Williams increases energy marketing and trading visibility

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Sept. 21 -- Energy marketing and trading will become Williams Cos. Inc.'s third major business group, Steven J. Malcolm, president of Williams said Friday.

The marketing and trading unit has been a part of Williams's energy services group. The new unit joins the energy services and gas pipeline business segments. Malcolm said other potential organizational changes will be announced later.

Bill Hobbs, currently the head of the marketing and trading business, will become CEO of that unit, and Phil Wright will succeed Malcolm as CEO of the energy services business. Malcolm said energy services will now include midstream gas and liquids, petroleum services, exploration and production, and international operations.

He said the reorganization reflects energy marketing and trading's role as a "prominent driver is Williams's growth plan" and will give the investment community a better view of energy marketing and trading's contribution.

In the second quarter of this year, energy marketing and trading, which provides energy commodities marketing and trading and price risk management services, reported profits of $273.2 million, compared to $272.6 million for the same period last year.

The Tulsa, Okla. company said a quarterly comparison of results reflected about $20 million of increased segment profit from natural gas and electric power services over the second quarter of last year, including a $26 million guarantee loss accrual resulting from the decision to discontinue certain third-party lending services.

Offsetting this increase was lower segment profit from natural gas liquids, crude oil, and refined products trading activities, the company reported.

Earlier this year, Williams opened a European energy marketing and trading desk in London. The expanded operation is geared toward energy risk management and structured transactions, such as power tolling agreements, as well as commodity trading to the European market, Williams said.

The company transacts more than $75 billion annually in energy and energy-related products in both the physical and financial markets.

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