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The first high-profile spill at a natural gas hydraulic fracturing operation is proving to be no “Macondo” Gulf spill for the industry, which is pressing ahead on an sector-transforming drilling program.

Growing reliance by electricity generators on natural gas is unlikely to be weakened by reports of air and water contamination by the booming shale-gas industry, even after an April 20 gas well blowout in Pennsylvania renewed concerns that the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) technology used to harvest shale gas is a threat to water quality, power-industry analysts said. Keep reading →

More than a decade after deregulation of the electricity sector began the process of creative destruction by ending the monopoly of power companies over customer service areas, utilities are doing their best to rebuild the full-service model for a new era.

Exelon, a Chicago-based company with a large generation portfolio but minimal exposure to the customer side of the electricity business, will pay $7.9 billion in an all-equity deal to take on floundering Constellation Energy of Baltimore. The two companies hope to close the deal in early 2012, and have written a daunting combined $1 billion worth of breakup fees into the agreement to guarantee only regulatory objections could halt their tie-up. Keep reading →