NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report

Briefs -- Penn Virginia | Pennsylvania DEP | Colorado Initiative 71 | Southern California Gas Co. | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management | Sunbury LLC | Delaware Basin Forum | LADWP Rating | ERCOT | BLM | Western Governors' Association | Enbridge-Spectra Ene

Houston-based Penn Virginia Corp. (PVA) common shares have begun trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the trading symbol "PVAC." Trading has ceased on the OTCQX U.S. Premier Market. "We believe the move to NASDAQ will improve the visibility of our stock, enhance trading liquidity in our shares and reposition the company for long-term profitable growth," said interim CEO John Brooks. PVA is an independent oil and gas company mainly focused on the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.

ThePennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection plans to conduct a listening tour across the state in early 2017, with a particular focus on increasing its outreach in impoverished areas affected by natural gas development. The agency has a working group looking at the relationship between oil and gas permitting in areas where poverty rates are high. The agency in 2015 said it would revive its long dormant Office of Environmental Justice, a program aimed at protecting low income areas from industrial development such as oil and gas drilling.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooperhas signed into law Initiative 71, a measure passed in November by 57% of the voters to limit state constitutional amendments. The measure, supported by business, labor and oil/gas industry organizations, and known as "Raise the Bar," requires future petition-gatherers to obtain valid signatures from at least 2% of the registered voting population in all 35 state senate districts.        

A "very slight and intermittent" methane leak was detected last Saturday by infrared monitoring at Southern California Gas Co.'s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles, the Sempra Energy gas-only utility said. The leak was at the wellhead of the storage well (SS 25), which was the source of a four-month leak before it was permanently sealed earlier this year. SoCalGas officials described this latest emission as a continuation of "off-gassing" from soil in the area. Saturday's release coincides with recent heavy rains throughout Southern California. "It is not believed to pose a present or potential hazard to human health, safety or the environment," a SoCalGas spokesperson said. The 3,600-acre storage field otherwise has been clear of anomalies or discernible odors, according to SoCalGas' fenceline infrared monitoring system and ongoing visual inspections.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) analyzing possible environmental impacts of oil and natural gas development in the federal submerged lands of Cook Inlet, off Alaska's southcentral coast. The EIS was prepared in coordination with the Department of the Interior's 2012-2017 OCS Oil & Gas Leasing Program, which proposes one lease sale (Lease Sale 244) in Cook Inlet in June 2017. Like the draft EIS issued for Lease Sale 244 earlier this year, the final EIS includes an analysis of the environmental resources and uses (e.g., sea otter and beluga whale populations; subsistence activities; commercial fishing of pacific salmon and halibut; and more) that exist within the Cook Inlet planning area, and identifies mitigation measures that would be considered before leasing is allowed. The final Lease Sale 244 EIS was published in the Federal RegisterDec. 23, just days after President Barack Obama said he would withdraw vast areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil and natural gas drilling and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing subject to a five-year review. In a Cook Inlet lease sale held in May, there were no bids.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday granted Sunbury LLC's request to place into service the Sunbury Pipeline Project in Snyder, Union, Northumberland, Montour and Lycoming counties in Pennsylvania. The UGI Energy Services LLC affiliateannounced the 35-mile, 200,000 Dth/d pipeline two years ago andbroke ground on the project in August. It will provide Marcellus Shale gas to Panda Power Funds LP's 1,124 MW Hummel Station. Bechtel Corp. started construction on the plant last summer. UGI has said it expected to invest $150 million to build the system, which will take gas from Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipeline.

The Railroad Commission of Texas(RRC) is planning a half-day session of the Permian Basin (Spraberry Trend Area) and Delaware Basin Forum and Discussion. The forum is intended to educate oil and gas industry representatives on topics including drilling permits, completions, stacked laterals and RRC website queries. The event is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. CST on Jan. 10 at the Green Tree Country Club, 4900 Green Tree Blvd., Midland, TX. Registration is required and free; seating is limited.

