Completing a deal announced last December, El Paso Energy Partners L.P. announced it has assumed control of El Paso Intrastate — Alabama Inc. (EPIA) for $26.4 million from its parent company, El Paso Energy Corp (see Daily GPI, Dec. 27).
Articles from December
Indiana Energy, Inc. said yesterday that a special meeting ofcommon shareholders would be held on December 17 at its corporateheadquarters in Indianapolis, IN, to consider the previously announcedmerger with SIGCORP Inc. The merger would create a new $1.9 billionholding company called Vectren (see Daily GPI, June 15). Through its utility subsidiaries,Vectren will offer gas and electricity to more than 650,000 customersin adjoining service areas that cover nearly two-thirds ofIndiana. Vectren’s non-regulated subsidiaries will offerenergy-related products and services, including: energy marketing;performance contracting and coal mining; fiber-optic basedtelecommunications services; locating, trenching and meter readingservices; and materials management to customers throughout thesurrounding region. Under the merger agreement, Indiana Energyshareholders will receive one share of Vectren’s common stock for eachshare of Indiana Energy stock. SIGCORP shareholders will receive 1.333shares of Vectren’s common stock for each share of SIGCORP stock.
The mid-$2.60s have been a pivotal level for natural gas futuresover the past year. Last November, the December contract managed totrade up to $2.64 — the high price during the “winter thatwasn’t” — before crashing more than a dollar to February lows.Then in July, many market watchers pointed to the August’s abilityto clear the $2.60 level as a harbinger of things to come. OnWednesday once again a line was drawn in the sand at the $2.65level. If the market stays above that level, we can retest thehighs, bull traders insisted. But a settlement below that levelcould spawn a round of selling, countered market bears.
For the first half of December, natural gas futures have been awhirlwind of volatility, where chart gaps and double-digit pricemoves have been almost the norm. So it came as a welcome change forsome when the prompt January contract exhibited a more sedatedemeanor Tuesday, trading within a narrow band and settlingunchanged for the day. Estimated volume was a relatively quiet50,593.
The hemorrhaging of prices that marked the first two days oftrading in the December aftermarket came to a virtual standstillWednesday even as unseasonably warm weather continued in much ofthe nation east of the Rockies. Except for an increase of more thana dime into Northwest at Sumas, all points were either flat or upor down only a few pennies. The reason for the surge at Sumas andwhy it was handily outstripping Rockies prices was that distributorBC Gas in southern British Columbia was drawing more heavily thanusual on discretionary supplies, one source said.
Just like a hurricane sends offshore rig crews to shore, atempest on the stock market can drive investors to the relativesafety of utility stocks. While many energy company stock pricesare buckling under the weight of the declining market, some utilitystocks are faring rather well, thank you. Duke Energy is anexample.