General interest news briefs, May 25

City of Red Deer ... Enmax Corp. ... Al Manhal International Group ... Australia LNG ... Gopalpur LNG ... Vivasi Oil & Gas Ltd. ... Russian Natural Resources Ministry

The city of Red Deer, Alta., has enlisted Enmax Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the city of Calgary, to provide electrical supply and services for about 28,000 customers. Under deregulation, customers will be able to choose their electricity retailer beginning in January 2001. Red Deer has a legislated 5-year responsibility to provide electricity to residential and commercial customers who do not choose an alternative power supplier by November 2000. The city chose not to continue to supply power, however, because of the higher risks associated with deregulation, officials said. Red Deer will continue to own and maintain the transmission wires. Red Deer and Enmax will share profits over a 5-year period.

The $5 billion LNG project proposed by Abu Dhabi-based Al Manhal International Group (AMIG) in the East Indian state of Orissa has taken a step forward with the incorporation of a new subsidiarey, Gopalpur LNG, to import gas from Australia LNG (OGJ Online, May 5, 2000). Australia LNG and Gopalpur LNG have signed a confirmation of intent, providing for further study and discussion between the firms. Gopalpur LNG is seeking to import LNG into Orissa for power generation and industrial and town gas supply. Project sponsors are AMIG, New Delhi-based Vivasi Oil & Gas Ltd., and Orissa Ltd., the state's industrial promotion and investment entity. LNG imports are pegged at 5 million tonnes/year starting some time between late 2003 and early 2005. The project will include an import terminal, regasification plant, urea-ammonia complex, 2,500 Mw power plant, and olefins plant.

Russian environmentalists have condemned President Vladimir Putin's decision to disband the country's only federal environmental agency and transfer its responsibilities to the Natural Resources Ministry. Putin signed a decree to do away with the agency in order to save money. The head of the State Committee for Environmental Protection, Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, said the transfer of his agency's duties is a "step backwards" for Russia. He charged that, with the decree, Putin is giving the green light to those who want to pillage Russia's fragile and polluted environment. "The decree is a call for action for all those who want to steal from the environment. This points [the finger] at the system of environmental protection and gives [violators] the signal to move." Greenpeace Russia has protested the decision.

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