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Mixed reactions to PG&E settlement; Atlantic Coast pipe garners support

Top News

'Does nothing to address the disease': Reactions mixed to PG&E settlement

PG&E Corp. share price surged on Dec. 9 after the company confirmed a proposed $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires linked to troubled operating subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co. gaining nearly 16% to close at $11.18.

States, trade groups back Atlantic Coast pipeline at Supreme Court

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC received the support of several states, a rival pipeline and trade associations in its attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision that blocked a 600-mile, 1.5-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline project from crossing the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Private equity leaves midstream assets on the table as exit becomes difficult

Private equity firms have become more discerning buyers of midstream infrastructure in the risky market of 2019, and their reluctance to pounce on pipelines and other assets will persist into the new year.

Top coal producers' market value tanks; court confirms Cloud Peak's Chapter 11 plan

Highlighting the toll the last few quarters have taken on the U.S. coal sector, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis revealed that the top 10 coal producers' market capitalization plummeted 59.4% from early January to mid-November.


"It's hard to put your finger on how much more downside there is. The market's working through a full reset," Energy Spectrum Capital partner Michael Mayon commented on the pace of dealmaking in the midstream oil and gas sector, which has slowed considerably since 2017 and 2018 as private equity firms have become more discerning buyers of midstream infrastructure in the risky market of 2019.


* PG&E Corp. and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. expect to record an additional pre-tax charge of $4.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019 in connection with the fire victim claims. The company plans to file its recently reached $13.5 billion settlement with the bankruptcy court on Dec. 12 and enter into discussions for the settlement of the Tubbs preference cases.

* The California ISO received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to toss a market rule requiring automated bid generation in the real-time market for certain power imports that help the region with resource adequacy.

* The nameplate installed onshore wind power capacity in the U.S. has exceeded 100 GW as of the end of September 2019, with Texas accounting for 26.9 GW, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* The European Commission approved plans by seven European Union states to jointly provide €3.2 billion for battery research to 17 companies as the region tries to challenge Asia's dominance in global lithium-ion cell production.

* Michigan regulators have preliminarily accepted parts of Upper Peninsula Power Co.'s integrated resource plan, including a proposed 125-MW solar power purchase agreement.

Natural gas

* NiSource Inc. President and CEO Joseph Hamrock told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the company expects insurance and equity to offset costs of rebuilding public confidence following the Boston-area blasts in September 2018, while adding that energy storage is already "competitive" and "economic," and that he sees natural gas as "fuel for the future."

* Chesapeake Energy Corp. arranged a $1.5 billion term loan facility to help fund a tender offer and consent solicitation for unsecured notes issued by its subsidiaries and to fund the retirement of an existing secured revolving credit facility.

* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted an extension for Cheniere Energy Inc. to complete a sixth natural gas liquefaction train at its Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana, an expansion project that the developer said remains on track to enter commercial service in the first half of 2023.

* The U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees agreed on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes measures to impose sanctions on companies involved in the development of Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project from Russia to Germany.

* McDermott International Inc. and its partner Chiyoda International Corp. commenced commercial operations of the first train at the Freeport LNG export terminal. Freeport LNG trains two and three remain on track to meet their previously announced schedules, the companies said.


* Devon Energy Corp. and Dow Inc. agreed to jointly develop a portion of the company's STACK acreage in central Oklahoma. Under this agreement, Devon will monetize half of its working interest in 133 undrilled locations in exchange for approximately a $100 million drilling carry over the next four years.

* Enbridge Inc. announced 9.8% increase to its quarterly dividend rate for 2020 to 81 Canadian cents per share, effective March 1, 2020. The company is targeting 2020 EBITDA of approximately C$13.7 billion and distributable cash flow per share of C$4.50 to C$4.80.

* Minnesota regulators cleared Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline project for a routing permit in its review of the project, which was taken after a court order.

* Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund plans to earmark "a lot" of the sale proceeds from Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s $26 billion initial public offering towards national investments, Bloomberg News reported.

* Brazil plans to continue with the massive oil and gas exploration at its offshore pre-salt areas, Reuters reported.


* Indianapolis Power & Light Co. plans to retire unit 1 of the coal-fired Petersburg power plant in 2021 and unit 2 in 2023, according to the Sierra Club. The other two units will continue to operate until at least 2042.


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Some states decreased financial support or staffing levels for their own agencies' pollution control programs in 2018 compared to a decade prior even as attorneys general for 28 states stepped up their efforts to slow the pace of environmental regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration, according to two new reports.

New from RRA

* In a recent filing, Exelon Corp. subsidiary Delmarva Power & Light Co. seeks Maryland Public Service Commission approval to increase base electric distribution rates by $18.5 million, equal to about an 8.3% increase in distribution revenues. If approved, new rates would become effective in July 2020.

The day ahead

* 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.

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