Southern Company GAS and Accenture have signed a seven-year business process outsourcing agreement under which Accenture will provide customer care and revenue cycle activities, including billing, contract management and collections, to the Atlanta-based company. The agreement, which is worth an estimated $80 million, is designed to improve the quality and lower the cost of the customer care and billing services that the Southern Co. subsidiary provides to its more than 200,000 natural gas customers. The services covered under the agreement include call center, billing, correspondence management, transaction management, revenue management, collections and exception processing operations. Accenture will provide the services through Accenture Business Services for Utilities, a subsidiary that provides back office management services to the utilities industry across North America. Accenture also will provide all customer care-related information technology (IT) services and key marketing services, such as outbound and inbound customer acquisition processing. Southern Company GAS will retain ownership of all customer-related data and the underlying IT systems and expects its current management team to continue to play an active role with operations.

Tulsa-based Samson Investment Co. announced the completion of its acquisition of natural gas and oil properties in East Texas and Arkansas from Dominion Exploration & Production Inc. The total purchase price was $29.2 million. In addition to the existing production, the properties provide numerous drilling locations for further expansion of the company’s activities in the Ark-La-Tex area. Samson is engaged in oil and gas exploration, acquisition and production operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Venezuela and Russia.

Energy Partners Ltd. (EPL) said it has completed the previously announced offering of $150 million of Senior Notes Due 2010. The notes were priced at par and carry an interest rate of 8.75%. With the net proceeds, EPL said it plans to redeem at par all of its 11% Senior Subordinated Notes Due 2009, to repay substantially all of its borrowings under its bank revolving credit facility and for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions. Founded in 1998, EPL is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company based in New Orleans. The company’s operations are focused in the shallow to moderate depth waters of the Gulf of Mexico Shelf.

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