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In Brief

In Brief

Energen Resources Corp., the oil and gas subsidiary of Energen Corp., reported it signed a definitive agreement to acquire the stock of Total Minatome Corp. for $110 million, plus $22 million in legal and financial obligations. For its investment, Energen Resources will gain an estimated 200 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of proved domestic oil and natural gas reserves. Immediately upon closing the transaction on Oct.15, Energen Resources (formerly Taurus Exploration Inc.) plans to sell a 31% undivided interest in Total Minatome's assets to Westport Oil and Gas Co. Inc.

A wholly owned subsidiary of Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco) has purchased the assets and operations of a Maryland-based gas retail marketing firm for an undisclosed amount. The transaction gives Pepco through its subsidiary, Pepco Services, the capability to offer for the first time natural gas to its commercial, institutional and industrial customers. Gaslantic Corp., which is located in Forest Hill, MD, provides strategic fuel management to large gas users in the eastern half of the United States, helping customers to obtain the best fuel source, transportation and prices. The company, which had revenues of $50 million in 1997, will operate as a new division of Pepco Services. "This acquisition strengthens our product and service capabilities, particularly as we plan to open an office soon in Pennsylvania to sell both gas and electricity," said Pepco Services President Ed Mayberry. The acquisition, the utility said, will build on Pepco's investment in the Cove Point liquefied natural gas facilities, a joint venture with Columbia Energy Group.

Atlanta-based Southern Co. has joined a collaborative effort of 20 companies to create the largest survey of business energy use. Southern, Regional Economic Research (RER), Opinion Dynamics Corp. and the Gas Research Institute plan to survey more than 10,000 businesses across the U.S. to obtain detailed information on energy usage as well as attitudes and behavior of energy buyers. The database and analysis system, called the National Business Energy DataMart, will be packaged with software that provides detailed analysis down to the individual customer level. Results are expected to be available next February. Dun and Bradstreet will assist the sample design effort by providing access to its database. The database of survey results with a data analysis system is being offered at a $5,000 discount for those that purchase before the end of the year. To sign up, contact RER at 800/755-9585 or by e-mail at info@rer.com.

The sponsors of Canadian-bound Vector Pipeline and Tristate Pipeline have been discussing the possibility of combining the two projects, but so far no agreement has been reached, according to a spokesman for one of the sponsors. "We are interested in talking with Vector to see if some possibility of merger or consolidation can be reached. We have had talks periodically off and on, but so far there has not been any agreement," said Kelly Farr, a spokesman for CMS Energy, a sponsor in the Tristate project along with Westcoast. The proposed Tristate project would transport about 700 MMcf/d over 350 miles from the Chicago hub in Joliet, IL, to Union Gas's storage facilities in Dawn, ON. The sponsors plan to file an application at FERC in October. The competing Vector Pipeline, which is backed by MCN Corp., proposes to cover much of the same ground. MCN is parent of Michigan Consolidated Gas.

PP&ampL Global Inc., a subsidiary of PP&ampL Resources Inc., plans to build a gas-fired power plant (the Griffith Energy Project) near Kingman, AZ, with nominal base load capacity of 520 MW and a maximum output capability of 650 MW. "As the generation of electricity is deregulated in the United States, PP&ampL Global is seeking to develop and acquire power plants in key areas of the country," said Robert D. Fagan, president of PP&ampL Global. "The Griffith Energy Project site is a excellent location, in a region with significant growth in demand for electricity. In addition, the project should improve electricity transmission capability in the Kingman and Lake Havasu City region." A spokesman said gas supply, which has not yet been contracted for, could move on Transwestern or El Paso. The plant would burn 80,000 MMBtu/d. The Arizona Corporation Commission's Siting Committee on Monday gave unanimous approval to PP&ampL Global's plans. The company is working on an environmental impact statement and air-quality permits.

The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy approved the merger of Essex County Gas and Eastern Enterprises, parent of Boston Gas, yesterday. The merger calls for a 10-year freeze of base rates and a 5% reduction in the cost of gas. As a result, customers are expected to save $56 million over the next 10 years.

Subsidiaries of Consolidated Natural Gas and El Paso Energy have purchased two gas pipelines in Western Australia from the Broken Hill Pty Co. Ltd (BHP) for A$129 million (US$75 million). The purchase includes the 134-mile Pilbara line that serves BHP's iron plant in Port Hedland, and a 15-mile extension to production facilities in Burrup. The Burrup Extension is expected to open in December.

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