Moody's Ratings Service has assigned an "Aa2" rating, its third highest, to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for its planned $500 million revenue bond sale in February. The rating recognizes "strong supportiveness" by Los Angeles elected officials for the nation's largest municipal (muni) utility, which is shifting from a reliance on out-of-state coal-fired generation sources to more natural gas- and renewable-based power sources. Moody's said the rating recognizes the benefit of LADWP's size, "diverse and competitive power supply," and ownership and operation of a transmission network that amounts to 25% of California's grid. LADWP has long owned its gas reserves through a purchase it led with other Southern California munis a decade ago.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of the state, set a new winter peak demand record between 7 and 8 a.m. CST on Monday. Cold weather drove power demand to an hourly peak of 57,958 MW, according to initial data. The previous winter peak of 57,265 MW was set Feb. 10, 2011. The new winter record exceeds the previous December demand record of 53,642 MW (set Dec. 10, 2013, between 7 and 8 a.m.) by more than 4,000 MW. As a cold front blew into the state over the weekend, the ERCOT system also experienced a new record for instantaneous wind generation output. Wind output reached 15,195 MW at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday, topping the previous record of 15,033 set Nov. 27, 2016. ERCOT recently said an improving economy has lifted power demand in the Lone Star State, which gets most of its power from natural gas-fueled plants.

An Internet-based oil/natural gas lease sale by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah last week received bonus bids and fees totaling $208,693 for 19 parcels covering 9,050 acres. BLM sold 19 of the 24 offered parcels for bonus bids of $192,072, and grossed $13,581 in rental fees and $3,040 in administrative fees. Receipts from federal oil and gas leases are shared with the state and county where the leased lands are located. Denver-based Robert L Bayless Producer LLC submitted the highest total bid per acre ($171) for parcel 121 in the Vernal field office, and it also submitted the highest bid ($67,740) for parcel 122 in the Vernal office.

Joined by four other regional state organizations, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) last week adopted a series of resolutions aimed at bolstering state-federal government relations with the incoming Trump administration and Congressional leaders. WGA, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, Council of State Governments West, Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, and Pacific Northwest Economic Region seek more "shared regulation" that recognizes state sovereignty. At its winter meetings in San Diego, CA, WGA formally approved seven new policy resolutions on state-federal relationships, states' share of royalties and leasing revenues, water quality, tax-exempt federal lands, and storage and disposal of radioactive waste. WGA, which includes 19 states and three U.S. territories, regularly enacts new policy resolutions and amends existing resolutions on a bi-annual basis.

Shareholders of Spectra Energy Corp. and Enbridge Inc. have voted to approve the combination of Spectra with Enbridge Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction. Of the common shares of Enbridge voted at a special shareholders meeting, 99.42% were voted in favor of the issuance of Enbridge shares as consideration for the transaction, and 99.80% of the Enbridge shares were voted in favor of proposed amendments to general bylaw No. 1 of Enbridge. More than 661 million, or about 70.5%, of outstanding Enbridge shares, were voted in person or by proxy at the meeting. About 73% of the total outstanding shares of Spectra common stock, and about 98% of the total shares voted at a special shareholders meeting, were voted in favor of the transaction. The combination will create the largest energy infrastructure company in North America and one of the largest globally, with a pro-forma enterprise value of about C$165 billion (US$127 billion), Spectra said. Completion of the transaction remains subject to other customary closing conditions. Closing is expected during the first quarter.

San Diego-based Sempra Energy's Mexican subsidiary, Infraestructura Energética Nova, SAB de CV (IEnova), has completed the acquisition of the Ventika I and Ventika II wind generation facilities in Mexico for approximately $900 million, including the assumption of outstanding debt. Mexico’s antitrust commission, the Comisión Federal de Competencia Económica, approved the acquisition on Wednesday. Located in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico, Ventika I and Ventika II consist of 84 operating wind turbines with an installed power generation capacity of 252 MW, making them the largest operating wind farm in Mexico. Ventika was developed by a partnership majority owned by a unit of Blackstone Energy Partners and CEMEX, which will remain the project's manager.

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