Wednesday AM October 24th, 2007

Groups look at wind energy in Texas…EDS lands $550 million IT contract with Continental Airlines…Houston Chronicle cutting about five percent of work force… The Clean TX Forum today looks at the state’s position as the top wind producer in the United States and how growth can be sustained. The Austin event features executives from wind […]

Groups look at wind energy in Texas…EDS lands $550 million IT contract with Continental Airlines…Houston Chronicle cutting about five percent of work force…

The Clean TX Forum today looks at the state’s position as the top wind producer in the United States and how growth can be sustained. The Austin event features executives from wind energy companies and the American Wind Energy Association.

Electronic Data Systems has landed a seven-year, $550 million contract to provide information technology services to Continental Airlines. EDS said it will manage and maintain the Houston-based airline’s computing and reservations systems. It’ll also work with Continental to update the airline’s existing computer applications. Ron Anderson-Lehman is Continental’s chief information officer. He says the airline has dealt with EDS since 1991. He also says the deal is part of Continental’s plan to work with multiple suppliers. Plano-based EDS has customers in manufacturing, financial services, transportation and other industries.

Houston-based Superior Offshore International is acquiring Ocean Flow International in a stock deal worth $15 million, according to the Houston Business Journal. The subsea construction and service firm says Houston-based Ocean Flow will become a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Gulf LNG Energy has signed a contract to begin dredging Pascagoula, Mississippi’s Bayou Casotte Ship Channel. The channel is near the planned site of Gulf LNG’s liquefied natural gas facility. The Houston-based company says the dredging will remove about three million cubic yards of material from the channel. The dredging will allow LNG tankers to berth at the terminal. The tankers can be up to 1,000 feet long. Bayou Casotte is 42 feet deep and 350 feet wide. Gulf LNG is developing about 40 acres along the ship channel. It received the necessary state and federal permits last year. When complete, the company plans to ship in natural gas that has been chilled to such a low temperature that it becomes a liquid, warm it back into a gas and pipe 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily to the national market. Company officials said they hope to have the plant operational by 2011.

The Houston Chronicle is cutting about five percent of its work force through layoffs and elimination of open positions. Publisher and President Jack Sweeney says about 70 employees will be affected. The Chronicle is the seventh-largest daily U.S. newspaper and the eighth-largest Sunday paper. It Web site attracts nearly 70 million page views and six million unique visitors each month. Sweeney says ad revenues continue trending down, and it has been restructuring to devote more resources to new technology and product development.

PepsiCo is suing a Texas distributor of Latin American products for selling a Salvadoran beverage the company says copied a PepsiCo trademark. The company says Houston-based Mama Lynch International Foods copied the Pepsi logo for packaging Kolachampan, a beverage popular in El Salvador.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers has opened an office in Moscow for its Russian members and to help develop technical programs for the domestic oil and gas sector. It’s SPE’s sixth worldwide office. The office will provide membership support for SPE’s six Russian professional sections and ten university student chapters, and will help develop SPE Applied Technology Workshops.

Developer Dienna Nelson Augustine is beginning construction of two additional office buildings in Westway Park, according to the Houston Business Journal. The Houston-based firm broke ground two weeks ago on DNA Westway II and III. One will be three stories and the other ten stories. Construction on DNA Westway I should be completed in a month.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says a series of recalls of products made in China have caused fear among U.S. consumers. Paulson says both countries need to work together to improve safety issues after recalls on products, ranging from toothpaste to toys. Speaking at a conference on U.S.-China relations, Paulson said how China deals with the safety concerns will have long-term implications for trade between the two countries. An assistant minister of foreign affairs for China says the Chinese government was paying great attention to the issues of export quality and safety. Paulson urged policymakers in both Washington and Beijing to avoid making decisions based on isolation or retaliation.

The nation’s largest mortgage lender will begin offering refinancing or modifications on $16 billion in loans whose interest rate is set to adjust by the end of 2008. Countrywide’s president and CEO David Sambol says “unprecedented times call for unprecedented remedies.” He says Countrywide is determined to help people who “need a little help” to remain in their homes. The lender will refinance about $10 billion in loans and modify another $4 billion for people who are current on their payments. It also plans to contact borrowers of some more than $2 billion who are late on their loans and having trouble paying because of a recent rate reset.

The popular online social network Facebook is being sued by an Indiana woman. She alleges it has profited from members sending thousands of unauthorized text messages to mobile phone users whose numbers previously belonged to others. The lawsuit, filed Monday in a San Jose federal court, highlights the confusion and frustration that can arise as Web sites extend their services to mobile handsets with phone numbers that have been reassigned, after another customer’s service ended. Lindsey Abrams, of Patriot, Indiana, alleges she began receiving unsolicited text messages apparently intended for an unidentified Facebook member shortly after she received a new mobile number from Verizon last year. Her complaint says the messages included explicit language and unsettling remarks. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on the allegations, citing the Palo Alto-based company’s policy not to discuss lawsuits.

AT&T reports third-quarter net income jumped 42 percent to $3.1 billion. Last year’s quarter came the nation’s largest telecommunications company completed its BellSouth acquisition. Revenue nearly doubled to $30.1 billion. Although most of the dramatic quarterly gains resulted from completed acquisition, AT&T reported continued growth in its wireless revenue. That’s the segment of the business AT&T executives say will lead it into the future. It added two million subscribers in the first full quarter since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone. That gives it 65.7 million subscribers total.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe reports its third-quarter earnings rose eight percent, beating Wall Street expectations. The Fort Worth-based railroad operator says cost controls and agricultural growth offset high fuel costs and overall market softness to boost earnings. BNSF reports it earned $530 million. Revenue grew three percent to $4.07 billion. Agricultural volumes for the quarter rose 10 percent to 682 million dollars. They were driven by demand for wheat, ethanol, fertilizer and bulk foods. Burlington Northern said demand for petroleum products was offset by weakness in the housing market. Consumer products revenues slipped three percent to $1.46 billion. Coal revenues rose by 14 percent to $849 million. But BNSF says coal unit volumes were virtually flat due to mine production issues.

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