FERC asserts independence from Trump effort to save coal, nuclear plants
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it has not aided the Trump administration's efforts to craft policies to benefit certain coal-fired and nuclear power plants, maintaining its role as an independent federal agency.
Apache, Kayne Anderson shun MLP structure in launching $3.5B midstream company
Apache Corp.'s creation of a publicly traded midstream company with Kayne Anderson Acquisition Corp. not only provides a funding vehicle for the building of infrastructure for the budding Alpine High shale play but also serves as an explicit rejection of the master limited partnership model.
'Sleeping giant' is awake and wants to work with coal, tribal energy rep says
While issues like the development of the Dakota Access pipeline seem to pit the U.S. energy sector against Native American interests, members of some tribes say they are eager to cash in on their vast fossil fuel reserves.
FERC "is an independent agency and therefore has not assisted in the development of policy," FERC spokesperson Craig Cano said responding to the outcry over comments by FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre's Chief of Staff Anthony Pugliese, who said the commission is working with the Trump administration and the Pentagon to identify "absolutely critical" power plants that should be kept in operation.
* Texas regulators on Aug. 9 voted to solicit feedback on a proposed reform to the state's wholesale power market. Supporters said reform is sorely needed, but others believe that would be ineffective.
* Private equity firm Starwood Energy Group Global LLC agreed to sell a 50% equity stake in an 1,173-MW gas-fired portfolio to JERA, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. and Chubu Electric Power Co. Inc. The portfolio consists of the 840-MW Marcus Hook, 173-MW Dighton and 160-MW Milford Power CC plants.
* Denmark-based power producer Ørsted A/S is expanding into the onshore wind market in the U.S. by buying developer Lincoln Clean Energy LLC for $580 million but has no plans to expand into solar PV anytime soon.
* The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has opened a 90-day public comment period for First Solar Inc.'s planned 450-MW Desert Quartzite Solar Project solar photovoltaic project in Riverside County, Calif., after publishing a draft environmental impact statement in the Federal Register on Aug. 10.
* The Energy Transfer family of midstream energy partnerships is considering several expansion projects as it streamlines its structure with the impending $26.55 billion merger of Energy Transfer Partners LP and Energy Transfer Equity LP.
* Canadian oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. agreed to sell the general partnership that holds the Pipestone and Wembley natural gas and liquids business in northwestern Alberta for cash proceeds of C$625 million. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter.
* Kinder Morgan Inc. is seeking approval from North Dakota regulators for a $150 million expansion of the Roosevelt gas processing plant, The Bismarck Tribune reported. If approved, the expansion would add 150 MMcf/d of gas processing capacity and help the company to keep up with increasing volumes of Bakken gas production.
* Keyera Corp. will build a 4.5 million-barrel storage terminal in Cushing, Okla., as the Canadian midstream operator makes a foray into the U.S. midstream market.
* A delegation of the European Commission is set to visit the U.S. on Aug. 20 to help facilitate "more imports" of LNG from the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. "The growing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, if priced competitively, could play an increasing and strategic role in EU gas supply," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted as saying.
* Apollo Global Management LLC-backed Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp. priced an initial public offering of 48 million units at $10 apiece, totaling $480 million. The IPO is expected to close Aug. 14.
* U.S. Federal District Court in Delaware allowed Crystallex International Corp. to "go after" Venezuela's U.S.-based oil refineries in Venezuela to recover $1.4 billion the Canadian gold miner lost when late socialist President Hugo Chavez took over a decade ago, The Associated Press reported.
* The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has proposed a settlement that calls on Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay more than $1.8 million tied to damages caused by the Pegasus pipeline oil spill almost five years ago, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
* Two environmental groups have challenged the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's environmental review of Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3 replacement project in the state's Court of Appeals, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minn., reported.
* Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin placed the Oklahoma Vision Fund on the November general election ballot. If approved, at least 5% of gross production tax receipts would be added to the fund each year.
* Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended Aug. 4 increased 0.7% year over year to 93,324 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads. Year-to-date coal rail traffic dropped 0.4% through the week, while total rail traffic for the week rose 4.2% year over year to 570,995 carloads and intermodal units.
* Former coal executive Don Blankenship filed a petition to the West Virginia Supreme Court to have his name placed on the November ballot as a third-party Senate candidate, according to The Hill in Washington, D.C.
* Following a strong second quarter, Natural Resource Partners LP's COO said the company has stabilized and does not foresee any major disruptions.
About 36,000 MW, or 47% of the total additional gas-fired capacity expected through 2021, is in the PJM region. Gas production in the same area continues to grow. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's July 2018 "Drilling Productivity Report," the Appalachia region, a combination of the Marcellus and Utica shales, had an average production of 28,548 MMcf/d, an 19% increase from the year-ago period.
New from RRA
* CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp. and the Arkansas Public Service Commission staff have filed a settlement in the company's 2018 formula rate plan proceeding, calling for a $5.1 million gas rate increase.
The day ahead
* The Baker-Hughes rig count report is due out today.
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