Results from yesterday’s Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 175were buoyed by strong commodity prices. This year’s sale activitydwarfed that of last year’s Central Sale 172 by about 60%,according to the Minerals Management Service’s Gulf of Mexicooffice. High bids received at the sale totaled nearly $300.57million compared to $171.62 million in high bids last year.
Articles from Paid
A $1.2 million discount paid up front in a lump sum and theprospects of picking up energy trading insights from an experiencednational trader are what prompted the nation’s largest municipalutility to sign a one-year gas agreement worth about $25 millionwith Houston-based Reliant Energy Services Inc. last month.
Consolidated Natural Gas paid a hefty price during the secondquarter for its proposed merger with Dominion Resources. Thecompany took a one-time $165.3 million, $1.12/share, charge relatedprimarily to cash-out of stock options and awards to about 700employees and took another $6.3 million charge, $0.04/share, for aworkforce reduction related to the merger. CNG reported a secondquarter loss from continuing operations of $80 million, or 83 centsa diluted share, compared with income of $46.8 million, or 49 centsa diluted share, a year earlier. The comparison was made worse by a$13.9 million, or $0.15/share, gain in 2Q98 related to a favorableregulatory decision. Excluding special items for both periods,income from continuing operations was 33 cents a diluted share in2Q99, compared to 34 cents in 2Q98. Wall Street consensus had CNGpegged quite a bit higher at $0.39/share.
Aquila Energy has won a long-term, $24.3 million contract tosupply gas to to Nebraska municipals under a pre-paid contractdriven by the current low interest rates. Aquila will supply14,419,850 MMBtu over 10 years to Energy America, which isaffiliated with the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool, the MunicipalEnergy Agency of Nebraska and the Nebraska Public Gas Agency.
Given the lofty prices paid for midstream assets recently, SanAntonio, TX-based Aquila Gas Pipeline believes the time is right totest the waters for a possible sale or merger. The Texas andOklahoma gas processing and pipeline company has hired MerrillLynch & Co. to assist in the effort.