North American Energy Credit and Clearing (NECC) has hammered out a deal with investment banker Credit Suisse, which will give the Swiss-based banker an equity position in the clearing hub and provide credit enhancement tools for NECC customers. The investment is being made by the Credit Suisse Next II Fund. Financial details were not disclosed. NECC, privately held and based in Chicago, offers its services through the IntercontinentalExchange trading platform and voice brokers. Credit and clearing services are offered for power products in Texas and California, and for natural gas traded at Henry Hub, PG&E Citygate, Panhandle Eastern, TCO Pool and Columbia Gulf Onshore. To date, NECC said it has entered into about 600 transactions valued at more than $100 million. Its customer base includes traders, utilities, banks, merchant power plants and gas suppliers.

Consolidation of Canadian exploration and production (E&P) players could be in the offing, and there is potential upside from increasing long-term price expectations as well as a rerating of various companies’ stocks to reflect their “abnormally large resource potential,” UBS Investment Research analysts said last week. “With the majority of Canadian large cap E&Ps discounting below US$40/bbl long-term oil prices and with strip oil prices remaining in the US$55/bbl range, we believe there is substantial opportunity for large-scale industry consolidation,” wrote UBS analyst Andrew Potter. The large oilsands exposure of many Canadian companies makes them attractive takeover targets, Potter noted. “Given our belief that Canadian E&Ps will see a multiple expansion and our bullish view on long-term oil and natural gas fundamentals, we believe the sector continues to offer a compelling long-term risk/reward relationship,” he wrote. “Our top picks in the Canadian large cap E&Ps are Canadian Natural Resources and Nexen, representing a slight bias towards oilier weighted names with heavy oilsands exposure. Within the Canadian integrateds, Suncor and Petro-Canada offer the highest return potential.”

Arcadia Gas Storage LLC (AGS) last week concluded its nonbinding open season for high-deliverability salt cavern gas storage capacity in Bienville Parish in North Louisiana. The project backer is Martin Resource Management Corp. of Kilgore, TX. AGS received nonbinding commitments exceeding the 15.5 Bcf of working capacity to be constructed. AGS will negotiate definitive terms and execute precedent agreements, while it continues to seek the remaining necessary regulatory approvals from the State of Louisiana. The open season began in December. The facility will interconnect with intrastates PanEnergy Intrastate (Pelico) and Regency Intrastate Gas Pipeline, both in Bienville Parish; existing interstates CenterPoint Energy Gas Transmission Inc., Bienville Parish; Gulf South, Bienville Parish; CenterPoint Energy MRT, Claiborne Parish; Southern Natural Gas Co., Bienville Parish; Tennessee Gas Pipeline, 43A-100; Texas Eastern, Castor Lateral; and Texas Gas, Sharon; and proposed intrastates CenterPoint’s East Texas to Perryville line, Gulf South’s East Texas to Mississippi line, Gulf South’s Gulf Crossing and Kinder Morgan/Energy Transfer’s Mid Continent Express.

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