U.S. stocks opened lower on Thursday as investors grappled with mixed economic reports and their impact on any future Federal Reserve decision to start raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, according to Market Watch.
The S&P 500 opened 19 points, or 0.9%, lower at 2,061.16. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 190 points, or 1%, to 17,166 shortly after the open. The NASDAQ Composite began the day down 50 points, or 1%, at 4,968.06.
Today, energy sector tumbled on pressure in the commodity markets.
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), stock is down by -0.29% while Intrexon Corporation (NYSE:XON)’s stocks is down by -1.25%.
Today, Southern Star Central Corp. and NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC, an indirect, wholly owned partner of NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), declared the commencement of a binding open season for the Sooner Trails Pipeline project, which is predictable to connect new receipt points in Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Stephens, Garvin, Carter, and Bryan Counties in Oklahoma to interstate and intrastate pipeline markets in Bryan County, Oklahoma and Lamar County, Texas. The companies also declared the signing of a letter of intent that outlines the potential terms of a joint venture that is predictable to construct and own the Sooner Trails Pipeline. Under the letter of intent, each company would own 50 percent of the projected joint venture. An associate of NextEra Energy would construct the project and Southern Star, through one or more of its associates, would operate the pipeline.
Subject to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval, the about 250 mile Sooner Trails Pipeline project will extend from Kingfisher County, Oklahoma and travel southeast to its primary delivery point in Lamar County, Texas with the development of the Lamar Hub. The Sooner Trails Pipeline is predictable to provide up to 1.2 million dekatherms per day (Dth/d) and offer timely, cost-effective access to natural gas for expanding local distribution companies, industrial users, natural gas fired generation, and other regional demands. The Sooner Trails Pipeline will be developed under FERC jurisdiction. Sooner Trails has filed to start the FERC pre-filing process in order to develop the project in a timely manner.
Southern Star invites parties interested in firm transportation capacity on the Sooner Trails Pipeline to submit binding bids between 9:00 AM Central Clock Time (CCT) on August 20, 2015 and 4:00 PM CCT on September 18, 2015.
The binding bid(s) received during this open season will assist Southern Star and NextEra Energy in determining whether to pursue the projected project and defining the final parameters of such project. If it is decided to move forward after evaluating the binding bids, Southern Star and NextEra Energy will, subject to FERC approval, install the necessary facilities to serve all or a portion of the requested capacity. If a binding open season is successful, Southern Star and NextEra Energy anticipate service offered through the projected pipeline in early 2018.
Southern Star is a leading transporter of natural gas to Americas heartland, with about 5,825 miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipeline in the Midwest and Mid-Continent regions of the United States.
NextEra Energy, Inc., through its auxiliaries, generates, transmits, and distributes electric energy in the United States and Canada. The company generates electricity from gas, oil, solar, coal, petroleum coke, nuclear, and wind sources.
On the other hand, Intrexon Corporation (NYSE:XON) and Dominion Energy, a partner of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), have reached a contract to explore the potential for commercial-scale biological conversion of natural gas to isobutanol, a drop-in fuel with numerous advantages over other clean burning gasoline blendstocks.
Intrexons proprietary methanotroph bioconversion platform has the potential to transform the gas-to-liquids (GTL) industry through use of optimized microbial cell lines to convert natural gas into higher carbon compounds such as isobutanol and farnesene under ambient temperatures and pressures. This novel approach avoids costly, resource intensive thermochemical GTL conversion methods, and offers a biofuel that does not utilize sugar or other plant-based feedstock, which are expensive carbon sources that compete with food crops for arable land. Additionally, through the substantial yield advantage of the methanotroph over other microbes, Intrexons bioconversion platform has a favorable economic profile that, based on current targets, will allow even small scale demonstration plants to achieve profitability within the first year of production.
Conversion of methane to isobutanol provides economic and environmental advantages upon which the partnership will look to build. In comparison to other gasoline substitutes, isobutanol offers cleaner burning combustion with less corrosion, holds more of gasolines energy content allowing longer travel, is cheaper to blend with gas, and its compatibility with the current petroleum infrastructure offers a dramatic improvement in efficient transport of the fuel itself. These positive attributes are driving investment in butanol plants, which may reach $6 billion by 2020 according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Under the terms of the agreement, IEP will be required to meet specific development milestones preceding to initiation of certain commercialization activities, which are subject to board approval by both parties. Dominion will be the exclusive partner to construct, own, operate, and maintain the production facilities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins located in eastern North America via potential long-term services agreements with IEP. Within this geographic region, the partnership plans to build natural gas bioconversion facilities leading to the creation of job opportunities and generation of local and state tax revenue.
Intrexon Corporation is engaged in the field of synthetic biology. The Company designs, builds and regulates gene programs, which are Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) sequences that comprise of genetic components. The Company’s synthetic biology capabilities comprise the ability to control the amount, location, and modification of biological molecules to control the function and output of living cells.