Energy - April 12, 2013

Pa. turnpike bond rating lowered

Moody’s Investor Services has downgraded the Turnpike’s bond rating.  Substantial borrowing and “fewer-than-expected toll payers” prompted the action by Moody’s.  The turnpike is currently about $7.5 billion in debt, mostly due to the state law requiring it to fund other infrastructure projects around the state.  The turnpike is responsible for about $450 million a year in those projects and will continue to rack up debt if the state doesn’t lower the amount the turnpike is required to pay out every year.  With lower than projected traffic volumes, revenues and toll increases that have been higher than projected, the new Moody’s rating is comparable to that of Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.  Turnpike CEO, Mark Compton, said the downgrade wasn’t surprising.  It may also help boost support for decreasing the amount of funding the turnpike is responsible for each year.


Corbett’s trip to South America leads to Brazilian interest in Pa. shale

Governor Tom Corbett is still on his South American tour with a group of Pennsylvania officials and his trip has sparked a Brazilian interest in Pennsylvania shale drilling and regulation. Most of “Brazil’s energy comes from hydropower, wind, biomass, and other sources;” but there oil fields off the coast and shale formations in southern Brazil.  Pennsylvania’s experiences recent experiences with “exploring and extracting” have been a main topic of discussion while the delegation has been in Sao Paulo this past week.  Governor Corbett said in an interview that Brazil has a similar energy portfolio to PA and that this is an opportunity to develop relationships that can grow business and investment opportunities with Brazil.  While in meeting with the governor Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral, Governor Corbett also signed an agreement to collaborate on oil and natural gas issues.  The delegation left for South America on April 6 and return on April 16 and also plans to travel to Chile.