Industry Briefs

Williams Cos. has accepted half of the outstanding shares of Denver-based Barrett Resources Corp., moving the Tulsa-based Williams one step closer to acquiring the gas-rich independent producer. Williams accepted nearly 17 million shares in its tender offer that expired a week ago, which translates into about 50% of Barrett's 33.5 million shares outstanding. Under terms of its friendly merger agreement last month (see NGI, May 14), Williams will pay Barrett $73 a share for about 16.73 million shares. With more than half of the outstanding Barrett shares tendered, Williams will buy the rest of the shares on a pro rata basis. The deal is still on track to close in the third quarter. Barrett shareholders may then exchange each remaining share for 1.767 shares of Williams' common shares.

NACE International has opened a Pipeline and Tank Training Field in Houston, which will be used to train students in corrosion control, simulating conditions surrounding storage tanks and buried pipe. The field site will serve as a tool to certify personnel worldwide, and it is equipped to illustrate several techniques and survey methods to test and monitor the performance of pipe systems. NACE is a professional technical society that provides education and communicates information on the effects of corrosion. To learn more about the training program, call Ray Poltorak or Trevor Eade at (281) 228-6200.

Dominion and Anker Energy jointly announced plans to develop a new coal and coal waste-fired electric power station and mining complex in Upshur County, WV. Under terms of an agreement between the two companies, Dominion would construct, own and operate the 450 MW station, which would utilize state-of-the-art clean coal technology and would burn more than 65% coal waste. Anker Energy would provide all of the facility's fuel from on-site surface mining operations. If developed, the facility is expected to begin commercial operations by the fourth quarter 2005, pending federal, state and local permitting, including air permits from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The proposed generating station would operate as a merchant power provider, supplying electricity to the western portion of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland wholesale power grid. The project represents a potential investment of $600 million in Upshur County.

PG&E Corp.'s National Energy Group unveiled an agreement with the city of Denton, TX, to purchase and operate the municipality's electric generation facilities and provide a five-year full service requirements wholesale power supply contract. Under the agreement, approved this week by the Denton City Council and Public Utility Board, the National Energy Group will acquire the 176 MW, natural gas-fired Spencer generating station, as well as the Lewisville and Ray Roberts hydro facilities. Also, over the next five years the National Energy Group, through its power trading subsidiary, will supply wholesale power to meet the city's electricity needs. Denton will continue to distribute power to its customers.

TECO Power Services and Panda Energy announced that they have closed on a five-year bank financing for the two largest independent power projects in the nation. The $2.2 billion transaction, which includes $1.7 billion in non-recourse debt and a $500 million equity bridge loan, will cover construction costs for the TECO Power/Panda joint venture's Union power station (also known as El Dorado) and Gila River power station. The two plants represent more than 4,500 MW of new, highly efficient generating capacity. Citigroup and Societe Generale are serving as the lead arrangers for the financing, which closed with an initial group of 18 banks acting as underwriters. The full syndication is expected to close in late June.

Mirant began commercial operation of a 248 MW, natural gas-fired combined cycle unit at its Bosque County, TX, power plant on Wednesday, marking the second phase of the plant. The first phase of the plant, which includes two simple-cycle peaking units, produces approximately 154 MW each and began commercial operation in June 2000. The total output for the facility with all units is around 556 MW. Mirant will provide power from the new units to help meet the growing electricity needs in north Texas and will market electricity through its risk management and marketing operation. The 248 MW of additional electricity to be produced at the Bosque County plant brings Mirant a step closer to its target of owning or controlling 30,000 MW in North America by 2004.

A new 537 MW plant, owned and operated by a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., is now generating electricity for customers on the Midwest power grid. Grand opening ceremonies were held this week for the Cordova energy center, located just northeast of the Quad Cities. The $270 million plant is operated by Cordova Energy Co., a MidAmerican Energy subsidiary. Construction on the intermediate load plant began in the fall of 1999. Commercial operation will begin later this month.

FPL Energy LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group Inc. announced that it will construct a 517 MW gas-fired power plant in Blythe, CA. Located 200 miles east of Los Angeles, FPL said the new plant will be one of the largest independent power generation projects in the state. Electricity generated at the Blythe plant will have the capacity to power more than 500,000 homes will be sold in the state's wholesale market. Given the plant's proximity to Arizona and Nevada, its power could be sold into those adjacent markets as conditions warrant. Construction of the combined-cycle facility began in May and the plant is expected to begin commercial operation in early 2003. "We are pleased to do our part in helping to alleviate the power shortfall in California by providing efficient, clean energy from this new plant," said Lew Hay, FPL Group CEO. "The Blythe plant complements quite well our existing power generation portfolio in the region." Participating in the project will be Caithness Energy LLC, the original developer of the project.

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) and Smyth County, VA, officials announced that CPV plans to build a high-efficiency, 780 MW, natural gas-fired electric generating facility near Broadford in Smyth County. Chris Broemmelsiek, CPV vice president for development, said the company selected the site for its proximity to two essential components for this type facility: vast quantities of natural gas stored in Saltville and the high-voltage electric transmission lines adjoining the property at the AEP Broadford substation on State Route 91. Broemmelsiek said CPV has obtained options to purchase 85 acres of land to build the plant adjacent to the substation. The CPV facility represents an investment of $400 million. The CPV Smyth Electric Generating Facility will run primarily on natural gas and will burn distillate oil no more than 30 days per year if gas is not available. To reduce noise to neighbors, the plant will be fully enclosed, the company said. Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2002 and be completed in 3Q2004. CPV is a Maryland-based firm that develops high- efficiency, environmentally desirable power projects throughout the United States.

