Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shell Buys Natural Gas Virginia Company

Baltimore Business Journal

Shell Energy North America(US) LP is acquiring the mid-Atlantic natural gas marketing company Enspire Energy LLC.

Financial details of the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009, were not disclosed.

Virginia-based Enspire, which has offices in Norfolk and Annapolis, supplies natural gas to customers in the mid-Atlantic states — specializing in "mid-sized commercial and industrial accounts," according to its president, Jim Lukas, who founded the company in 2005 after two decades with other energy businesses.

"Enspire has been a tremendous success story in the region," Lukas said in an interview Monday afternoon, noting its growth to $200 million in revenue for the 12-month period that ended Nov. 1.

Lukas said his company purchases natural gas "at the wellhead," arranges for its transmission through common pipelines and delivery at customers' meters, and offers "a range of pricing options."

Among Enspire's customers are the U.S. Capitol, steel plants and hospitals, said Lukas, reached through his Annapolis office.

The company has eight employees, including Lukas, who said he anticipated a "growth mode" as a result of the acquisition by Shell — although personnel needs will have to be coordinated with the new owner. Among the possible changes is expansion into the power arena by offering electricity, he said.

"I will be an employee of Shell," he said. "It's a great organization. They've basically been our credit supplier for the last three years."

Mark Quartermain, president of Houston-based Shell Energy North America, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, said the acquisition would boost the range of services offered by Shell Energy in the region currently served by Enspire.

Lukas, in Friday's announcement of the deal, said, "Enspire's regional expertise combined with Shell's assets and financial strength will help us provide an increased array of products while maintaining the superior service to which our customers are accustomed.”

No comments: