MLPs face another reckoning after FERC tax allowance proclamation
A March 15 decision to extinguish a tax benefit for oil and gas pipelines organized as master limited partnerships compounded the drag on an already burdened sector, potentially accelerating decisions to abandon the MLP structure.
More coal capacity scheduled to retire in 2018 than each of past 2 years
U.S. power producers plan to take at least 11.4 GW of coal-fired power plant capacity offline in 2018, more than has been retired in a single year since 14.7 GW of coal capacity was retired in 2015.
Retail rising: Competitive power's 'integrated' customer focus takes hold
After declaring the independent power producer model "obsolete" in early 2017, NRG Energy Inc. President and CEO Mauricio Gutierrez has begun offering investors the "integrated competitive power" model as its replacement.
* The Arizona legislature is considering putting on the November ballot a constitutional amendment to require utilities to obtain 50% of their power from renewable energy — as long as it does not raise rates or harm electric reliability.
* Nebraska state senators advanced a bill that would allow public power districts in the state to withhold "competitive or proprietary information which would give an advantage to business competitors," the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald Bureau reported.
* Scoring a big victory for the power industry, a newly enacted spending bill from Congress will ease U.S. electric utilities' ability to manage trees and other vegetation around power lines on public lands.
* The Maryland utilities Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Potomac Electric Power Co., Delmarva Power & Light Co. and Potomac Edison Co. are proposing a $104 million plan for a statewide electric vehicle charging network, The Baltimore Sun reported.
* Countries that have adopted carbon dioxide emissions pricing regimes, such as China and Canada, may decide to use import tariffs to both pressure the U.S. federal government to follow suit and ensure that those countries' domestic products remain competitive, according to carbon market experts.
* The United Arab Emirates has completed its first commercial nuclear power reactor, Bloomberg News reported. The oil-rich country is developing four reactors in partnership with Korea Electric Power Corp.
* Tallgrass Energy Partners LP and Tallgrass Energy GP LP struck a stock-for-unit merger agreement that would result in the cancellation of Tallgrass Energy Partners' incentive distribution rights and the removal of its common units from public trading.
* New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has filed a motion in federal court to block PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC from condemning protected land for a planned $1 billion natural gas pipeline project, StateImpact Pennsylvania reported.
* The so-called second wave of U.S. LNG export capacity will depend on how much U.S. natural gas China looks to buy, asset management firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC said in a recent report. Bernstein analysts cautioned that "all bets are off" if trade relations between the two countries worsen.
* The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality approved the erosion and sediment control, stormwater management and karst protection plans for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
* Despite an increase in base rates, Spire Inc. is set to collect $15.8 million less from its Missouri gas customers annually under its new rate case, in large part because of the effects of federal tax code revisions.
* Former Maersk Oil & Gas CEO Gretchen Watkins will become president and U.S. country chair of Shell Oil Co., the Houston Business Journal reported, citing a document it obtained. But Watkins will first be joining Shell as executive vice president of unconventionals on July 1.
* Petroleos Mexicanos has reportedly signed a contract with a subsidiary of Texas-based Lewis Energy to drill and exploit non-conventional gas deposits in the Mexican portion of the Eagle Ford shale formation, according to The Associated Press.
* The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware approved Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC's Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan that provides for "$260 million of new capital and sets a new deadline of 2022 for repayment of more than $600 million of debt," Reuters reported.
* Proponents of a ballot initiative in Monterey County, Calif., are appealing to restore the related land-use protections approved by voters in November 2016 that were invalidated by a Superior Court ruling.
* The U.S. Bureau of Land Management must conduct comprehensive environmental analyses that consider alternatives to exploiting coal before issuing more leases from two field offices in Wyoming and Montana, a federal judge ruled March 23.
* A former executive of CONSOL Energy Inc. sued her past employer, accusing the company of discrimination under the federal Equal Pay Act.
* Despite a retreat in natural gas futures prices alongside moderating weather brought about by the arrival of spring, term power markets across the U.S. turned mixed to higher during the week ended March 23.
* Coal provided the lion's share of U.S. electricity during a frigid January even as electricity generated from natural gas jumped nearly 20% year over year to narrow the gap in market share between the two fuels.
* After advancing 2.7 cents to settle at $2.618/MMBtu in the week's opening session, NYMEX April natural gas futures remained buoyed by the implications of recent and projected cold in overnight trade ahead of the Tuesday, March 27, open and the contract's roll off the board at the close of business.
* Next-day power values could flounder Tuesday, March 27, in line with mostly easing demand forecasts for midweek. However, natural gas prices could offer slight support as the front-month April contract was last seen trading 3.1 cents higher at $2.649/MMBtu at 6:45 a.m. ET, adding to the prior-day advance ahead of the expiration of the April contract at the close of business Tuesday.
New from RRA
* Dominion Energy Inc.'s proposed acquisition of SCANA Corp. took a step forward March 20 as the Georgia Public Service Commission regulators approved a change in ownership at SCANA's natural gas marketing subsidiary, SCANA Energy Marketing.
"At some point, the rest of the world should probably put a tariff on anyone who is not going to participate [in carbon pricing programs]," Ron Temple of Lazard Asset Management LLC said at a climate conference at Duke University that countries such as China and Canada that have adopted carbon dioxide emissions pricing regimes may decide to impose carbon tariffs on U.S. imports.
The day ahead
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