In a mutual agreement, Williams has terminated the sale of some of its South Texas natural gas transmission lines to Enbridge Energy Partners LP, a deal originally set in October 2001. The South Texas system includes unregulated gathering systems and 492 miles of FERC-regulated pipelines. The two regulated pipelines extend from the Texas-Mexico border near Laredo and McAllen, TX, to Transco Station 30, where they connect with Williams’ Transco mainline. Enbridge Inc. subsidiaries agreed in October 2001 to purchase the Williams’ assets for $41 million (see NGI, Oct. 15, 2001). The transaction was conditioned upon approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Williams could abandon the facilities to Enbridge and upon a finding that the assets would not be subject to FERC jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act following the sale. In October 2002, Enbridge then assigned the purchase to Enbridge Energy Partners. In May, FERC issued an order denying abandonment of the South Texas system, which reversed a previous ruling granting the necessary approvals. The decision, said Williams, effectively prevents the sale from proceeding under the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. Williams plans to pursue an alternative transaction with Enbridge Partners or other buyers under a structure that is responsive to the May 2 FERC order, the company said in a statement.

After selling off some of its western Canadian properties earlier this year, Murphy Oil Corp.‘s Canadian subsidiary plans to sell more of its northern properties — this time its interests in several Nova Scotian Shelf exploration licenses. Murphy Oil C. Ltd., based in Calgary, did not name a buyer or a price for its Scotian properties, which include interests in the Grand Pre, Musquodoboit, Margaree, Huckleberry and Highland licenses. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2003. The Canadian subsidiary of the El Dorado, AR-based independent also announced that it has closed on the sale of several other western Canadian oil and natural gas properties, which it sold to an undisclosed buyer for US$35 million in April. Murphy said its combined production on the western Canadian properties was 1,500 boe/d. Houston Exploration Co.

Continuing a string of agreements to up its financial stake in strategically located U.S. oil and gas assets, junior independent Energas Resources Inc. has secured an option agreement from the Thomas Dorough Trust to explore 4,320 acres in the Wind River Basin of Wyoming. Under the agreement, Energas will be able to earn the acreage by drilling certain portions within the next two years. The announcement by the Oklahoma City-based company follows two others earlier this month. Two weeks ago, Energas executed an agreement with Devon Energy also in the Wind River Basin. Devon assigned its interest in approximately 27,000 acres to Energas for an undisclosed amount, retaining an overriding royalty and the right to participate with a reduced interest in projects that Energas generates on the acreage. Also this month, Energas executed a letter of intent to acquire the assets of three privately held companies in the Appalachian Basin of eastern Kentucky. The $3 million deal included 29 producing gas wells, 145,420 feet of pipeline, two compressor stations and approximately 30,000 leased and optioned acres. Upon closing, Energas plans to initiate a three-year development program that includes drilling more than 100 Devonian shale gas wells on these properties.

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