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El Paso files merger stipulation; Dominion attempts to expand Marcellus again


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El Paso files merger stipulation; Dominion attempts to expand Marcellus again

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El Paso Electric, potential buyers file merger stipulation in Texas

El Paso Electric Co. and several parties on Dec. 18 filed a stipulation with Texas regulators in the utility's proposed acquisition by an investment fund.

Dominion Energy makes another attempt to expand Marcellus gas transportation

Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. applied for federal authorization to install a 120,000-Dth/d natural gas transportation project that would provide an additional outlet for gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale region in western Pennsylvania and Ohio near where another Dominion Energy Transmission project failed to get federal approval earlier in 2019.

US crude oil stockpiles fall 1.1 million barrels in week to Dec. 13

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude oil and petroleum stockpiles moved in opposite directions in the week to Dec. 13. U.S. crude oil inventories, excluding the strategic petroleum reserve, declined 1.1 million barrels from the week prior to 446.8 million barrels.

Conservation groups launch lawsuit over Colo. coal mine's methane emissions

Conservation groups filed a formal notice of an intent to sue Arch Coal Inc. over failure to reduce pollution from its West Elk mine in Colorado.


"Grain Belt Express is not a public utility. Investors who want to negotiate rates privately and enter into contracts to sell electricity to the highest bidders should not be able to condemn land in order to build their dream project," Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said in response to a Missouri appellate court's ruling that the Grain Belt Express transmission project will serve the public use, and that Grain Belt qualifies as a public utility.


* A regional cap-and-trade style market for on-road transportation sector emissions across a number of Northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. states could yield as much as $10 billion in annual health benefits by 2032 but would only modestly increase regional GDP and job levels, the Transportation and Climate Initiative reported in preliminary modeling results.

* Negotiations between PG&E Corp. and the California government are facing hurdles, with Gov. Gavin Newsom wanting the bankrupt utility to include a clause in its reorganization proposal which would allow the state to take over its assets if it fails to meet performance and safety metrics, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

* China-based Shanghai Electric Power Co. Ltd. is forming a £420 million joint venture with Spain's Eland Private Equity to invest in solar projects in Europe, Energy Voice reported.

* The announcement by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s electric utility PacifiCorp that it plans to install wind turbines, solar panels and battery storage while retiring coal-fired generators in the Western U.S. was not taken well in Wyoming, which mines 40% of the country's coal, Financial Times reported.

* Italian infrastructure fund Fondi Italiani per le Infrastrutture Societa' di Gestione del Risparmio SpA has bought Spanish renewables developer Renovalia Energy Group SL from Cerberus Capital Management LP, marking its entry into one of the hottest solar markets in Europe.

* The Maryland Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement allowing Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to increase electric base rates by $25 million and gas base rates by $54 million.

Natural gas

* TC Energy Corp. proposed to increase compression in Arizona on its North Baja Pipeline LLC system to add 495,000 Dth/d of firm gas delivery to the U.S.-Mexico border to serve an LNG export terminal planned for Mexico's Pacific Coast.

* Danish renewables developer Ørsted A/S is paying Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore PLC to take over its LNG business, which it described as "loss-making and is projected to remain so for years to come."

* Gunvor Group Ltd. cemented itself as the world's largest independent trader of LNG vessels, boosting delivered volumes by 45% year over year to 16 million tonnes of LNG in 2019.

* CNOOC Gas & Power Ltd. and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. have put their $2 billion Tanglawan LNG hub venture in the Philippines on hold after Phoenix's parent Udenna Corp. acquired a 45% stake in the Malampaya natural gas consortium, Reuters reported.

* AltaGas Ltd. plans to lower 2020 capital spending 31% from prior-year guidance to C$900 million, while forecasting a 100% increase in annual export volumes to Asia during the year.


* Saudi Arabian Oil Co. subsidiary Aramco Overseas Co. BV completed the acquisition of a 17% stake in South Korean refiner Hyundai Oilbank Co. Ltd. from Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings.

* Chevron Corp. subsidiary Chevron Australia Downstream Pty. Ltd. entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Puma Energy Asia Pacific BV to acquire all equity interests of Puma Energy (Australia) Holdings Pty. Ltd. for A$425 million.

* U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the country's shale boom will continue, shrugging off an expected slowdown of oil production in the Permian Basin as a temporary "pause" and a "normal" downturn, Bloomberg News reported.

* BP PLC's incoming CEO Bernard Looney, who will join the company in February 2020, will not initially take up any of the oil giant's seats on the board of Public Joint Stock Co. Rosneft Oil Co., Reuters reported, citing five company sources. Outgoing CEO Bob Dudley will keep one of the two seats when he retires in March, the sources said.

* CNOOC Ltd. got federal approval to proceed with a new offshore exploration drilling project in the Flemish Pass Basin, about 400 kilometers east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

* A panel of judges reserved its decision after hearing arguments from indigenous groups that the Canadian government did not make efforts to take their advice on expansion plans for the Trans Mountain oil pipeline project, Reuters reported.

* Suncor Energy Inc. has completed a coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle charging stations as Canada's biggest oil producer by volume burnishes its climate change-mitigation credentials.

* The U.S. Department of Justice approved Tenaris SA's $1.2 billion acquisition of PAO TMK subsidiary IPSCO Tubulars Inc., according to a securities filing.


* Murray Energy Corp. spent at least $5.7 million on gifts and charitable contributions over the two years before filing for bankruptcy protection, according to court documents.

* Despite the country's struggle with severely high air pollution levels, Indian electricity generator NTPC Ltd. rejected around $2 billion worth of deals with General Electric Co. and other firms for the use of their emissions-cutting technology at its coal-fired power plants, Reuters reported.

* The U.S. and Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to provide a framework addressing the growing global demand for energy mineral resources.


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Legislative activity affecting the energy sector has been robust in recent years, and 2019 has been no exception. Over 120 energy-related measures were enacted this year, which is a sharp increase from the 73 enacted bills that Regulatory Research Associates, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, tracked in 2018.

New from RRA

* The Georgia Public Service Commission authorized rates to be increased by a total of $909 million as part of Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power Co.'s request for an alternative rate plan for the three-year period 2020-2022.

* After protracted negotiations with the city of El Paso, on Dec. 18, El Paso Electric tendered a non-unanimous settlement to the Public Utility Commission of Texas that calls for approval of the company's proposed acquisition by Sun Jupiter Holdings LLC, subject to certain commitments by the applicants.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed 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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