May 1, 2014, 5:30 PM
May 1, 2014, 2:18 PM
- Fifty-six U.S. senators - all 45 Republicans in the chamber and 11 Democrats - have introduced legislation that would provide immediate congressional approval of the stalled Keystone XL pipeline (TRP +0.3%) project
- It remains unclear whether the bill would even get a vote in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to clear procedural hurdles against legislation.
Apr. 30, 2014, 7:35 PM
- While Pres. Obama seeks to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the November midterm elections, Canada's government reportedly is considering launching a challenge under NAFTA.
- The government, acting alone or with TransCanada (TRP) and perhaps pipeline shippers, is said to be weighing its legal options for challenging the U.S. handling of the pipeline. but no decision has been made on how to proceed.
- Unlike other cross-border pipelines, whose approvals were given in a short time, TRP could make the case that Keystone is being treated differently than comparable pipeline applications and denying it "fair and equitable treatment" under NAFTA, according to a leading international trade lawyer.
Apr. 30, 2014, 2:49 PM
- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A +3%) is raising its stake in the proposed Canada LNG project on British Columbia's coast at Kitimat to 50% after two of the Asian partners pared their interests.
- Mitsubishi and Korea Gas had each owned 20%, and they now own 15% each, while PetroChina (PTR) maintains its 20% interest; Shell had owned 40%.
- Shell says early engineering work on the multi-billion dollar project is set to begin and would take up to two years to complete, but a final investment decision is still months away; it is partnering with TransCanada (TRP) on a proposed pipeline to carry gas to the coast.
- LNG Canada is designed to process 1.7B cf/day of gas in its first phase.
Apr. 28, 2014, 7:15 PM
- A U.S. Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP) as soon as next week reportedly is under discussion by top Democrats, who are weighing the political implications of holding a vote on approval of the controversial pipeline in defiance of Pres. Obama.
- A vote on Keystone may offer a strong boost to red-state Democrats in tough races this fall, allowing them to be seen as defying the White House in support of a project viewed favorably back home.
- An aide to Louisiana Sen. Landrieu, the new Senate Energy Committee chair who has frequently criticized Obama for delaying a decision on Keystone, says she will push for a binding vote to approve the project.
Apr. 23, 2014, 11:36 AM
- The latest Keystone XL delay is having an unintended consequence: the revival of the effort in Congress to bypass the White House by forcing approval of the project.
- Forcing approval would be difficult; Senate backers admit they still are a few votes short of the 60 needed to advance the bill, two-thirds of the Senate - 67 members - would be needed to override a likely presidential veto, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid so far has declined to bring up legislation that could embarrass Pres. Obama on Keystone (TRP).
- But the oil isn't going to stay in the ground, and transporting oil by rail has more than doubled in the last three years; at the NTSB's Rail Safety Forum this week, regulators and industry reps are discussing everything from tank-car design to emergency response planning.
Apr. 22, 2014, 7:21 PM
- Alaska’s legislature has approved Gov. Parnell’s plan to join four energy companies - XOM, BP, COP and TRP - in moving ahead on plans to build infrastructure to transport and market 35T cf of North Slope gas to be shipped by an 800-mile pipeline to a liquefied natural gas export plant.
- If the $45B-$65B project comes to fruition, gas could hit local and foreign markets in the mid-2020s, according to the state’s projections.
- The state would retain ownership of 25% of the LNG plant, which is planned at Nikiski in south central Alaska.
Apr. 22, 2014, 10:42 AM
- A court challenge holding up the Keystone XL (TRP +0.6%) pipeline should be dismissed, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman says as he asks the state’s top court to throw out a trial judge’s February ruling that the route for the pipeline was approved without proper authority.
- The Nebraska Supreme Court may not hear the case until at least September and probably will not rule until after November's congressional elections; if the court upholds the trial outcome, Keystone would need to apply to the state’s Public Service Commission for approval in a process that could take as much as seven months.
- The trial judge erred in allowing a challenge by three property owners to move forward because they hadn’t shown they had been injured as taxpayers by the state’s plan, the governor said in a court filing yesterday.
Apr. 21, 2014, 11:22 AM
- TransCanada (TRP -3.6%) shares suffer their biggest loss in more than two years after the Obama administration delays making a recommendation on the Keystone XL pipeline until legal questions about the way the route was approved through Nebraska are resolved - which could extend into next year.
- Morningstar's David McColl says the delay will raise the costs to build the pipeline, though probably not enough to kill it.
- While RBC Capital continues to believe the project has a present value of ~$5/share, the firm notes it included only half that value ($2.50/share) in its valuation and believes the market has ascribed even less value; as such, despite some downward pressure on the share price, the weakness should not be material (Briefing.com).
Apr. 19, 2014, 12:05 AM
- The Obama administration is indefinitely extending its review of the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP), probably delaying a decision on the project until after November's U.S. midterm elections.
