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Briefs -- JERA Co. Inc. | Texas Lease Sale | Trans-Pecos Pipeline | SM Energy | Multifuels LP | Westmoreland Generating Station | Shell Cracker

JERA Co. Inc. said its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo produced in the contiguous United States arrived at the Joetsu LNG Terminal of Chubu Electric Power Co. last Friday. It is the first Lower 48 U.S. LNG cargo to be delivered to Japan, the company said. JERA and Cheniere Marketing International LLP had entered into a sale and purchase agreement for the cargo, which was loaded onto the LNG vessel Oak Spiritat Cheniere Energy Partners LP's Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana on Dec. 7. The voyage to Japan via the Panama Canal took about one month. JERA said it believes the purchase of US LNG will contribute to a stable energy supply in Japan through the diversification of procurement regions and LNG price indices. JERA said it will establish an "LNG procurement portfolio that can flexibly respond to changes in the business environment by increasing its procurement ratio of LNG which is free from destination restrictions, through projects such as the Freeport LNG Project in [the United States]."

The next Texas General Land Office (GLO) Winter Oil & Gas Lease Sale is Jan. 17. Participants bid for the right to explore for oil and natural gas on Permanent School Fund (PSF) property owned by the state. The company offering the highest up-front payment (commonly called a bonus) is awarded the lease. Tract information is now available on the EnergyNet website. The sale will be the fourth GLO lease sale to be held online. The third online lease sale, held last July, earned more than $98 million. In the first online lease sale in August 2015, PSF tracts of land brought in more than $20 million, which is about $1,500 per acre more than the previous traditional lease sale. The online lease sale in January 2016 brought in nearly $11 million for 4,393 acres, which is just under $2,500 per acre. Sales are held semiannually and available tracts may be nominated by contacting the GLO.

The Big Bend Conservation Alliance has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for review of FERC's approval of a presidential permit for the border crossing facilities of Trans-Pecos Pipeline LLC, a Texas pipeline that would carry natural gas to the U.S.-Mexico border for import by Mexico to be used primarily for power generation [CP15-500]. In May 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a presidential permit for the border-crossing facilities near the city of Presidio in Presidio County, TX, and the Mexican city of Manuel Ojinaga in the state of Chihuahua.

SM Energy Co. is selling its Divide County, ND, assets in the Williston Basin. Assuming an acceptable offer is received, the Denver-based producer expects to close a deal around the middle of the year. December production from the assets was 10,700 boe/d. "This sale process continues our drive to generate differential shareholder value through concentrating our capital spending on top-tier asset development," said CEO Jay Ottoson. "Over the next few years, we intend to focus on generating significant high-margin production growth from our operated acreage positions" within the Permian Basin’s Midland sub-basin and the Eagle Ford Shale. "We expect that the sale proceeds from this planned exit of the Williston Basin and from the pending sale of our nonoperated Eagle Ford assets will allow us to fully fund our drilling program, while providing us with significant liquidity and the ability to reduce our outstanding debt." Based on acreage and flowing production, Wells Fargo Securities LLC analysts estimated the property value at around $574 million.

Multifuels Midstream Group LLC, a portfolio company of Warren Equity Partners, recently purchased 124 miles of high-pressure natural gas pipeline in central Texas from an unnamed master limited partnership. It said Thursday it will add new pipe, interconnects, gas measurement and pressure regulation to the system. The completed system will serve end-use customers in the Bastrop-to-Hallettsville, TX, corridor, via an anchor long-term contract. Construction is expected to be completed by end of 2018. The acquisition is Warren's first add-on to its Multifuels platform investment, which was closed in January 2016 in partnership with Houston-based Multifuels LP to build an operating company focused on gas distribution to utility customers and other natural gas end-users.

A subsidiary of Tokyo-based Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. has acquired an equity stake from Tenaska in the company's Westmoreland Generating Station, a 925 MW natural gas-fired power plant under construction in Southwest Pennsylvania. Mitsubishi Corp. subsidiary Diamond Generating Corp. also has a stake in the project. Tenaska did not disclose the stake it sold to the subsidiary. Construction of the facility started early last year and is expected to be complete in late 2018. The facility would generate enough electricity to power 925,000 homes in the PJM Interconnection market.

Potter Township, PA, supervisors have approved a motion to draft a conditional-use permit for Shell Chemical Appalachia LLC's multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Beaver County. The supervisors, who delayed approving the permit last month after a public hearing stretched over two days, must still approve the language and details included in the permit at another public hearing. The township is concerned about noise, pollution and traffic, among other things. Hearings on the matter have been contentious, according to local news media reports. The facility would be built on about 400 acres near the Ohio River in Potter and Center Townships. It would have the capacity to consume roughly 100,000 b/d of ethane. The company is still waiting on other regulatory approvals.

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