Industry Briefs

Burlington Resources Inc. has completed and tested the fifth Deep Madison formation well, the Bighorn 6-27 at the Madden Field in central Wyoming. Burlington, headquartered in Houston, operates the well and holds a 49% working interest. The well reached a total depth of 25,855 feet in early January and now, Burlington intends to move to a two-rig development drilling program in the second quarter. BR currently operates four wells producing from the deep Madison formation, each capable of gross production in excess of 50 MMcf/d. Current gross production is approximately 130 MMcf/d from the Madison formation, but production is constrained by processing capacity at the Lost Cabin Gas Plant in Lysite, WY. The plant's third train, now under construction, is scheduled for completion in late 2002, which will allow gross production to increase to a total of 310 MMcf/d.

The Shaw Group Inc., based in Baton Rouge, has signed an agreement with PG&E National Energy Group to construct 3,300 MW of new generating capacity, comprising three combined-cycle power plants, with the first plant to be constructed in Michigan. No exact location or financial details were disclosed. PG&E National Energy Group currently owns or manages more than 7,000 MW and has more than 10,000 MW in new power plant development or construction under way. It operates 30 power plants in 10 states. Stone & Webster, a Shaw subsidiary, will construct the three facilities, and plans to begin work in six-month intervals beginning in June once project financing is secured. Engineering has begun for the first project, and the third project is expected to be completed and in commercial operation by the end of 2004. A Shaw spokeswoman said that PG&E did not want to disclose the location of the plants, including the exact location of the Michigan site. She affirmed that the other two plants would be located in the Midwest.

Green Mountain Energy completed its largest-ever energy aggregation contract and has picked up more than 400,000 Ohio electricity customers in a six-year agreement with Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC), a public electricity buying group. Green Mountain will provide natural gas and renewable wind and solar energy to households in eight Ohio counties. The Austin, TX-based company now has a customer base of 500,000 households in five states: Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio, with plans to enter the Texas market when its pilot deregulation program begins in June. Under terms of the contract, Green Mountain will begin serving residential customers across the NOPEC area beginning Sept. 1. The electricity will be generated from natural gas, as well as renewable wind and solar energy. Green Mountain stated that its product blend would emit 1/3 less carbon dioxide, 2/3 less nitrous oxide, no sulfur dioxide and no mercury. Green Mountain also plans to develop new renewable generation facilities in the state, including constructing Ohio's largest wind farm and solar arrays, to generate energy for NOPEC customers. It said it would work with its investors and strategic partners, BP Solar and Nuon, a European energy supplier, to develop commercial-scale solar power and wind facilities. Its initial target is a wind facility with a capacity up to 10 MW, but Kelly said the company also plans to support the development of at least 100 kW of new solar capacity in Ohio.

Sierra Pacific Resources Co. wants to build a $300 million high capacity transmission project to serve the growing population in southern Nevada. The 500-kilovolt transmission project would provide about 3,000 MW of generating capacity now proposed near Las Vegas, with completion by 2003. When possible, Sierra Pacific, headquartered in Reno, NV, would follow existing corridors, but it has filed a construction permit and is considering alternate routes. Construction could begin next year if the permitting process is approved. Gary Porter, the executive director of transmission for Sierra Pacific Power Co. and Nevada Power Co., subsidiaries of SPR, said Sierra developers are now working on siting locations, but he said the financial details had not been completed. Under Sierra Pacific's plan, generation companies would pay for access to the transmission system. As many as 14 new power project could be developed in the state by generating companies in the next two years if there is transmission capacity available to serve the plants, Porter said. He said Sierra Pacific also is considering more transmission capacity in northern Nevada, but it had no timeline. Two years ago, Sierra Pacific added a 345 kV electric transmission line, which almost doubled its capacity to import electricity to the northern part of the state from other utilities.

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