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Range may be next takeover target; Ramaco hits wall with mine permitting

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Range may be next takeover target; Ramaco hits wall with mine permitting

Top News

Southern CEO: Summer-Vogtle comparison is 'apples and oranges'

Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Tom Fanning dismissed comparisons of the company's Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant to the V.C. Summer plant, days after the latter's expansion was abandoned by two South Carolina utilities.

Range may be Appalachia's next shale gas takeover target as shares plunge

As its stock price gets cheaper, Marcellus Shale pioneer Range Resources Corp. is a likely takeout target if the shale gas industry in Appalachia continues to consolidate, Range's CFO said Aug. 2.

Ramaco hits wall with Wyo. permitting for planned Brook mine

A Wyoming government agency has delivered a major setback to Ramaco Carbon LLC's effort to develop a coal mine intended to supply the raw material needed for advanced carbon fiber products.

Power

* Three and a half months since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told states they did not need to meet compliance deadlines associated with a 2015 rule requiring utilities to curtail the discharge of toxic metals from power plants into the nation's waterways, environmental groups are frustrated that many of them have stopped their compliance efforts even they could have continued with that work.

* U.S. President Donald Trump is said to be considering Energy Secretary Rick Perry as one of the potential candidates to replace John Kelly at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bloomberg News reports. Trump recently named Kelly as new White House Chief of Staff.

* Legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code could be good for electric utilities, but the industry hopes lawmakers will avoid other tax policy changes that could raise their investment costs.

* The Virginia State Corporation Commission authorized Dominion Energy Inc.'s plan to refund the estimated $11 million to $12 million it overcharged from some commercial customers between July 2013 and June 2016, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch reports.

* Austin Energy signed an agreement to purchase 200-MW from Avangrid Renewables LLC's planned wind farm in Texas, according to a news release. Avangrid Renewables is finalizing its development work with the counties and plans to start construction in January 2019.

* City of Calgary, Alberta-owned ENMAX Corp. filed a lawsuit alleging that the New Democratic Party-led government is interfering with the Balancing Pool, an Alberta government agency set up to administer power purchase agreements in the deregulated electricity generation market, the Calgary Herald reports. The company wants the province's electricity watchdog to complete its assessment of its return of the PPAs for the Keephills and Battle River power units.

Natural gas/midstream

* Jeremiah Ashcroft III has been appointed president of midstream and senior vice president at EQT Corp., and COO and senior vice president at EQT Midstream Partners LP. Ashcroft will take the place of Lisa Hyland, who plans to retire in March 2018 but will continue to serve as senior vice president of special projects at EQT until her retirement.

* Permico Energia is looking to build a $2 billion natural gas liquids pipeline that would run from the Permian Basin to refining and port access near Corpus Christi, the Houston Chronicle reports. CEO Jeff Beicker told the Chronicle that the company secured funding commitments from South Korean investment banks and pension fund institutions.

* Magellan Midstream Partners LP will not commit to building an oil pipeline from the Permian Basin to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries as long as commodity prices remain low and the rush on midstream infrastructure continues.

* Shares of Pioneer Natural Resources Co. took a pummeling Aug. 2, after the company predicted production totals near the low end of its guidance and revealed a $100 million cut in CapEx for the full year.

* Vanguard Natural Resources LLC has emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring as a new corporation under the name of Vanguard Natural Resources Inc. The independent oil and gas company said it was able to eliminate approximately $820 million of secured and unsecured debt from its balance sheet, according to a news release.

* Astomos Energy Corp. of Japan agreed to purchase 50% of the 1.2 million tonnes of propane that will be shipped from AltaGas Ltd.'s Ridley Island propane export terminal, beginning in the first quarter of 2019, according to a news release.

Coal

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed its decision to delay the implementation of the 2015 ozone standards, after several states challenged the delay. "Under previous Administrations, EPA would often fail to meet designation deadlines, and then wait to be sued by activist groups and others, agreeing in a settlement to set schedules for designation," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement. "We do not believe in regulation through litigation, and we take deadlines seriously."

* Coal jobs in Kentucky fell by 200 in the second quarter of 2017 as the state continues to feel the impact of the coal industry's decline. According to data from the state government, the average number of jobs in the coal industry in the second quarter of 2017 was 6,364, compared to the 6,564 in the first quarter, a 3% decrease.

* NACCO Industries Inc. attributed increases in its revenue and net income during the second quarter to its North American Coal Corp. subsidiary but said long-term earnings will hinge on the fate of the coal gasification operations at Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper energy facility.

Commodities

* The weekly natural gas inventory report to be released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday is expected to show a build above the year-ago level but below the five-year average injection.

* Following a finish 0.8 cent lower at $2.811/MMBtu, NYMEX September natural gas futures turned higher overnight ahead of the Thursday, Aug. 3, trading session and the midmorning release of U.S. Energy Information Administration storage data. At 7:01 a.m. ET (1101 GMT), the contract was 2.3 cents higher at $2.834/MMBtu.

* Next-day power prices at major markets around the country could be aimed lower in many cases Thursday, Aug. 3, as traders look to softer demand expectations for the end of the week.

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New from RRA

* Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., or CHG&E, filed with the New York Public Service Commission on July 28 for $63.4 million (14%) electric delivery and $22.2 million (19%) gas base distribution rate increases (Case Nos. 17-E-0459 and 17-G-0460).

Quoted

"We have to, as an industry and as a country, come to grips with this potential risk to our system and examine the possibility of multiple pipeline failures," said Joe Dominguez, Exelon Corp. executive vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs, arguing that the broad shift to natural gas for power generation could pose major risks for grid reliability.

The day ahead

* These companies will report second-quarter 2017 earnings conference calls: NRG Energy Inc. at 8 a.m. ET; PPL Corp. at 8:30 a.m. ET; Enbridge Inc., OGE Energy Corp. and Veresen Inc. at 9 a.m. ET; NRG Yield Inc. at 9:15 a.m. ET; Shell Midstream Partners LP, Williams Cos. Inc. and Williams Partners LP at 9:30 a.m. ET; CenterPoint Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Enterprise Products Partners LP, Ormat Technologies Inc. and Westmoreland Coal Co. at 10 a.m. ET; Rice Midstream Partners LP at 10:30 a.m. ET; Targa Resources Corp. at 11 a.m. ET; Pinnacle West Capital Corp. at 12 p.m. ET; Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and SCANA Corp. at 3 p.m. ET; and Atlantica Yield plc and IDACORP Inc. at 4:30 p.m.

* The EIA natural gas storage report is due out today.

* 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.

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