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NuScale to capitalize on US decarbonization; Antero committed to slashing debt


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NuScale to capitalize on US decarbonization; Antero committed to slashing debt

Top News

Executive: NuScale ready to capitalize on US decarbonization efforts

Relying on renewable resources and energy storage alone will be a difficult and expensive path to decarbonizing the U.S. power sector, creating an opening for deployment of smaller advanced nuclear plants, NuScale Power LLC Chief Strategy Officer Chris Colbert said in a recent interview.

'No silver bullet' for Antero's balance sheet, CFO says

Antero Resources Corp. executives reiterated the Appalachian driller's commitment to slashing debt amid low natural gas and NGL prices, just days after Moody's lowered the company's corporate family rating and changed its outlook to negative due to increased refinancing risks.

Steady US shale production growth continues to break records

Shale oil production in the United States has exceeded 9 million barrels of oil per day and is projected to continue growing, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its monthly Drilling Productivity Report released this month.

Judge authorizes Murray Energy to obtain $440M in postpetition financing

A federal judge authorized Murray Energy Corp. and certain affiliates to obtain up to $440 million in postpetition financing under a superpriority debtor-in-possession credit facility as part of an ongoing bankruptcy restructuring.


" Exxon Mobil Corp.'s acquisition of XTO Energy Inc. stands out as a textbook example of how not to do M&A," Raymond James equity analyst Pavel Molchanov said, expressing reservations over Exxon's ill-fated $41 billion purchase of shale pioneer XTO at the 10th anniversary of the deal, which has "caused long-term pressure on Exxon's profitability metrics," according to Molchanov.


* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has pledged to cut off funding for certain new fossil fuel-related projects, facilitate another $110 billion in clean energy solutions by 2025 and seek out additional financing options to address the physical impacts of climate change.

* EU lawmakers have reached an agreement on a proposed classification system for green financing after reaching a compromise on the definitions of nuclear and gas investments.

* The U.K.'s energy regulator is set to cut investor returns at regional power grid operators from April 2023 as part of a broader clampdown on shareholder payouts in the regulated utility sector.

* PG&E Corp. and its utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co. entered into an amendment to the restructuring support agreement with representatives of the California wildfire victims to reaffirm their continued support of the $13.5 billion settlement. The amendment eliminates the provision that would automatically terminate the agreement if the governor of California advises PG&E that its Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan does not comply with Assembly Bill 1054 and is not modified in a manner acceptable by Dec. 17.

* A group of PG&E creditors, led by Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC and Elliott Management Corp., have sent a proposal to the company's stakeholders, claiming their plan satisfies the concerns raised by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Bloomberg News reported.

* The Midcontinent ISO recently proposed revising its market tariff to allow energy storage resources to serve as transmission-only assets.

* Virginia lawmakers are taking aim at Dominion Energy Virginia's profits through proposed legislation that would allow state regulators to order the utility to lower its base rates and issue refunds for excess earnings.

Natural gas

* The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reaffirmed its order clearing away a New York regulatory roadblock for the proposed 650-MMcf/d Constitution Pipeline Co. LLC natural gas transportation project between Pennsylvania and New York, but Democratic Commissioner Richard Glick, changing course, has come out against the FERC action.

* FERC authorized Total Peaking Services LLC to put in service vaporizers and other equipment that are part of an upgrade to the company's LNG storage facility in Milford, Conn.

* Natural gas hedge fund Statar Capital LLC has gained about 30% this year, with $410 million in assets through November, on the back of successful bets on U.S. natural gas fluctuations, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

* Tallgrass Energy LP entered into a definitive merger agreement for a consortium led by Blackstone Infrastructure Partners to acquire all of the company's publicly held outstanding Class A shares for $22.45 each. The deal will be funded with about $3 billion of equity, with the remainder as debt.

* A 2018 Exxon Mobil natural gas well explosion in Ohio released more methane into the atmosphere than countries like France, Norway and the Netherlands emit in an entire year, Bloomberg News reported, citing a study conducted by a team of U.S. and Dutch scientists, who tracked the harmful emissions using satellite technology.


* Dutch activist investor group Follow This has filed new shareholder resolutions at five of the largest integrated oil and gas majors, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp., asking them to cut emissions and align their business strategies with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

* Pembina Pipeline Corp. closed its previously announced acquisition of Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. and the U.S. portion of the Cochin pipeline system for C$4.35 billion.

* JP Morgan raised its Brent oil price forecast to $64.50 per barrel in 2020 from $59 earlier, to reflect tightening supply amid the recent OPEC production cuts and stronger demand as a result of economic growth in emerging markets, Reuters reported. The bank now expects the global oil market to stand at a deficit of 0.2 million barrels per day on average for 2020, rather than a surplus of 0.6 million barrels per day.

* Even though output cuts by OPEC and cooling down of the U.S.-China trade war recently caused U.S. crude prices to hit a three-month high, investors have doubts that these developments will have enough magnitude to push the commodity over its current trading range, according to The Wall Street Journal.


* After threatening to block all bills until Congress secured the pensions and healthcare for coal miners and their dependents, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin announced that his bipartisan legislation to do so was included in the final funding package to keep the government open beyond Dec. 20.

* Although global coal demand is expected to fall in 2019, the International Energy Agency's latest market analysis and forecasts sees demand in the next five years as mainly stable due to strong growth in major Asian markets such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

* Endesa SA unveiled a plan at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid to replace its 1.1-GW coal-fired power plant in Teruel, Spain, with 1.7 GW of solar and wind, industry website PV Tech reported, citing CEO José Bogas.


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The capacity of wind turbines is growing rapidly, with General Electric Co.'s 12-MW Haliade-X machine set to enter commercial use in 2021. However, for the ship owners supporting the sector, the speed of innovation can be a concern, and deployment of future megaturbines could be hampered by a global shortage of vessels.

New from RRA

* The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission staff has filed testimony in Liberty Utilities (Granite State Electric) Corp's pending electric distribution rate case, recommending a $137,989 rate increase and an 8.5% return on equity (50% of capital) and a 7.11% return on a year-end rate base valued at approximately $97 million.

* In a major development with potentially sweeping implications for the electric and gas industries, FERC concluded long-running litigation by adopting a new methodology for establishing the return on equity for transmission owners in the Midcontinent ISO.

* Regulators at the Wyoming Public Service Commission approved a settlement in Black Hills Wyoming Gas' consolidated base rate proceeding, calling for the utility to implement a $13.2 million gas rate increase, effective March 1, 2020.

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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