Northwest Natural Gas Company, doing business as NW Natural, has reported a net loss of $5.9 million, or $0.22 per share, for the third quarter of 2007, compared to a loss of $9.7 million, or $0.35 per share, for Q3 2006.

NW Natural typically posts losses during its third quarter, reflecting low summertime use of natural gas, with stronger financial performance occurring during the winter months.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2007, net income was $44.8 million, or $1.65 per share, compared to $33.3 million, or $1.20 per share, for the same period in 2006, representing a 34% increase in net income.

NW Natural’s total gas sales and transportation deliveries in the first nine months of 2007, excluding deliveries of gas stored for others, were 832 million therms, up 1% from 824 million therms in 2006, led mainly by higher residential and commercial use. Gas sales to residential and commercial customers in the first nine months of 2007 were 418 million therms, up 3% from 2006, due to customer growth and weather that was 8% colder than last year and 1% colder than average.

Mark Dodson, CEO of NW Natural, said: Our strong performance so far this year was driven by customer growth, incentive sharing of commodity costs, a regulatory adjustment for income taxes in Oregon, and improved earnings from gas storage activities. We also focused on two new growth opportunities during the quarter. These include the previously announced Palomar pipeline in Oregon as well as the proposed Gill Ranch underground gas storage project in California.