Pallone vows aggressive agenda as next House Energy and Commerce chief
Democrats made it official and elected New Jersey lawmaker Frank Pallone as the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a panel that has jurisdiction over issues broadly affecting Americans, including healthcare and biopharmaceuticals, energy and climate change, and telecommunications and information technology.
Joint ventures, private buyouts to dominate 2019 oil, gas pipeline M&A
After internal reorganizations dominated 2018 midstream energy M&A, analysts expect pipeline companies to focus on partnering up for projects in the year ahead as public equity funding remains scant, with private buyers potentially taking out smaller independent operators.
TSA's pipeline cyberrisk oversight has 'significant weaknesses,' review says
The Transportation Security Administration, tasked with overseeing U.S. oil and gas pipeline cybersecurity, has not kept up with the latest threats to the industry and has not been clear enough in its expectations to ensure that pipeline operators are appropriately evaluating their risks, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Major insurers tell campaign they will not be backing large Australian coal mine
A group aggressively working across the globe to push insurance companies away from the coal sector said some of the world's largest insurers will not be covering Adani Mining Pty Ltd.'s controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia.
"I continue to have concerns about the analysis and conclusion in the reports," said Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "I believe the assessment has a fundamental flaw in the way its assumptions are created," LaFleur said, expressing concerns with a final report issued by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. on how the U.S. electric grid would handle larger-than-expected losses of coal-fired and nuclear generation.
* An expected explosion of rooftop solar installations in several states over the next five years could create reliability challenges for the bulk power system, and grid operators would be wise to make sure they can track and manage the impacts of those resources, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. said in its 2018 Long-Term Reliability Assessment.
* The U.S. House passed legislation, by a vote of 220-183, that would extend tax breaks for biodiesel, add about $99.2 billion to the deficit over a decade and correct faults in the GOP tax overhaul, Bloomberg News reported. The Republican-controlled Senate is not likely to consider the bill in 2018.
* The Orlando Utilities Commission is facing a lawsuit for allegedly polluting the homes of more than 30,000 residents with toxic coal dust and contaminants released from its Stanton Energy Center in Orange County, Fla., Reuters reported.
* A federal court judge criticized the U.S. Department of Commerce for its handling of tariffs on Chinese-made solar equipment, saying the government failed to justify certain decisions it made in a trade conflict that has been building for more than five years.
* Missouri regulators are holding hearings on Clean Line Energy Partners LLC's Grain Belt Express wind project after a July order from the state Supreme Court calling for the public service commission to reconsider the project. The proposal calls for a transmission line that would run roughly 780 miles from western Kansas through Missouri and Illinois and into Indiana.
* Vineyard Wind LLC's $135.1 million bid won one of three lease sales to develop a wind farm on a 132,370-acre parcel offshore of Massachusetts. Completion of the lease is subject to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's review, securing certain regulatory approvals and satisfactory negotiation of the lease agreement.
* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delayed a vote on Venture Global LNG's proposed Calcasieu Pass natural gas liquefaction terminal in Louisiana, which could have been the first authorization of a new LNG export facility by the agency in more than two years.
* The $40 billion Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada project in Kitimat, British Columbia, is "at risk" of delays, investor uncertainty and cuts in production targets if Ottawa's current and temporary steel safeguards are extended, the Calgary Herald reported. PetroChina Co. Ltd., Korea Gas Corp., Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. are joint partners in the project.
* The U.S. has vowed to support an agreement Israel, Greece and Cyprus will sign in 2019 to build a $7 billion pipeline project to carry natural gas to Europe from the eastern Mediterranean region, reducing Russia's supremacy over the European energy market, The Associated Press reported.
* In a letter to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose, Cheniere Energy Partners LP requested regulatory approval to bring online Train unit 2 at its Corpus Christi LNG terminal for testing, the Houston Chronicle reported. Corpus Christi Train 2 is expected to be mostly completed in the second half of 2019.
* Another agreement for Poland to buy LNG from a U.S. developer added to a flurry of contract activity for the American gas export industry in recent months that is bolstering the prospects of new export terminals.
* The Bureau of Land Management released the environmental impact statement for the Coastal Plain oil and gas leasing program for public comment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's notice of availability on Dec. 28 will start the 45-day comment period, which will run through Feb. 11, 2019.
* Fitch lifted its ratings on Enbridge Energy Partners LP and Spectra Energy Partners LP and affirmed its rating on Enbridge Inc. as the Alberta-based energy transportation conglomerate completed its roll-up of both of the partnerships.
* China is expected to cut or terminate entirely its crude oil imports from the U.S. in 2019 due to ambiguous trade relations between Washington and Beijing, increasing freight costs and poor profit-margins for refining in the region, Reuters reported.
* Crude prices have collapsed since OPEC and its allies announced plans to remove 1.2 million barrels per day of oil from the market, Bloomberg News reported. Experts predict thriving U.S. shale production and unstable demand could harm OPEC's efforts.
* A coalition of nine East Coast states sued the Trump administration for approving the use of seismic air guns for offshore oil and gas drilling tests, Bloomberg News reported. "The consequences will be catastrophic for marine mammals," said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
* S&P Global Ratings raised its rating on Diamondback Energy Inc. to a notch below investment-grade following Diamondback's recent acquisition of fellow Permian driller Energen Corp., significantly increasing its position in the basin.
* Texas-based Ring Energy Inc. entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Carlyle Group LP subsidiary Tessara Petroleum Resources to acquire assets in Andrews County, Texas. The deal is expected to add 5,313 net acres and 55 new gross horizontal drilling locations to Rong's portfolio. The price is 2,623,948 shares of Ring common stock valued at $5.80 per share.
* Murray Energy Corp. and the Ohio Coal Association were unable to reach a settlement with federal mine safety officials over a challenge to an Obama-era rule targeting repeat violators of mine safety standards, and the parties now plan to proceed with briefing the merits of the case.
* Paringa Resources Ltd. intercepted the Western Kentucky No. 9 coal seam with the primary transportation slope at its Poplar Grove mine in Kentucky, marking a "material milestone" in the company's pursuit of coal production.
Federal officials are scrutinizing a Mississippi nuclear plant after an unplanned shutdown, a development following years of stops and starts at the facility. But the plant's operator and a state regulator said they see no cause for reliability concerns stemming from the most recent incident.
New from RRA
* In November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its finalized retail electricity pricing data for 2017.
* Permian Basin drilling and production activity has grown vigorously for more than two and a half years as the formation has become the global center of unconventional oil development.
The day ahead
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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