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Briefs -- Climate Action Summit 2018 | Commodity Futures Trading Commission | Western Energy Alliance | California Cap-and-Trade | Veresen-Pembina Merger | IEnova Fuels Terminal

Speaking via videotaped remarks to a gathering in Hamburg, Germany prior to the G20 Summit, California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday announced that his state will host the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September 2018. Brown called for global action by citizens to "roll back the forces of carbonization" and address threats related to climate change. The summit, he said, will bring together various subnational government, business, investment and civilian representatives from around the world. Brown's recorded remarks in Europe were introduced by Christiana Figueres, a former United Nations official dealing with the UN framework on climate change. 

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) Division of Market Oversight has launched a comprehensive review of swap data reporting regulations found in Parts 43, 45, and 49 of CFTC's regulations. The division plans to accept input on the effort from all entities involved in swaps reporting through Aug. 21. Comments may be submitted electronically through the CFTC's website. A Roadmap to Achieve High Quality Swaps Data for the review process that was released by CFTC lays out two tranches of rule changes: one would address swap data repository operations and the confirmation of data accuracy by swap counterparties, and the other is to address reporting workflows generally, including standardization of data fields and potential delayed reporting deadlines.

Continuing to press a lawsuit they filed last year in a recently filed brief, WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility repeated their call for voiding oil and natural gas leases the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued in three western states. Kathleen Sgamma, President of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), which intervened in the lawsuit late last year, said WEA is preparing a response to the latest call for undoing the leases, which cover 397 oil and gas leases in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, totaling 379,950 acres of public land that were sold through 10 sales beginning in 2015. "There are no surprises in the brief -- just the same policy disagreements...The climate change argument is one to throw against the wall in hope that it will stick, even though BLM conducted an analysis on the impacts, thus fulfilling its obligation," Sgamma said.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislative leaders have unveiled a path to extending the life of California's cap-and-trade system for pollution credits, the centerpiece of an aggressive state climate change mitigation effort. Two bills in the lower house Assembly (AB 398 and AB 617) have been crafted to extend cap-trade to 2030 and increase monitoring and penalties for polluting local communities, respectively. In April, California's market-based, multi-billion-dollar cap-and-trade auction was upheld on a 2-1 vote by a state appellate court in Sacramento, supporting the California Air Resources Board's authority to hold carbon emission auctions and rejecting arguments by the California Chamber of Commerce and others that auctioning carbon allowances was in effect an "unlawful tax." However, the program is set to expire in 2020 without the legislative extension introduced by Brown and lawmakers. Backers of the proposal indicated they will seek a super majority two-thirds vote on the two measures to insulate the provisions against future court challenges.

Shareholders of Calgary-based Veresen Inc. have approved a pending C$7.3 billion merger with Pembina Pipeline Corp., which would create one of Canada's largest midstream energy infrastructure companies. The transaction, announced in May, is scheduled to close this summer. The combined operations would span natural gas, byproducts and oil markets in Canada and the United States from Fort St. John in northern British Columbia to Chicago. 

Sempra Energy's Mexican subsidiary Infraestructura Energetica Nova, SAB de CV (IEnova), was awarded a 20-year contract to build a liquid fuels marine terminal in Mexico on the Gulf of Mexico. IEnova expects to invest up to $155 million under the contract with the Veracruz Port Administration. IEnova would build and operate the facility, storing and dispensing liquid fuels, a market it has previewed as ripe for private investment in Mexico. Based on current plans, the terminal would have a 1.4 million bbl capacity for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to supply central Mexico. IEnova indicated operations could begin in late 2018.

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