Houston-based independent Ultra Petroleum Corp., which explores for natural gas in the Green River Basin of Wyoming and offshore China, plans to file a 15-day automatic extension notification with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for 2005 after identifying “certain deficiencies in its internal controls,” the company said in a statement. The extension will allow the company more time to prepare its consolidated financial statements and the work required to complete management’s assessment of internal controls over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley and the rules of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Ultra said it will disclose weaknesses in its financial reporting system and related remediation activities in its Form 10-K. Ultra expects to make its filing by March. 31.

Because of decreases in the cost of wholesale natural gas, Unitil Corp.‘s Massachusetts customers will see lower gas rates this summer. Unitil filed its semiannual Cost of Gas Adjustment (CGA) with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy for summer period gas rates to take effect May 1. A typical residential heating customer using 41 therms/month will see a decrease of $10.69, or 13.6%, from current rates; bill impacts will vary depending upon rate class and usage. The CGA in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is normally set every six months to reflect changes in wholesale gas supply costs incurred by the local distribution company to provide gas service to its customers. The CGA is initially based on estimates and then reconciled to actual costs at the end of the period, with interest on over-or under-collections.

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