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Briefs -- Southern LNG | Wyoming Severance Tax Bill | Velocity Midstream Partners | Sempra Oncor Purchase | PNM Resources

Kinder Morgan Inc. affiliate Southern LNG is seeking blanket authorization from the Department of Energy (DOE) to export up to 255 Bcf of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Elba Liquefaction Project near Savannah, GA. In a notice published in the Federal Register, DOE said Southern LNG requested in a filing Feb. 1 to export commissioning volumes of LNG over a two-year period beginning with initial exports, probably during 3Q2018 and no later than six months after that. If approved by DOE, the LNG would be sent to countries with or without free trade agreements, prior to commercial operations at the liquefaction facility.

A bill (SF 98) to lower severance taxes on oil and natural gas producers, already passed by the Wyoming state Senate, was rejected by the House Revenue Committee on a 6-3 vote. The bill is supported by the state's oil/natural gas industry as a means to boost sagging production. Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW), said PAW will try again next year to get the severance tax lowered to 3% from the current 6% for the first two years of each well. SF 98 received mixed reactions from state lawmakers and it was uncertain if Republican Gov. Matt Mead would have signed it into law.

Velocity Midstream Partners LLC has begun construction of a 22-mile long, 12-inch diameter crude oil pipeline extension linking the core of the Merge play to its South-Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP) pipeline assets, and expects to have it in operation next month. Velocity has completed construction of a 45-mile, 12-inch diameter oil pipeline loop of its existing condensate pipeline through the fairway of the SCOOP, a project that it said is supported by expanded commitments from Continental Resources Inc. and CVR Refining LP. Velocity and CVR entered a joint venture in 2016 to construct a crude oil pipeline and terminal that would link production from the SCOOP to a nearby refinery. Velocity's system is now comprised of 125 miles of pipeline capable of flowing 250,000 b/d, along with 395,000 bbl of storage and 26 truck unloading bays capable of unloading more than 100,000 b/d.

Sempra Energy's $9.45 billion purchase of the holding company of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC has been approved by the Texas Public Utility Commission, the final OK needed for the deal to be completed. Sempra is acquiring Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s 80% indirect ownership in Oncor.

TheNew Mexico Supreme Court has upheld plans by PNM Resources to close two of the four coal-fired units at the San Juan Generating Station. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission had approved the plan, but it was challenged by New Energy Economy (NEE). The court said NEE’s stance was "unpersuasive or entirely without merit." PNM has an integrated resource plan in place to increase reliance on renewables and natural gas-fired power while coal-fired generation is phased out by 2031.

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