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EPA chief: 'Science should not be politicized'; Andeavor MLPs to merge

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Essential Energy Insights - February 2021

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Message in a (Word)Cloud

Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021

Six trends shaping the industries and sectors we cover in 2021


EPA chief: 'Science should not be politicized'; Andeavor MLPs to merge

Top News

EPA chief: 'Science should not be politicized'

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed concerns that the Trump administration will suppress an upcoming report on climate change. Instead, he said, the nation should be focusing on gains already made in reducing pollutants that contribute to air quality concerns.

Gas utilities with leaky pipes focus dollars on modernizing infrastructure

Natural gas utilities with high rates of leak repairs are aggressively pursuing pipeline system upgrades to eliminate aging and leak-prone materials. For the third consecutive year, Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. had the highest ratio of leaks repaired per mile in 2016 among gas utilities with at least 5,000 miles of distribution main and service lines, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of data from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Armstrong says it likely cannot meet debt obligations, posts Q2'17 net loss

With an Aug. 14 deadline looming to make an interest payment, Armstrong Energy Inc. released its second-quarter earnings with warnings to investors that it is likely to default on other debt and faces a real threat of bankruptcy.

Power

* In the first half of 2017, investor-owned utilities spent far more to help elect Republican governors and attorneys general than they did to aid Democrats, according to a new report from UtilitySecrets.org.

* U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is being considered by some White House and Republican officials to lead the Energy Department, Bloomberg News reports, citing "four people familiar with the discussions," Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry currently holds the energy secretary role.

* U.S. senators, representing states with a growing solar industry, asked U.S. Internal Trade Commission Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein in a letter to also carefully consider the potential negative effects of a petition to impose high tariffs for imported solar cells and high minimum prices for imported solar modules.

* A Michigan legislative leader opposes an in-state resource requirement proposed by the state Public Service Commission. A new energy law, Public Act 341, which the state adopted in 2016, authorizes the commission to design a state reliability mechanism, which ensures adequate supply of power.

* The Washington Department of Health has indefinitely barred Energy Northwest from shipping low-level radioactive waste, after it mislabeled a shipment in July, the Tri-City Herald of Kennewick, Wash. reports. The utility said this order will not affect the operations of the Columbia Generating Station.

* Avista Corp. is disappointed that the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission dismissed its power cost rate adjustment, or PCRA, filing. "The increased costs included in the PCRA were known changes in power costs, which have generally been less controversial in prior regulatory proceedings," said President and CEO Scott Morris in a statement.

* Nautilus Solar Energy LLC acquired an approximately 13.3 MW community solar portfolio from ReneSola Ltd., according to a news release.

* The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a retrospective review of its administrative regulations beginning in the fall of 2017, according to a news release.

* VK Clean Energy Partners LLC will pursue building an 80-MW solar farm in Montana, despite the facility having an "unfavorable" power purchase agreement, KTVQ reports.

* Wisconsin regulators approved a settlement that provides for a two-year rate freeze for We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.'s electric and natural gas customers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Natural gas/midstream

* Andeavor announced the merger of its master limited partnerships, Andeavor Logistics LP and Western Refining Logistics LP, in a unit-for-unit transaction with a total enterprise value of $1.8 billion, including net debt, according to a news release.

* Environmental groups continued to press New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deny air and water permits for two Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC natural gas transportation projects and a CPV Valley power plant project.

* Climate change policies, particularly those to meet Paris climate pact goals, may lower the valuation of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Saudi Aramco, by about 40%, The Financial Times reports, citing Oil Change International. Saudi Aramco is planning an initial public offering in 2018.

* Inter Pipeline Ltd. places a high priority on the development of a C$3.1 billion NGL processing project it inherited when it bought the Canadian assets of Williams Cos. Inc., but that development is not a done deal, CEO Christian Bayle said.

* A preliminary report for Lea County, N.M. found that two-thirds of oil and gas companies have not reported new taxable assets in the last 10 years, The Associated Press reports.

* ConocoPhillips has commenced drilling for its 1H NEWS project, which is a viscous oil development associated with the West Sak reservoir at the Kuparuk field in Alaska, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Coal

* The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered an Alpha Natural Resources Inc. subsidiary to show why a mountaintop removal permit it holds in the state should not be revoked after a "pattern of violations."

* Kentucky Fuel Corp. is suing two commissioners of the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources for allegedly causing the company's failure in meeting reclamation deadlines, The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky. reports. The reclamation delay could potentially cost Kentucky Fuel, a coal company owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's family, over $4.5 million in fines.

* Coal markets continue to be pressured by oversupply, an executive with Illinois Basin coal-producer Foresight Energy LP said Aug. 11.

* The United Kingdom's thermal coal imports totaled 156,726 mt in June, S&P Global Platts reports, citing customs data.

Commodities

* The price of next-day power could open the new workweek elevated Monday, Aug. 14, as forecasts for predominantly stronger demand on Tuesday combine with fresh gains at the natural gas futures complex. Ending the Aug. 11 session near unchanged, NYMEX front-month natural gas futures were advancing above $3.00/MMBtu early Monday ahead of the opening bell. At 6:40 a.m. ET, the September gas futures contract was up 2.3 cents to trade near $3.006/MMBtu, amid more supportive weather forecasts that suggest increased demand for natural gas in the coming weeks.

* During the week ended Aug. 11, renewable energy credit prices were mixed across the United States markets. After falling massively during the first week of August, New Jersey solar REC prices rebounded during the week ended Aug. 11. New Jersey energy year 2017 SRECs saw an index at $200.75/MWh, up $12 on the week, with energy year 2018 SRECs coming in at $175.00/MWh, increasing almost $8.75 on the week.

* After settling 0.2 cent lower at $2.983/MMBtu ahead of the weekend, NYMEX September natural gas futures advanced in overnight trading leading up to the Monday, Aug. 14, open, as warmer weather in store looked to boost cooling load and keep a lid on the rate of weekly storage builds in the weeks ahead. At 7 a.m. ET (1100 GMT), the contract was 2.0 cent higher at $3.003/MMBtu.

SNL Image

New from RRA

At an administrative session on Aug. 15, the Georgia Public Service Commission is expected to render a decision regarding the certification of $222 million in construction costs incurred by Georgia Power Co., during the second half of 2016 at Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant Units 3 and 4. GP is required to file a Vogtle construction monitoring report, or VCM, with the PSC every six months.

Quoted

"Science should not be politicized. Science is not something that should just be thrown about to dictate policy in Washington, D.C. It ought to be objectively measured. We ought to be able to inform our citizens about what we know and what we don't know," U.S. EPA head Scott Pruitt said in an interview with a Texas radio station.

The day ahead

* Canadian Solar Inc. will hold its second-quarter earnings conference call at 8 a.m. ET.

* 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.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some links may require registration or a subscription. S&P Global Platts and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.