Signaling the planned separation of Duke Energy’s power and gas businesses, Duke Energy Field Services (DEFS), which is 50% owned by ConocoPhillips, announced earlier this month that its name will change to DCP Midstream, effective Jan. 1, 2007, which is the legal separation date (see NGI, July 3).

Upon legal separation, Duke Energy’s 50% ownership interest in DCP Midstream will transfer to the separate stand-alone publicly traded gas company. Duke officially launched the spin-off of the temporarily named Gas SpinCo Inc. (GasCo) in September (see NGI, Sept. 11).

According to Duke, GasCo will be one of the largest natural gas transmission, storage, gathering, processing and distribution businesses in North America, with more than 17,500 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline, 250 Bcf of natural gas storage capacity and 1.3 million retail gas customers in Ontario. Through DCP Midstream, GasCo also will be the largest producer of natural gas liquids in the United States, Duke has said.

“We chose to align with the name of the master limited partnership, DCP Midstream Partners, which we created in December 2005 to underscore our shared strategy of growth and performance excellence,” said Bill Easter, chairman of DEFS. “The name DCP Midstream also pays homage to ConocoPhillips and Duke Energy, our two parent companies, whose support has led to DEFS becoming one of the leading midstream companies in the U.S.”

Duke Energy Field Services was formed in March 2000 by combining the natural gas gathering and processing businesses of Duke Energy and ConocoPhillips’ former GPM Gas Corp. In July 2005, Field Services became an equally owned joint venture between Duke Energy and ConocoPhillips.

The company said that over the next two months, the company will be notifying customers, regulatory agencies, vendors and other key groups with more detail about its name change. Denver-based DEFS owns or operates 54 plants and 56,000 miles of pipeline. DEFS also owns the general partner of DCP Midstream Partners LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership.

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