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FERC chair wants grid resilience consensus; US coal production projected to drop

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


FERC chair wants grid resilience consensus; US coal production projected to drop

Top News

FERC chairman wants 'consensus' before moving forward on grid resilience docket

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee said Oct. 21 that he wants the agency to reach a "consensus" on how grid resilience should be defined before advancing a proceeding that U.S. coal interests are hoping will generate life-extending revenues for struggling plants.

Routes of Atlantic Coast project, other Eastern pipelines in hands of high court

If the U.S. Supreme Court were to decide against the developer of the 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC natural gas transportation project and the federal government on a crossing of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, it could complicate permitting for all pipeline projects that would intersect the 2,200-mile trail between Maine and Georgia, gas industry observers said.

Investors, analysts upbeat on oilfield services majors despite challenging Q3

Investors could be warming up to the long-suffering oilfield services sector, analysts said, as the stock prices for sector bellwethers Schlumberger Ltd. and Halliburton Co. jumped following quarterly earnings reports despite significant challenges for North American land markets.

Fitch Solutions projects 27.9% drop in US coal production by 2028

Falling coal prices, rising operational costs and increased pressure from natural gas and renewable energy resources will push coal miners out of the market and reduce U.S. coal production volumes another 27.9% by 2028 compared to 2019 estimated production, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research, a product of Fitch Solutions Ltd.

Quoted

"None of us like flaring. The onus should be on the pipeline operator to negotiate a contract that will be economical," said Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton, after pipeline giant Williams Cos. Inc.'s attempt to have a Texas oil and gas driller's flaring permit denied for the first time ever was defeated again at the Commission's Oct. 22 meeting.

Power

* For at least the second time in recent weeks, NextEra Energy Inc. executives on Oct. 22 were questioned about their decision to invest in natural gas pipelines through an affiliated "clean energy" company.

* With California customers still reeling from Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s Oct. 9-12 public safety power shutoffs, the utility announced that it may have to proactively cut electricity again starting Oct. 23 due to predictions of strong, dry winds.

* Polysilicon manufacturers REC Silicon ASA, Hemlock Semiconductor Operations and Wacker Chemie AG have called for the end of Chinese tariffs during a meeting with the U.S. House Manufacturing Caucus. U.S. exports of polysilicon to China dropped by nearly 90% from $1 billion in 2011 to $107 million in 2018, according to the manufacturers.

* Billionaire Philip Anschutz's vision to export power from Wyoming to Western electricity markets moved closer to reality as regulators neared final approvals on the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project.

Natural gas

* Environmental groups pressed the U.S. Congress to reform the Natural Gas Act and to investigate FERC's process for permitting natural gas pipeline projects.

* Williams Cos. Inc. CEO Alan Armstrong said the company's Northeast Supply Enhancement project can help New York meet its clean energy goals, according to Bloomberg News. Earlier this year, the state denied the $1 billion gas pipeline project a key permit.

* National Grid USA said it will take "unprecedented" measures to provide gas to thousands of downstate New York homes and businesses denied service this year, bowing to pressure from the governor's mansion while continuing to raise concerns about its ability to meet winter demand in light of supply constraints.

* The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control cleared PAO NOVATEK to continue using TC LNG Shipping LLC's ice tankers for shipping Arctic LNG to Europe and Asia, the Financial Times reported. The U.S. government had threatened to impose sanctions on the vessel's owner for allegedly shipping Iranian oil.

* WesternGeco is asking the Trump administration to ignore South Carolina's refusal and allow the Texas-based exploration company to conduct seismic blast-testing for oil and natural gas off the coast, The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., reported.

Oil

* Saudi Arabian Oil Co. plans to rely more on local investors in a bid to complete its initial public offering this year, after a push on its expected valuation, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

* The Supreme Court has decided to let the city of Baltimore's climate change lawsuit against major oil companies, including BP PLC, Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, to proceed, The Hill in Washington, D.C., reported.

* Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lowered its 2020 forecast for U.S. shale growth output from 1 million barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day, according to Reuters.

* Oil majors Shell and BP say their big balance sheets and track record in energy trading will give them an edge over other developers in the burgeoning market for unsubsidized renewables.

* Paulson & Co. Inc. is renewing its effort to derail the planned $3.2 billion merger between Callon Petroleum Co. and Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc., describing the move as good for executives and bad for shareholders in an Oct. 22 statement.

* The board of South Dakota's Lincoln County approved a conditional use permit for a pumping station for the Dakota Access pipeline expansion project, according to The Associated Press.

* Oregon's city of Portland denied a request by Zenith Energy to install underground pipes at its Northwest Portland oil terminal, The Oregonian reported.

Coal

* Pointing to cost control and strength in volumes, Arch Coal Inc. executives beat analyst expectations for the thermal and metallurgical coal producer as markets for the fuel at home and abroad softened in recent weeks.

* Blackhawk Mining LLC is selling mineral reserves in northern West Virginia, consisting of about 20 million recoverable tons of coal, to Arch Coal for $52.5 million.

ChartWatch

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Pipeline giant Williams' attempt to have a Texas oil and gas driller's flaring permit denied for the first time ever was defeated again at the Texas Railroad Commission's Oct. 22 meeting, although the 2-1 vote revealed sharp differences between commissioners over flaring natural gas associated with shale oil wells.

New from RRA

* Regulatory Research Associates, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, considers the decision by the California Public Utilities Commission in these fully litigated consolidated electric and gas rates cases of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. to be relatively balanced from an investor perspective.

The day ahead

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration petroleum status report is due out today.

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower 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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