- The State Department - which has had the project under review for nearly six years - says it needs more time to prepare its recommendation to Pres. Obama because of ongoing litigation in Nebraska that is unlikely to be resolved before next year; the department was set to close a review process with eight other federal agencies on May 7.
- Pipeline supporters are criticizing the delay as a political ploy, but the move looks likely to keep environmental activist money flowing into the election races; billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend $100M to support candidates who back strong policies to fight climate change, is praising the delay as "good news."
- ETFs: XLE, ERX, OIH, VDE, ERY, DIG, DUG, IYE, PXJ, PXI, PSCE, FENY, FXN, RYE, DDG
Apr. 16, 2014, 10:48 AM
- Alberta looks likely to implement energy efficiency measures when it revamps its climate-change policy to win support for its oil sector, an about-face on the former premier’s vow that the province wouldn’t enact new rules until the U.S. did.
- The province plans to have new regulations on emissions in the near future and may include a higher carbon price, Alberta's environment minister says.
- The struggle by Alberta’s oil producers for access to new markets, as reflected in U.S. delays in approving the Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline, comes amid opposition to oil sands bitumen because of its higher carbon intensity and concerns around air and water pollution.
- Relevant companies include ECA, ENB, EEP, STO, XOM, IMO, SU, CVE, PGH, BP, CNQ, BTE, DVN, IVAN, AAV, RDS.A, RDS.B, PTR, ATHOF
Apr. 11, 2014, 2:34 PM
- "The best MLP you've never heard of" is Niska Gas Storage Partners (NKA +3.5%), according to a favorable profile by StreetAuthority's Daniel Cross, who says NKA stands out with a price-to-free cash flow ratio of ~14 while vs. a negative average for the industry, and a 9.6% dividend yield.
- This strength gives NKA the ability to make acquisitions and capital expenditures to grow at a much faster pace than other utility companies, Cross writes.
- Competitors such as Buckeye Partners (BPL) and TransCanada (TRP) also should also benefit from the rising tide in natural gas production since both companies trade at roughly NKA's P/E, but neither offers NKA's potential for double digit growth, according to Cross.
Apr. 10, 2014, 12:27 PM
- A group of 11 Senate Democrats, including five up for re-election this year, are pressing Pres. Obama to approve the Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline by the end of next month.
- "The process has been exhaustive in its time, breadth, and scope,” the Democrats wrote in a letter; that process has been winding its way through a regulatory review within the administration for more than five years, and Obama has not said when he will make a final decision.
- The letter asks for a decision by May 31 because it’s a few weeks after the 90-day clock ends on the administration’s interagency review of the State Department’s environmental report on the pipeline, which was released Jan. 31.
Apr. 4, 2014, 5:15 PM
- Enbridge (ENB) has obtained a license to re-export Canadian oil from the U.S., becoming the first company to publicly confirm a move that could fuel debate over U.S. trade policy and oil sands pipelines.
- ENB says its Tidal Energy subsidiary has a license to export "limited quantities" of Canadian-origin oil from a U.S. port, confirming speculation about such shipments; first cargoes are expected to sail for Europe later this month.
- Critics of the Keystone XL pipeline (TRP) have contended that allowing re-exports of Canadian oil from the U.S. undercuts Pres. Obama's pledge to protect the climate.
Apr. 4, 2014, 11:22 AM
- It's been nearly three years since the Obama administration started stalling and deferring its decision on the Keystone XL (TRP) pipeline, but the prevailing view is that the project will go ahead - and when it does, an approval could be "a light bulb moment" for investing in Canadian energy, says analyst Sonny Mottahed of Calgary-based Black Spruce Capital.
- The Keystone debacle has resulted in negative investor sentiment toward Canadian energy stocks, depressing their values relative to U.S. counterparts, Mottahed says; approval would remove much of the negative psychology, with investors saying Canada is in the game again.
- Many investors also feel that Keystone delays are constraining the development of Canada's energy sector, "so if that roadblock is removed, it would be a big positive," says Nomura's Charles St. Arnaud.
- The uncertainty has resulted in “an overhang on market access against Canadians” that has pushed capital to the U.S. energy industry, Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ) CFO Corey Bieber says.
Apr. 2, 2014, 7:17 PM
- Canada's National Energy Board says it will hold public hearings into Kinder Morgan Partners' (KMP) planned $5.4B expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that carries crude from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific coast, first hearing evidence from aboriginal groups in August.
- The regulator, which plans to issue a recommendation on the project's future no later than July 2015, says its review will focus on 12 issues, including impact on the environment, effects on marine shipping, aboriginal interests, and contingency planning for spills and accidents.
- Energy producers such as Exxon (XOM) affiliate Imperial Oil (IMO), BP and Suncor (SU) are looking to the Trans Mountain expansion and other proposed pipelines - most notably Keystone XL (TRP) - to help ease the bottlenecks that have led to steep discounts for Alberta oil on global markets.
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