A partnership between Sempra Energy International and PublicService Enterprise Group (PSEG) won approval from the board ofdirectors for Chilquinta S.A. to buy Chilquinta Energia, for $830million, Chilquinta announced Tuesday. Chilquinta Energia isChile’s third-largest electricity supplier, serving 405,000customers. Along with Chilean electricity supply, the Sempra – PSEGpartnership would acquire Energas, a Chilean natural gasdistribution company. Energas began service in May of 1998 andplans to reach 50,000 customers by 2003. Both Sempra and PSEG saidthe deal will progress their Latin America growth strategies andlook forward to entering into the Chilean electric market, whichhas grown 8% each year since 1991, compared to 1%-2% in the U.S.The deal is contingent on the buyers’ review and approval ofschedules for the definitive stock purchase agreement. Both Sempraand PSEG expect the purchase to be accretive in 1999. The $830million would net 90% of Chilquinta Energia’s stock for thepartnership. Upon final acquisition, Sempra and PSEG will be ableto make a tender offer to acquire the remaining 10 percent ofChilquinta Energia shares from other shareholders.

The government of Atlantic County, NJ, home of Atlantic City,NJ, announced Tuesday it awarded South Jersey Energy Co., a SouthJersey Industries subsidiary, a two-year natural gas supplycontract. South Jersey will supply the county’s office buildings,schools, municipal buildings and housing authorities with gas atrates that will produce 20% savings over traditional utility-basedrates. The contract, valued at $1.9 million, takes effect May, 1.South Jersey Energy did not release how much gas the county useseach year but it did say the contract covers one of the LDC’slargest and fastest growing service areas.

Beating the estimated production date by four months, ShellExploration announced the first well of the Ursa project is nowproducing 13,000 Boe/d and 20 MMcf/d. Once all 14 wells areoperational, Shell said initial production could reach 80 MMcf/d.

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