Natural Gas Market Participants Oppose Proposed FERC Transparency Changes

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A broad cross-section of natural gas market participants expressed significant opposition to a proposal by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require increased reporting of natural gas transactions. In comments filed on February 12, 2013, market participants responded to FERC's notice of inquiry (NOI) requesting input on potential regulatory changes to its market transparency provisions.

 

Market participants that would be affected by any regulatory changes include producers, pipelines, marketers, local distribution companies (LDCs), shareholder-owned utilities, and industrial end-users. Many commenters criticized FERC for failing to articulate the rationale for additional reporting requirements. They also noted that FERC's statutory authority to collect data is limited to jurisdictional transactions and that, at best, this only constitutes a small portion of the market.

 

In addition, many parties noted that the jurisdictional slice of the market is impossible to identify, presenting significant compliance hurdles. Confidentiality concerns were also raised. Many parties, including producers and end-users, maintained that no amount of lag time between reporting and public dissemination would address those concerns.

 

There is no specific timeline for further action in this proceeding. Given the strong reaction from market participants, however, it appears unlikely that any regulatory changes are imminent. On February 20, 2013, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, Ballard Spahr will be hosting a webinar, “Taking Stock of the Comments on FERC’s Market Transparency NOI.” More information and a link to register for the webinar can be found here.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Dena E. Wiggins at wigginsd@ballardspahr.com or 202.661.2225, or Jack N. Semrani at semranij@ballardspahr.com or 202.661.7640.