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Generators report savings from coal phaseout; NRG touts business model


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Generators report savings from coal phaseout; NRG touts business model

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US power generators reporting savings, other benefits from phasing out coal

Power generators across the U.S. are not only sticking to plans to retire coal-fired power plants despite the pro-coal Trump administration, they are touting the cost savings of doing so while pushing a further transition away from the fuel.

MLP ownership structure may preclude wave of leveraged buyouts by private equity

Stagnant stock prices and decreasing leverage make some pipeline master limited partnerships mathematically viable targets for leveraged buyouts, but not all midstream industry analysts are convinced that those conditions line up with what the companies' senior executives — who often have insider ownership — want to do.

US refining executives expect impact of new marine fuel rules will hit in H2'19

U.S. refining executives expect the impact of tougher global marine fuel sulfur standards to manifest fully in the second half of the year and suggested while discussing second-quarter results that signs of the coming market shift have already emerged.

NRG recommits to integrated business model amid recent share price slide

NRG Energy Inc. management touted the transformation of its business model and addressed its flagging stock price Aug. 7 and also announced share repurchases and new solar contracts.


"If we investigate this too long, it has the potential for dying on the vine. We need to keep things moving," said Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Burns on opening up the state's electric utilities to competition from independent suppliers — a question that regulators are revisiting for the third time in the past 25 years.


* Embattled California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has provided a glimpse into its forthcoming reorganization plan, which the company intends to file in the coming weeks as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding with parent PG&E Corp.

* New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants to reform the state utility regulatory commission to achieve the state's renewable goals, according to The Associated Press.

* Nearly 70% of 247 wind power employers in the U.S. have had difficulty in hiring for most positions, and 25% said they had to look outside the country for qualified employees, according to a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

* A Montana district judge ruled that state regulators were wrong in letting NorthWestern Corp. waive legal requirements to buy power from small renewable projects, KTVH reported.

* Coal plant retirements and electric vehicle conversions can reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2040 and lower electric rates in Colorado, according to a new report commissioned by Community Energy Inc.

Natural gas

* There is no shortage of opportunities for Keyera Corp. to develop its midstream businesses, but while the company sees itself as well-positioned to take advantage of potential investments, it will continue to apply strict criteria to acquisitions and project expansions, company executives said Aug. 7.

* A bill to make National Grid USA accountable for emergency outages again failed to become a law in Rhode Island, the Newport (R.I.) Daily News reported.

* Southwestern Energy Co. plans to scale back on its drilling in the second half of the year, lowering its average rig count of six rigs in the first half of the year to two rigs by the end of the third quarter, company officials said Aug. 7.

* Chevron Corp. has started operating a carbon dioxide injection system at the Gorgon LNG facility in Australia.

* The U.S. agreed to boost cooperation in energy, cyber and infrastructure with Cyprus, Greece and Israel, according to Reuters.


* As Colorado's demographics continue to shift, oil and gas operators in the state need to become more proactive and engaged with communities in order to sustain production gains, one industry advocate argued during a keynote speech at the LDC Gas Rockies and West forum.

* Environmental groups plan to sue Phillips 66's Los Angeles refinery for alleged violations of hazardous waste disposal laws.

* Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has realigned its focus to highlight efficiency and shareholder returns, CEO Scott Sheffield said during the company's second-quarter earnings call Aug. 7.

* The European Commission is investigating whether the proposed merger of Polish refiners Grupa LOTOS SA and Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN Spólka Akcyjna, or PKN Orlen, will reduce competition and lead to higher prices for customers in Poland and other member states.

* Oilfield services provider Quintana Energy Services Inc. named Christopher Baker as president and CEO. Baker replaces Rogers Herndon, who resigned as part of an internal reorganization.


* After a challenging second quarter stymied by high and swift water on the Mississippi River that hindered shipments, low thermal export coal prices and subdued domestic utility demand this summer, Foresight Energy LP decreased its 2019 adjusted EBITDA and increased its capital expenditures guidance.

* Peabody Energy Corp. plans to close its Somerville Central Mine in Oakland City, Ind., in October due to "uneconomical business conditions," and lay off approximately 121 employees, the Princeton (Ind.) Daily Clarion reported.

* A coalition of conservation organizations in West Virginia is suing four coal and chemical facilities, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.


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Pennsylvania's shale gas drillers shifted their focus away from the dry gas counties in the northeast part of the state and toward the liquids-rich counties around Pittsburgh in the southwest, according to the latest state data.

New from RRA

* Domestic coal prices eased during July against falling natural gas curves, while export benchmarks were mixed. The NYMEX CAPP benchmark traded flat at $49.20/ton, while NAPP Pittsburgh Seam 13,000 Btu per pound fell an additional $2.40/ton (4.6%) to end the month at $48.30/ton. Bucking the trend, thermal export-driven 12,500 Btu per pound CSX coal gained $6.05/ton to $64.85/ton.

The day ahead

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration natural gas storage 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.

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