In addition to the shock surrounding the latest on the unraveling of market-maker Enron, natural gas traders and market watchers were rocked again Wednesday by another in a string of bearish reports by the American Gas Association. The group announced that 12 Bcf was injected into underground storage facilities for the week ending Nov. 23, bringing gas levels to a record 3,144 Bcf. In a fitting twist, December natural gas futures spiraled lower on the news, surpassing previous lows reached early in 1999, just weeks after storage levels had crested a new peak (at that time) of 3,127 Bcf.
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Bridgeline Holdings LP, a partnership between Enron and Texaco, signed a deal to supply 165 Bcf of gas over five years to Occidental Chemical Corp.’s 778 MW cogeneration facilities in Taft, LA. Terms of the transaction were not released. Bridgeline operates 1,000 miles of pipeline from the Texas/Louisiana border to New Orleans, serving industrial and utility industry customers. It also has 13 Bcf of salt dome storage capacity in the region with broad access to significant Gulf of Mexico pipeline production and wellhead supply. Bridgeline said the deal is a key element in building on its strength to serve the new electrical generation demand throughout the region. This market requires firm, high-volume and deep-swing natural gas service to effectively meet the needs of this new class of merchant electricity generators. “We are eager to commence natural gas deliveries to the Taft facility and feel our unique combination of assets and merchant capabilities are well-positioned to serve this growing market,” stated Hugh H. Connett, vice president of marketing and supply for Bridgeline.
Duke Energy has entered into an agreement to acquire a 400 MW merchant generation facility from Enron North America. Acquisition of the Union County, MS, gas-fired facility expands Duke Energy’s Southeast generation portfolio. It also provides additional trading and structured origination opportunities throughout the eastern interconnect. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Closing is anticipated to take place in early October. The North American Electric Reliability Council estimates the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council needs an additional 40,000 MW of generation capacity over the next decade to meet peaking demand. Given access to major transmission lines, the Duke Energy facility will be able to serve demand throughout the southeastern and midwestern United States.
American Electric Power completed its purchase Friday of Enron Corp.’s intrastate natural gas pipeline subsidiary, Houston Pipe Line Co. The $726.6 million transaction gives AEP, headquartered in Columbus, OH, a 30-year pre-paid lease related to the operation of one of North America’s largest storage facilities, the Bammel Storage Facility and HPL’s inventory.
Calpine said it acquired the development rights from Enron NorthAmerica for the 750 MW gas-fired Pastoria Energy Center planned forKern County, CA. The $500 million project was licensed by theCalifornia Energy Commission in December 2000 and construction isexpected to begin this summer. Energy deliveries are scheduled tobegin by summer 2003 in time to help meet Southern California’sgrowing peak summer power demand. “This project significantlyadvances Calpine’s $4 billion energy initiative to bring 8,000 MWof new generating capacity to the California market in the nextfour years,” said Calpine’s Vice President — BusinessDevelopment John King. Pastoria will be built about 30 miles southof Bakersfield on property leased from the Tejon Ranch Corp. Thefacility will feature three General Electric Frame 7FA gascombustion turbines in combined-cycle with two steam turbines,representing 750 MW of capacity.
The Board of Directors of the Interstate Natural Gas Associationof America (INGAA) elected Stanley C. Horton, CEO of EnronTransportation Services Co., as INGAA’s chairman for 2001. Hortonsucceeds David A. Arledge, CEO of Coastal Corp. INGAA completed itsslate of officers by electing Michael E. J. Phelps, CEO ofWestcoast Energy Inc., as first vice chairman and John W.Somerhalder II, executive vice president of El Paso Energy PipelineGroup, as second vice chairman. Jerald V. Halvorsen was re-electedpresident of INGAA.
Questar Pipeline bought Enron Overthrust Pipeline Co.’s 18%interest in the Overthrust Pipeline effective Jan. 1, 2000. Thetransaction gives Questar Pipeline a 72% interest in the 88-mile,36-inch-diameter pipeline, which runs from the Whitney Canyon area— north of Evanston, WY, — to Rock Springs, WY. QuestarPipeline designed and built the Overthrust Pipeline, and hasoperated it since its completion in October 1982. Other partnersare Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America and Colorado Interstate GasCo. The Overthrust Pipeline is a segment of the 793-mileTrailblazer system, which runs from southwestern Wyoming toBeatrice, NE. “Increased ownership of the Overthrust Pipeline is anatural fit for us,” said Questar Pipeline President Nick Rose.”Its location in our service territory and proximity to ourfacilities and supply sources will enhance the services weprovide.”
Tejon Ranch Co. signed an agreement with Enron Capital &Trade Resources Corp. to develop a power plant on its property atthe southernmost end of the San Joaquin Valley at the base of theTehachapi Mountains. The site is strategic because of the proximityof the California Aqueduct, existing major transmission lines, andthe Kern River-Mojave gas pipeline.
Storage overhang isn’t enough to temper the optimism of EnronOil & Gas Chairman Forrest Hoglund when it comes to the outlookfor gas this year and next. With demand expected to grow andproduction expected to fall – 3% according to Hoglund – on softdrilling activity, the coming months are shaping up to be good onesfor producers.
Storage overhang isn’t enough to temper the optimism of EnronOil & Gas Chairman Forrest Hoglund when it comes to the outlookfor gas this year and next. With demand expected to grow andproduction expected to fall – 3% by Hoglund’s count – on softdrilling activity, the coming months are shaping up to be good onesfor producers.