The Minerals Management Service (MMS) said that despite a four-month, court-ordered computer network shutdown, the government agency has distributed more than $318 million to 32 states during the first six months of 2002. Leading the pack for MMS distributions received so far this year was Wyoming with $164.7 million, New Mexico $88.5 million, Colorado $16.4 million and Utah with $11.1 million. The money represents the states’ cumulative share of revenues collected for mineral production on federal lands located within their borders and from federal offshore oil and gas tracts adjacent to their shores. “This year’s halfway total is less than last year’s record $656 million, but is close to the 2000 figure of $362 million,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. “The numbers largely reflect a recent decline in prices of crude oil and natural gas.”

Williams Energy Partners LP said it had an operating profit of $36.7 million for the quarter, a 9.6% increase compared with $33.5 million in 2001. The company also reported net income for the second-quarter 2002 of $24.6 million compared with $22.9 million for 2001. This increase was attributed to reduced income taxes due to the partnership structure, offset by transaction fees and increased interest expense associated with the Williams Pipe Line acquisition. The partnership said operating profit growth was primarily attributable to increased transportation revenues on Williams Pipe Line; the acquisition of the Gibson, LA, marine terminal facility in October 2001 and two inland terminals in Little Rock, AK, in June 2001; higher utilization at the Gulf Coast marine terminal facilities; and reduced general and administrative expenses. “The Williams Pipe Line acquisition has added substantial growth to our per unit earnings, resulting in $1.05 earnings per limited partner unit for this quarter compared with 64 cents per limited partner unit for 2001,” CEO Don Wellendorf. The partnership said net income reflecting only the partnership’s actual ownership period for Williams Pipe Line grew to $23.8 million in 2002 from $7.4 million in 2001, a 221.6% increase.

El Paso Energy Partners LP (EPN) reported a 70% jump in second quarter 2002 net income over the similar time period a year ago. The company posted net income of $28.7 million ($0.33 per unit), up from $16.9 million ($0.19 per unit), excluding one-time charges in the second quarter of 2001. Including $5.1 million in one-time charges related to the sale of EPN’s interest in the UTOS pipeline, net income for the 2001 quarter was $11.8 million ($0.04 per unit). In addition, the partnership reported that its second quarter 2002 cash flow increased 92% to $70.9 million compared with $36.9 million in the second quarter of 2001. The company attributed the surge in cash flow to the growing of its natural gas pipelines and plants segment, which includes the Texas and offshore natural gas pipeline systems. In late May, EPN reaffirmed its earnings, cash flow and distributions guidance for the year and confirmed that it will buy the San Juan Basin gathering, compression, and treating system from general partner El Paso Corp., which intends to use the proceeds to strengthen its balance sheet (see NGI, June 3). The San Juan assets include a 5,500-mile gathering system that is connected to 9,600 gas wells in northwestern New Mexico. EPN is expected to pay approximately $800 million.

The Oil & Gas Asset Clearinghouse, a provider of acquisition and divestiture services for oil and gas properties and prospects and a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleum Place, said last week that it sold over $27 million in properties at its hybrid auction held July 10 in Houston. The selective auction offered 850 oil and gas properties combined into 93 lots. According to the Clearinghouse, a new auction record of $378,000 was set for highest average price per lot. The company said that over 281 registered bidders competed in the auction. Of the participants, Internet bidders accounted for more than 23% of the total registered bidders and 17% of the gross sales. The Clearinghouse said that the highest-valued property purchased by an Internet bidder was $3.1 million. The company added that auctions enabled through Petroleum Place — a provider of Internet technology, property marketing services, and operations and accounting software for the upstream energy industry — allow Internet bidders to compete simultaneously against live floor bidders. For more information, visit Petroleum Place’s web site at

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