SOURCE: Zeus Development Corporation

August 29, 2006 09:00 ET

Record Heat in Northeast Excites Gas-Fired Power Developers, Conference to Examine Opportunities Presented by Influx of LNG

HOUSTON, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 29, 2006 -- Three years after the world's most expensive blackout, the Northeast power grid received a surge test as temperatures in New York soared 10 degrees higher per day than normal in late July and early August.

For the first time in U.S. history, seven billion cubic feet more natural gas was withdrawn from storage during summer than was injected.

Likewise, in Boston, as the heat index for Aug. 1-3 exceeded 100 degrees, electric power consumption climbed to just under 30 gigawatts. Records upon records were set as temperatures climbed. New England consumes about 18 GW on an average day.

This has raised concerns among ISO New England officials that there may be insufficient electricity to meet demand next summer.

"It's a major concern," Kenneth McDonnell, an ISO New England spokesman, told The Providence Journal. "The long-term solution," he said, "is to build new power plants in the region."

Further south, PJM officials said the heat wave was like adding another Baltimore and its suburbs to the system. Power producers on the PJM grid delivered a peak of 144 gigawatts, up 10 GW from the record set in 2005.

"This is like a shot of adrenalin for power developers," J. Patrick LaStrapes, a Houston-based energy executive, confides. LaStrapes developed numerous gas-fired power projects in the 1980s and 1990s as the nation deregulated its natural gas and electricity industries.

"I suspect this summer's demand has spurred several development teams into high gear while spawning new ones. When demand exceeds supply, our industry bolts forward."

How these new power plants will be fueled is a major issue to be discussed Sept. 20-22nd at a major conference in Boston, entitled "LNG's Future Impact on U.S. Northeast & East-Canadian Gas Flows." Representatives will participate from the nation's largest gas and power companies and government agencies, including AES Corporation, Atlantic LNG, Canadian Gas Association, Chevron, Connecticut Light & Power, ConocoPhillips, Duke Energy, El Paso, the U.S. Department of Energy, Repsol YPF, Sempra Energy, Statoil, Suez, Tokyo Gas, TransCanada Pipelines, and The Williams Group.

Zeus Development Corporation, an energy industry consultancy and information clearinghouse, is organizing the conference. More information can be obtained online at www.LNGExpress.com/ne or by contacting Rebecca Maitland, 713-333-5773 or rmaitland@zeusdevelopment.com.

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