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PJM stakeholders again eye FERC market order; Southwestern announces $1.87B deal

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


PJM stakeholders again eye FERC market order; Southwestern announces $1.87B deal

Top News

PJM stakeholders tackle questions on FERC capacity market order

PJM Interconnection stakeholders will have another opportunity to develop some consensus on reforms to the grid operator's capacity market now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has extended a deadline for comments.

Southwestern to exit Fayetteville Shale business with $1.87B deal

* Southwestern Energy Co. is exiting the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas and Oklahoma with an agreement to sell its exploration and production and associated midstream gathering assets in the area to an energy company backed by Kayne Private Energy Income Fund for $1.87 billion in cash.

With Trans Mountain pipeline sale, Kinder Morgan dodges debacle of delay

Kinder Morgan Inc. ended its 13-year tenure as owner of the Trans Mountain pipeline system, and its long-hoped-for expansion might be no closer to reality than it was in 2005 amid a regulatory and legal process that could drag on in Canadian courts and before regulators for years.

Off strong Q2, first-movers shoulder risks, rewards of US offshore wind projects

The U.S. offshore wind industry scored major wins during the second quarter of 2018, including signing contracts for 1,400 MW of capacity, but the buzz around this emerging market will likely remain limited to the handful of first-mover companies in the near term.

Coal sector-led council finalizing recommendations for DOE to boost coal exports

A slate of potential policy changes that would advance U.S. coal exports is being completed for U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry by a council primarily consisting of representatives of the coal industry.

Oil services, operators adopt 'all for one' thinking in evolving digital world

Oilfield operators and service companies are embracing a new policy of working with partners to leverage shared resources in order to adapt, survive and thrive in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive market.

Quoted

"Albertans are angry. I'm angry. Alberta has done everything right, and we have been let down. The combined result of the actions taken by the Harper government, the current federal government, the National Energy Board and the Federal Court of Appeal means that the current state of affairs in Canada is such that building a pipeline to tidewater is practically impossible," Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said on the ruling by Canada's Federal Court of Appeal had effectively annulled permits for the C$7.4 billion project to almost triple the TransMountain pipeline system's capacity.

Power

* Clearway Energy Group has agreed to acquire roughly 4.7 GW of utility-scale solar projects in development from SunPower Corp. The deal was announced after Clearway Energy started operations as an independent enterprise on Aug. 31.

* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling has been released from prison in Montgomery, Ala., and moved to a halfway house, according to Reuters.

* Just ahead of an Aug. 31 midnight deadline, California lawmakers passed a proposal, Senate Bill 901, intended to reduce the growing risk of wildfires in the state and limit fire-related costs for utilities and their customers.

* PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, slated to receive electricity from the partially built Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, still supports the project's completion despite a recent cost increase — a position opposite that of fellow power recipient JEA, which wants the venture canceled.

* NextEra Energy Inc. has been asked to "cease and desist immediately the construction" of its wind turbines in Canadian County, Okla., as the project is in violation of the state's new law, News 9 reported.

* GESS International Inc. plans to build seven swine and agricultural waste plants in North Carolina, which will sell gas to Duke Energy Corp. utilities, the Triad Business Journal reported.

* Denmark-based Ørsted A/S is looking at bidding for several offshore wind projects in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported. "There are a lot auctions coming up in the U.S.," said Ørsted CFO Marianne Wiinholt was quoted as saying. "We feel we are well-positioned."

Natural gas

* CenterPoint Energy Inc. has completed the internal spin of its interests in Enable Midstream Partners and its general partner Enable GP LLC from CenterPoint Energy Resources Corp. to CenterPoint Energy Midstream Inc.

* The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an attempt by environmental groups to stop construction on the 2-Bcf/d Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC natural gas project, which just received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to resume construction on most of the route.

* Dominion Energy Inc. said it secured commitments totaling $3 billion from over 20 lenders for its three-year, non-amortizing, Cove Point term loan facility. The company intends to use the proceeds from the financing to reduce parent-level debt.

* EQT Corp. appointed Jimmi Sue Smith as senior vice president and CFO effective upon the closing of the separation of its upstream and midstream businesses. Smith will replace Robert McNally, who will become president and CEO of the company effective as of the separation. EQT also appointed Jeffery Mitchell as principal accounting officer.

* The Industrial Energy Consumers of America is asking Congress to create mandatory security standards for natural gas pipelines, which the industrial group says are "the weak link in U.S. national energy infrastructure," the Houston Chronicle reported.

* Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff found Dominion Energy Transmission Inc.'s 120-MMcf/d natural gas pipeline expansion project, which would deliver gas from Pennsylvania to Midwest markets, would not have significant environmental impacts.

* The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued environmental schedules for 12 liquefied natural gas export terminal applications, saying it reflects its effort to streamline the review process for such projects.

Oil

* Energy Transfer Partners LP, Magellan Midstream Partners LP and MPLX LP are jointly constructing a 600-mile common carrier pipeline to transport crude oil from the Permian Basin to the Texas Gulf Coast region, after receiving sufficient commitments for the project.

* The Army Corps of Engineers' further review on the Dakota Access oil pipeline "did not reveal 'significant new circumstance[s] or information relevant to environmental concerns,'" The Hill in Washington, D.C., reported.

* U.S. oil refiners were big buyers of the 11 million barrels of oil scheduled to be released from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, or SPR, according to a Department of Energy document released Aug. 31.

* Oryx Midstream Services II LLC has further extended its binding opening season for a proposed crude oil gathering and trunk line transportation system in the Delaware Basin.

* After dipping in May, production of crude oil across the U.S. ticked higher in June and remains well above year-ago levels.

* Epic Midstream Holdings LP is extending the second open season for its Permian Basin to Corpus Christi pipeline project due to high level of continued interest, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

* Wood Mackenzie anticipates that at least $8.8 billion worth of energy assets will be up for sale in the North Sea, the Financial Times reported.

Coal

* Pocahontas Coal Co. entered into a settlement with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to terminate the "pattern of violations" status at its Affinity mine after nearly five years.

* The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved a 2,114-acre coal lease for Alton Coal Development LLC that contains an estimated 30.8 million tons of recoverable coal.

* Peabody Energy Corp.'s Australian unit has rehabilitated its open-cut coal mine two years ahead of schedule, the Daily Mercury reported.

ChartWatch

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative secondary market prices ran mixed to end August and ahead of the program's upcoming quarterly carbon dioxide allowance auction.

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New from RRA

* September is expected to be active from a regulatory perspective for the electric and natural gas utilities, especially on the rate case front.

The day ahead

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* 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.

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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