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FirstEnergy Corp.has announced that it plans to invest an additional $2.8 billion over four years to expand its previously announced "Energizing the Future" transmission initiative, with the main focus of the initial construction effort being the 69 kV transmission power lines and substations in the Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, Toledo Edison and Penn Power areas.  The program is expected to be expanded into other FirstEnergy service territories during the next several years. Overall, the new transmission projects are designed to increase FirstEnergy's load serving capability in areas where future economic growth is anticipated, particularly in Ohio's shale gas regions; improve reliability of service; create more flexibility to restore service following storms; reduce line losses; and lower the company's overall transmission maintenance costs. Many of the projects -- including new or rebuilt high-voltage power lines, new substations, and the installation of specialized voltage regulating equipment -- are needed to help support system reliability as coal-fired power plants in the region are deactivated based on the U.S. EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and other environmental rules.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has agreed to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel for two Texas-based United Parcel Service (UPS) stations in Mesquite and Houston for an undisclosed amount. UPS public-access fueling stations also are being developed in Amarillo, San Antonio and Mesquite by Clean Energy at a cost of more than $5 million, part of an initiative launched in 2011 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25, 2011). The average cost of each LNG station is about $1.8 million, according to a spokesperson. The company expects to have installed 100-plus of its 150 stations nationwide by the end of the year. UPS has made a substantial commitment to shift to NGV transportation (see Daily GPI, July 29).

Ultra Petroleum Corp. CEO Mike Watford has assumed the chairmanship of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), with Mike Miller, president and founder of Merlin Oil & Gas Inc. as vice chair. Watford previously was CEO of Nuevo Energy Co. and is on the boards of Valerus and America's Natural Gas Alliance. Watford also is an appointed member of the National Petroleum Council, a committee that advises the Secretary of Energy. Miller serves on the board of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, the American Association of Petroleum Landmen legislative update committee and previously served as president of the Lafayette, LA, Association of Petroleum Landmen. Outgoing Chair Virginia "Gigi" Lazenby, who began serving in 2011, is to remain on the IPAA board of directors.

San Diego-based Sempra Energy said Tuesday that it has added a 13th member to its Board of Directors -- Pablo Ferrero, 50, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based director and advisor with several South American energy companies. Over a 22-year career in the energy industry, Ferrero has held senior executive positions with a number companies involved in major natural gas pipelines, power plants and utilities in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile. Currently he is involved withPampa Energia; Servicios Petroleros Argentina; EDESA Holding; and Methanex Corp. With growing assets in Mexico, Peru, Chile and Argentina, Sempra now has two board members from the Latin American nations in which it is doing more business. Since 2010, Luis Téllez has been a director, and he is the Chairman/CEO of the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores).

American Energy Partners LP, formed earlier this year by Aubrey K. McClendon, has hired Jeff Fisher, 53, as COO. Fisher was executive vice president of production for Chesapeake Energy Corp. until he was fired in August (see Daily GPI, Aug. 14). A 10-year Chesapeake employee, Fisher was appointed operations manager in 2003 and served as vice president, Operations for the Southern Division from 2005-2006. In 2012, Fisher was appointed senior vice president of production and was then promoted to oversee all operations. Fisher oversaw an operations team with more than 2,000 employees, 23,000 operated wells and 40,000 total properties. He also supervised more than 12,000 well completions. American Energy Partners is headquartered in Oklahoma City.

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