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Conn. nuke secures 10-year power deal; Cloud Peak stalls on debt payment


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Conn. nuke secures 10-year power deal; Cloud Peak stalls on debt payment

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Last-minute deal secures power from 2,100-MW Conn. nuclear plant for 10 years

A last-minute deal was struck March 15 between Dominion Energy Inc. and two Connecticut utilities to purchase power from the Millstone nuclear power plant as part of an agreement that would bolster the plant's economic viability and delay its retirement.

On anniversary of MLP tax shakeup, pipelines still wrestling with uncertainty

One year after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rocked pipeline sector stocks by moving away from a tax benefit for midstream master limited partnerships, the story of the impact continues to unfold.

Cloud Peak stalls on debt payment, starts clock on potential bankruptcy filing

Cloud Peak Energy Inc. opted to not pay a $1.8 million interest payment due March 15, triggering a 30-day grace period to make the payment before the company would default and accelerate the maturity of the debt.

IEA leaves oil demand growth forecast unchanged as Venezuelan unrest worsens

The International Energy Agency has left its short-term global oil demand growth projections steady for yet another month but warned that ongoing unrest in Venezuela could present "challenges" for the world oil market.


"I'm confident the current complement of us, the four of us, can get things done," Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee said, rejecting an idea that a vacancy on the commission is creating partisan logjams.


* The head of the ISO New England said that the grid operator's current market design quickly will become obsolete as the region continues to add renewables to the bulk power system.

* Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam vetoed a bill that he said would bar the state from joining a regional program to reduce power plant pollution unless authorized by a super-majority vote of the General Assembly.

* The U.S. Department of Energy has not forgotten about the plight of at-risk coal and nuclear plants, but states should craft their own programs as a workable federal solution continues to elude the department, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said.

* U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have requested the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the Trump administration's negotiations with Saudi Arabia for a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

* New York regulators strengthened the consumer protection standards for the state's distributed energy resource market, including capping community solar early termination fees.

* Records showed that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper intervened for Strata Solar LLC over a dispute with Duke Energy Corp., considering its resolution as a "possible Atlantic Coast Pipeline mitigation option," The Charlotte Observer reported.

* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shot down a shareholder resolution that calls on Madison Gas and Electric Co. to draft a plan to eliminate coal and transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, because it seeks to "micromanage" the company, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Natural gas

* An affiliate of ArcLight Energy Partners Fund V LP has struck a definitive merger deal to buy all of American Midstream Partners LP's outstanding common units not already held by its affiliates for $5.25 per unit.

* Japan and South Korea imported the greatest volumes of U.S. LNG in January, together taking in more than one-third of the United States' exports and helping to pick up some of the slack in demand from China.

* Norway's Equinor ASA is said to be exploring the sale of its Eagle Ford shale operations in the U.S., Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

* A Texas LNG LLC subsidiary received the final environmental review it needed from FERC for the company's proposed natural gas liquefaction and export plant, bringing the project closer to a final decision from the commission.

* Oil and gas companies are expected to benefit from the Trump administration's finalization of a plan to loosen protections on sage grouse habitat in Western states, The New York Times reported.

* Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on EQM Midstream Partners LP and Equitrans Midstream Corp. ratings to negative from stable on leverage concerns.

* Russia's PAO Novatek could be close to finalizing a deal with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. on its Arctic LNG 2 project, Reuters reported, citing Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson.


* Italy's state-controlled Eni SpA plans to cut net carbon emissions in its upstream business to zero by 2030 and to launch a share buyback program this year.

* Imperial Oil Ltd. has slowed down execution of its C$2.6 billion Aspen in situ oil sands project, citing "market uncertainty stemming from Alberta government intervention and other industry competitiveness challenges."

* The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has refused to overturn a ruling that limited TransCanada Corp.'s pre-construction activities on its Keystone XL pipeline, environmental advocacy group the Natural Resources Defense Council said.

* Petróleos de Venezuela SA plans to launch a Russian subsidiary in the first week of April, the Financial Times reported.

* OPEC and a Russia-led group of oil producing nations reportedly agreed to deepen cuts to their crude production, but they are still in disagreement on its duration, The Wall Street Journal reported.

* The British Columbia Court of Appeal is set to begin today a five-day hearing on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project and provincial powers, according to The Canadian Press.

* The U.S. Coast Guard has decided to suspend review of Trafigura AG's Gulf Coast deepwater terminal application while it awaits for additional information, Reuters reported.


* Westmoreland Coal Co. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on March 15.

* Several U.S. coal producers announced plans to invest in additional mine capacity during fourth-quarter 2018 earnings calls, but analysts are skeptical that the market is turning away from share repurchases in favor of capital expenditures.

* Dwindling financial options due to political pressure, and not a drop in global demand, may be the biggest obstacle facing the coal industry, a panel of industry executives said March 14 at CERAWeek by IHS Markit in Houston.


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In a historic first for America's largest wholesale electricity market, natural gas-fired power generation in 2018 exceeded coal-fired generation across the footprint of the PJM Interconnection, according to the grid operator's independent market monitor.

New from RRA

* On March 13, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved amendments to Duquesne Light Co.'s tariffs to clarify that "electricity sales by a person, corporation or other entity, not a public utility, owning and operating an electric vehicle charging facility for the sole purpose of recharging an electric vehicle battery for compensation are not construed to be sales to residential consumers and therefore do not fall under the pricing requirements" of state law.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed 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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