1. Regulator demands details on Enbridge line reversal


    * Enbridge sees demand for Portland-Montreal reversalBy Jeffrey JonesCALGARY, Alberta, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s energy regulator has asked Enbridge Inc to explain whether a proposed pipeline reversal is part of a bigger plan to export crude, a concern expressed by environmental groups seeking a more thorough review of the project.The National Energy Board has asked Enbridge to provide more details of its Line 9 Phase 1 project, the initial part of a plan to reverse the flow of its Montreal to Sarnia, Ontario, oil pipeline to allow Quebec and Atlantic Canadian refineries access to western crude.The board, which must decide on the level of review the project is subject to, made the requests at the end of an extended public comment period that attracted nearly 100 submissions from landowners, environmentalists, aboriginal groups and oil companies.In a letter, the NEB asked Enbridge to explain by Oct. 21 the relationship between Phase 1, future stages and a previously proposed plan called Trailbreaker, which would have moved oil sands-derived crude to the U.S. Atlantic Seaboard.The NEB also wants to know if any of the phases is dependent on another, as well as the current status of the Trailbreaker project, which Enbridge floated three years ago, regulatory documents show.It noted that many of the comment letters suggested possible linkages between Phrase 1 and Trailbreaker.The C$17 million ($16.7 million) first phase, which includes a reversal of flow between Sarnia and Westover, Ontario, has become the latest target for environmental groups opposed to development of the Alberta oil sands and infrastructure aimed at moving the crude to more markets.Enbridge wants the project vetted under a section of the NEB Act allowing for a less intensive review, saying the first phase has minimal land disturbance and no adverse environmental or socioeconomic impact.Green groups, led by Environmental Defence, want the board to deny the exemption from a full review, arguing that Phase 1 is just the beginning of a resurrection of Trailbreaker, which would have included a full reversal of the 240,000 barrel a day Line 9, as well as a pipeline that runs to Montreal from Portland, Maine, allowing oil to be loaded onto tankers.”This is a good step,” said Gillian McEachern, climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence.”It’s forcing some more transparency and accountability about what the goal of the project is - and the game changes if you’re looking at the impacts of the entire project that was Trailbreaker versus the pipeline reversal in Ontario.”In its letter, the NEB said it wants Enbridge to provide additional details “regarding the purpose of the project as it relates to business demands of shippers and refiners, including how they would benefit.”Earlier this month, Enbridge Chief Executive Pat Daniel told Reuters that his company is seeking a deal to reverse the flow of the Portland pipeline due to demand for light crude from the Bakken region among Philadelphia-area refineries.

  2. Muni issuance climb may be cue for other markets


    Local government and state bonds underwent a sell-off in early 2011 that appeared disconnected from financial fundamentals and coincided with a steep drop in new bond sales from record-highs set in 2010.But a September rally led to historically low tax-free yields, which have helped spur upticks in new muni bond issuance that Moody’s Capital Markets Chief Economist John Lonski believes may be echoed in underperforming U.S. corporate bond and high yield debt.”Historically, no one worries much about the credit quality of munis … and the forecasts of a surge in muni bond defaults never materialized,” Lonski said. “So it is not surprising that munis are now doing as well as Treasuries. They are compensating for that sell-off.”Lonski said in a commentary that U.S. investment grade and high yield sectors were suffering from out-sized worries that appear unwarranted by default risks and may be poised for improvements.”The absolute levels of corporate bond yields could set new multidecade lows that would help spur bond issuances, especially in terms of refinancings,” Lonski said.Compared to a year earlier, muni issuers sold 2 percent more debt in 2011’s third quarter, including a 17 percent year-over-year rise in September. Investment grade debt deals declined 36 percent in the quarter over a year earlier and high-yield issuance slumped 67 percent, according to Lonski.”September’s recovery in muni bond issuance was powered by that month’s 1.03 percent total return from state and local government bonds; by contrast, investment grade and high-yield corporate bonds incurred negative total returns of 0.1 percent and 3.4 percent respectively,” the economist said.Prospects for U.S, corporate debt were clouded by the possibility that policymakers might misstep in dealing with Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, which has been a drag on the U.S. markets, Lonski said.In munis trading on Monday, prices rose and tax-free yields, which move inversely to prices, eased by as many as 5 basis points on AAA-rated maturities, according to Municipal Market Data.The biggest price gains were in intermediate maturities.Yields on top-rated, 10-year munis eased 3 basis points to close at 2.53 percent. Yields on 30-year munis ended 1 basis point lower at 3.71 percent, according to MMD, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

  3. MOVES-PIMCO, Blackstone, HSBC


    HSBC GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENTA subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc appointed Elizabeth Allen as Director and Head of Credit Research, Asia-Pacific. Previously, she was Vice President, Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s Investors Service.BLACKSTONEThe investment and advisory firm appointed Denis Fabre as Senior Managing Director responsible for the European healthcare franchise for Blackstone Advisory Partners. Fabre previously worked at Bankers Trust.PIMCOThe investment management firm appointed John Longhurst as Senior Vice President and Head of Emerging Markets Equity Research. It also appointed Richard Flax as Senior Vice President and Emerging Markets Equity Analyst and Andrew Pyne as Senior Vice President and Emerging Markets Equity Product Manager.

