Oklahoma City-based Quest Resource Corp. Monday announced it has terminated its agreement to acquire independent producer Pinnacle Gas Resources Inc. in a stock-for-stock transaction. At the same time Quest said it has taken action to step up its development of the potentially prolific Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania.
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New Orleans-based Energy Partners Ltd. (EPL) terminated an agreement to buy Stone Energy Corp. on Thursday and is exploring other alternatives, including a sale. However, EPL continued to advise shareholders to reject a takeover bid by Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd., calling it too low.
FERC on Tuesday terminated a standard market design (SMD) notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) proceeding, bringing to a close an effort first launched in 2002 by the federal agency. The SMD effort was championed by then-FERC Chairman Patrick Wood, but came under fire from various energy sector quarters and faced stiff resistance from certain lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.
FERC last Thursday terminated a preliminary investigation into supply offers by power market participants during the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) market launch earlier this year, accepting staff’s conclusions that bid offers examined were the result of market start-up and communications problems and did not represent willful efforts to manipulate the new electricity market.
Last Wednesday, the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) and Enron Corp. announced that they terminated their agreement for TPG, a private investment group, to buy Enron’s Portland General Electric (PGE) utility for $2.35 billion. The decision follows a rejection of the sale by state regulators in March. As a result, Enron plans to distribute PGE stock to its creditors as approved in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan.
In a mutual agreement, Williams has terminated the sale of some of its South Texas natural gas transmission lines to Enbridge Energy Partners LP, a deal originally set in October 2001. The South Texas system includes unregulated gathering systems and 492 miles of FERC-regulated pipelines. The two regulated pipelines extend from the Texas-Mexico border near Laredo and McAllen, TX, to Transco Station 30, where they connect with Williams’ Transco mainline. Enbridge Inc. subsidiaries agreed in October 2001 to purchase the Williams’ assets for $41 million (see NGI, Oct. 15, 2001). The transaction was conditioned upon approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Williams could abandon the facilities to Enbridge and upon a finding that the assets would not be subject to FERC jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act following the sale. In October 2002, Enbridge then assigned the purchase to Enbridge Energy Partners. In May, FERC issued an order denying abandonment of the South Texas system, which reversed a previous ruling granting the necessary approvals. The decision, said Williams, effectively prevents the sale from proceeding under the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. Williams plans to pursue an alternative transaction with Enbridge Partners or other buyers under a structure that is responsive to the May 2 FERC order, the company said in a statement.
The tumultuous energy market just terminated its latest chief executive. After announcing sweeping changes to its strategic plan last week, including selling another $2.9 billion in assets and cutting its dividend 82%, El Paso Corp. said Tuesday morning that CEO William Wise will be stepping down at the end of the year.
CMS Energy joined a growing list of former heavyweight energy marketers last Monday, announcing it had terminated speculative trades, and could completely exit wholesale natural gas and power trades in the future. By Friday, El Paso Corp. had also joined the list (see related story). CMS, which had appointed a special committee of its board of directors to investigate the trading practices, said it was committed to preventing questionable business practices. Going forward, CMS will require all employees to complete an ethics program.
CMS Energy could completely exit the wholesale natural gas and power marketplace; however, the company already has terminated speculative trading, CEO Ken Whipple said Monday. And, to prevent questionable business practices going forward, CMS will require all employees to complete an ethics program.
After completing its merger with The Coastal Corp., El PasoEnergy Corp. announced that it has completed restructuring andterminated 1,650 employees from the combined company’s approximate16,500 employee work force. Of the employees let go, 585 willremain with the company until their current assignment iscompleted, but none later than June 30. El Paso also announced thatadditional employees left voluntarily, and 1,635 workers opted forthe early retirement package. Employees that were not retained areeligible for full severance benefits, including a cash paymentbased on term of service. El Paso said that staff reductions tookplace everywhere the company does business. High employeeconcentration areas such as Colorado Springs, Detroit, El Paso andHouston were hardest hit by the cutbacks. Reductions ocurred in allbusiness units at all levels of the company, El Paso said.