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Gas producers quiet, coal firms split on US exit from Paris deal

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Gas producers quiet, coal firms split on US exit from Paris deal

Top News

Trump: US getting out of Paris climate accord but open to 'new deal'

President Donald Trump vowed June 1 to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change but said he is willing to renegotiate the country's commitments to the agreement or seek a "new deal." The president made the announcement from the White House rose garden, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and other administration officials in attendance.

Aside from Big Oil, US gas producers quiet on Paris accord debate

Despite projections that natural gas demand would climb steeply in the first decade of a carbon-constrained future, America's natural gas producers were largely silent about whether President Donald Trump should move the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. After integrated oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp., which is the nation's top natural gas producer and placed a $41 billion bet on shale gas with the purchase of XTO Energy Inc. at the height of the shale gas boom, none of the independent exploration and production companies contacted by S&P Global Market Intelligence wanted to comment on a withdrawal from the climate change agreement.

US coal, split on Paris deal, still faces great obstacles to turnaround

President Donald Trump's announcement that he will ditch a global climate agreement may be just what many coal producers wanted to hear, though canceling the deal is unlikely the panacea for a battered U.S. coal industry hoping to stabilize demand as it sees little chance of rebounding to historic highs. Trump announced the withdrawal at a June 1 event at the White House, indicating he would be open to renegotiating an international climate negotiation.

Power

* Mississippi Power Co. once again missed the in-service date for its Plant Ratcliffe facility in Kemper County, Miss., setting up what could be another extension to finish the $7.3 billion project.

* California Gov. Edmund Brown Jr., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee have formed a coalition that will convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris climate agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change. Cuomo also signed an executive order requiring affected state entities to adopt by March 31, 2018, a plan demonstrating activities and programs to help New York achieve its reduction goals on greenhouse gas emissions.

* A decade ago, California lawmakers launched a 10-year, $2.1 billion program to energize demand for solar electric systems at homes and businesses across the state. The phased-out California Solar Initiative is widely considered to have been a smashing success, having supported the lion's share of the 5,337 MW of photovoltaics distributed across roughly 673,000 sites, according to the latest official count, in addition to fueling a 100,000-job-strong solar industry.

* In his first tweet ever, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein said President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement is "a setback for the environment and for the U.S.'s leadership position in the world."

* Dominion Energy Inc. is seeking approval from Virginia regulators to grant refunds to about 24,000 small- to mid-sized commercial electric customers it may have overcharged between 2013 and 2016, The Associated Press reports.

* Mike Flynn, acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sent out a memo on the agency's buyout program for some employees to reduce its workforce, Reuters reports. "The authority encourages voluntary separations and helps the agency complete workforce restructuring with minimal disruption to the workforce," the memo said.

* Environmental exchange-traded funds saw growth despite President Donald Trump's focus on fossil fuels, MarketWatch reports. "If Washington isn't going to lead, we need to use every lever at our disposal to make sure companies do the right and smart thing with their environmental policies," Aspiration CEO Andrei Cherny, who runs Aspiration Redwood Fund, was quoted as saying.

Natural gas/midstream

* The offshore Delfin LNG export project has received authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to export 1.8 Bcf/d of natural gas to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S. The Energy Department has now approved 21 Bcf/d of natural gas exports to nonfree trade agreement countries, according to a June 1 statement.

* The conflicts committee of PennTex Midstream Partners LP's general partner has recommended that PennTex common unit holders accept Energy Transfer Partners LP's tender offer to purchase all outstanding PennTex units for $20 per unit.

* Noble Energy Inc. completed a flowline inventory process of its DJ Basin operations, which was required by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission following a fatal home explosion at Firestone, Colo. The company now expects to complete integrity testing by the commission's reporting deadline of June 30, according to a news release.

* Midship Pipeline Co. LLC applied to build and operate a new natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma that would deliver 1,440 MMcf/d of new firm transportation capacity to growing Gulf Coast and Southeast markets.

* Tolsona Oil and Gas Exploration is challenging a $380,000 fine by the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for safety violations at a gas well near Glennallen, Alaska, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

Coal

* Arch Coal Inc. submitted a renewal application for a previously approved royalty rate reduction at one of its mines but is getting some resistance from those who benefit from the company's payments.

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded Natural Resource Partners LP's corporate credit rating from CCC+ to B- and assigned a B- issue-level rating to the partnership's new $346 million senior unsecured notes.

* Price talks between Australian miners and Japanese steelmakers were put on ice as the Japanese companies are pushing to transition to more flexible arrangements from the current quarterly fixed-price terms, Reuters reported June 1.

Commodities

* Texas' wholesale power market experienced the lowest annual average electricity prices in 2016 since launching its nodal market in December 2010, putting future power plant investment and existing generators at risk, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' independent market monitor.

* Price action for day-ahead power could be mixed at the close of the truncated workweek Friday, June 2, amid diverging demand expectations coming off the weekend. Traders will also keep attuned to natural gas market activity for direction. Slipping more than 6 cents in the prior session, NYMEX June natural gas futures were probing the downside again early Friday ahead of the opening bell.

* After tumbling another 6.3 cents in the prior session to a finish at $3.008/MMBtu, NYMEX July natural gas futures attempted to recover, only to turn back lower overnight ahead of the Friday, June 2, open as fresh technical buying ran up against little in the way of fundamental support. At about 6:45 a.m. ET (1045 GMT), the contract was 0.6-cent lower at $3.002/MMBtu, while trading a range from $2.989/MMBtu to $3.051/MMBtu.

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New from RRA

* The Idaho Public Utilities Commission authorized Idaho Power Co. a $13.3 million (1.2%) electric rate increase effective June 1, to recover costs associated with the accelerated depreciation of the North Valmy Station coal-fired plant following a settlement.

Quoted

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," said President Donald Trump in announcing that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate agreement. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto responded on Twitter, "As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future."

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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