Gas volumes among the top 20 North American marketers continued to show significant growth in the first quarter of the year with nearly a 40 Bcf/d rise in volumes compared to 1Q2000 and a 14.9 Bcf/d increase compared to 4Q2000 (see Table). The big volume gainers for the quarter (1Q2001 versus 1Q2000) were El Paso, Enron, BP, Mirant, Sempra and Reliant, while the only volume decreases in the top 20 were posted by Coral, Aquila and Williams.

Still suffering from the move to Bethesda, MD, from Houston, PG&E National Energy Group fell the furthest in the ranking, dropping out of the top 20 to the 21st spot from the 10th spot with a 3.4 Bcf decline in sales volume. In contrast, CMS Energy jumped into the top 20 to No. 19 from the 29th spot after a 139% increase in sales volumes. During the quarter, the company highlighted its intention to post 10% earnings/share growth over the long term by focusing on non-utility energy operations.

The biggest move in the plus column compared to 1Q2000 was by El Paso, which catapulted itself to second place from 14th during the first quarter with the completion of its merger with Coastal Corp., pushing Duke down a notch but still falling far short of the lead spot held by Enron. El Paso’s volumes soared 150% or about 8.3 Bcf/d to 13.8 Bcf/d. From the fourth quarter, El Paso gained nearly 5 Bcf/d. BP and Mirant also posted large gains compared to the first and fourth quarters of last year.

And Enron retained a firm grip on the lead position despite a 1.7 Bcf/d drop from the volumes posted in the fourth quarter. Enron had 26.7 Bcf/d of gas sales in 1Q2001, nearly double El Paso’s volume. Enron’s volume jumped 6.5 Bcf/d from the first quarter of last year thanks primarily to volume growth on EnronOnline.

*Volumes represent North American physical gas sales and exclude financial transactions. Sales volumes were provided by company officials. **Number in ( ) indicates 2000 ranking.

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