Williams Pipeline Partners LP has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in 4Q2007. Formed by Tulsa-based Williams, the initial asset of the new partnership will be a 25% stake in Northwest Pipeline GP, which includes a 3,900 mile bi-directional interstate pipeline system that accesses natural gas supplies in the Rocky Mountains, Canada and the San Juan Basin and serves key markets in the Pacific Northwest. It also includes a working natural gas storage capacity of 12.4 Bcf. Williams will continue to own the remaining 75% interest in Northwest Pipeline and Williams employees will continue to operate it. The IPO expects to offer 13 million common units, representing a 53.6% limited partner interest. Following the IPO, a Williams subsidiary will own the 2% general partner interest, all of the incentive distribution rights and a 44.4% limited partner interest.
SEMCO Energy Gas Co. said Thursday that it is alerting customers of possible deceptive marketing tactics targeting natural gas customers in the utility's service areas. The company said it has received complaints of customers being contacted by people claiming to be marketing natural gas contracts to residential and business customers and implying they are associated with SEMCO Energy. SEMCO Energy said it does not solicit residential or commercial customers for natural gas contracts and is urging its customers to be "extremely cautious" about any personal information they provide in telephone solicitations. The utility advised customers who have questions about being contacted by someone representing SEMCO Energy to call 1-800-624-2019.Customers of the utility have the option to buy their natural gas from a third-party provider, however, SEMCO Energy said it does not solicit customers to sign up for the customer choice program. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) provides a list of all natural gas marketers licensed in Michigan on the MPSC website: http://www.cis.state.mi.us/mpsc/gas/choice.htm. The site includes a tab showing eligible customer choice marketers active in SEMCO Energy's service areas. The utility distributes natural gas to more than 400,000 customers combined in Michigan, as SEMCO Energy Gas Co. and in Alaska, as ENSTAR Natural Gas Co.
The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced last week its intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on four Central and three Western Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas leases sales tentatively scheduled for 2009-2012. In initiating a call for comments and notice of intent (NOI), the agency is seeking public comments on oil and natural gas leasing, exploration, development and production activities within the Central Gulf Planning Area, with particular attention to the "181 South Area." This is the initial step in the prelease process for a sale within that region. The earliest date for a sale in the "South 181 Area" would be March 2009, the MMS said. In December 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law a bill that requires the MMS to make 5.8 million acres in the "181 South Area" available for oil and natural gas leasing as soon as practicable. The area is located south of eastern Alabama and western Florida. The call comments are due at the MMS by Oct. 10, and the NOI comments must be received by no later than Oct. 25, the agency said.
Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) approved Alliance Pipeline Ltd.'s application for the BC Expansion Project (BCX), which is designed to enhance capacity for natural gas receipts originating at the existing Taylor Junction valve site in northeastern British Columbia. Alliance will not increase the mainline capacity of its system with this project, only the ability for existing shippers to increase gas nominations at receipt points in British Columbia. The additional capacity was made available to existing Alliance shippers through a binding open season in October, and Alliance has entered into contracts with the interested shippers. Start-up is scheduled for November 2008. To facilitate this expansion, Alliance will construct C$30 million of compression and ancillary facilities to increase capacity to receive gas supplies on its Taylor-Aitken Creek lateral system. At the request of the NEB, Alliance will be conducting a second open season at an as-yet undisclosed date to determine any additional interest in this newly approved service.
St. Mary Land & Exploration Co. said it intends to sell a package of noncore oil and gas properties, located primarily in the Rockies and Midcontinent regions. A preliminary estimate indicates that the package represents approximately 74 Bcfe of proved oil and gas reserves, the company said. The sales price of the properties will be determined by a competitive bidding process. Denver-based St. Mary Land & Exploration will complete the divestiture in late December if it receives what it believes is an appropriate offer. The company also announced that it repurchased a total of about 791,000 shares of outstanding common stock in the open market at a weighted average cost of $32.82 a share.
Calgary-based Enterra Energy Trust announced Thursday that it will sell certain non core properties containing both operated and non operated assets located primarily in central and eastern Alberta and west central Saskatchewan. Current production from the properties is approximately 2,150 boe/day and includes 2.9 mmcf/day of natural gas. Reserves for the non core properties are estimated to be approximately 4.2 million boe on a proved plus probable basis. Scotia Waterous Inc. has been selected to act as Enterra's exclusive advisor in the process. Detailed information, including updated reserves information, is expected to be available for review in mid September with non binding proposals due in mid October through Scotia Waterous. Additional information can be found on Enterra's website at www.enterraenergy.com or on Scotia Waterous' website at www.scotiawaterous.com.
EnerVest Ltd. and its master limited partnership EV Energy Partners LP (EVEP) have formed a multi-year joint venture with Houston's Apache Corp. to explore about 400,000 acres in Central and East Texas formations that are located below the Austin Chalk formation. EVEP and EnerVest, its general partner, will contribute the acreage and data; Apache will contribute its exploration and operations expertise and the initial exploration capital, according to EVEP. No financial details were disclosed. At year-end 2006, EVEP and EnerVest together had about 39 Bcfe of proved and probable reserves in Central and East Texas.
PRB Energy Inc. said it has entered into an agreement with Pearl Investment Co. to create a jointly owned limited liability company (LLC) that will operate PRB's Recluse Gathering System in Campbell County, WY. PRB will contribute the Recluse system in exchange for $1.3 million in cash to be paid by Pearl. Each company will have a 50% interest in the LLC. Upon closing of the transaction, Pearl will take over operations of the system and PRB will continue to provide back office services. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the third quarter of 2007 upon the execution of a satisfactory operating agreement. The Recluse system consists of approximately 80 miles of pipelines that gather coalbed methane gas from wells in the Powder River Basin. The system has access to two markets via interconnects with Thunder Creek pipeline and WBI's Grasslands pipeline. Currently the system gathers 6.8 MMcf/d, which is expected to increase by year-end with new gas currently under contract coming onto the system.
The White House has tapped Walter Lukken to be chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Lukken has been acting chairman since late June, when then-Chairman Reuben Jeffery III resigned the agency.
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