's decision toabandon more than 850MW of coal-fired capacity in Ohio, including four units at its 2,210-MWW.H. Sammis coalplant, could be part of a broader strategic shift around its merchant business."They're looking to cut costs and they're looking at shutting down assets,"Guggenheim Securities LLC analyst Shahriar Pourreza said in a July 22 interview.
Afteridling nearly 40% ofits workforce and laying down all its drilling rigs in January, shale gasdriller Southwestern Energy Co.dramatically announced its return to the E&P game. The news came asSouthwestern reported an adjusted second-quarter EPS loss of 9 cents, a pennybetter than S&P Capital IQ's consensus expectation. Investors liked whatthey heard, and shares in the independent producer soared as high as 12% to$14.82, on July 22.
, one ofthe few remaining publicly traded coal companies, could have some bad news forinvestors when it releases earnings on Aug. 2. According to an S&P GlobalMarket Intelligence analysis of U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administrationdata, second-quarter coal production at Westmoreland's U.S. coal operations isdown 39.4% from the previous quarter.
*SunEdison Inc. isexploring possible monetization of its controlling class B stake andTerraForm Global Inc."This is a collaborative undertaking, marking the next step in SunEdison'schapter 11 process as we explore restructuring options including whether tomonetize our interests in TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global," SunEdisonCEO John Dubel said in a statement.
*Separately, TerraForm Power has adopted a stockholder protection rightsagreement and declared a dividend of one right per class A common share toholders of record Aug. 4. The move came in response to SunEdison's of "asignificant equity stake" in the yieldco and the announced accumulation ofTerraForm Power class A shares by entities affiliated with ,TerraForm Power Chairman and interim CEO Peter Blackmore said in a .
*Tesla Motors Inc. andSolarCity Corp. aresaid to be nearing a definitive agreement to merge the two companies. Citinganonymous sources, Reutersreports that the companies are in the "final stages" of completingdue diligence process and may announce a deal "in the coming days."
*The U.S. and Mexico are set to formally launch negotiations on a new nuclearpower cooperation agreement, the White House said in a statement.The two sides intend toconclude the agreement this year.
*Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' PensionPlan planto acquire Banco Santander SA'sindirect stake in Cubico Sustainable Investments Ltd., which owns 22 wind, solarand water infrastructure assets across eight countries with a total capacity of1,688 MW.
*The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a lease sale Aug. 24 to offer 23.8 million acres offshoreTexas for oil and gas exploration and development. The planned Western Gulf ofMexico lease sale 248 will include approximately 4,399 blocks and will be thefinal sale for the so-called western planning area under the Obamaadministration's outer continental shelf oil and gas leasing program for2012-2017.
*At least three largemidstream master limited partnerships could be 'swell-received move tosimplify its ownership structure. A "handful of MLPs" are indiscussions to evaluate modifying or removing their incentive distributionrights as they scramble for an edge over their peers on stock valuations anddistributions, sources said.
*Atlas Resource Partners LPhas secured support from its lenders and note holders for a restructuring planthat will immediately reduce its debt by about $900 million and interestexpense by $80 million per year, the partnership said in a statement.The restructuring plan calls for converting $668 million of the partnership'soutstanding senior debt into 90% of the common equity and making repaymentsunder its revolving credit facility from the sale proceeds of the partnership'snatural gas and oil hedge positions. Atlas Resource expects to emerge from theexecution of the restructuring plan as Titan Energy LLC.
* Acoalition of business groups, dubbed Coloradans for Responsible Reform, hascome out in oppositionto proposed ballot initiatives that would limit oil and gas development in thestate. One of the initiatives would allow cities and counties to enactprohibitions or impose limits on oil and gas drilling.
* Asstates, companies and federal agencies continually seek new uses for abandonedor tapped coal mines, some are turning toward an energy source that many in theindustry see as a threatto the very existence of coal — wind power. "We have been studying surfacemine lands in West Virginia looking at the potential of them for being a futureresource for wind development," said George Carico, the director of theWest Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.
*Chinese companies, including China Shenhua Group and China National Coal GroupCorp., have set up a new asset management firm that would reduce coalovercapacity and help consolidate state-owned coal resources, Reutersreports.
*Solar renewable energycredit prices in New Jersey falteredin value once again during the week ended July 22. Energy-year 2016SRECs posted an average at $269.17/MWh, down more than $3.30 week over week. Energy-year2017 SRECs notched an index for the week at $264.33/MWh, dropping more than$1.80.
*After settling 8.5 cents higher at $2.777/MMBtu ahead of the weekend, Augustnatural gas futures were extendinghigher in overnight trading leading up to the Monday, July 25,session amid ongoing support from shrinking inventory overhangs and forecastsfor lingering heat across major demand centers that should allow for a furthertightening of the supply/demand balance. At last glance, August gas futureswere up another 1.4 cents at $2.794/MMBtu on light short-covering ahead of theTuesday expiration of the contract.
*Day-ahead power prices couldslump in the week's opening session Monday, July 25, amid forecastsfor weaker demand across the bulk of the country, though the downside could belimited by any gains at natural gas markets. Climbing 8.5 cents in the priorsession, August natural gas futures were extending higher early Monday ahead ofthe opening bell.
New from RRA
*In a State RegulatoryReview dated July 21, Regulatory Research Associates the regulatory climate inConnecticut from an investor perspective.
* OnJuly 21, Regulatory Research Associates Inc., which is an offering of S&PGlobal Market Intelligence, loweredits ranking of the Hawaii regulatory climate to Average/2 fromAverage/1, indicating that the firm no longer views the environment for utilityinvestors in the state as somewhat constructive.
"Withoutconsistent accounting, Interior does not have the information it needs to havereasonable assurance that it is minimizing waste on federal oil and gas leases,"the Government Accountability Office saidin a report released July 21.
The day ahead
*Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. equitymarkets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here.To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.