Executing a plan first announced in August, Washington WaterPower will change its corporate name to Avista Corp. Jan. 1 thecompany announced Tuesday. All company operations will be unifiedunder the new name. Washington Water Power along with its WPNatural Gas division will combine to form an operating division ofthe new company called Avista Utilities. On Jan. 4, the firstbusiness day of the new year, all Washington Water Power stock willbe traded for the first time as Avista Corp. common stock under theticker symbol “AVA”. According to a company spokesman, the namechange allows the company more flexibility beyond its utilityidentity and geographic location.

Kerr-McGee Corp. and Oryx Energy Co. announced the expiration ofthe waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino AntitrustImprovements Act with respect to the previously announced merger ofKerr-McGee and Oryx. Consummation of the transaction remainssubject to the approval of the stockholders of each company, alongwith other customary closing conditions. Kerr-McGee and Oryxcontinue to anticipate the completion of the merger in the firstquarter of 1999.

The number of oil and gas rigs operating nationwide fell by 17to 669 last week, Baker Hughes Inc. said. There were 1,014 rigsoperating in the U.S. during the same week last year. Of the rigsrunning this week, 502 were exploring for natural gas and 167 foroil. Texas declined by 16, while Wyoming was off four, Californiadropped two and Louisiana and New Mexico dropped one each. Alaskaincreased by three and Oklahoma was unchanged.

Marking an expansion of their marketing partnership withDisney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, TECO Energy announced itwill serve as the official energy supplier to the 1999 TransWorldDiversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway.

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