Overpowered: Hailing renewables, NextEra bet big on gas in Florida
A review of regulatory filings and statements by NextEra Energy Inc. executives over more than a decade shows the company's actions in the state, such as building up natural gas generation, have not always matched its rhetoric of supporting a transition to renewable generation.
Layoffs mount as hard times for oilfield services keep getting tougher
Hit hard by a slowdown across the most prolific U.S. oil and gas shale basins, oilfield services companies are feeling pressured to take even further steps to sustain their businesses — this time by closing facilities and laying off hundreds of workers.
2020 not expected to yield significant cash flow increase among US coal miners
Given expectations for the coal sector heading into 2020, two analysts said they do not expect to see a major catalyst to boost coal companies' shareholder return programs in the near term.
Energy storage companies continue to wrestle with fire safety
As energy storage becomes more and more central to the transition to renewable energy, battery developers and system installers continue to wrestle with how to respond to battery fires in South Korea and Arizona.
"We know that anything we develop is not going to make it through some of the forces out there," said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, acknowledging that Republican resistance to a carbon tax will make passing such a proposal difficult. Tonko and other Democratic leaders hope to release within weeks a draft proposal for decarbonizing the country's energy sector, including electric power plants.
* Companies that took advantage of U.S. solar panel tariffs to open factories in the country say they need access to more duty-free cells, the components that turn sunlight into electricity, to remain viable.
* Owners of the 2,094-MW Colstrip power plant signed a new contract for coal supply, which is likely further erode the economic viability of the plant, according to the Sierra Club. The environmental group believes the price of coal to be higher than the previous contract.
* After reviewing the issue for six years, the California Public Utilities Commission finally was poised to extend the general rate case cycle for the state's major investor-owned energy utilities from three years to four years but then delayed ruling on the matter until Dec. 19.
* Two nuclear reactors at Florida Power & Light Co.'s Turkey Point Nuclear power plant have had their operating licenses renewed by federal regulators for a second time, making them the first units to be authorized to operate up to 80 years.
* New Hampshire Governor Christopher Sununu signed an executive order Dec. 3 establishing a bounty of advisory boards focused on maximizing future offshore wind development in the state.
* The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas Inc. said in a report that the state will have reserve margin of 10.6% going into summer 2020, compared to 8.6% in the summer of 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported.
* Energy Transfer LP completed its previously announced $5.1 billion merger with Oklahoma-based midstream corporation SemGroup, following the approval of SemGroup Corp.'s shareholders Dec. 4.
* Natural gas consumption in the U.S. rose by 7% during the week ended Dec. 4, owing to higher demand across all covered sectors, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Natural Gas Weekly Update" released Dec. 5.
* Inter Pipeline Ltd. reduced its capital expenditure program, with the main focus of 2020 spending on investments within the company's NGL processing business segment.
* Train 2 of the Freeport LNG project on Quintana Island in Freeport, Texas, began producing liquefied natural gas, which is a precursor to first cargo, McDermott International Inc. and its partners announced Dec. 6.
* Saudi Arabian Oil Co. priced its initial public offering at 32 Saudi riyals per share at the top of its expected range, making it the world's largest IPO that could have a profound impact on policy decisions from the world's biggest crude exporter.
* A committee of energy ministers gathered for the OPEC meeting in Vienna recommended an oil production cut of 1.7 million barrels per day until March 2020, Alexander Novak, Russia's energy minister told The Financial Times.
* Oil majors, including Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, want Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to reopen the suspended oil and gas auctions, Reuters. The auctions were initiated under a 2013-2014 energy opening.
* Diamondback Energy Inc. completed a $3 billion offering of three series of senior notes to repay a portion of outstanding borrowings under its revolver credit, redeem all outstanding amounts of 4.75% senior notes and for general corporate purposes.
* Colombia's Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos awarded oil companies, including Ecopetrol SA and Canada's Parex Resources Inc., contracts to operate oil blocks in a national auction round, Reuters reported.
* Houston American Energy Corp. doubled its share to 2% in Hupecol Meta LLC that owns 639,405 gross acre CPO-11 block in the Llanos Basin in Colombia.
* S&P Global Ratings downgraded Oceaneering International Inc.'s issuer credit rating to BB from BB+, reflecting a slow recovery in demand for offshore oil and gas services.
* Total U.S. coal production for the week ended Nov. 30 fell 21.6% year over year to 11.8 million tons from 15.1 million tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
* Environmental groups are pressing European lenders to stop funding companies that are still developing coal-fired power facilities, Reuters reported.
U.S. generating capacity rose by a net 10 MW in October as 619 MW of new resources came online while 610 MW were retired, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
New from RRA
* The staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission recently said Ameren Corp. subsidiary Union Electric Co. should be required to implement a $65.1 million, or 2.4%, electric base rate reduction.
* Within the Regulatory Research Associates energy and water utility universe, the electric, gas, multi-utility and water groups fell 1.6%, 4.5%, 3.7% and 3.8%, respectively, in November. PG&E Corp.'s 20.9% gain during the month pulled the electric group average up; excluding PG&E, the electric utilities averaged a 2.5% dip for the month.
The day ahead
* The Baker-Hughes rig count report is due out today.
* 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.
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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