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Energy impacts remain limited so far as US government shutdown continues

Washington — Though key US energy data will continue to be collected and published during the partial government shutdown, oil and gas permitting in federal lands and waters and environmental enforcement could be stalled if the stalemate in Washington persists into the new year.

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The Energy Information Administration, the Department of Energy, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were all operating normally as of midweek, as their funding for fiscal 2018-19 was approved by Congress and signed by the president in September.

Several key EIA reports will be published on a delayed scheduled this week because of the Christmas holiday. EIA's weekly coal data will be published Wednesday, and weekly oil statistics and natural gas storage report will be published Friday.

"EIA will continue its normal publication schedules and data collection for FY2019," spokesman Dennis Mesina said by email Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency remains open this week, after Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler determined there were sufficient carryover funds to operate "for a limited period of time." Wheeler said Thursday that he would provide further updates on the operating status if the shutdown continues through Friday, in a letter to EPA staff seen by S&P Global Platts Wednesday.

Several upcoming Interior Department policies could be delayed if the shutdown stretches on. The department is expected to release a proposed five-year offshore leasing plan in mid-January and a final rule on safety controls for offshore wells.

"It's difficult to predict timelines during a governmental shutdown," John Bockmier, Interior's communications director, said by email Wednesday. "Hopefully, we will remain on schedule."

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has limited staff on hand to monitor derivatives markets during the partial shutdown.

Funding for the federal government expired Friday, with talks in Congress breaking down last week over President Donald Trump's request for money to build a wall at the southern border. No deal is in sight as of Wednesday, but the Senate may return as early as Thursday for an initial vote.

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com