A top FERC official dismissed any hint the Commission wasdragging its feet on key pipeline projects that would ship naturalgas to the Northeast – namely the proposed Millennium, SupplyLink,MarketLink and Independence lines. “…[W]e love new pipelines,”said Richard O’Neill, director of the Office of Economic Policy,”but we don’t want these new pipelines to turn into strandedcosts.” Also, he cited environmental concerns.
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Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed an energy deregulationbill Tuesday, clearing the way for statewide electric unbundling tooccur by Aug. 1, 1999 and statewide, residential gas unbundling byDec. 31. The bill was passed by the state’s legislature late lastmonth. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is now incharge of formulating and implementing the deregulation program.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals ManagementService (MMS) served official notice Tuesday of its intentions tohold lease sale 181 for 5.949 million acres in the eastern Gulf ofMexico. The MMS issued a Call for Interest and Information and aNotice of Intent (NOI), which gives interested parties 60 days tocomment on the proposed sale. The MMS tentatively scheduled thesale for December 2001. An MMS spokesperson said no minimum bid hasbeen set.
Continuing super-low oil prices have driven two of the largestoil companies in the world into a friendly merger, with Exxonacquiring Mobil for $77.2 billion in stock, making the deal therichest corporate takeover ever. Exxon Mobil Corp. will be thelargest corporation in the world based on the two companies’combined revenue of $203 billion last year.
The Georgia Public Service Commission concluded Atlanta GasLight Co.’s historic rate case, opening its statewide gasdistribution system to marketers. The PSC approved a customereducation program for one year and procedures for Atlanta Gas Lightto follow when sharing information with gas marketers about thecompany’s nearly 1.5 million customers. The PSC also orderedAtlanta Gas Light to cut rates by $6 million. The reduction is inaddition to a $7 million rate cut ordered in June.
Because of the size of the power industry, electric companieswill own the gas industry within the next decade, according to anofficial of Engage Energy. Of the 300 LDCs and about 110investor-owned utilities remaining in the country, roughly 100 willbe remaining at the end of the next decade, said David Pruner ofEngage Energy in Houston. The top-50 IOUs will control almost 80%of the entire energy market, he said at the DOE-NARUC natural gasconference in Pittsburgh yesterday.
The $6.2 billion merger of Enova Corp. and Pacific Enterprisesfinally became official last week following approval of theSecurities and Exchange Commission. The merger creates SempraEnergy, a new San Diego-based Fortune 500 energy services holdingcompany with 12,000 employees, $10 billion in assets and thelargest regulated utility customer base in the nation.
Gas prices didn’t care that Monday marked the official start of1998’s Atlantic hurricane season. What did impress them wasblistering heat in the Gulf Coast producing states of Louisiana andTexas. With more gas than usual being kept at home for airconditioning load, the Midwest and Northeast market areas-thoughconsiderably cooler than Down South-had to pony up a few extracents in competition. The futures screen run-up contributed to thegeneral cash bullishness, sources said.
Spurred on by LDC unbundling and subsequent decontracting,interstate gas pipelines are bracing for a brave new world thatcould portend significant changes in the way capacity is priced andin the types and range of services that will be offered tocustomers in the years ahead, pipeline executives said last week.