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Xcel to exit coal in Upper Midwest; Europe is top US LNG destination in Q1

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Xcel to exit coal in Upper Midwest; Europe is top US LNG destination in Q1

Top News

Xcel to exit coal in Upper Midwest by 2030 amid 'massive growth in solar'

Xcel Energy Inc. plans to eliminate coal-fired generation from its Upper Midwest power mix by 2030 while adding at least 3,000 MW of solar power, expanding energy efficiency and purchasing an existing natural gas generator, according to a settlement agreement with clean energy and labor groups filed May 20 with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

For 1st time ever, Europe is top destination for US LNG in Q1

EU countries imported record volumes of U.S. LNG in March, with the trade bloc serving as a market of last resort for uncommitted cargoes as a mild winter and global oversupply depressed LNG prices in Asia.

ESG focus pressures coal but could be tailwind for 1st movers in sector

Increased scrutiny from investors concerned about environmental, social and governance issues has put pressure on some of coal's top customers, but there may be benefits for a "first mover" in the coal mining space to acknowledge ESG risks to its bottom line, two analysts wrote in a recent investor note.

US refining executives confident on future earnings growth following tough Q1

U.S. refining executives outlined an optimistic market outlook following a first quarter during which narrowing crude oil spreads and weak gasoline margins reduced the sector's earnings.

Quoted

"While we continue to receive applications for new and expanded firm natural gas service from residential, commercial and industrial customers in Brooklyn, Queens and on Long Island, none will be processed until the permits are received and the project is allowed to proceed," National Grid USA in a May 20 email stating that it will not provide natural gas distribution service to new customers in Long Island and New York City service areas until New York state reconsiders the rejection of a permit for an expansion of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC system.

Power

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reportedly will finalize a new approach to the way it measures the negative health effects of tiny airborne soot pollution as part of its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Duke Energy Corp. and its subsidiaries to negative from stable, citing coal ash risks, regulatory lag and delays to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

* Rhode Island has pushed back by more than a month its timeline for selecting winning bids and negotiating contracts related to its 2018 request for proposals for up to 400 MW of renewable energy.

* Public Service Co. of Colorado filed a request with state utility regulators, seeking a net increase to retail electric base rate revenue of $158.3 million, reflecting a $407.7 million increase offset by $249.4 million of previously authorized costs. The request is based on a 10.35% return on equity and incorporates the full impact of tax reform.

* Enel SpA could bid for Sempra Energy's assets in Chile and in Peru, Reuters reported, citing Enel CEO Francesco Starace.

Natural gas

* Columbia Gas Transmission LLC received a positive environmental review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Buckeye XPress expansion project in Ohio and West Virginia designed to increase firm natural gas transportation capacity on Columbia's system by 275 MMcf/d.

* Texas lawmakers advanced a bill that would stiffen penalties for damaging critical infrastructure, including pipelines, according to The Associated Press.

* Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP expressed interest in acquiring Denver-based natural gas and oil company QEP Resources Inc., Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

* FERC granted Sunoco Pipeline LP's petition to provide priority service to shippers committing to transport volumes of propane plus (C3+) at a premium rate for capacity. The capacity was originally contracted for a priority service basis as part of the Project Mariner East 2 season.

Oil

* Tenaris SA, the Luxembourg-based steel pipes manufacturer, could see significant cost reduction that would boost the company's earnings and free cash flow now that the U.S., Canada and Mexico have reached an agreement that removes a 25% tariff on steel imports, analysts said.

* A Carlyle Group LP unit is planning to seek guarantee from the Trump administration for a two-year approval of its South Texas crude export project, Reuters reported.

* Struggling Alta Mesa Resources Inc. has given investors a large helping of bad news as it reported that it is under SEC investigation for potential fraud, is considering bankruptcy and is at risk of being de-listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

* Bluewing Midstream LLC has started construction of its phase 2 expansion project, which will add 300,000 barrels of new liquids storage capable of handling gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products.

Coal

* Coal's share of the Class I railroads' volume and percentage of total revenue has largely decreased since 2011, a trend that coal, rail and utility representatives do not see reversing given current market conditions.

* Economical, carbon-free, fossil fuel energy generation is just over the horizon, a U.S. Department of Energy official told the crowd at a coal industry conference May 20.

ChartWatch

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Chevron Corp.'s $52 billion deal for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. was on course to be the biggest upstream oil and gas deal of the decade. But Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s late negotiating and superior bid for Anadarko created one of the biggest break-ups the energy industry has seen.

New from RRA

* American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power Co. recently proposed a three-step $172 million, or 11.75%, electric rate increase that reflects the impact of certain rider-related adjustments. The company's previous base rate proceeding, Cause No. 44967, was decided 10 months ago.

The day ahead

* 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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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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