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Peoples Becomes a Producer With $18 M Purchase

Peoples Becomes a Producer With $18 M Purchase

Chicago-based Peoples Energy decided to eliminate the middle man last week, purchasing an interest in 25 oil and natural gas producing wells in South Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast region from NBB Energy Partners LLP. The $18 million purchase makes Peoples Energy an operator of oil and gas properties for the first time in its history, with complete production responsibilities for the purchased wells.

Nearly 60% of the wells' production is natural gas with the balance mostly condensate. Before the purchase, Peoples Energy Production, the oil and gas production unit of the Chicago firm owned an interest in eight of the acquired wells. The properties are expected to provide energy resources for markets throughout the East and Midwest with several pipeline connections in the region.

"This purchase represents a strategic expansion in the onshore Gulf Coast area, which is one of our targeted production region," said President Tom Patrick. "The newly acquired reserves will provide us with robust near-term income." He said that Peoples Energy had invested more than $100 million in its oil and gas production business in the past two years, and said that it had "achieved financial results that have exceeded our expectations."

The company is definitely on the move. Chairman Dick Terry said that the company plans to continue its diversification even as its business grows throughout the Midwest.

"Our goal is to become the Midwest's premier supplier of energy and energy-related services," Terry said. "And we are well on our way to realizing that vision, as evidenced by the success of our new businesses: power generation, midstream services, retail energy services and oil and gas production."

The gas distribution business currently serves about 1 million retail customers in Chicago and northeastern Illinois.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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