Questar to continue emphasis on gas development drilling

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Nov. 5 -- Questar Corp., Salt Lake City, said Monday it projects capital expenditures of $376 million in 2002, with continued emphasis on gas-development drilling and other nonregulated activities.

Questar, an integrated natural gas company, expects a record $987 million in capital expenditures in 2001, including $406 million in acquiring a privately held exploration and production company in July.

R.D. Cash, Questar chairman and CEO, said the 2001 and 2002 expenditures "will provide the catalyst for achieving our objective of consistent double-digit earnings growth over the next several years." Over the 2001-02 period, "We expect to spend 61% of capital expenditures for nonregulated opportunities with higher return potential, which is one of our primary strategies,"' Cash said.

He noted that the acquired exploration and production assets increased the company's nonregulated oil and gas reserves by almost 59% to 1.1 tcf equivalent, as of Sept. 30. In addition, the acquisition enhanced the company's significant inventory of drilling prospects.

Questar's 2002 capital-spending program anticipates $180 million in spending by the nonregulated Market Resources group. Most would go for oil and gas-development drilling, $143 million, and gas gathering and processing, $27 million. The budget includes $26 million for Wexpro Co., a subsidiary that develops gas owned by Questar's gas-distribution utility.

Questar's Regulated Services group, consisting of interstate gas transmission and retail gas distribution, projects 2002 expenditures of $165 million. The budget includes $55 million to expand the distribution system, $42 million for transmission and storage projects, and $35 million for partnerships and other projects.

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