Washington attorney Katherine B. Edwards is among the candidatesbeing eyed by the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) to succeedformer President Nicholas J. Bush, who departed the trade grouplast month amid allegations that he defrauded it of more than $2.4million, sources say.

Edwards is well known for her representation at FERC of majornatural gas producers, such as Exxon, Shell and BP Amoco. Othersbeing considered for the NGSA post include a “couple” ofunidentified former FERC commissioners, another Washington lawyerand “what I call recycled oil and gas executives,” which includemid- to high-level producer executives who have lost their jobs dueto mergers or for other reasons, said a source who requestedanonymity.

Former Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Moler, who is now apartner in the Washington law firm of Vinson and Elkins, also wasviewed as a potential successor, but apparently didn’t express anyinterest. “I’m very happy at this law firm,” Moler told NGI lastweek. “Beyond that, I have no comment.”

In related news, NGI has learned that the U.S. Attorney’s Officein Washington D.C. may file criminal charges very soon inconnection with the alleged fraud scheme, possibly by the first orsecond week of April.

Washington insiders agree that snaring Edwards, who has a solidreputation in the natural gas industry, would go a long way towardshelping to restore NGSA’s name, which was significantly tarnishedwhen it was discovered in late January that Bush allegedly hadbilked the association out of millions of dollars over a 12-yearperiod through an elaborate consulting scheme. NGSA filed a civillawsuit in D.C. Superior Court last month seeking recovery of $2.43million in missing funds, plus $5 million in punitive damages.

“…[I]n my mind I think there’s one very clear choice of whoshould have the job” – Edwards – because of her strong ties to theproducer community, the source noted. She’s the “very obviousperson,” he said, adding “I know [she’s] on the list.” Edwards”tends to make the other candidates seem somewhat more pale” bycomparison. Asked last week if she had been contacted by NGSAand/or was considering the position, Edwards would only say “nocomment.” She is a partner in the D.C. law firm of Grammer, Kissel,Robbins, Skancke &amp Edwards.

It was not clear who actually was at the top of theassociation’s list of candidates. “Some Houston people,” the sourcesaid, already “have turned it down” because they didn’t want tomove to Washington. John Sharp, NGSA’s vice president of federaland state affairs and general counsel, has been in charge of theday-to-day operations of the association since Bush’s departure,but he reportedly isn’t being considered as a successor.

While the selection committee pores over the candidates, mostagree on one thing – that NGSA “needs to pick a leader and it needsto do it soon.” Susan Parker

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