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NW Natural ( ) is a publicly traded utility headquartered in Portland, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker. Primarily a natural gas distributor, the company services residential, industrial, and commercial customers in Western Oregonmarker and Southwest Washington in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1859, the company has over 600,000 customers and revenues in excess of one billion in US dollars annually. After Enron filed for bankruptcy, NW Natural attempted to purchase fellow Portland utility Portland General Electric (PGE) before various issues led to the abandonment of the deal.


In 1859, Portland Gas Light Company began as the first gas company in the Pacific Northwest. With 49 customers, the company operated lamp posts in a small section of downtown Portland beginning in 1860. In 1892, the company changed its name to Portland Gas Co., before incorporation in 1910 as Portland Gas & Coke Company. Later American Power & Light acquired the company and then divested itself of the subsidiary. In the early days of the company, gas was manufactured from coal or oil in local plants. This process ended with the arrival of natural gas to the region in the 1950s, and the company closed its last plant in 1957.

In 1958, the company changed its name to Northwest Natural Gas Company. During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s the company continued to grow and expand its service area beyond Portland and the Willamette Valley. By the end of 1989 the company had grown to serve over 300,000 residential customers. The company’s name was changed again, from Northwest Natural Gas Company to NW Natural in 1997.

NW Natural moved from the NASDAQ stock market to a listing on the New York Stock Exchangemarker under the symbol NWN in 2000. NW Natural attempted to purchase Portland General Electric, a Portland based electricity utility, for nearly $3 billion beginning in October 2001 from Enron. Due to issues including the bankruptcy of PGE parent Enron, the proposed merger was abandoned in May 2002. For a fifth straight year Business Ethics magazine named NW Natural to its list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens, ranking 47th.

In 2005, the company began removing tar from the site of a former plant that had polluted the Willamette River and were later fined for actions related to that clean-up. In 2007, NW Natural announced plans to construct a new pipeline for delivery of natural gas, and announced a rate cut for the first time in six years.


NW Natural is Oregonmarker’s largest natural gas utility. It serves customers in along the Oregon Coastmarker, in the Willamette Valley, in the Columbia River Gorgemarker, and in the Portland metropolitan area. The company operates an underground natural gas storage facility near Mist, Oregonmarker, in the Northern Oregon Coast Range utilizing depleted gas wells. These former wells allow the company to purchase the gas when prices are lower and store until needed during peak consumption times during the winter.

Financial results

Financial figures for the company, in millions of US dollars.
Year Revenue Net Income
2004: $707.6 $50.6
2005: $910.5 $58.1
2006: $1,013.2 $63.4
2008: $1,116.5 $75.8


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