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PG&E issues call for microgrids; Coronado furloughs over 600 coal miners


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PG&E issues call for microgrids; Coronado furloughs over 600 coal miners

Top News

PG&E issues unprecedented call for microgrids ahead of 2020 wildfire season

In an effort to keep its Northern California customers' lights on during widespread precautionary blackouts to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has launched an unprecedented search for microgrids.

Cheniere expects Midship service to start in April 2020, raises cost estimates

Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Midship Pipeline is looking to begin partial gas transportation service as soon as April 2020, the company told federal regulators as it asked to raise recourse rates in response to increased construction costs.

Apache stock jumps as JV with Total brings cash to Suriname projects

Investors are once again welcoming Apache Corp.'s activities off the coast of Suriname after the company announced a joint venture with TOTAL SA that will help Apache develop Block 58.

Coronado idles metallurgical coal mine in Virginia, furloughs over 600 miners

Coronado Global Resources Inc. furloughed over 600 employees at its Buchanan No. 1 mine in Virginia.


"The market is going to be loose again, and there is no really good reason, absent some kind of major policy intervention, why 2020 will be a significantly different year than 2019," said Katie Bays, an energy analyst and co-founder of research and consulting firm Sandhill Strategy, on the continued build-out of the U.S. LNG export complex and the resulting market conditions, which have spurred speculation about potential curtailments of U.S. LNG production at existing facilities.


* PG&E Corp. is contesting a demand by its bondholders, including Elliott Management Corp., Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC and Oaktree Capital Management LP, for an early make-whole premium of $5 billion when it emerges from bankruptcy in 2020, Bloomberg News reported. The company's plan includes refinancing about $17.5 billion of debt that has not yet matured.

* A U.S. appeals court upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's decision that Dominion Energy Inc.'s customers in Virginia must bear the cost of undergrounding power lines as part of a transmission upgrade project.

* The Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the state Public Utilities Commission's approval of the planned 625-MW Nemadji Trail natural gas-fired power plant in Douglas County, Wis., according to the Sierra Club. The facility is jointly owned by ALLETE Inc. and Dairyland Power Cooperative.

* U.S. utilities feasted on record-low interest rates to sell bonds worth more than $90 billion in 2019, Bloomberg News reported.

* After years of off-and-on discussions, six Alaska utilities signed a memorandum of understanding committing themselves to establishing a reliability organization to better coordinate the management of the state's interconnected electric grid.

* S&P Global Ratings placed its BBB- issuer credit rating on Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and its BB issue-level ratings on the company's preferred shares on CreditWatch with negative implications, citing the company's weak credit metrics.

* The Ontario Energy Board upheld an earlier decision to exclude from Hydro One Networks Inc.'s 2018-2022 distribution revenue requirement application a request for C$37 million related to pension funds.

Natural gas

* Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC and Cheniere Marketing International LLP entered a letter agreement for sale of as many as 43 cargoes, scheduled for delivery in 2020, at a price of 115% of Henry Hub plus $1.67 per MMBtu.

* Encana Corp. filed 43 oil and gas drilling permit requests with the Railroad Commission of Texas in December, targeting the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale, the Houston Chronicle reported.

* Primary energy consumption in the U.S. reached a record high of 101.3 quadrillion Btu in 2018, up 4% from 2017 and 0.3% above the previous record set in 2007, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* Germany expects to finish the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project in the second half of 2020, despite increased expenses and delays due to U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg News reported, citing a top German official.


* U.S. shale producers issued $1.3 billion worth of shares so far this year, as they struggle to win investors confidence due to low oil prices, Bloomberg News reported. The trend, which is the lowest since at least 2006, is likely to continue in 2020 if the prices remain below the optimistic range of $65 to $75.

* Kuwait and Saudi Arabia reached agreements to divide the neutral zone containing mutually operated oilfields, Reuters reported, citing Kuwait's state-run news agency. The oilfields were producing 500,000 barrels per day before the countries halted production in 2014.

* Iraq reduced its oil production by 110,000 barrels per day in December, after Saudi Arabia pressed OPEC nations to strictly comply with oil production cuts, Bloomberg News reported.


* Weak coal production data coming from the U.S. Energy Information Administration led B. Riley FBR analyst Lucas Pipes to lower earnings estimates for the country's two largest coal miners by volume for the fourth quarter.

* Three U.S. Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brownhave requested the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the $1 billion annual tax credit program for refined coal used by some power plants, Reuters reported.


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The continued build-out of the U.S. LNG export complex is expected to keep a lid on international gas prices and require project developers and gas sellers to stay nimble in an evolving marketplace to be successful.

New from RRA

* Pacific Gas and Electric, the California Public Utilities Commission Public Advocates Office, The Utility Reform Network and several other parties on Dec. 20 filed a settlement with the PUC that provides funding for PG&E's ongoing wildfire prevention efforts, risk monitoring, emergency response, increased vegetation management, hardening of its electric system, and other new and enhanced safety measures to further reduce wildfire risk.

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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