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Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs

Marathon Group, a unit of USX Corp., said the strategic re-organization of its upstream business is largely complete but an additional 250 positions likely will be eliminated, leaving the upstream business with 24% fewer employees than in 1999. "We have plans in place for dramatic change and improvement and I believe that the organization is both ready for change and able to deliver on our commitments," said Company President Clarence Cazalot. Cazalot introduced a new senior leadership team in September after announcing the restructuring plan in October. Commenting on the company's target of implementing $150 million of annual repeatable efficiencies by the end of 2001, Cazalot said, "We are on track to deliver a $75 million reduction in above-the-field costs and we have made substantial progress towards cutting exploration expenses by $50 million. As we also realize annual savings of $25 million through global procurement, we are well on our way to meet our ambitious overall target."

Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline completed construction and commissioning of the 63 mile Saint John Lateral last week and began delivering 164,000 MMBtu/d of gas from a point near Kedron Lake to delivery points in the Saint John and Lake Utopia areas in New Brunswick.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP yesterday announced plans to buy GATX Corp.'s U.S. petroleum pipeline and terminal businesses for $1.15 billion in cash and assumed debt. Primary assets included in the transaction are the CALNEV Pipe Line Co. and the Central Florida Pipeline Co., which transport petroleum products to high-growth markets in Nevada and Florida, along with 12 terminals that store petroleum products and chemicals. Upon closing this transaction, KMP will become the second largest independent petroleum storage operator in the U.S. and the second largest independent chemical terminal operator in the U.S., based on capacity. GATX's international operations and its 50% ownership in the GPS trading arm, which are also being marketed, are not being sold to KMP. "The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to cash available for distribution to KMP unitholders by between 10 to 15 cents annually," said Richard D. Kinder, CEO of KMP. "Additionally, it is expected to be substantially accretive to Kinder Morgan, Inc. shareholders by 15 to 20 cents per share annually." KMI, through its general partner interest, operates KMP and shares in the cash distributions generated by KMP.

Vintage Petroleum is buying all of the common stock of Cometra Energy (Canada) Ltd. for $46.3 million in cash (C$71 million) from Electrafina, which is part of Groupe Brussels Lambert SA. The transaction is scheduled to close on Dec. 8 with an effective date of Sept. 1. "The acquisition of Cometra marks our initial entry into Canada and Trinidad. It also establishes Western Canada as a new core area for Vintage, complementing our existing core operating areas in the U.S., Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador," said S. Craig George, CEO. The Cometra properties consist of 13 producing fields in Alberta and British Columbia with additional fields in Saskatchewan, certain processing and pipeline facilities and 146 thousand net undeveloped acres. Vintage will operate 50% of the wells, which have a total current net daily production averaging 12 MMcf and 635 barrels of light crude.

The Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse sold more than $18.1 million of properties as of its Oct. 25th Hybrid auction, which featured simultaneous floor and Internet bidding in Midland, TX. Based in Houston, the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleum Place, an Internet portal and marketplace serving the upstream energy industry. The Clearinghouse said it offered 128 lots, consisting of more than 800 wells, including 46 higher valued properties. Year-to-date, Internet bidders have purchased more than $25 million properties through Selective Offerings, and participation on the Internet also is increasing, said the company.

AltaGas Services Inc., based in Calgary, has filed a Notice of Intention with the Toronto Stock Exchange to make a Normal Course Issuer bid. Subject to regulatory approval, the independent midstream natural gas company may purchase up to 1.46 million shares, which represents approximately 5% of the 29 million shares outstanding. AltaGas said it was putting the bid in place because, in the view of management, recent trading prices for the shares were not reflecting the company's value. Assets include natural gas gathering and processing facilities in Alberta and Saskatchewan, interests in two Alberta ethane and natural gas liquids extraction plants, and ownership of AltaGas Utilities Inc., which serves more than 90 Alberta communities. It also holds a 33% interest in the Ikhil Gas Project, the first Canadian commercial natural gas development project north of the Arctic Circle.

MidAmerican Energy Co. has become the first to be registered as a Certified Retail Electric Supplier in the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. territory, enabling the Cincinnati-based company to compete for electric sales throughout southwest Ohio. Under Ohio law, consumers and businesses will be able to choose among electricity suppliers beginning Jan. 1, 2001. MidAmerican has opened an office in Beachwood, OH, and is currently contacting customers throughout the state. Ohio is the company's second entry into the deregulated U.S. market. It also is operating in Illinois and has sold more than 1 billion KWh there, along with more than 10 Bcf of natural gas.

Consolidated Edison Inc. said it would not make a final decision on whether to proceed with its acquisition of Northeast Utilities until it has completely reviewed the stringent conditions set forth by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control. Con Ed said it also would await regulatory decisions in New Hampshire and New York before deciding whether to proceed. Last week, Con Ed issued a statement that said, "We are continuing to analyze the implications of the Connecticut DPUC's decision relating to our Petition for Reconsideration. The department did clarify some features of the merger order in line with our request, but did not change its earlier conclusions on important financial issues." Con Ed first announced the $7.5 billion purchase of NU in October 1999, which would create the largest gas and electric utility in the nation with more than five million electric and 1.4 million gas customers in New York and New England. However, the DPUC imposed strict guidelines imposing rate reductions and employment rules among other things.

Houston-based Michael Petroleum has purchased Enogex Exploration for $7.5 million, picking up interests in 72 producing wells and 22,500 acres in the Lobo Wilcox Trend in Webb County, TX. MPC already operates 61 of the 72 wells purchased. Total proved reserves are estimated to be 16.6 Bcfe, of which 36% are proved developed reserves. Enogex Exploration is a subsidiary of Enogex Inc., which is a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the hard-charging new entry in the electronic energy trading business says its cash markets in natural gas are averaging between one and two Bcf/d - just one month after going live. Since Oct. 19 over 60 Bcf of physically-delivered gas has been traded over ICE, while financially-settled gas volumes have reached almost 900 Bcf.

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ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
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