El Paso Buys Lines; Coastal Merger Closer

El Paso Energy Corp. last week completed its acquisition of some PG&E GT transmission lines following approval of a consent agreement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Texas Attorney General. El Paso Field Services will pick up 8,500 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines that transport 2.8 Bcf/d, nine natural gas processing plants that now process 1.5 Bcf/d and a 7.2 Bcf natural gas storage field.

The assets serve all major metropolitan areas of Texas, the largest industrial load centers and several natural gas trading hubs, and create a physical link between the El Paso Natural Gas and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems. These systems provide access to the South Texas producing region and increase El Paso's midstream business.

"This transaction provides Field Services will significant pipeline and processing assets and a strong employee group that combined with the substantial resources of El Paso energy will result in the most reliable, efficient services to customers in Texas," said Robert G. Phillips, president of El Paso Field Services.

El Paso also moved a little closer to closing its $17.6 billion merger with The Coastal Corp., first announced in January (see NGI, Jan. 24). On Friday, it signed a consent agreement with staff at the Federal Trade Commission for the planned merger.

The FTC order includes the terms to allow the two corporations to combine. Norma F. Dunn, senior vice president for public relations, said the closing will be "shortly," but may not be completed before the end of the year.

The new company will rank third in U.S. natural gas production and become one of the top five North American wholesale gas and power marketers, with 15,000 MW of generation capacity.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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