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Federal Government uses UPLAN model to examine price volatility in ERCOT

LCG, October 11, 2022--The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, released its latest supplement to the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in the Texas market, assessing various possible scenarios using LCG’s UPLAN NPM model, with a special focus on the effects on wholesale power prices and market conditions.

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Michigan Governor Supports Reopening Palisades Nuclear Facility

LCG, September 16, 2022--The Governor of Michigan last week sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in support of Holtec International’s application for a federal grant under the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) program to save the Palisades Nuclear Facility in Southwest Michigan. The federal grant could result in restarting the baseload, carbon-free, nuclear power plant.

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Industry News

Apache Deplores 'Speculation' by Gas Traders

LCG, Oct. 2001--In a thinly-veiled swipe at Enron Corp., oil and gas producer Apache Corp. yesterday deplored "speculative" activities by natural gas traders, saying they have contributed to an extreme volatility in gas markets that now threatens U.S. energy supply.

In remarks that accompanied Apache's third quarter earnings report, Raymond Plank, the founder and chief executive of the Houston-based company, said "As Americans, we want to contribute to our country's energy security in every way we can."

But Plank found that not all companies share his patriotism. "Regrettably, at a time when stability and rationality should be the call words, we find ourselves in the most volatile natural gas pricing environment in history," he said. "Current conditions make it difficult, if not impossible, to maximize our contribution to the nation."

And he knew whom to blame. "This debacle is the result of excessive speculation inherent in a gas market driven by paper trades." Plank later admitted that Enron was a target of his remarks.

Enron is North America's biggest paper trader of natural gas.

Plank's son, Chief Financial Officer Roger Plank, said in a conference call "Investors and industry alike are trying to determine what has really been going on behind the curtain of some of the most active traders of natural gas."

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also trying to find out what has been going on, and it was the SEC's inquiry into Enron's activities that earlier this week cost Andrew Fastow his job as Enron's chief financial officer.

G. Steven Farris, Apache's president and chief operating officer, joined the attack on paper traders. "Never before have we had such unchecked short-term speculation and trading which makes long-term investment decisions in natural gas almost impossible," he said.

But Farris returned to the business at hand. "Despite the impact of a slowing economy on (natural gas) prices, Apache's earnings and financial condition remain strong," he said. The company reported that its third-quarter earnings fell to $151.9 million, or $1.19 cents per share, from $197.3 million, or $1.58 per share, in the same period of 2000, due to sharply lower natural gas and crude oil prices.

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