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AEP CEO has more 'comfortable' approach to wind; PennEast seeks 2-year extension


Despite turmoil, project finance remains keen on offshore wind

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AEP CEO has more 'comfortable' approach to wind; PennEast seeks 2-year extension

Top News

AEP CEO believes more 'comfortable' approach to wind should win over regulators

American Electric Power Co. Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas Akins said shooting down another large, planned wind investment "would be a mistake" for Texas regulators.

PennEast Pipeline, citing permit delays, asks FERC for 2-year extension

PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a two-year extension to put its federally approved, 1.1-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline project in service after difficulties in obtaining permits and right of way in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The decade of shale: Oil boom reverberates globally but rattles US producers

The first full decade of oil shale production took independent producers on a roller coaster ride from $100 per barrel oil to a need to completely change their business models.

US coal mining fatalities drop 60% this decade from 1990s, 43% from 2000s

Average annual fatalities in the U.S. coal mining sector over the last decade fell by about 60% from the 1990s and nearly 43% from the 2000s.


"I think Wind Catcher was a very unique deal, outside of the normal business structure of what the commissions actually deal with. In this case, ... we have had an outreach program with the communities about what this is all about, and the response has been positive," said American Electric Power Chairman, President and CEO Nicholas Akins about his company's North Central Wind project and how it is different from the ill-fated Wind Catcher project.


* Electricity generated from renewables and other zero-carbon sources eclipsed fossil fuels for the first time in Britain during the past 12 months, making 2019 the cleanest year on record for the country's energy system.

* The rollout of electric vehicles, which boost power demand, and distributed solar, which reduces it, are among the key uncertainties for utilities, regulators and grid planners in the 2020s.

* A sprawling battery-backed solar project proposed on federal land in Nevada and projected to cost more than $1 billion is one step closer to breaking ground after the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management released a favorable final environmental impact statement.

* The U.S. power sector saw 3,973 MW of coal capacity retire in November while 732 MW of mostly wind and solar was added, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

* The Arkansas Public Service Commission approved a net annual increase of $23.9 million in nonfuel base rates for Southwestern Electric Power Co., effective Dec. 31, 2019.

Natural gas

* Williams Cos. Inc. placed its 65,000-Dth/d Gateway natural gas pipeline expansion project into full service, about 11 months ahead of schedule to meet growing demand of the fuel in the New Jersey tristate area for the 2019-2020 winter heating season.

* Separately, Williams filed an agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which would settle all aspects of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC rate case pending before the FERC.

* Enbridge Inc. completed the sale of the federally-regulated portion of its natural gas gathering and processing business in British Columbia to Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, marking the closing of the C$4.31 billion deal announced in July 2018.

* North American oil and natural gas drilling companies have at least $40 billion of debt reaching payday in 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal.

* A shift in attitude toward natural gas is taking place far more quickly than expected, leaving the industry struggling to keep up with the pace of change and prompting fears that numerous gas assets could be left stranded.

* With U.S. prices for natural gas liquids continuing a steady decline, the country's top oil and gas drillers are dialing back on production of the commodity in favor of portfolio optimization and disciplined capital spending.


* U.S. exports of oil products reached 89,000 barrels per day in September 2019, exceeding imports for the first time since monthly record keeping began in 1973, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* Shares of London-listed Tullow Oil PLC shares plunged as much as 20% after oil production in Guyana comes out less than expected, the Financial Times reported.

* Saudi Arabia's economy shrank 0.5% in the third quarter of 2019, with oil sector declining 6.4% and non-oil sectors growing 4.3%, amid the country's plan to slowly reduce dependency on crude oil production, Bloomberg News reported, citing Saudi government data.

* Russia's crude oil and condensate production rose to about 11.3 million barrels per day in 2019, bringing its compliance with OPEC agreement on production cuts in question, Bloomberg News reported.


* A stock index of U.S. coal companies headed into the last full day of 2019 trading at half the level seen at the beginning of the year as unease around the future of coal counterbalanced the sector's pivot to cleaner balance sheets and shareholder return programs.

* Coal-fired power plants near New Delhi are still generating electricity despite government warnings to seize their operations if they did not curb sulfur oxide emission by year-end 2019, Reuters reported.

* Turkey shutdown five thermal power stations after they failed to complete certain environmental investments, Reuters reported, citing Turkish Environment Minister Murat Kurum.


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Diverging scenarios in California, the leading U.S. market for electric vehicles and distributed solar arrays, highlight the planning challenges that, to varying degrees, will affect the power sector nationwide over the next decade.

New from RRA

* The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin approved a settlement between Northern States Power Co. - WI and intervenors that keeps electric base rates largely frozen in 2020 and 2021 and authorizes a modest natural gas rate increase.

* New York's governor vetoed a bill that would have created an office of the utility consumer advocate to represent residential customer interests in utility matters.

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.

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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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