BP Energy Co.‘s ability to market natural gas in the western United States has improved with the completion of its acquisition of Salt Lake City-based marketer Wasatch Energy LLC. The acquisition was announced in December (see NGI, Dec. 25, 2006). The deal, for an undisclosed amount, gives BP Energy all of Wasatch’s natural gas business and assets, including commercial and industrial sales contracts and producer services contracts. Wasatch’s 42 employees also were offered the opportunity to transfer to BP Energy. Wasatch has a portfolio of 350,000 MMBtu/d of gas purchase, transportation and sales activity across 10 western states that serve about 500 commercial and industrial customers and 100 producers. Its sales offices are located in New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, and California.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) Wednesday reported continued strong growth during March 2007 with increases in excess of 70% in its energy business segments compared to March 2006. Average daily volume (ADV) for ICE Futures, ICE’s UK-based regulated futures subsidiary, was 522,455 contracts, an increase of 76.8% over ADV in March 2006. The New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), ICE’s wholly owned U.S.-based regulated futures subsidiary, recorded an ADV of 198,736 contracts, an increase of 22.6% over March 2006. Electronic trading accounted for 59.3% of the total NYBOT soft commodities futures contracts, compared to 32.4% in February 2007. Average daily commissions in ICE’s over-the-counter (OTC) business segment for the month rose 73.8% to $591,785 compared to $340,504 in March 2006. For the first quarter of 2007, ICE Futures ADV increased 89.2% to a record 530,825 contracts compared to 280,606 in the first quarter of 2006. Average daily commissions in ICE’s OTC business increased 98.3% to a record $754,499, compared to $380,548 in the first quarter of 2006. Rival Nymex also announced significant volume increases for the month (see Daily GPI, April 4).

Nymex Holdings Inc., the parent company of the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (Nymex), said Tuesday that average daily volume for the first quarter 2007 was 1.512 million contracts per day, a 40% increase from the same period a year ago. Total volume was 92.210 million contracts for the first quarter. Nymex reported that volume of its contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange‘s (CME) Globex electronic trading platform for the first quarter 2007 was 597,000 contracts per day and represented a 485% increase over the first quarter 2006 electronic volume on Nymex Access, which Globex ended up replacing. As another indicator that volume is migrating from the floor to Globex, Nymex floor-traded average daily volume was 330,000 contracts per day, a decrease of 39% from the first quarter 2006. March highlights for the company included average daily volume of 1.372 million contracts per day, a 44% increase from 956,000 per day in the same period of 2006. Nymex electronic volume during the month on the CME Globex electronic trading platform was 567,000 contracts per day and represented a 473% increase over the March 2006 electronic volume on Nymex Access. Nymex floor volume averaged 267,000 contracts per day, a decrease of 46% from March 2006.

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