New Orleans Independent Media Center


Celebration Marks Dominion's Return to New Orleans; Gulf Production Up
by Dominion E&P Monday, May. 08, 2006 at 2:49 PM
David J Auchter

An outdoor crawfish boil and celebration marked the return to New Orleans of the offshore business unit of Dominion Exploration & Production

Dominion Exploration & Production employees recently celebrated their New Orleans homecoming with a crawfish boil held in front of the company's new offices -- the home of Dominion's offshore business unit. During the last two months, 210 employees and their families have returned to New Orleans from temporary housing in Houston.

Cool temperatures and bright sunshine contributed to the event, held outside the 1250 Poydras Street building in the central business district, not far from the former Dominion Tower. About 200 employees enjoyed large trays of crawfish, jambalaya, and corn on the cob. Spirited line dancers wound through the area, and less structured dancing followed.

The afternoon celebration followed a morning meeting of the entire business unit, during which president and CEO Duane Radtke congratulated all employees, noting the growth in the company's Gulf of Mexico operations: subsea wells Rigel and 17 Hands came on line one month ahead of schedule, and the Devils Tower truss spar is now producing 34,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day, net to Dominion.

With the addition of the new subsea wells, current production rates represent a 13% increase over first quarter 2005.

Cheryl Branch, Dominion's senior human resources generalist, describes a positive and upbeat attitude around the new office.

"Everybody is coming back with their eyes open. For the last six months, lots of people had a difficult time going back and forth between Houston and New Orleans every weekend to assess their situation or begin repairs. For most of us, it's really good to take control again and sleep in our own beds," she said.

Many employees have returned to their own homes, whether damaged or undamaged, reports Branch. Some are buying new homes if their neighborhoods do not show sufficient prospects of recovery. Some are residing in temporary housing.

As they did during the evacuation to Houston, Dominion travel services and Preferred Corporate Housing are helping employees identify properties, providing leads, and advising employees as they make their individual decisions.

But people need more than secure places to live, work, and eat, said Avery Bonne´┐Ż, community affairs administrator.

"Dominion is also doing the right thing for the city of New Orleans. Reopening our offshore headquarters certainly supports the general economics of the city, but people have to rebuild their personal lives as well," she said.

Accordingly, Dominion E&P is facilitating individual community grants through the Dominion Foundation and is making other grants directly to schools, shelters, hospitals and cultural institutions.

"Our employees are integral members of the city's returning vitality. We're proud of their courage and of Dominion's commitment to do the right thing for them and for the city," said Bonneé.

Dominion E&P is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion, one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 28,100 megawatts of generation, about 6.3 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves and 7,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline. Dominion also operates the nation's largest underground natural gas storage system with more than 950 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in nine states.


Devils Tower
by Dominion E&P Monday, May. 08, 2006 at 2:49 PM
David J Auchter

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