  4. Give people the power to live a greener lifestyle


    –Craig Boundy is UK CEO of Logica. The opinions expressed are his own.– Recent research by Logica showed that only 22 per cent of individuals feel the onus is on them to deliver a sustainable future. Individuals want more guidance on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, with 18 per cent of respondents saying they had no idea what changes they need to make, and only 22 per cent feeling a responsibility to take the initiative. Central and local government need to put the power into consumers’ hands by equipping them with the knowledge and the technologies to make change a reality – and ultimately to get them excited about living a greener lifestyle. Homes are the biggest emitters of CO2 in London – around 36 per cent of London’s CO2 emissions come from its homes according to government statistics. The good news is the government has already created a pan-London scheme called RE:NEW which is designed to make it easier for all households to improve their energy efficiency. With RE:NEW, householders are given energy efficiency advice and can have simple improvements installed for free throughout the home. These include energy display devices, radiator panels, aerated taps, hot water tank jackets and draught-proofing. These are basic changes but it’s a good start. Government now needs to look at how more permanent changes, like installing solar panels and home energy monitors, can be funded. Under the recently-introduced Green Deal, bill payers will be able to get energy efficiency improvements without having to front up the cash. Instead, energy companies will install the products and bill payers will pay these back via the cost savings on their bills. At the heart of the offer is a simple rule: estimated savings on bills over a period of time will always equal or exceed the cost of the work. It’s a flexible framework and one that gives businesses and consumers the opportunity to make the improvements that best suit their situation. Smart meters are already saving people money as they are able to go online and monitor their energy usage. Trials have shown that smart meters can reduce bills by five to ten per cent, and these savings are part of the reason the government has announced plans to install smart meters in every UK household. The planned rollout will start in 2014 and is due to be completed by 2020. A typical family can already expect to save around £300 – £400 a year. Businesses also need to collaborate. Companies such as Logica are consulting with clients to demonstrate the economic benefits of sustainable solutions as well as the social and environmental benefits. This includes renewable power generation, empowering energy efficiency through dynamic control of public infrastructure, mobilising workforces with electric vehicles and cycle hire schemes and realising cost saving opportunities through carbon accounting.  

  5. Give people the power to live a greener lifestyle


    –Craig Boundy is UK CEO of Logica. The opinions expressed are his own.– Recent research by Logica showed that only 22 per cent of individuals feel the onus is on them to deliver a sustainable future. Individuals want more guidance on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, with 18 per cent of respondents saying they had no idea what changes they need to make, and only 22 per cent feeling a responsibility to take the initiative. Central and local government need to put the power into consumers’ hands by equipping them with the knowledge and the technologies to make change a reality – and ultimately to get them excited about living a greener lifestyle. Homes are the biggest emitters of CO2 in London – around 36 per cent of London’s CO2 emissions come from its homes according to government statistics. The good news is the government has already created a pan-London scheme called RE:NEW which is designed to make it easier for all households to improve their energy efficiency. With RE:NEW, householders are given energy efficiency advice and can have simple improvements installed for free throughout the home. These include energy display devices, radiator panels, aerated taps, hot water tank jackets and draught-proofing. These are basic changes but it’s a good start. Government now needs to look at how more permanent changes, like installing solar panels and home energy monitors, can be funded. Under the recently-introduced Green Deal, bill payers will be able to get energy efficiency improvements without having to front up the cash. Instead, energy companies will install the products and bill payers will pay these back via the cost savings on their bills. At the heart of the offer is a simple rule: estimated savings on bills over a period of time will always equal or exceed the cost of the work. It’s a flexible framework and one that gives businesses and consumers the opportunity to make the improvements that best suit their situation. Smart meters are already saving people money as they are able to go online and monitor their energy usage. Trials have shown that smart meters can reduce bills by five to ten per cent, and these savings are part of the reason the government has announced plans to install smart meters in every UK household. The planned rollout will start in 2014 and is due to be completed by 2020. A typical family can already expect to save around £300 – £400 a year. Businesses also need to collaborate. Companies such as Logica are consulting with clients to demonstrate the economic benefits of sustainable solutions as well as the social and environmental benefits. This includes renewable power generation, empowering energy efficiency through dynamic control of public infrastructure, mobilising workforces with electric vehicles and cycle hire schemes and realising cost saving opportunities through carbon accounting.