With their state in the midst of a revenue crisis stemming from shut in of production from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield, Alaska lawmakers approved the biggest rewrite of oil and gas tax policy in decades, which proponents say will pump billions more into state coffers and help pave the way for development of bountiful North Slope natural gas reserves.
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While it facilitated more than $6.3 billion in settlements stemming from the western energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it could have done more if four years ago it had the broader anti-manipulation authority it was given in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, enacted in August. And while the Commission “has worked diligently” to address flawed CAISO rules, the system has experienced 12 system emergencies since the official end of the crisis period in mid-2001.
FERC on Thursday issued guidance on how jurisdictional natural gas pipelines should account for costs stemming from the implementation of new pipeline integrity management requirements of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS).
Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers last week announced the distribution of more than $8 million in restitution to Oregon utility companies — the bulk going to Portland General Electric (PGE) — and industrial customers for losses during the electricity price spikes of 2000-2001.
The Georgia Public Service Commission approved a consent agreement to resolve issues stemming from a June 23 gas pipeline accident near Perry Boulevard in northwestern Atlanta. A third-party excavator ruptured a 24-inch steel high-pressure gas pipeline owned by Atlanta Gas Light. The commission’s investigation found that gas continued to flow for more than four hours from the ruptured pipeline before the company was able to close the valves. The stipulation requires AGL to pay the state $30,000 and to absorb the cost of the gas lost during the incident, estimated at $17,252. In addition, the company must provide within 45 days a revised Emergency Manual that complies with all state and federal safety regulations. Within 60 days after the PSC staff approves the new manual, the company must ensure that all supervisors, service center managers and distribution center foreman are trained in emergency procedures.
After etching a dramatic six-day, one-dollar price slide, the natural gas futures market rebounded modestly Tuesday as bargain buying entered the fray. With short-range weather forecasts unchanged and fresh storage data still a day out, market watchers agreed that the uptick was due to the market’s perception that sub-$5.00 might be a good purchase should this winter turn out anything like last winter.
Stemming two months of slow, downward price momentum, the natural gas market turned abruptly higher Monday as traders received a one-two weather combination punch. In addition to the first blast of cool weather descending on parts of the Northeast over the weekend, the futures market was bullied higher by longer-range forecasts calling for below-normal temperatures this winter in the East. With that the November 2003 contract made its debut as prompt month in ostentatious fashion, gapping higher at the opening bell and advancing 27.4 cents to close at $4.895.
Stemming in part from the decision to discontinue its telecommunications business, TXU posted second quarter 2003 earnings of $105 million, or $0.31 per diluted share of common stock, compared to $195 million, or $0.73 per diluted share of common stock, recorded for the second quarter of 2002. The company announced its intent to sell its telecommunications business in May and expects the sale to be completed during the first half of 2004.
Stemming the price slide that left the February contract down 41 cents Monday, natural gas futures rebounded Tuesday as traders were once again put in a buying mood by bullish weather outlooks.
Stemming a three-day, 42.6-cent price slide, natural gas futures turned modestly higher Friday as traders covered shorts ahead of the holiday weekend. There also was the outside chance that tropical activity in the Atlantic and the Caribbean could present a threat to gas production in the Gulf of Mexico this week. The October contract gained 4.6 cents to close at $3.296. By comparison, the gains in the winter strip were larger, led by the January contract, which climbed 8.6 cents to finish back above the $4.00 mark at $4.029. At 50,980, estimated volume in the holiday-abbreviated session was weak.