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Industry News

Duke Enters Salt Cavern Gas Storage Business

LCG, Aug. 31, 2000Duke Energy Gas Transmission Corp. said yesterday it will get into the natural gas storage business by purchasing two salt cavern facilities from Nisource Inc. for $400 million in cash and debt.

The Duke Energy Corp. subsidiary said it was "enthusiastic" about getting into a side of the business that is becoming increasingly valuable in the natural gas marketplace.

Duke agreed to buy a gas storage business known as Market Hub Partners from Nisource. The company said the salt cavern storage has 23 billion cubic feet of storage capacity with significant expansion capability.

Market Hub's facilities are "well suited to meet load swings brought about by gas-fired electricpower generation and the peak winter heating load growth of local distribution companies," said Robert Evans, president of DEGT. "Additionally, the location (provides) additional supply security to mitigatethe effects of severe weather conditions in the Gulf Coast supply region."

The two facilities are Moss Bluff in Liberty County, Texas, and Egan in Acadia Parish, La. Both are situated near industry-recognized market hubs at the convergence of major interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines and serve as aggregation points for natural gas collected along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts.

Under the terms of the transaction, DEGT will pay Nisource $250 million cash and assume $150 million in debt. The companies expect to close the deal this year, pending approval by the Federal Trade Commission.

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