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Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs

The Energy Information Administration has a new web site with an interactive map on natural gas choice programs nationwide. The map shows programs for residential customers in individual states range from full choice (in New Mexico, New York and West Virginia, with an additional nine states in the implementation phase) to test or "pilot" programs in 11 states that provide a choice of supplier for some customers. An additional 11 states are considering action on customer choice, while 17 states have thus far taken no action. EIA found consumer reaction to choice has been mixed. In some states, such as Nebraska, 97% of the eligible residential and commercial customers are electing to choose a supplier. In other states, however, such as Indiana and New Jersey, the participation is 2% or less of those eligible. The map does not provide complete data on customer choice or nationwide totals, but it does provide important information on gas unbundling in each state. An EIA spokeswoman said the administration plans to continue updating the site and intends to release a summary page soon that is expected to show nationwide residential participation levels at about 17% of those eligible. To find out more about the status of choice programs in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia visit the EIA web site at: http://www.eia.doe.gov.

Mexico's Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) last week reported a complete lack of interest in the Tijuana gas distribution zone. The CRE said the tender for a permit to supply and distribute gas in Mexico's northern border region was declared void when no bids were received by the June 3 deadline. It marks the first time a new Mexican gas distribution zone has not attracted private investors. Three firms originally had expressed interest, including Gas Natural Mexico, the Mexican affiliate of Spain's Gas Natural and Repsol; DGN de Tijuana, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy; and Mexican construction firm Bufete Industrial. And Sempra already has been awarded a permit to build a large gas pipeline to the area and has won two other distribution permits. But a Sempra spokesman said the economics in Tijuana didn't support a project there. Another observer noted Tijuana has very few large industrial customers in contrast to most other Mexican distribution zones.

Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas CEO Mark Monroe said his company is pleased with its drilling results for the first half of the year. "The combination of good drillbit success and low drilling and completion costs has us on track to report another year of attractive finding costs. Based upon internal reserve estimates, finding costs for the first six months are down approximately 10% from last years' $0.86 per Mcfe. With a solid slate of low-risk development projects and potentially impactful exploratory prospects, we are excited about our second half drilling plans." During the second quarter, the company completed 41 out of 46 wells as producers in its Gulf Coast, Permian and Mid-Continent core regions.

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