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Industry Briefs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave regulated energy companies in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast region a little breathing room by extending any deadlines to Sept. 30 for companies affected by the hurricane who are participating in proceedings at the Commission and need an extension. FERC also is allowing companies to delay until Sept. 30 compliance with certain standards of conduct regulations, particularly reporting on each emergency that resulted in a deviation from the standards of conduct. Regulations usually require reporting of such incidents within 24 hours.

SemGas, L.P. announced its acquisition Wednesday of Ventura Pipeline Company, LLC, a new 40-mile gas gathering system that went into service in May, 2005 in Oklahoma's McIntosh and Pittsburg counties. The Ventura Pipeline was purchased from Clearwater Enterprises, LLC, Oklaco Holding, L.L.C. and Citrus Energy Corporation. The purchase price was not disclosed. "Ventura provides producers a gathering system with significant capacity to move their natural gas to market from a large area that previously had no market outlet," Tim O'Sullivan, SemGas president and COO, said. "As a result, Ventura has secured substantial acreage dedications from the major producers in the area." The Ventura system crosses three unconventional formations -- Caney Shale, Woodford Shale and Hartshorne Coal -- that have attracted new drilling. Several conventional formations in the area also provide shallow well opportunities. O'Sullivan commented that Ventura has ample capacity, low operating pressure and is designed for growth and easy expansion. SemGas, L.P. a subsidiary of SemGroup, L.P. is a natural gas gathering, processing and storage business based in Tulsa.. SemGroup, L.P., a privately held midstream company, has five main energy stream business markets -- crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, natural gas liquids and asphalt.

Enogex Inc., a subsidiary of OGE Energy Corp., is soliciting customer interest in a possible expansion of its 10,000-mile gas pipeline system in Oklahoma. "We have received several inquiries about the availability of additional transportation capacity to markets on the east side of our pipeline system," said Keith Mitchell, vice president of Enogex. "Customer input will help us prepare long-term plans that could bridge an apparent shortage of west-to-east pipeline capacity within our mid-continent region." The company is proposing an expansion to provide added receipt and transportation capacity from western Oklahoma to markets on the east side of the system, as well as the ability to access markets further east via connected downstream pipelines. Indications of interest will be considered non-binding and should be received by Sept. 15. Enogex will decide whether the operational and economic justifications exist to proceed to an open season. The level of market commitment will determine the cost, final design capacity and in-service date of any project. For details contact Christy Soapes at (405) 557-5287 or soapesc@oge.com.

El Paso closed its previously announced acquisition of Denver-based Medicine Bow Energy Corp. for $834 million in cash through subsidiary El Paso Production Holding Co. (EPPH). Estimated proved reserves associated with the Medicine Bow acquisition are 383 Bcfe, and estimated average daily production is 103 MMcfe/d. Slightly more than half of the acquired proved reserves are in the Rocky Mountains. "We are excited to increase our presence in the Rockies, and we expect to retain the majority of Medicine Bow's talented staff as well as its existing office in downtown Denver," said Lisa Stewart, president of El Paso's production and nonregulated operations. "In addition, we plan to move the management of El Paso's existing Rockies assets to Denver from Houston and will add additional personnel to the Denver office to focus on expanding our Rockies presence."

Standard & Poor's Equity Research raised its 2005 U.S. crude oil price forecast by $1.53 to $56.68/bbl, and its 2006 forecast by $0.76 to $55.81. The firm also boosted its 2005 Henry Hub bidweek natural gas price forecast by $0.02 to $7.55/MMBtu, and its 2006 forecast by $0.74 to $8.11. "However, we see the potential for further upward movements, reflecting negative impacts from Hurricane Katrina, lower than expected non-OPEC production increases, and a tight supply of light sweet crude due to strong demand for light sweet fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and heating oil," said S&P's Tina Vital.

Diversified energy holding company Energen Corp. has added to its 2006 natural gas hedge position and as a result, raised its earnings forecast for next year by 10 cents to a range of between $3.05-3.35/share. Prior guidance, issued Aug. 1, was $2.95-3.25. The company, headquartered in Birmingham, AL, hedged an additional 5.43 Bcf its 2006 natural gas production at a New York Mercantile Exchange-equivalent price of $9.14/Mcf. Energen's total natural gas hedge position for 2006 now stands at approximately 38.2 Bcf at an average Nymex-equivalent price of $7.62/Mcf. The latest hedges mostly complete Energen's gas and oil hedging programs until after January 2006, at which time additional hedges may be sold without incurring inter-year, mark-to-market net income variances.

Moody's Investors Services has launched a review of Burlington Resources Inc.'s debt ratings, which it said was prompted by the producer's success in replacing reserves and increasing production. Burlington's "trend of operational success" and "strong financial profile," has been aided by financial discipline and a "buoyant oil and natural gas price environment." Moody's said its rating review will focus on Burlington's ability to sustain targeted production growth and a strong balance sheet in the near-to-medium term, and on its flexibility to fund a potentially increasing capital program in balance with its shareholder reward initiatives, including stress testing under lower than currently prevailing commodity prices.

The C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston (UH) has launched the nation's first executive master of business administration degree in global energy management (GEMBA), which includes studies of the energy value chain, international energy finance and emerging energy technologies. Executive master of business administration (EBMA) programs differ from the typical master of business administration (MBA) program in that the EMBA allows professionals to obtain their degree in a shorter amount of time while progressing in their career. Additionally, students work in teams for the length of the program, encouraging peer learning and mirroring everyday workplace scenarios. GEMBA faculty includes Stephen Arbogast, a retired treasurer of ExxonMobil Chemical Co.; Steven Koch, a former senior vice president of Pennzoil-Quaker State; Zlatica Kraljevic, a former director of business development for Halliburton; and Lane Sloan, a retired CEO of Shell Chemical. For more information about the program, visit http://www.bauer.uh.edu/embagem/index.html.

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