Columbia Energy Group received high marks from Fitch IBCA, theinternational debt rating agency, for significant progress sinceemerging from bankruptcy in 1995. “Columbia exhibits a stablefinancial profile and favorable qualitative operatingcharacteristics,” Fitch said in upgrading the company’s $2 billionoutstanding debentures two notches to A from BBB+ and raising its$850 million commercial paper program F1 from F2.
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FERC made three small but significant changes to its pipelinerate of return policy this week, winning the praise of theInterstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), whichrepresents the pipelines. INGAA President Jerald V. Halvorsen saidthe Commission’s action “should help pipelines compete in theincreasingly competitive financial markets for the capital to buildprojects that are necessary to meet projections of a 30 Tcf naturalgas economy by 2010.”
The August Nymex contract may have taken a significant steptoward posting further losses on Friday, but the jury on that isstill out. After August fell below major support at $2.32 Friday,enough buyers stepped in to prevent the spot month from moving anylower than $2.30. That enabled August to settle the day down 4.0cents to $2.309, but more selling could be in store when tradingresumes today. “I think a lot of traders took off early Fridayafternoon, or were simply not interested in putting in fresh openpositions before the weekend,” an analyst commented.
After meeting significant conditions to mitigate market power,Enova Corp. and Pacific Enterprises, holding companies of San DiegoGas & Electric and Southern California Gas, respectively,received final FERC approval yesterday of their $6.6 billionmerger. FERC approved the merger application with only minorcode-of-conduct modifications.