In the immediate aftermath of EnCana Corp.’s decision announced Monday to sell its natural gas storage business, including underground facilities in California, Oklahoma and Alberta, several western companies declined to comment on whether they would be interested in one or more of the facilities. EnCana announced Monday it intends to divest the storage business either through a competitive auction or an initial public offering (see Daily GPI, June 21).

San Diego-based Sempra Energy has an active storage development business as an offshoot of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal development, and its Southern California Gas Co. utility operates one of the nation’s largest utility-run underground storage systems. A San Diego-based Sempra spokesperson declined to comment.

In northern California, a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. utility spokesperson said it is too early to comment, but the company is evaluating the potential pluses and minuses. EnCana’s Wild Goose Storage facility is located in the PG&E utility territory and has a pipeline interconnecting with PG&E’s backbone transmission pipeline system.

A spokesperson for a third potential bidder, ScottishPower’s Portland, OR-based PPM Energy, said the company is always interested in good potential energy projects, but it could not comment specifically on EnCana’s storage facilities.

At the time of the announced sale of its PacifiCorp utility business last month, ScottishPower officials said PPM has accumulated about an 11% market share in natural gas storage, and it planned to “triple the business” over the next five years. CEO Ian Russell said the merchant energy operator intends to own 125 Bcf of merchant storage in North America by 2010 (see Daily GPI, May 25).

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