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.
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Producer investment in Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB)natural gas is expected to grow from the $8 billion spent in 1998to just under $9 billion by 2001, which should add up to about a 6%hike or 3.1 Bcf/d in production and 3.4 Bcf/d in maximum peak daydeliverability over the 1998 to 2001 period, according to a surveyby the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI). The report notes”the WCSB is moving into a period of tighter supply/demandbalances,” in which lower than estimated spending could result insupply shortfalls, while higher spending could create a surplus.The group’s “1999 Canadian Natural Gas Producer Survey &Deliverability Outlook” sees export capacity from the basinpossibly exceeding market demand in the short-term. “For year 2001CERI’s required production estimate equates to an 89% averageannual load factor on ex-basin capacity, notably lower than the95-100% factors experienced since the mid-1990s.”
Attempting to better accommodate the burgeoning Gulf Coast powerdemand, Entergy Corp. spent $1.9 billion to purchase 24 GE 7FAadvanced technology gas turbines and four steam turbines from GE,Entergy said yesterday. Delivery is scheduled through 2004. Theagreement includes turnkey installation of the 1,000 MW Freestonepower plant project and long-term service agreements (LTSAs) thatcover all scheduled maintenance for a period of 16 years followingthe start- up of each turbine.
Futures traders spent most of Monday in a “wait’n-see position”poised to react quickly if the market broke in either direction.However, no fresh news could be gleaned from yesterday’s market andas a result the market took what has become the path of leastresistance lately to move lower in quiet trade. The Septembercontract slipped 2.1 cents to $1.926.
After all the volatility surrounding the May Nymex contract oflate, the spot month spent what is typically one of any contract’smost volatile trading days (its expiration) by slipping only 0.4cents to settle Tuesday at $2.262. A trader said late strengthpushed June and the rest of the outmonths up a couple of cents forthe day, and noted May would have expired with a gain, had it notbeen for a fund dumping a large position within the last 30 minutesof trading.