Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has called on FERC to issue anoffshore policy that’s conducive to private-sector investment innew technologies and the natural gas infrastructure in the Gulf ofMexico. Such a policy would be in keeping with the Clintonadministration’s 1993 domestic natural gas and oil initiative, hewrote in a letter to Chairman James Hoecker.
Articles from Issue
Y2K Conference Set for February
FERC announced it will sponsor a technical conference next monthon the issue of Y2K readiness in the energy industry. It will beheld Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Commission’s Washington headquarters.
Hebert, Breathitt See ’98 as Year of ‘Openness’
One of the most significant regulatory events at FERC in 1998went by practically unnoticed: the word “proposed” was put backinto the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), said CommissionerCurt Hebert Jr. in reflecting on his first full year at the agency.Commissioner Linda K. Breathitt, who also just ended her initialyear, agreed “proposed” took on a “stronger meaning” in a specificNOPR last year, but she hardly found it to be precedent-setting.
FERC Addresses Contested Settlement Concerns
In the wake of a recent court ruling overturning FERC on a keyissue in the El Paso Natural Gas rate settlement, the Commissionyesterday in an unrelated case spelled out the standards andprocedures it follows in settlement cases where contested issuesare raised.
UtiliCorp Issuing Shares to Pay Debt
UtiliCorp United said it plans to issue seven million shares ofcommon stock with net proceeds to be used to reduce short-termdebt and other short-term obligations incurred for acquisitions,construction and repayment of long-term debt, and other generalcorporate purposes.
Mueser Questions Hebert’s Objectivity in Alabama Project
Environmental activist Anne Marie Mueser, taking her battleagainst Sonat’s northern Alabama extension one step further, hasaccused Commissioner Curt Hebert Jr. of potentially compromisinghis impartiality in the case by corresponding with the pipeline andother supporters of the project. She suggested that Hebert, whovoted for an amended certificate for the Sonat project last week,should have considered recusing himself from the case [see relatedstory].
Capitol Hill Urged to Focus on Market-Power Issue
Given the recent price spikes in the Midwest and Californiaelectricity markets, a California power agency has called onCongress to take the necessary steps to rein in unleashed marketpower when it takes up restructuring legislation next year.
Oklahoma Orders ONG’s Upstream Unbundling
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission at press time Friday was toissue its rule for upstream unbundling of the Oklahoma Natural Gas(ONG) system. The unbundling plan calls for ONG to remain aregulated utility providing distribution service. However, itsexisting services and assets upstream of the citygate – gas supply,gathering, storage, and transportation – would be separated andbrought under a new company, ONEOK Gas Transmission (OGT). Inaddition, ONG will seek upstream services through competitive bid.
Northwest said it would not issue an Operational Flow Order fortoday’s gas day even though repairs to Unit #1 at the Snohomish(WA) Compressor Station were continuing Wednesday. The pipelineexpected to complete the work by Wednesday night, but said an OFOstill might be possible should the maintenance continue throughtoday. Northwest credited cool weather and customer cooperation onbalancing with allowing it to meet demand for Sumas/SIPI gas overthe weekend. But with warming weather and continued high demand itis having difficulty meeting Primary Firm nominations without theSnohomish #1 unit