Shell Energy North America has been relieved of the obligation to notify FERC before it modifies natural gas price reporting procedures that were established as part of a 2005 settlement agreement.
The agreement was struck between Shell Energy predecessor company Coral Energy Resources LP and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's former Office of Market Oversight and Investigations (now the Office of Enforcement). It stemmed from an investigation into the alleged manipulation of natural gas and electricity prices in the West. The reporting procedures were established to ensure the accuracy of data the company reports to publishers of natural gas price indexes.
Left in place is a separate requirement that Shell Energy give the Commission advance notice if it decides to terminate the procedures.
"This order is in the public interest because it ensures that Shell Energy will continue to have procedures in place to ensure the accuracy of the pricing information it makes publicly available while relieving it of an administrative requirement that no longer contributes to achieving that purpose," the Commission said Wednesday [IN05-5].
Under the 2005 agreement, Coral was required to implement a number of compliance measures to ensure the accuracy of the pricing data it provides to reporting firms.
"Since entering into the settlement agreement in 2005, Shell Energy has demonstrated its compliance with its price reporting procedures, and Enforcement has received no report from any source suggesting that Shell Energy or its predecessor has reported inaccurate pricing data," FERC said. "Furthermore, audits performed by Commission staff confirm Shell Energy's implementation of all other requirements of the settlement agreement and the accuracy of the pricing data that Shell Energy provides. Shell Energy represents that since entering into the settlement agreement there have been no substantive modifications of its price reporting procedures, and that it currently has no intention to make any such modification in the future.
"...[T]he notification requirement no longer contributes to Shell Energy's compliance with the separate requirement that it provide accurate pricing information, and, further, that it is no longer necessary to protect the Commission's interest in ensuring such accuracy."