White Plains, NY-based U.S. Energy Systems Inc. reported that it is acquiring Trigen Energy Canada Co., an indirect subsidiary of Trigen Energy Corp., in a transaction totaling $18 million. The acquisition includes two district energy systems, one located in Charlottetown, PE and the other in London, ON. The Charlottetown District Energy System provides heating and other energy services to 102 customer buildings under long-term contracts, including provincial and privately owned buildings in the downtown area. U.S. Energy Systems said that energy is produced at Charlottetown's renewable biomass and energy- from-waste facilities. The London District Energy System features a combined heat and power plant that provides electricity, heating and cooling. Energy services are provided to 71 customer buildings. Electricity is also sold to the municipal utility, London Hydro. U.S. Energy Systems is an independent producer of power, generated close to the customer. It develops, owns and operates combined heat and power plants and energy plants utilizing renewable fuels in North America.

AES NewEnergy has been selected by Lockheed Martin Corp. as Lockheed's supplier for its Middle River facility located in Baltimore. The 10-month contract to serve the facility's full electricity requirements will start next month and AES NewEnergy is also working with Lockheed to reduce its energy costs while enhancing the PJM Interconnection's reliability under AES NewEnergy's voluntary ISO profit program. "Lockheed Martin is a nationally recognized leader in their industry, and we look forward to partnering with them to control their energy costs," said Edward Toppi, vice-president of AES NewEnergy, which is a subsidiary of AES Corp.

Mirant New England recently held a ceremonial groundbreaking celebrating the expansion of its existing Mirant Kendall LLC power generation plant in Cambridge, MA. The existing Kendall plant uses oil and gas to produce 64 MW of electricity. Mirant Kendall also produces steam service for heating, cooling and process needs for many commercial and industrial customers in the Cambridge and Boston areas. The equipment upgrade project is expected to increase the overall electricity output to 234 MW and the reliability of the steam service. Also, the project is expected to reduce emissions by 41% over levels emitted at the current facility and should improve the Charles River. The reductions will be achieved as the new equipment generates more electricity by burning natural gas more efficiently than the older equipment. Mirant New England expects to begin commercial operation of the new equipment in June 2002.

Florida Power Corp. touted its ability to successfully meet the high demand for energy expected in the state this summer. Specifically, the Progress Energy subsidiary noted that it has installed generation capable of producing nearly 9,300 MW of power to the nearly 4 million people who live in the company's 20,000-square-mile service territory. Recently, Florida Power added several new peaking units to its system and just received approval from Governor Bush and the Cabinet to build a 530 MW, natural gas-fired power plant in Polk County. Construction on that unit, Hines 2, will begin early next year and is scheduled to go on line in 2003. "These additions to our system plus the millions of dollars we have invested to upgrade our other power plants, our distribution system and our fleet of vehicles all should help to make Florida Power customers feel confident as we enter the hot summer months," said Florida Power President and CEO Bill Habermeyer.

Reliant Energy's CFO Steve Naeve will speak to the investment community at the Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown's 2001 Electric Power Conference at 9:30 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday. Interested investors may access an audio webcast of the presentation at www.db.com/conferences. A replay will be available and archived for 25 days after the event. Reliant Energy, headquartered in Houston, offers energy services and energy delivery with more than 23,000 MW in the United States. The company also has wholesale trading and marketing operations and more than 3,400 MW in Western Europe. Its retail operations serve nearly 4 million U.S. customers.

Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC reported that it has received the first shipment of pipe at Port Manatee, FL, for construction of its 753-mile natural gas pipeline system. More than 18,000 tons of 36-inch diameter steel pipe (23 miles) were delivered to the port where they will be unloaded and moved to the concrete coating facility located at the port. The pipe, purchased from Berg Steel Pipe Corp. (see Daily GPI, March 17, 2000) in Panama City, FL, arrived by ship from Dunkirk, France, after being manufactured by Berg's parent company, Europipe. The company said seven more shipments of pipe are scheduled to arrive at Port Manatee by ship during the next two months. Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC is a joint interstate natural gas pipeline development of Williams and Duke Energy approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Feb. 22, 2001. The project will extend from Mississippi and Alabama across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. The company said the project has an initial in-service date of June 2002. Construction of the $1.6 billion pipeline project began June 1. More information about the Gulfstream Natural Gas System is available by visiting the project Web site at www.gulfstreamgas.com.

Enron Energy Corp. will keep the lights on and under control for Las Vegas-based Harrah's Entertainment Inc. under a seven-year energy management agreement. The agreement by the Enron subsidiary is the latest in a series of energy conservation efforts, including capital projects to reduce consumption, that Harrah's has taken to minimize the impact of higher energy costs. The agreement calls for Enron to provide Harrah's with electricity and natural gas at 16 casinos in seven states. The companies also are working to identify additional energy efficiency projects to reduce energy use at other casinos around the country. No financial details of the deal were disclosed.

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