Oklahoma business briefs for March 7, 2013

Oklahoma business briefs for March 7.
Published: March 7, 2013
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OKLAHOMA BRIEFS

Company offers to sell stake

A Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiary is planning to sell most of its stake in a California company that builds natural gas fueling stations. Chesapeake NG Ventures Corp. is offering to sell 6.3 million shares of stock in Clean Energy Fuels, according to a regulatory filing. It will retain 1 million shares. Chesapeake invested $150 million in Clean Energy, a company co-founded by Oklahoma oilman T. Boone Pickens, in July 2011 when it announced plans to create a $1 billion venture capital fund to boost the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Clean Energy's stock rose 40 cents Wednesday to $13.04 a share, but it dropped 49 cents in aftermarket trading after disclosing the planned Chesapeake sale.

Devon to boost dividends

Devon Energy Corp. is boosting its quarterly cash dividend 10 percent to 22 cents a share, the company announced Wednesday. “This is Devon's eighth dividend increase since 2004, representing an annual compound growth rate of 24 percent,” said Jeff Agosta, chief financial officer. “Our dividend increase highlights Devon's long-term commitment to returning cash to our shareholders and ultimately reflects the confidence we have in our underlying business.” The dividend will be paid June 28.

State's ‘Lifeline' bill advances

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that gives Oklahoma Corporation Commission officials more powers to verify eligibility for a program that subsidizes telephone service for low-income residents. House Bill 2165, by Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, passed by a vote of 92-0. The legislation requires phone companies receiving reimbursements for the Lifeline program to provide additional documentation and verification. Last week, two Oklahoma companies, TerraCom LLC and YouTel America Inc., agreed to pay a total of more than $1 million to resolve an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission into duplicate payments under the federal Lifeline program.

Companies partner on pipeline

The Williams Cos. Inc. and Houston-based Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP are teaming up to develop a natural gas liquids pipeline serving the emerging Marcellus and Utica shale plays, the companies announced Wednesday. The proposed “Bluegrass Pipeline” would provide producers with 200,000 barrels a day of takeaway capacity in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It could be increased to 400,000 to meet market demand. The project would include a new liquids pipeline from producing areas in West Virginia and Ohio that connects to Boardwalk's existing Texas Gas Transmission LLC system in Kentucky. A portion of that system would be converted from gas to liquids service, with new pump stations and related facilities, plus a new large-scale fractionation plant and expanding storage facilities in Louisiana. “We are designing Bluegrass Pipeline to provide these two world-class resource plays with access to one of the largest and most dynamic petrochemical markets in the world,” Williams CEO Alan Armstrong said. “The current infrastructure challenge with natural gas liquids in the Northeast is slowing drilling and isolating liquids supplies from the robust markets in the Gulf that are poised to grow substantially over the next five years.”

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