Outlook for 2011

NW Natural’s 2011 earnings guidance remains at $2.28 to $2.48 per share. The company’s 2011 earnings guidance assumes continued slow economic recovery and customer growth, normal weather conditions, ongoing benefits from improvements to our cost structure, Gill Ranch operational losses related to first-year operations, and no further significant changes in prevailing legislative and regulatory policies. The company’s outlook does not include forecasts of future gains or losses that may occur from the company’s gas cost sharing mechanism in Oregon since the company cannot predict future gas cost increases or decreases with reasonable certainty.

Dividend declaration

The board of directors of NW Natural declared a quarterly dividend of 44.5 cents a share on the company’s common stock on Oct. 4, 2011. The dividends will be payable Nov. 15, 2011 to shareholders of record on Oct. 31, 2011. The company’s indicated annual dividend rate is now $1.78 per share.

Presentation of results

In addition to presenting results of operations and earnings amounts in total, NW Natural has expressed certain measures in this press release on an equivalent cents per share basis. These amounts reflect factors that directly impact the company's earnings. In calculating these financial measures, we allocate income tax expense based on the effective tax rate. NW Natural believes this per share information is useful because it enables readers to better understand the impact of these factors on its earnings.

Conference call arrangements

As previously reported, NW Natural will conduct a conference call and webcast starting at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (11 a.m. Eastern Time) on November 4th, to review the company's 2011 third-quarter and year-to-date financial and operating results. To hear the conference call live, please dial 1-877-317-6789 within the United States and 1-866-605-3852 from Canada. International callers can dial 1-412-317-6789. To access the conference replay, please call 1-877-344-7529 and enter the conference identification pass code (10005183). To hear the replay from international locations, please dial 1-412-317-0088.

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