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Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs

South Jersey Gas Co. filed a petition with New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to increase eligibility in its customer choice pilot program from 25,000 to 50,000. The announcement marks the second time in the past 12 months the utility has increased the size of its pilot. The BPU has set Dec. 31 as a deadline to define complete statewide gas deregulation. South Jersey said 22,000 customers have participated in the program. The utility serves 260,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the state.

Apache Corp. completed its purchase of $715 million worth of Shell's Gulf of Mexico properties Tuesday. The purchase was first announced in late April (See Daily GPI, April 30). The assets include 22 producing fields, 18 of which will be operated by Apache, 16 undeveloped blocks and access to 3-D seismic data covering more than 1,000 blocks throughout the Gulf. The properties are in water depths of less than 700 feet and have a proved reserve life of more than seven years. The fields' February production averaged 24,900 barrels of oil and 125 MMcf/d. Apache expects to take over operations July 1. The transaction is effective retroactively to March 1, 1999. Apache said it raised $655 million through the issuance of 15 million shares of common stock and 7 million shares of preferred stock to pay for the cash portion of the transaction. The balance was paid through Apache's existing credit lines.

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