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Hurricane Michael hits Georgia; Westmoreland Coal aims to sell mines

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Insight Weekly: LNG exports surge; investors unfazed by inflation; neobanks drive VC funding


Hurricane Michael hits Georgia; Westmoreland Coal aims to sell mines

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Hydropower largely excluded from burgeoning green bond market

Hydropower projects are largely excluded from the green bond market due to environmental and sustainability concerns, but hydropower advocates hope things will change once a standard-setting organization creates new qualification criteria.

LNG Canada shows 'proof of concept' in funding large LNG export projects

The financing model that brought the roughly $31 billion LNG Canada project to a final investment decision could signal a shift toward funding the next wave of North American LNG projects with equity investments instead of relying on debt.

Westmoreland Coal aims to sell some US, Canadian mines in restructuring

Westmoreland Coal Co. is proposing to sell its Canadian business and mines as well as its San Juan operations in New Mexico as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy by Feb. 28, 2019.

Oil industry to fight Trump proposal to raise ethanol blending limit

Lobby groups representing the U.S. refining industry and oil companies slammed a Trump administration proposal to allow blends of gasoline containing 15% ethanol, known as E15, in the U.S. motor fuel pool year-round.

Quoted

"This infrastructure facilitates energy trade flows across the United States and around the world, helping to ensure that American and global consumers have access to affordable energy," said American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Michael Sommers, voicing support for a newly passed water infrastructure bill that will streamline permitting of hydroelectric projects and boost investment in ports, channels, locks, dams and other parts of U.S. waterways systems.

Power

* More than 200,000 Georgia Power Co. customers were without power as of 5:30 a.m. ET due to Hurricane Michael. The Southern Co. subsidiary said the outages are primarily concentrated in Middle, South and West Georgia.

* A nuclear plant owned by Alabama Power Co. on the state border with Florida reduced the output of its reactors before Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm.

* With the clock ticking on Exelon Corp.'s Three Mile Island power plant, nuclear energy proponents hope Pennsylvania lawmakers will propose legislation in early 2019 to bolster the state's nuclear fleet as that industry sector grapples with competitive natural gas-fired generation and slack demand growth.

* San Jose, Calif., officials are seeking to delay the state Public Utilities Commission's vote on the "exit fee" for customers to leave Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. The officials said the exit fee could discourage customers from switching to its new utility, San Jose Clean Energy.

* In a bid to accommodate an emerging industry, Black Hills Energy wants a new tariff to serve blockchain business customers in Wyoming.

* New York announced $40 million in funding to support solar projects that integrate energy storage. The state aims to have 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025.

* California regulators have ordered Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. to reopen their renewable auction mechanism maps, Greentech Media reported.

* A federal appeals court denied the Sierra Club's request for a new hearing on Dominion Energy Inc.'s coal ash case, according to The Associated Press.

* The Washington, D.C., Council has proposed a bill targeting the 100% use of renewable resources for the city's power grid by 2032, The Washington Post reported.

Natural gas

* As the electric grid relies more on renewable power sources, particularly in California, natural gas pipeline companies increasingly have to respond to significant and quick changes in demand from gas-fired power plants serving as a backstop to intermittent electricity sources.

* An Enbridge Inc. natural gas transmission pipeline ruptured near Prince George, British Columbia, requiring the evacuation of a First Nation community and potentially causing a supply shortage for gas utility customers in the area.

* Separately, Canada's National Energy Board has allowed Enbridge to restart its 30-inch Mainline natural gas pipeline at reduced operating pressure. The pipeline was shut as a precautionary measure on Oct. 9 after a natural gas release and fire on Enbridge's 36-inch Loop.

* The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and the Independent Petroleum Association of America are working together for a study called "Sustainable Produced Water Policy, Regulatory Framework and Management in the Texas Oil and Gas Industry: 2019 and Beyond."

* An EPIC Y Grade Holdings LP subsidiary agreed to purchase the Robstown NGL fractionation facility and associated infrastructure from Southcross Holdings Borrower LP.

* New West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Evan Jenkins, a former U.S. representative, refused to recuse himself from hearing a case involving the natural gas industry, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail reported. The company involved in the case is represented by a lawyer who previously represented Jenkins.

Oil

* The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement estimates that about 718,877 barrels of oil per day and about 812 MMcf/d of gas is offline in the Gulf of Mexico due to platform and rig evacuations caused by Hurricane Michael.

* For BP PLC CEO Bob Dudley, calls for oil and gas divestment will threaten energy security and the global economy, the Financial Times reported.

* A recent uptrend in the oil market prompted the U.S. Energy Information Administration to lift its price forecast through 2019; however, the agency also boosted its expectations for U.S. crude oil production into the following year.

* A Murphy Oil Corp. subsidiary agreed to form a new venture company with a Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras subsidiary. Both companies will contribute all their current producing Gulf of Mexico assets to the joint venture.

* Denbury Resources Inc. subsidiaries are proposing a $150 million carbon dioxide pipeline in southeastern Montana to boost oil production, the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune reported.

* Green Plains Inc. agreed to sell three of its ethanol plants in Iowa, Indiana and Michigan to Valero Renewable Fuels Co. for $300 million in cash, plus approximately $28 million of working capital.

Coal

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects coal's share of U.S. generation to decline through 2019 as that of natural gas increases to 35%.

* A judge ordered Justice Low Seam Mining Inc., owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's family, to begin settlement payments to Virginia Drilling Co., the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

* A North Dakota lignite organization wants coal producers to be compensated for the resiliency of the fuel in the energy market.

ChartWatch

Permits for Utica Shale wells in Ohio in September dropped 37% compared to 2017 with drillers keeping their focus on the three dry gas counties along the state's Ohio River border with West Virginia.

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New from RRA

* In testimony filed with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia on Oct. 9, the commission's Consumer Advocate Division recommends that American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiaries Appalachian Power Co. and Wheeling Power Co. be ordered to reduce electric base rates by $13.8 million, or 0.9%, premised upon an 8.75% return on equity (50.16% of capital) and a 6.78% return on an average rate base valued at $3.976 billion for a calendar 2017 test year.

The day ahead

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration's natural gas and petroleum status reports are due out today.

* 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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