Increased Storage Capacity Sends Market Hub's Earnings Up
NiSource Inc.'s Market Hub Partners Storage L.P. (MHP) saw its
net income rise 13% to $2.6 million for the first quarter of this
year, up from $2.3 for the first quarter of 1999. Revenues rose to
$8.2 million, up from $8 million last year at the Houston
subsidiary, mostly because of expanded working gas storage capacity
at its Moss Bluff, TX and Egan, LA natural gas storage facilities.
Working gas storage capacity at the two operating facilities
increased to nearly 22.7 Bcf, up from nearly 20.8 Bcf for the same
period last year. And, the company reportedly is continuing to
expand its program to increase its working gas storage capacity at
its facilities to 24 Bcf.
While capacity is up, actual gas storage appears to be down from
a year ago. NiSource's wholly owned subsidiary EnergyUSA, which
also lists MHP as a subsidiary, reports on its website that total
current gas storage for the corporation last week was about 1200
Bcf, down from 1999's figure of more than 1500 Bcf. In 1998, actual
gas storage was listed as approximately 1300 Bcf, and in 1997, it
was about 800 Bcf.
The company's operating expenses for the first three months of
this year decreased to $3.4 million from $3.7 million last year,
related primarily to a decrease in depreciation and amortization
from changing the estimated useful lives of the its caverns to 40
years from 30 years.
MHP reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization of $6.3 million for the first quarter, compared with
$6 million last year. Capital expenditures for the first quarter
were $0.5 million, compared with $1.4 million in 1999.
NiSource, through MHP and other subsidiaries, is developing a
system of natural gas market centers with salt cavern storage
facilities that include Moss Bluff, Egan, the Tioga facility in
Pennsylvania and two other market hubs now that are in various
stages of development in Mississippi and the Midwest.
See EnergyUSA's website at www.energyusa.com, or visit
NiSource's website at www.nisource.com.
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