The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service has
scheduled a meeting in Houston to discuss implementation of its
Gulf of Mexico Royalty In-Kind pilot program, which is slated to
begin in October. The three-year program will involve the
collection and sale of as much as 800 MMcf/d of royalty gas from
federal leases in the Gulf. It is the MMS's third RIK pilot, all of
which are being conducted to determine the feasibility and
economics of accepting royalties in kind rather that as a cash
payment from lessees. The meeting on the Gulf RIK will begin at 10
a.m. on July 20 at the MMS Houston Compliance Division Office RM
104, 4141 Sam Houston Parkway East. It is open to the public
without reservation. Lessees, operators, payers and potential
purchasers are encouraged to attend.
Meridian Resource Corp. said it has extinguished the large fire
at its Thibodaux No. 2 well near Amelia, LA. The well "bridged
over," blocking substantially all the flow of natural gas, the
company said. The underground geologic formation collapsed into the
well bore as a result of the high pressure and flow rate of
escaping gas, which created a natural "bridge" that temporarily is
blocking the gas flow. A small fire continues to burn debris and
residual natural gas near the well but will be allowed to safely
burn itself out. The height of the flames has been reduced to less
than 12 feet from about 150 feet. Meridian CEO Joseph A. Reeves Jr.
said, "This is great news in that our well control specialists and
firefighters on the scene can accelerate access to the well site by
closer dredging and debris removal under safer conditions with much
less heat and noise. Dredging operations may last another three or
four days," he said last Thursday. "Once debris removal and well
inspection is complete, our team can determine the best and safest
method for capping the well." The well fire was caused by a
lightning strike June 23. No one was injured, but 11 families were
evacuated from Avoca Island June 25 as a safety precaution.
Meridian said the well was scheduled to be placed in production in
July with 18 MMcf/d of gas.
Dynegy has fired up its first constructed, owned and operated
natural gas-fired peaking plant, the 250 MW Rocky Road Power Plant
near Chicago, in time to serve the summer air conditioning load.
Dynegy plans to sell the power generated at the merchant power
plant into the wholesale electricity market. As a peaking plant it
will run on an as-needed basis. The Rocky Road plant is part of the
company's previously announced plan to back up its trading unit
with a $5 billion generation expansion program. Dynegy is aiming to
own or control more than 70,000 MW of generating capacity by 2003.
It has 6,800 gross MW operating or under construction and recently
announced plans for two natural gas-fired 500 MW plants, one in
Heard County, GA and another in Oldham County, KY.
Shareholders of New Century Energies and Northern States Power
Co. approved the merger of the two companies last week. The new
company will be named Xcel Energy Inc. At separate special
shareholder meetings in Denver and Minneapolis, more than 83% of
the voting shares of both NCE and NSP voted in favor of the merger.
The merger, announced on March 25, still requires state and federal
regulatory approval, which is expected to be completed in nine to
15 months. Under terms of the merger agreement, holders of NCE
stock will receive 1.55 shares of stock in Xcel Energy for each of
their NCE shares. Each share of NSP stock will become one share of
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