Report

Prices for February and March Still on the Rise

Prices continued to rise Thursday in trading for both lateFebruary and March. It was mostly a response to the screen’sbelated run-up Wednesday, sources said, but there was enoughblizzard-like weather spreading out from the Upper Plains region togive prices a little extra boost.

February 27, 1998

Halliburton, Dresser Industries in $7.7 Billion Merger

Halliburton Co. and Dresser Industries announced a $7.7 billionmerger agreement yesterday that will create the world’s largestdrilling and energy engineering company with combined 1997 revenuesof $16 billion and combined market capitalization of over $19billion. The firm, which will retain the Halliburton name will have100,000 employees worldwide. It will be based in Dallas, TX.

February 27, 1998

NGC-El Paso Contracts to Take Center Stage at FERC

The controversy over the terms and conditions of the contractsgiving Natural Gas Clearinghouse a large bite of the westboundtransportation capacity on El Paso Natural Gas – capacity that wasdestined to be turned back to the pipeline at the end of last year- is expected to take center stage at FERC next week. Marketers andproducers say they plan to make a case that the contracts areanticompetitive and contain illegal negotiated terms andconditions, and are responsible for the run-up in transportationrates on El Paso’s system to the California border.

February 27, 1998

Williams, MAPCO Lack FTC Blessing

The Williams Companies Thursday said its shareholders and thoseof MAPCO approved measures necessary to complete Williams’non-taxable, stock-for-stock acquisition of MAPCO. Federal TradeCommission clearance is expected in time for a first-quarterclosing. Thursday, Williams shareholders approved a charteramendment to provide sufficient common shares and authorizedWilliams’ board of directors to issue stock to MAPCO shareholders.

February 27, 1998

Williams Lands Its Biggest Processing Deal Ever

Williams’ field services unit has agreed to process 300 MMcf/dof gas for Exxon Company USA at its gas liquids extraction plant tobe built near Coden, AL. The deal is the largest processingcontract to date for the field services unit. The NGL extractionplant is expected to be in service by the first quarter of nextyear and will have 600 MMcf/d of inlet capacity. The Exxon gasrepresents dedicated production from multiple leases in the MobileBay area. Remaining plant capacity will be filled through theexpansion of the Transco Mobile Bay Lateral as well as other gasproduction currently flowing on the existing Transco pipeline. Aspokeswoman said the company expects to sign five or six morecontracts to handle gas at the new plant, which is expandable up toat least 900 MMcf/d.

February 26, 1998

Sale of Generation Assets to USGen Gets Nod

FERC approved the divestiture-sale of most of the non-nucleargeneration assets of New England Power Co. (NEPCO) and NarragansettElectric Co. to USGen New England Inc., an unregulated subsidiaryof PG&E Corp.

February 26, 1998

D.C. Businesses to Get Customer Choice

More than 250 commercial gas customers in the District ofColumbia will soon have the opportunity to choose a gas supplierother than Washington Gas. The District of Columbia Public ServiceCommission (PSC) approved the company’s request to offer choice inthe District to large commercial customers who use at least 60,000therms/year and who do not maintain an alternate to gas service.(60,000 therms is about 60 times what the average residentialheating customer uses annually.) Large interruptible customers whouse more than 250,000 therms annually have had supplier choicesince 1988.

February 25, 1998

Pennsylvania Closes in on Customer Choice

Customer choice for all Pennsylvania natural gas customers couldbecome an option within the next few months, and the law thatemerges from the months of statehouse wrangling could add directionto unbundling activities in other states.

February 23, 1998

PG&E, California Producers Negotiate Gathering Sale

In a deal that could be the first of its kind in the nation,Pacific Gas and Electric is locked in serious negotiations withnorthern California natural gas producers to sell them itsextensive utility gas gathering system linked to in-state wells,most of which are in the dry gas fields of the greater SacramentoValley. The deal being sought, which is expected to take the betterpart of 1998 to gain final regulatory approvals, is an offshoot ofthe omnibus Gas Accord unbundled intrastate transmission andstorage services that start March 1. The parties will not put adollar value on the facilities involved in the negotiations, but itis conservatively estimated at tens-if not hundreds-of millions ofdollars, involving hundreds of miles of low- and medium-pressurepipelines and related gathering facilities linked to more than 100producers.

February 13, 1998

Breathitt: Oil Line Rates Could Hamper Gas Conversions

The way FERC figures pass-through of costs in oil pipeline ratecases could hamper future use of converted lines, according toCommissioner Linda T. Key Breathitt, who issued dissenting opinionsin two oil pipeline cases involving Rio Grande and LonghornPartners Pipelines [OR97-1-001 and OR95-7]. In both cases theCommission ruled that the companies would not be allowed to passthrough the full purchase price of the pipelines, only thedepreciated original cost of the line. “In an area where Congresshas asked us to exercise regulatory restraint we turn around andapply textbook principles in a manner that may discourage futureconversions of oil pipelines to new uses,” Breathitt said. Theorders examine the corporate relationships between the companies toarrive at the conclusion that the companies are selling assets tothemselves. But Breathitt believes arguments about corporate tiesin these cases don’t apply. She was joined by Commissioner CurtHebert.

February 13, 1998
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