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Altra, Questar Create Imbalance Trading Module

Altra, Questar Create Imbalance Trading Module

Teaming up to offer the natural gas distribution and pipeline market more ways to manage business with their shippers and connected operators over the Internet, Houston-based Altra Energy Technologies Inc. and Salt Lake City's Questar InfoComm last week unveiled a web-based module to eliminate imbalance problems that sometimes occur when doing business in cyberspace.

The new imbalance trading module, specifically designed for local distribution companies (LDCs) and the pipeline market, is said to offer "simple, seamless integration" for any size customer. The AltraWeb suite of software products now will give pipelines, gathering systems and LDCs the ability to maintain their Internet exchange, and it also may be customized for a stand-alone operation.

"This alliance will allow us to offer a web-enabled, off-the-shelf product that addresses a critical business need," said Altra CEO Paul Bourke. He said the new tool offers customers a way to manage their imbalances behind the city gate, on the main line and at aggregation points systemwide.

The imbalance-trading module will be marketed by Altra and released this quarter for customers using the Oracle database. A Structured Query Language, or SQL, server database also is planned for future release.

Kelly Maxfield, general manager of Questar, said the partnership would give LDCs and pipeline operators an innovative way to conduct their gas trading and transportation services without inherent timing problems that sometimes occur in B2B.

Altra offers electronic trading platforms, transaction management products and integration services for the energy industry. Questar InfoComm, a subsidiary of Questar Corp., offers integrated information technology and communication services. It operates regional digital microwave and multiple fiber optic systems and builds and operates e-commerce centers.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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