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Japan’s Jera Co. Inc., the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer, is in discussions with EDF SA to give the Asian buyer a bigger foothold in European gas markets and potentially expand U.S. trading.

Houston-based independent Linn Energy Inc., which began to gain traction this year after being laid low during the industry collapse, is setting its sights on creating three standalone companies by mid-2018, all designed to boost the value of the enterprise.

FERC has given Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC permission to construct two sections of looping pipeline in north central Pennsylvania and allow the company to use three adjacent contractor yards for its $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project serving the Marcellus Shale region.

Oil and natural gas operators are entering 2018 in the best shape since oil prices collapsed in late 2014, Wood Mackenzie researchers said Thursday.

Despite a slightly bullish storage report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas futures traded lower Thursday as the bears seemed firmly in control. In the spot market, except for the East Coast and California, most points traded close to even, and the NGI National Spot Gas Average dropped 20 cents to $2.85.