Producer investment in Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB)natural gas is expected to grow from the $8 billion spent in 1998to just under $9 billion by 2001, which should add up to about a 6%hike or 3.1 Bcf/d in production and 3.4 Bcf/d in maximum peak daydeliverability over the 1998 to 2001 period, according to a surveyby the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI). The report notes”the WCSB is moving into a period of tighter supply/demandbalances,” in which lower than estimated spending could result insupply shortfalls, while higher spending could create a surplus.The group’s “1999 Canadian Natural Gas Producer Survey &Deliverability Outlook” sees export capacity from the basinpossibly exceeding market demand in the short-term. “For year 2001CERI’s required production estimate equates to an 89% averageannual load factor on ex-basin capacity, notably lower than the95-100% factors experienced since the mid-1990s.”

After nearly a year-long regulatory obstacle course, ScotishPower said yesterday it expects to finalize its proposed mergerwith Pacificorp today. The $12.8 billion merger received its finalregulatory approval from the Utah Public Service Commission earlierthis month. The regulatory process was not a smooth one for the twocompanies. Lengthy negotiations were held between the mergingentities and the state commissions in Oregon and Utah. It also hadto gain approvals from shareholders of both companies, the U.S.Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the FTC’s Hart-Scott-RodinoAntitrust Improvements Act, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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