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Duke Energy said Algonquin Gas Transmission is planning a new 3.5 mile, 18-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in the Cape Cod towns of Sandwich and Bourne, MA, to serve gas customer growth. "The Cape Cod Lateral will provide KeySpan with firm natural gas transportation service to continue reliably supplying the growing Cape Cod market," said Bill Yardley, vice president, marketing, business development and customer service. The proposed pipeline and related facilities will provide KeySpan with 38,000 Dth/d of firm capacity under a 15-year agreement. "Over the past few years, we've experienced increased demand for natural gas on Cape Cod as more homeowners are catching onto the benefits of this clean and environmentally friendly heating fuel," said Nicholas Stavropoulos, president of KeySpan Energy Delivery. "This project, if approved, will provide additional capacity and enable KeySpan to maintain system reliability and enhance delivery capability throughout the Cape Cod area." An application for the expansion was filed April 21 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Service is expected in November 2007.

Bismarck, ND-based MDU Resources Group, Inc. reported record first-quarter 2006 earnings, posting consolidated profits of $53.1 million, a 55% increase over the $34.2 million chalked up in the first quarter of last year. MDU said diluted earnings per share increased to a record 44 cents for the first quarter this year, compared to 29 cents for the same period in 2005. The diversified electric and natural gas holding company increased its estimated earnings guidance for the year to a range of $2.15/share to $2.35/share, compared to earlier guidance in the range of $2-2.20/share.

BPI Energy announced its second pilot well in Shelby County, IL has reached a total depth of 1,300 feet this week at the company's northern Illinois Basin project. The Solon, OH-based independent energy company is engaged in the exploration, development and commercial sale of coalbed methane in the Illinois Basin, which covers approximately 60,000 square miles in Illinois, southwestern Indiana and northwestern Kentucky. BPI's northern Illinois Basin project consists of more than 239,000 acres in north central Illinois. The company recently completed sample testing from four test wells and identified nine potentially productive coal seams. In addition, BPI Energy said the test wells confirmed that the coal seams are thicker than most other areas of the Illinois Basin. Earlier this month, BPI announced that it had filed initial permits for development wells at this Project. "Drilling began this past week and we anticipate the arrival of a second rig at the property within the next several days," said CEO James G. Azlein. "We are encouraged by the data obtained from the test wells and look forward to focusing our resources on the projects with the greatest potential for enhancing shareholder value."

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