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FERC Closes Docket on Proposed Quarterly Natural Gas Price Reporting

More than three years after issuing a notice of inquiry (NOI) on whether to require quarterly reporting of FERC-jurisdictional next-day and next-month natural gas transactions, the Commission on Tuesday terminated the proceeding.

"After gaining ongoing access to additional physical natural gas market data, we have determined that the NOI's proposed reporting is not necessary at this time," the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in an order issued Tuesday [RM13-1]. "Accordingly, we exercise our discretion to terminate this proceeding."

FERC issued the NOI Nov. 15, 2012, seeking comments on a proposal it was considering that would require quarterly reporting of every natural gas transaction within its Natural Gas Act (NGA) jurisdiction that entailed physical delivery for the next day or the next month (see Daily GPINov. 16, 2012). At the time, FERC said the requirement would enhance "its ability to identify the potential for manipulation in the natural gas markets, to examine more efficiently the manipulative behavior, and to assess the effects of manipulation."

The initiative would have for the first time required buyers and sellers to submit the prices of individual transactions. Under the Commission's Order 552, first issued in 2007, traders in the wholesale market voluntarily report aggregated totals of various types of transactions annually (see Daily GPIDec. 19, 2008). The initial effort was directed at assessing the extent and viability of the industry's use of published prices, such as those published by Natural Gas Intelligence, for indexing its transactions.

In 2013, FERC received 34 sets of comments in response to the NOI (see Daily GPIJuly 15, 2013). "Many commenters stated, among other things, that the reporting requirement under consideration in the NOI would not enhance natural gas market transparency because the requirement...would apply only to natural gas sales with the Commission's NGA jurisdiction," which "comprise only a small portion of the total natural gas sales and, therefore, reporting only jurisdictional sales would not enhance natural gas market transparency much or at all," FERC said at the time.

The NOI was based on Section 23 of the NGA, which Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 used to direct FERC to "facilitate price transparency."

FERC staff are scheduled to release its annual report on enforcement at the Commission's monthly meeting Thursday. The annual report provides the public with information about FERC staff activities, describing both public and nonpublic enforcement activities, including Commission-approved settlements, investigations and self-reports closed without enforcement action or sanctions (see Daily GPINov. 20, 2014).

With only one other public meeting scheduled before the end of the year, FERC has an unusually full agenda for the Thursday meeting, including several natural gas items.

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