Calpine Corp., Texas’ largest independent power producer,announced plans last week to build, own and operate an 800 MWnatural gas-fired cogeneration power plant at Bayer Corp.’schemical facility in Baytown, TX. Permitting for the $335 millionfacility is under way, the company said. The plant is expected tobegin commercial operation in late 2001.
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The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed an hour earlyyesterday, due to a power outage on the western loop area ofCommonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) power supply system. Thomas Donovan,CEO of the CBOT, said the outage was caused by three out of fourtransformers in the West Loop being out of service. ComEd did notreturn phone calls. The outage left 2,300 people in the heart ofChicago without power. Although no gas contracts are traded at theCBOT, the two electricity contracts traded at the exchange wereclosed at 2 p.m. EST. The exchange said its open outcry marketswill open normally today, and its electric trading system, ProjectA, is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. (Chicago time). There was noovernight trading at the CBOT.
After watching prices tumble 10 cents in a tumultuous last hourof trading Thursday, bulls were quick to assume control of themarket Friday as they continued to add to their already hefty longpositions. The September contract finished at $2.698, up 5.1 centsfor the day and 15.5 for the week.
Northwest began running a 96-hour test on the Snohomish (WA)Compressor Station’s Unit No. 1 Friday. The test, along with warmerweather and reduced weekend damand, did not allow Northwest toreceive the full 1,097,000 dekatherms of total supply at theSumas/Sipi throughput point. The pipeline capped Sumas/Sipi volumesat 1,000,000 dekatherms Sunday and raised that to 1,050,000dekatherms for Monday’s gas day. No constraint is scheduled todayas the work was expected to end Monday evening.
For the second day in a row the futures market openeddramatically higher en route to posting a $2.08 daily high in thefirst hour of trading. And similar to Wednesday’s topsy-turvysession, no new buying was seen to help lift the May contract overresistance in the $2.07-09 area, which paved the way forprofit-taking activity yesterday afternoon. However in contrast tothe day prior, Thursday’s trading saw a late rally, which buoyedthe market into settlement and put a positive spin on the day’sevents. The May contract finished up 4.5 cents to $2.069.
United Cities Gas Co.’s two-inch diameter, 7.2 MMcf per hour gasline that connects with a town border station in Wytheville, VAexploded Sunday morning, destroying a house and business. No onewas killed in the accident, but 1,600 residents of Wytheville hadtheir heat cut off and some have not had it restored. The cause ofthe fire is still under investigation.
In an 11th-hour move yesterday, California regulators delayeduntil August a proposed interim action that would expand naturalgas unbundling and set an aggressive schedule for a final gasrestructuring decision by year end. The proposal, which includesunbundling billing and eliminating any restrictions on current gasaggregation among residential and small business customers, will beconsidered when the California PUC meets again Aug. 6.
The sun likely won’t set on the Gas Industry Standards Boarduntil at least the end of 2001. After about an hour of debateThursday, the GISB board of directors voted to extend GISB’s sunsetclause from Dec. 31, 1998 to Dec. 31, 2001. Had the board notextended the clause, GISB would have ceased to exist at year-end.The original resolution called for extending the clause to Dec. 31,2000. Some on the board wanted to do away with the clause. Hadthere been enough support for that, future disbanding of GISB couldresult only from a majority vote by the board. Others wanted thesunset clause not to come up again for four or five years. GISBExecutive Director Rae McQuade said she was happy with the boarddecision.