Because of the size of the power industry, electric companieswill own the gas industry within the next decade, according to anofficial of Engage Energy. Of the 300 LDCs and about 110investor-owned utilities remaining in the country, roughly 100 willbe remaining at the end of the next decade, said David Pruner ofEngage Energy in Houston. The top-50 IOUs will control almost 80%of the entire energy market, he said at the DOE-NARUC natural gasconference in Pittsburgh yesterday.
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Just because your competitors are breaking the rules, doesn’tmean that you should be allowed to do so, FERC essentially told twoEnron affiliates last week when it denied their plea for a limitedwaiver of its capacity-release rule and the “shipper must havetitle” policy. The affiliates contend they sought the waiver sothey could compete with other suppliers that allegedly are ignoringthe title rule in order to evade paying certain taxes in New YorkState.
After several years on hold because of poor Rocky Mountainregion market conditions, TransColorado Gas Transmission’s Phase IIexpansion project is proceeding and should be in service inDecember. FERC approved the 300 MMcf/d expansion last week as didthe Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line defended its 700 MMcf/dMarketLink project against charges it is not supported by themarket because many of its contracts with shippers contain rightsto terminate under certain circumstances. Singling out the protestsand “motions to reject” of CNG Transmission and ConsolidatedEdison, Transco reminded the Commission many of its agreements arenot unlike those filed to support other projects. A few contracts,about 34% of its capacity, are , however, a little different thanwhat has arrived at the Commission in the past, the pipelineacknowledged.
The start of hourly electricity pricing in California isexpected to be delayed because the state chartered wholesaleelectricity spot market is encountering logistical and technicalproblems. The Board of Directors for the state Power Exchange (PX)meets today to determine how far into July to postpone the openingof the new market. A formal announcement on a new target date isexpected to be made following the board meeting.
Last year, Duke Energy’s LNG imports soared 337% to 30.6 Bcf.But 1998 is expected to be even better because the recent economiccrisis in Asia has stifled demand while LNG shipping and productioncosts have been declining. Duke Energy LNG Sales announcedyesterday it purchased three more spot cargoes of liquefied naturalgas (8.9 TBtu) from the North West Shelf LNG Project in Australia.The company has arranged to sell the LNG in U.S. markets in June,August and November. It will be imported at Duke’s Trunkline LNGreceiving terminal located in Lake Charles, LA. The shipments willcome from North West Shelf’s liquefaction facilities located atWithnell Bay in the port of Dampier in Australia.
Unocal Corp. confirmed its 1998 oil and gas production andcapital spending will be lower than originally anticipated becauseof the lower oil price outlook, but said it would continue toevaluate spending plans throughout the year. Production is expectedto be down 5% from earlier forecasts to 178,000 barrels of oilequivalent (BOE) per day. Capital spending is expected to total$1.30-$1.35 billion, about 10-13% percent below its earlierforecast.
Despite a three-month delay because of technical interfaceproblems, the California Independent System Operator and theCalifornia Power Exchange Corp. (PX) announced they have completeda week’s worth of testing and have notified FERC they’re ready toopen the statewide electricity market on March 31. They intend tocommence operations by accepting bids in the Day Ahead market onMarch 31 with the first full day of operations being the day after.