Energy news in brief

** Plunging costs of renewables mark a turning point in a global transition to low-carbon energy, with new solar or wind farms increasingly cheaper to build than running existing coal plants, according to a report published on Tuesday.

** The amount of natural gas flowing on pipelines to U.S. liquefied natural gas export plants is at its lowest levels since August, a signal of weak worldwide demand due to government lockdowns to repress the coronavirus.

** In the wake of falling oil prices, Occidental Petroleum Corporation OXY announced that the board of directors has decided to slash quarterly dividend again to preserve liquidity amid weak commodity prices and demand. The new quarterly dividend will be 1 cent down from the prior rate of 11 cents. The new dividend will be payable on Jul 15 to shareholders on record as of Jun 15, 2020.

** Venezuela on Monday launched a fuel pricing system that largely rolls back decades of heavy subsidies, creating long lines and leaving drivers confused as the government seeks to end chronic shortages with gasoline imports from Iran.

** U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler signed on Monday a rule limiting state powers to block energy infrastructure projects, setting up a fight with some Democratic governors who say Washington is stripping their ability to protect their states’ interests and combat climate change.

** Dominion Energy asks Virginia regulators to allow utilities to suspend service disconnections for another four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

** The oil market disruption from COVID-19 is a short-term challenge that doesn’t change the need to replace the Line 3 pipeline, Enbridge tells Minnesota regulators. 

** Murray Energy’s bleak financial outlook is pushing Ohio’s nearly insolvent mine reclamation fund to the brink of collapse, experts warn.

** Ameren Missouri plans to expand its community solar program after recent approval by state regulators.

** Iowa utility MidAmerican Energy returned almost all of its 3,300 employees to company offices this week while most utilities take a more cautious approach as a result of the pandemic.

** Germany is reportedly planning to boost incentives for electric vehicle purchases as part of a forthcoming pandemic stimulus, a week after French officials prioritized EV subsidies in their auto sector aid plan.

** Some experts believe that the coronavirus crisis is an opportunity for California to phase out oil activity that has long enjoyed political support despite the state’s climate ambitions.

** A California Democrat’s bill would require oil companies to pay a higher cleanup bond for oil and gas wells on federal land.

** The deadline for the pending $4.3 billion sale of El Paso Electric is extended until September 1 as both parties wait for FERC’s final approval.


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