms to participate in its planned nuclear energy program, but is also in talks with 10 other countries should the U.S. deny support of the program, CNBC reported. The oil-rich country is looking at building 16 nuclear reactors for domestic energy consumption and free up its oil for revenue-generating exports, the report added.

Natural gas/Oil

* An LNG leak that forced two of five 3.4-Bcf storage tanks to be removed from service at Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass terminal should not have a major impact on the company's ability to deliver super-cooled natural gas, analysts said.

* The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission are seeking a rehearing and the revocation of the PennEast pipeline's certificate of public necessity and convenience, saying the associated environment review relied on "woefully insufficient data," according to a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

* The British Columbia government and the city of Burnaby plan to challenge the National Energy Board's December 2017 decision that allowed Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. to bypass local regulations to build the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, The Canadian Press reported.

* The U.S. Department of the Interior will offer 77.3 million acres offshore Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas for oil and gas exploration and development on March 21. The sale, according to the agency, will be the largest in U.S. history.

* Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal wants the state Department of Natural Resources to first complete a study on the benefits and risks associated with offshore drilling before he takes a position on the Trump administration's offshore drilling plan, The Associated Press reported.

* S&P Global Ratings placed the BB+ corporate credit rating of Rockies Express Pipeline LLC on CreditWatch with positive implications on expectation that the company will repay its upcoming $550 million debt maturity. Upon repayment, S&P expects to raise the company's corporate credit rating to BBB-.

* EQT Corp. could be nearing a decision to separate its oil and gas drilling business from the pipeline infrastructure business, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The company could announce the decision in the next two weeks.

Coal

* Cloud Peak Energy Inc. is focusing on international markets and the prospect of diminishing utility stockpiles for future coal sales, as limited port capacity and potentially low gas prices threaten 2018 production levels.

* Production levels in the Powder River Basin dropped 7.9% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, with some producers blaming a late-year decline on persistent utility stockpiles and a warm start to the winter.

* The Wyoming's Office of the State Mine Inspector found Bridger Coal Co. not at fault for a 2017 fatal accident at an underground coal mine, despite being cited for a safety violation, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Commodities

* After extending 2.2 cents lower to settle at $2.558/MMBtu ahead of the long Presidents' Day holiday weekend, NYMEX March natural gas futures climbed overnight leading up to the Tuesday, Feb. 20, open, in buying amid oversold conditions but absent any significant fundamental support.

* Day-ahead power prices could see mixed to higher moves in the truncated workweek's opening session Tuesday, Feb. 20, as the anticipation of elevated demand in much of the country at midweek combines with fresh gains in natural gas futures trading.

* Crude oil and natural gas production could slow amid delays in shipments of the fracking sand used in the hydraulic fracturing process, according to an executive with Halliburton Co.

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New from RRA

* Increasing the use of renewable resources and decarbonizing the electric sector are the focus of a long-awaited comprehensive energy strategy released by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on Feb. 8.

Quoted

"Unquestionably, by providing certainty for the treatment of biomass throughout the agency's permitting decisions, the use of biomass energy will be bolstered," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said as he seeks to clarify carbon neutral designation for biomass generation.

The day ahead

* The following companies will hold their fourth-quarter 2017 earnings calls today: Avangrid Inc. at 8:30 a.m. ET; NiSource Inc. at 9 a.m. ET and Duke Energy Corp. at 10 a.m. ET.

* 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.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some links may require registration or a subscription. S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.