Electric Power news briefs, May 31, 2001

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. ... BP PLC ... Exxon Mobil Corp. ... Phillips Petroleum Co. ... Natural Resource Group Inc. ... Cogentrix Energy Inc. ... Cleco Power LLC ... Encompass Services Corp. ... Dominion Resources Inc. ... Metropolitan Water District ... DTE Energy Co. ... Entergy Inc. ... Oman Gas Co. ... BC Gas Inc. ... Peabody Energy Corp. ... Eldorado Gold Corp. ... Gaz de France ... H Power Corp.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Francisco, reported the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant Unit 2 has begun delivering electricity to the California grid. Unit 2 is expected to return to full power June 2. The 1,150 Mw plant was shut down Apr. 29 for a planned refueling and maintenance outage.

The Alaska Gas Producers Pipeline Team formed by BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Phillips Petroleum Co. have awarded Natural Resource Group Inc. (NRG), Minneapolis, Minn., a contract to evaluate alternatives for a natural gas pipeline to bring gas from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the lower 48 states, NRG said. NRG will also prepare all federal license and permit applications for the proposed project, including the application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Cogentrix Energy Inc., Charlotte, NC, said it completed financing for its Southaven Power electric generating facility, Southaven, Miss. The financing allows construction of the 810 Mw, natural gas-fired electric generating plant to begin on schedule in June 2001. Commercial operation of the facility is expected by June 2003. PG&E Energy Trading-Power LP (PGET), a unit of PG&E National Energy Group Inc., previously entered into a long-term agreement with Southaven Power LLC under which PGET will deliver natural gas to and accept the entire electrical output from the facility.

The city of Ruston, La., has entered into a 3-year contract with Cleco Power LLC, a unit of Cleco Corp., Pineville, La., under which Cleco will supply all the city's power needs, Cleco said. The all-requirements contract between Cleco and Ruston is effective June 1 and will add about 70 Mw of load to Cleco Power's system. In addition, the contract grants Cleco Power exclusive rights to capacity and energy from Ruston's city-owned 81 Mw of generation.

Encompass Services Corp., Houston, reported it has received three power plant contracts valued at about $42 million. Encompass said it will serve as the general contractor for a 50 Mw gas turbine facility at a refinery in California and a 75 Mw cogeneration facility for an independent power producer near Hazelton, Pa. Encompass will manage the engineering, procurement, and construction for the projects. The company has also been selected as the prime mechanical contractor for a 340 Mw peaking plant being constructed for a utility near Detroit.

Dominion Resources Inc., Richmond, Va., filed an application with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to renew the operating licenses of the company's two Virginia nuclear power stations, North Anna and Surry, for an additional 20 years. Together the plants represent about 3,500 Mw of generation capacity. With renewed licenses, the units would be allowed to operate until 2038 and 2040, respectively.

Metropolitan Water District (MWD), Diamond Valley Lake, Calif., said it fired up the first new hydroelectric generators in California in 6 years. After the conversion of four pumps into turbine units, Metropolitan's Hiram W. Wadsworth plant will produce as much as 13 Mw of power. The Wadsworth facility could potentially generate up to 40 Mw of electricity once all 12 units are converted.

Units of DTE Energy Co., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Entergy Inc., New Orleans, La., said construction of a jointly-owned 320 Mw natural gas-fired electric power generating plant is under way in Will County, Ill. Commercial operation of the facility is scheduled for June 2002. Natural gas delivery for the project will be provided through the recently completed Vector interstate pipeline.

Oman Gas Co. has awarded a consortium consisting of units of Enbridge Inc., Calgary, and BC Gas Inc., a 5-year contract to operate and maintain its 800 km natural gas transmission system in Oman, the companies reported. Two new gas pipelines totaling 1,000 km also are under construction. A new Omani company called Canadian Energy Services LLC, a joint venture between Enbridge Technology, BC Gas International, and OHI Petroleum & Energy Services LLC, a subsidiary of one of the largest publicly traded companies in Oman, has been established in Muscat.

Peabody Energy Corp., St. Louis, Mo., said its initial public offering has been concluded, with the underwriters exercising the over-allotment option. Including the over-allotment, the company sold 17.3 million shares to the public at the offering price of $28/share. Net proceeds to the company, including the over-allotment, totaled $455.8 million. Peabody Energy expects to use the proceeds to repay debt.

Eldorado Gold Corp., Vancouver, BC, said effective June 1 the company's Sao Bento Mine, Santa Barbara, Brazil, will be subject to energy rationing to 80% of its current consumption for, at present, an unspecified period. Brazil relies on hydropower to meet its electric energy needs and the recent drought has reduced power generation. The company said it is currently reviewing its operational requirements and developing alternatives to comply with the government's rationing plan.

Gaz de France, Paris, has ordered six beta cogeneration units, said fuel cell developer H Power Corp., Clifton, NJ. Additionally, the two companies have begun the process for obtaining CE codes and standards marking necessary for use and sale of products in European Union member countries.

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