Briefs

Industry Briefs

An increase in residential customers may have spelled the difference between the 3.5 Bcf of gas used by Xcel Energy’s Colorado customers over the recent four-day Thanksgiving weekend, compared to 3 Bcf for the holiday weekend a year ago. Temperatures were nearly the same, with an average daily temperature of 30.5 degrees Fahrenheit this year compared to an average daily temperature of 31 degrees last year. “We had about 39,000 more customers in September 2004 than we had in September 2003,” the last month for which comparative figures are available, according to Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz. In September 2003, Xcel had 1,078,009 customers, compared to the recent month’s 1,117,851. Although Xcel is seeing “modest” customer growth in its Front Range territory, most of the increase is coming in its western mountain resort area where new natural gas service is now available and is replacing electric heating. Stutz said the trend is not confined to Xcel. “All the utilities in the mountain area are seeing the switch from electric and propane to natural gas.”

December 1, 2004

Industry Briefs

An increase in residential customers may have spelled the difference between the 3.5 Bcf of gas used by Xcel Energy’s Colorado customers over the recent four-day Thanksgiving weekend, compared to 3 Bcf for the holiday weekend a year ago. Temperatures were nearly the same, with an average daily temperature of 30.5 degrees Fahrenheit this year compared to an average daily temperature of 31 degrees last year. “We had about 39,000 more customers in September 2004 than we had in September 2003,” the last month for which comparative figures are available, according to Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz. In September 2003, Xcel had 1,078,009 customers, compared to the recent month’s 1,117,851. Although Xcel is seeing “modest” customer growth in its Front Range territory, most of the increase is coming in its western mountain resort area where new natural gas service is now available and is replacing electric heating. Stutz said the trend is not confined to Xcel. “All the utilities in the mountain area are seeing the switch from electric and propane to natural gas.”

December 1, 2004

Industry Briefs

The Senate on Tuesday approved a measure that creates a new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMA) under the authority of the Department of Transportation, elevating the issue of pipeline safety to a higher level within the Bush administration and giving the administrator of the office a position requiring Senate approval. The PHMA will oversee the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), which has oversight over natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines. An earlier proposal, which was opposed by the American Gas Association and others in the industry, sought to transfer the OPS to the Federal Railroad Administration.

November 18, 2004

Industry Briefs

The Senate on Tuesday approved a measure that creates a new Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMA) under the authority of the Department of Transportation, elevating the issue of pipeline safety to a higher level within the Bush administration and giving the administrator of the office a position requiring Senate approval. The PHMA will oversee the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), which has oversight over natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines. An earlier proposal, which was opposed by the American Gas Association and others in the industry, sought to transfer the OPS to the Federal Railroad Administration.

November 18, 2004

Industry Briefs

The U.S. Census Bureau released data Tuesday showing that 57% of U.S. homes (62 million) used natural gas as a heating fuel in 2003. The second most popular home heating source was electricity, used by 31% of U.S. homes (33.9 million). According to the survey, the states with some of the highest percentages of households using gas to heat their homes were Utah (88.5%), Michigan (86.9%), Illinois (86.7%), Iowa (82.3%) and Colorado (80.2%). States having warmer climates were more likely to use electricity. More than 35% of the nation’s households using electricity were concentrated in just three states: Florida, Texas and California, the survey said.

November 17, 2004

Industry Briefs

The U.S. Census Bureau released data Tuesday showing that 57% of U.S. homes (62 million) used natural gas as a heating fuel in 2003. The second most popular home heating source was electricity, used by 31% of U.S. homes (33.9 million). According to the survey, the states with some of the highest percentages of households using gas to heat their homes were Utah (88.5%), Michigan (86.9%), Illinois (86.7%), Iowa (82.3%) and Colorado (80.2%). States having warmer climates were more likely to use electricity. More than 35% of the nation’s households using electricity were concentrated in just three states: Florida, Texas and California, the survey said.

November 17, 2004

Industry Briefs

Dynegy Inc. has completed the sale of its Sherman, TX-based gas processing facility to Dornick Hills Midstream Ltd., which is based in Dallas. The transaction resulted in a pre-tax gain for Dynegy of $17 million. The Sherman plant has a processing capacity of 24 MMcf/d, and “represents one of our last significant divestitures of non-core assets,” said CEO Bruce Williamson. “Consistent with our self-restructuring approach and goal of delivering value to investors, this sale was based on a decision to focus on regions and segments of our natural gas liquids business where we have a larger physical presence and greater opportunities for growth,” he said. Dynegy expects to gain $240 million from non-core asset sales this year, said Williamson. The sales have improved the company’s financial profile and reduced Dynegy’s debt, helping it maintain “a strong level of liquidity to support our ongoing natural gas liquids and power generation businesses.”

November 15, 2004

Industry Briefs

Pioneer Natural Resources and Dominion Resources announced that production from the Devils Tower field has returned to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels. Three wells are currently producing 28,000 boe/d on a gross basis, and a fourth well is expected to be producing by the end of November. Eight wells have been drilled to develop the field, but damage to the platform rig delayed completion activities related to the four remaining wells. However, the timeframe for resuming completion activities has improved, with potential for continued field development to begin by year end, the companies said. The financial impact of these delays is mitigated by business interruption insurance coverage that is designed to restore the expected cash flow from the project after a waiting period that ended on Nov. 1. Pioneer holds a 25% working interest in Devils Tower. Dominion operates the field with a 75% working interest. The field is located about 140 miles southeast of New Orleans on Mississippi Canyon block 773 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

November 8, 2004

Industry Briefs

Pioneer Natural Resources and Dominion Resources announced that production from the Devils Tower field has returned to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels. Three wells are currently producing 28,000 boe/d on a gross basis, and a fourth well is expected to be producing by the end of November. Eight wells have been drilled to develop the field, but damage to the platform rig delayed completion activities related to the four remaining wells. However, the timeframe for resuming completion activities has improved, with potential for continued field development to begin by year end, the companies said. The financial impact of these delays is mitigated by business interruption insurance coverage that is designed to restore the expected cash flow from the project after a waiting period that ended on Nov. 1. Pioneer holds a 25% working interest in Devils Tower. Dominion operates the field with a 75% working interest. The field is located about 140 miles southeast of New Orleans on Mississippi Canyon block 773 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

November 5, 2004

Industry Briefs

Pioneer Natural Resources and Dominion Resources announced that production from the Devils Tower field has returned to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels. Three wells are currently producing 28,000 boe/d on a gross basis, and a fourth well is expected to be producing by the end of November. Eight wells have been drilled to develop the field, but damage to the platform rig delayed completion activities related to the four remaining wells. However, the timeframe for resuming completion activities has improved, with potential for continued field development to begin by year end, the companies said. The financial impact of these delays is mitigated by business interruption insurance coverage that is designed to restore the expected cash flow from the project after a waiting period that ended on Nov. 1. Pioneer holds a 25% working interest in Devils Tower. Dominion operates the field with a 75% working interest. The field is located about 140 miles southeast of New Orleans on Mississippi Canyon block 773 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

November 5, 2004