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In This List

Perry confirms departure later this year; DTE to buy shale assets for $2.25B

Essential Energy Insights - June 11, 2020

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Perry confirms departure later this year; DTE to buy shale assets for $2.25B

Top News

Energy Secretary Rick Perry confirms resignation later this year

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Oct. 17 announced his resignation later this year. Perry, who was expected to announce his resignation from the Trump administration by the end of November, was subpoenaed Oct. 10 by House Democrats as part of a congressional impeachment inquiry regarding the president.

DTE Energy subsidiary to acquire Haynesville Shale midstream assets for $2.25B

DTE Energy Co. subsidiary DTE Midstream agreed to acquire a gathering system and gathering pipeline in the Haynesville Shale of Louisiana for $2.25 billion.

FERC opens investigations into ISO-NE, PJM, SPP transmission practices

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Oct. 17 opened investigations into whether three grid operators — the ISO New England, PJM Interconnection and Southwest Power Pool — are inappropriately exempting certain transmission projects from the competitive bidding process.

NY regulators blast National Grid over gas service denials

National Grid USA faced withering criticism from New York regulators during a contentious state Public Service Commission meeting, the latest flare up in an ongoing dispute over the utility's natural gas moratorium in New York City and Long Island.

Quoted

"The current [tax credit] step-down situation does affect the market. It's created a rush of demand in the second half of this year," Scott Moskowitz, director of strategy and market intelligence at South Korean solar panel maker Hanwha Q CELLS Co. Ltd., said as U.S. imports of solar panels increased in the third quarter.

Power

* PG&E Corp. bondholders and wildfire victims have filed a joint Chapter 11 plan of reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco.

* FERC on Oct. 17 approved compliance filings from the PJM Interconnection and the Southwest Power Pool on FERC's Order 841, a pivotal rule aimed at removing barriers to energy storage resources' participation in wholesale markets.

* San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo plans to sever ties with PG&E Corp.'s electricity grid in the wake of the recent power shutoffs, NBC Bay Area reported. Liccardo plans to lay out a plan, for public approval, of an independent utility with "micro grids" across the city.

* Separately, in a report filed with the California regulators, PG&E Corp. disclosed the names of three executives, who make the precautionary power shutdown decisions, Bloomberg News reported. The company expects to add two more executives to the group in 2020.

* A website that touted itself as a "totally unbiased" source of information about retail electric supply options in Texas is owned by NextEra Energy Inc., the Houston Chronicle reported, noting NextEra owns two retail electric supply businesses active in the Houston area. The website's executives are all NextEra employees.

* While climate change and broader environmental, social and governance risks are getting priced into stocks and energy-related investment decisions in Europe, the U.S. energy sector is just beginning to understand how ESG issues can affect capital allocation, an official with JPMorgan Chase & Co. told a room of energy lawyers Oct. 16.

* A California Senate panel has been asked to "begin investigating and reviewing options to address the serious deficiencies" in Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s power shutoff process, according to The Associated Press.

* The New York State Public Service Commission approved the 316-MW Ravenswood lithium-ion battery storage facility in Long Island City. The project is expected to be partially operational by March 2021.

* The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco published research work that warns of financial risks tied to climate change and calls for "smart, proactive investments in adaptive capacity and resilience" to help mitigate the impact of climate change-related events on low- and moderate-income communities.

Natural gas

* The U.S. is headed for a warmer-than-average winter and natural gas futures prices are lower than last winter, but a variety of electric power generation types that includes coal and oil plants will still be essential to electric reliability this winter, especially in the Northeast, FERC staff said Oct. 17.

* The U.S. Department of Energy approved Venture Global LNG's Plaquemines LNG project to export to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S., bringing the country close to a total of 40 Bcf/d of natural gas authorized for export to non-FTA countries.

* Colorado officials have decided to tighten their oversight of oil and gas drilling sites, after a study found possible short-term health effects of drilling operations, The Denver Post reported.

* U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., introduced a bill to reauthorize the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration's pipeline safety program for two years. The program's authorization expired Oct. 1.

* The North Carolina Department of Labor fined Dominion Energy North Carolina, formerly PSNC Energy, and two subcontractors in connection with the April gas line explosion in Durham, the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record reported.

* A Basalt Infrastructure Partners II GP Ltd.-managed fund has agreed to acquire Third Coast Midstream LLC's natural gas transmission business, which includes seven regulated lateral pipelines with total capacity of over 1,600 MDth per day.

* Painted Pony Energy Ltd. agreed to sell a 75% working interest in 11,280 gross acres in the north east British Columbia Montney for C$45 million.

Oil

* State-owned oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, has delayed the launch of its IPO slated for Oct. 20, the Financial Times reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

* Pipeline giant Williams Cos. Inc.'s attempt to be the first party to block a flaring permit before the Texas Railroad Commission has a chance for new life, after the commission added the company's motion for rehearing to the agenda for its Oct. 22 meeting in Austin, Texas.

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. crude oil and petroleum stockpiles headed in opposite directions in the week to Oct. 11.

* Alaska is considering changing the requirements for oil spill prevention and response plans, but some fear that it could water down environmental regulations, according to AP.

* Marathon Petroleum Corp. board members are meeting with activist investors about CEO Gary Heminger's future and the company's strategy after calls were made to divide its businesses to unlock $39 billion in value, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 17, citing unnamed sources.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will publicly disclose the names of oil companies whose investments are delayed, according to Reuters.

Coal

* CSX Corp.'s coal business suffered from low export coal pricing during the third quarter and executives were not overly optimistic heading into the final months of the year, given recent international metallurgical coal prices.

* Peabody Energy Corp. announced another mine closure in the Illinois Basin, further evidence of what experts have called the start of much-needed consolidation in the region.

* A ballot to force BHP Group to suspend membership of pro-coal lobbying associations could not come to a concrete resolution at its annual shareholders meeting, Reuters reported. Only 22.16% of the 42% votes supported the resolution. A second vote is scheduled for November in Australia for the remaining 58% shareholders.

* Total U.S. coal production for the week ended Oct. 12 declined 13.6% year over year to 12.8 million tons from 14.8 million tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

ChartWatch

SNL Image

As production in the Appalachian region continues to grow, pipeline disruptions have altered the flow of gas coming out the Northeast and contributed to price shifts, the U.S. Energy Information Administration wrote in an Oct. 15 report.

New from RRA

* In its first electric base rate case since 2009, American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. and intervenors in the case have submitted a settlement agreement to Arkansas regulators that calls for a total increase of $53 million, which incorporates the transfer to base rates of $28.9 million that is being collected through riders, for an agreed-to net increase of $24.1 million.

The day ahead

* The Baker-Hughes rig count report is due out today.

* 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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Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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