The faces among the top half of Daily GPI’s ranking of the top20 gas marketers haven’t changed much but their volumes certainlyhave, in some cases showing substantial growth. And while only onecompany joins the top-10 for the first time, nearly every one ofthe biggest players saw its position change in the ranking. (Seepage 4)

First the news that really isn’t: Enron is still No. 1. The BigE further solidified its place at the top by growing volumes 10% or1.05/d Bcf in 1998. Enron is a solid 1.53 Bcf/d ahead of No. 2Aquila Energy, which rocketed up to second place from fifth lastyear on the strength of 41% growth in volumes, a full 2.8 Bcf/d.PG&E sits at third for another year despite volume growth of30%. And Duke Energy climbed two to No. 4 following 15% growth involume.

While Aquila rode the escalator up to No. 2, Dynegy was headingthe opposite direction from the No. 2 spot it held last year.Dynegy slid in the ranking all the way down to No. 5. But that’snot due to any shrinkage in volume. The company saw modest growthof 2.5% or 0.2 Bcf/d. That’s apparently OK with Dynegy CEO ChuckWatson who earlier this week in a conference call touted the virtueof strong margins over big volumes.

“It’s time that people recognize that financial performance isat least as important as overall volumes,” Watson said (see DailyGPI Feb. 3, 1999). “Dynegy’s margins consistently lead the industryand we expect that trend to continue.” Dynegy’s unit margins onnatural gas sales went from about three cents in fourth quarter1997 to nearly five cents/Mcf in 4Q 1998. The margin for all of1998 was about five cents compared to four cents in 1997.

(Daily GPI would like to take Watson’s advice and pay moreattention to margins when ranking marketers. To that end, marketerswill be invited to share information on margins – standardized forcomparison – for another ranking.)

Continuing down the list, Coral Energy climbed one notch to No.6, and Engage fell three to No. 7. TransCanada edged up two slotsto No. 8. (Amoco was ranked No. 8 last year. The company, now BPAmoco, declined to provide 1998 gas volumes.) Southern Co. breezedin from No. 13 on the wings of 26% volume growth to perch, at leastfor now, at No. 9. Southern was the lone new entrant into thetop-10. At No. 10 is Koch Energy, which dropped from No. 9. At 5.15Bcf/d, Koch sold about 46% as much gas as first-place Enron. Kochwas the only company among the top-10 to see a decrease in volumesfrom 1997, not a good sign if it wishes to remain among the top-10.

Look for Daily GPI’s ranking of power marketers in Monday’sissue.

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