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New York proposes tougher CO2 limits; Williams to roll up its MLP in $10.5B deal

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New York proposes tougher CO2 limits; Williams to roll up its MLP in $10.5B deal

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New York proposes tougher CO2 limits on power plants as 2020 coal phaseout looms

A new draft proposal from New York seeks to impose more stringent pollution controls on existing fossil fuel-fired power plants as Gov. Andrew Cuomo moves to completely phase out coal as a generation fuel within the state by 2020.

Loss of Atlantic Coast pipeline permit should not affect schedule, analyst says

A court decision that stripped a wildlife permit from the 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project will not cause a significant push to the construction schedule, an industry analyst and project developer Dominion Energy Inc. both said.

US coal producers report railroad service issues impede access to export upturn

U.S. coal producers trying to take advantage of a vastly improved export market for coal have encountered obstacles from a railroad industry adapting to an increasingly volatile coal market.

Gas pipeline giant Williams to roll up its MLP in $10.5B deal

Williams Cos. Inc. will roll up its master limited partnership by acquiring the 256.0 million Williams Partners LP shares it does not already own for $10.5 billion, the natural gas pipeline giant announced May 17.

Power

* Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is continuing its search for new energy storage resources to "obviate the need" to renew contracts with Calpine Corp. for the output of three natural gas-fired power plants in Northern California, a move state regulators ordered in January, despite recent settlements that lowered the prices of those contracts.

* Entergy Louisiana LLC received approval from the Louisiana Public Service Commission to purchase the 361-MW Washington Parish Energy Center One after Calpine completes its construction, The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., reported.

* Moody's expects sponsored oil and gas pipeline partnerships to maintain "appropriate" debt ratios through at least the first half of 2019, even as they borrow more in the face of depressed equity markets.

* Cypress Creek Renewables LLC confirmed it stopped investing in 1,500 MW of projects, representing about 20% of its pipeline, due to the Trump administration's solar tariffs, Greentech Media reported.

* The Japanese government released a draft plan that calls for a 20% to 22% share of nuclear generation in the country's total power generation by fiscal 2030, The Associated Press reported.

* The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will decommission the lone nuclear plant in Alaska, which was shut in 1972, the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner reported.

Natural gas/Oil

* Enbridge Inc. proposed to acquire all of the outstanding equity securities of its sponsored vehicles that it does not already own in separate deals valued at C$11.4 billion combined.

* The Minnesota Senate passed a bill that approves construction of Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3 replacement project and bypasses the state Public Utilities Commission, according to The Associated Press. The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is likely to veto it.

* Canada's government is prepared to give Kinder Morgan Inc. a financial backstop if British Columbia delays the C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project.

* TransCanada Corp. is expected to start construction of its Coastal GasLink pipeline in early 2019, pending a final investment decision from project partners on the linked LNG Canada project, Reuters reported.

* Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, may join others in calling for the ouster of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt if he does not curtail the issuance of waivers to exempt oil refiners from the Renewable Fuel Standard, The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, reported.

* Environmental groups and three local landowners filed a lawsuit in federal district court to stop oil and gas leasing in Montana, arguing that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to quantify the resulting greenhouse gas emissions from allowing the areas to be drilled and fracked.

* Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska LLC is looking at investing an estimated $41 million for backup systems to store and dispense fuel gas, the Peninsula Clarion of Kenai, Alaska, reported.

* Total SA will unwind operations related to its South Pars 11 project in Iran unless it gets a specific project waiver from the U.S. that protects it from secondary sanction.

Coal

* Ramaco Resources Inc. executives are celebrating their first profitable quarter and projecting strength in metallurgical coal markets at least into 2019 despite operational hiccups in the first quarter.

* Conservation groups asked a federal agency that regulates coal mining to investigate whether Westmoreland Coal Co. lacks sufficient bonds to cover the costs of cleaning up its mines if it goes out of business.

Commodities

* After faltering by 2.1 cents to settle at $2.815/MMBtu in the prior session, NYMEX June natural gas futures were near unchanged overnight ahead of the Thursday, May 17, open and the midmorning release of storage data that is poised to become the next major catalyst for price movement.

* The price of power dailies could be tethered to the downside Thursday, May 17, by expectations of predominantly diminished demand at the close of the workweek.

* Over-the-counter prices for California carbon allowances eased in light trading during the week ended May 15, as the market awaited the results of the latest greenhouse gas allowance auction.

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration's natural gas inventory report slated for release at 10:30 a.m. ET on May 17 is expected to outline the season's first triple-digit storage injection for the week to May 11.

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New from RRA

* A $56.3 million gas base rate increase sought by Washington Gas Light Co. in a filing tendered to the Maryland Public Service Commission on May 15 incorporates $0.8 million of cost savings the company expects to achieve, should AltaGas Ltd.'s pending acquisition of parent WGL Holdings Inc. come to fruition.

Quoted

"It is now pretty clear that the railroads took on more business than they can reasonably service," said Ramaco Resources Inc. CEO Michael Bauersachs, on first-quarter shipping delays as CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. struggled to keep up with increased demand for export coal.

The day ahead

* The EIA natural gas storage report is due 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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