El Paso Corp. (ticker: EP, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company Announces Northeast Connexion Project
HOUSTON, TEXAS, May 14, 2001ŚThe California Assembly
Subcommittee on Energy Oversight majority is wrong. The rise in California
natural gas prices is not attributable to EláPaso, but is attributable to
the fact that demand for gas has far outstripped supply. Evidence presented at
the Subcommittee hearings shows that EláPaso has consistently utilized its
pipeline capacity to ship natural gas to California and has never restricted
supply. Although the Subcommittee majority report has not been made public, it
is clear, based on accounts of the report and recently uncovered documents, that
the subcommittee hearing was a sham.
EláPaso has recently obtained, through discovery in a proceeding before the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, correspondence between staff for the
subcommittee and the paid litigation consultant for Southern California Edison (SCE).
This communication reveals that the subcommittee majority's conclusions were
pre-determined to blame EláPaso for California's failed energy policies. The
Subcommittee majority was working hand-in-hand with, and relying on, SCE's
consultant, the Brattle Group, in their so-called analysis. In communications
between the subcommittee staff and SCE's consultant, it is clear that SCE's
consultant assisted in preparing questions for the hearing and that the
subcommittee staff requested assistance from SCE's consultant in preparing the
final report. That the subcommittee majority never intended to conduct an
objective investigation is clear from a communication between the subcommittee
and the consultant which occurred after two days of hearing. After listening to
three senior EláPaso officials, the subcommittee staff conceded that EláPaso
responded "well" to the subcommittee majority's questions. But rather
than write an objective report based on the testimony, the staff went on to ask
SCE's consultant for help in "rebutting" EláPaso's testimony.
"We are shocked that the subcommittee delegated its responsibilities to
SCE's consultants," said Norma Dunn, senior vice president of
Communications and Government Affairs. "We voluntarily met with
subcommittee staff and testified before the subcommittee in good faith, under
the false premise that the subcommittee was interested in seeking the truth. Now
we learn that the subcommittee was working at the direction of SCE's litigation
consultants to support SCE's litigation position. We are particularly concerned
that after coordinating the questions to be asked, the Brattle Group testified
before the subcommittee as if it were an independent group. It is obvious that
the Subcommittee hearings were a charade that was orchestrated from the
beginning. Final conclusions were drawn before we had an opportunity to testify
and then the final report was leaked to the press instead of provided to us, so
that we would not have an opportunity to react.
"We are pleased that we will finally have the opportunity to present the
facts about our participation in California's natural gas markets on May 14 in a
hearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We are confident that
once the facts are presented, EláPaso will be vindicated," Dunn said.
EláPaso has been doing business in the state for over 50 years. It is
committed to helping address the real concerns about California's natural gas
markets: That constraints on natural gas infrastructure in the state have
limited the supply of gas during a time in which demand has risen dramatically.
- Last week, two EláPaso subsidiaries announced separate open seasons to
determine customer interest in pipeline expansions in California.
- Mojave Pipeline Company's Sacramento Valley Project would provide
incremental transportation capacity from Topock, Arizona to the Antioch
and Sacramento areas.
- EláPaso Natural Gas Company is proposing to expand its existing
southern California system.
- In addition, in March, EláPaso Natural Gas announced its willingness to
expand its pipeline system from Texas to California.
- Similar projects on EláPaso's other pipelines will increase access to
critical gas supply regions from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
EláPaso Corporation, the largest and most broadly based natural gas company
in the world, spans the energy value chain from wellhead to electron. With an
enterprise value in excess of $50 billion, EláPaso is a leader in every phase of
the natural gas industry. The company owns and operates a significant portion of
the North American natural gas delivery grid, operates the fastest growing, most
sophisticated energy merchant group, and is the nation's third largest natural
gas producer. EláPaso, a leader in risk management techniques, is focused on
maximizing shareholder value, transforming existing markets, and speeding the
development of new markets. Visit EláPaso at www.elpaso.com.
View the attached documented correspondence
between the California Assembly Subcommittee staff and Southern California
Edison paid litigation consultant, the Brattle Group.
View the attached FERC hearing summary.
This release includes forward-looking statements and projections, made
in reliance on the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. The company has made every reasonable effort to ensure that
the information and assumptions on which these statements and projections are
based are current, reasonable, and complete. However, a variety of factors could
cause actual results to differ materially from the projections, anticipated
results or other expectations expressed in this release. While the company makes
these statements and projections in good faith, neither the company nor its
management can guarantee that the anticipated future results will be achieved.
Reference should be made to the company's (and its affiliates') Securities and
Exchange Commission filings for additional important factors that may affect