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Trump plan could help energy projects; Aliso Canyon well had split below ground

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Trump infrastructure plan could ease wave of new energy projects

President Donald Trump's new infrastructure plan seeks federal support for new hydroelectric generation and rural power projects while proposing broad permitting reforms that could affect other energy resources, including natural gas pipelines.

Faulty Aliso Canyon well had corrosion, cracking, large split below ground

The well at fault for the historic Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage facility leak had extensive corrosion along the casing that got worse as the pipe traveled deeper underground and included a 19-inch long split hundreds of feet below the surface, according to a preliminary report on the cause of the failure.

DOE tapped consultant to coal sector for study of current jobs picture, forecast

The U.S. Department of Energy tapped a consulting firm that has worked extensively with the coal industry to study the potential economic and jobs benefits of U.S. coal offering a sharp contrast to forecasts for a decline in the sector.


* With its acquisition of Dynegy Inc. nearing final approval, Vistra Energy Corp. is shifting its strategy toward retail growth beyond Texas as a hedge for its imminent wholesale expansion in northern markets.

* The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking information on how to increase the use of hydropower, including pumped storage, to enhance power grid resiliency and reliability.

* A U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Energy Future Holdings Corp.'s restructuring plan and its acquisition by Sempra Energy, according to a news release. Sempra will acquire an 80% stake in Texas-based Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC. The last major regulatory approval required is from the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Sempra said the commission could consider the deal as early as March 8.

* Duke Energy Corp., Dayton Power and Light Co. and AEP Generation Resources Inc. announced the sale of the retired Walter C Beckjord coal-fired facility in New Richmond, Ohio. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, according to a news release.

* New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has informed governors of states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that his state plans to rejoin the compact. Murphy has asked the state Department of Environmental Protection and Board of Public Utilities to open discussions with member states to allow New Jersey to rejoin the group.

* The Virginia state House voted 65-30 to approve legislation related to new grid upgrades and renewable energy projects, the Associated Press reported.

* Sen. Matt Dolan introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate to change wind turbine setback distances to encourage development, reported.

Natural gas/Oil

* After the current crop of LNG terminals and ethane crackers is completed in 2020, demand for natural gas will flatten and dry shale gas from plays such as the Marcellus Shale will have to compete against "free" gas associated with oil plays such as Texas' Permian Basin, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC predicted Feb. 23.

* Alberta intends to invest approximately $1 billion in the next eight years on bitumen upgrading projects, including C$800 million in loan guarantees and C$200 million in grants, The Calgary Herald reported. The provincial government expects to attract about five new facilities, representing C$5 billion in private investment.

* The Alaska Legislature is considering plans to borrow $1 billion to help it cover tax credits it promised to the oil and gas industry, The Juneau Empire reported.

* Royal Dutch Shell plc expects the LNG market to tighten in the near future, and urged the industry to resolve a "mismatch" in contract terms between buyers and sellers that the oil and gas supermajor says is leading to a drop off in final investment decisions for new liquefaction capacity.


* A strong export market and tax reform helped boost the fourth-quarter 2017 coal business of major U.S. railways, even as low natural gas prices and a mild early winter put a damper on revenues.

* The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced $300.7 million in funding for 28 coal-producing states and tribes to reclaim abandoned coal mines in 2018.


* The Bonneville Power Administration on Feb. 26 said it is exploring whether to take reliability coordinator services from the California ISO or stay with its current provider, Peak Reliability.

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New from RRA

* The Maryland Senate on Feb. 15 confirmed two appointments to the Maryland Public Service Commission made by Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, during the latter half of 2017, after the Senate had adjourned for the year. As permitted by state law, both nominees began serving on the PSC pending confirmation by the Senate.


"[Duke Energy Progress LLC] admits to pervasive, systemwide shortcomings such as improper communication among those responsible for oversight of coal ash management," said the North Carolina Utilities Commission, in an order that slashed the utility's revenue request to less than half while allowing the recovery of approximately $232 million in coal ash costs spread out over five years.

The day ahead

* The following companies will hold their earnings conference calls today: AES Corp. at 9 a.m. ET, Shell Midstream Partners LP at 10 a.m. ET, ONEOK Inc. and PNM Resources Inc. at 11 a.m. ET; El Paso Electric Co. at 11:30 a.m. ET; and Sempra Energy at 12 p.m. ET

* 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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