Internet Problems Disrupt Altrade Gas Trading
An IBM Internet outage that affected many western and Canadian
customers last week temporarily cut off access to Altrade's
electronic gas trading system Thursday afternoon costing the
company and its customers at least 5 Bcf/d in trading volume during
a peak bidweek trading period.
"The system itself was running fine but it did knock some people
off if they were only going through the Internet," said David
Hanson, Altrade's vice president of gas marketing. "That service
that IBM provided has been bought by AT&T but it wasn't
anything to do with that. It was essentially a communication
problem within the network. A combination of telephone lines and
hardware failed on them. Yes, we were affected, but so were 100
other customers of theirs.
"I would rather it not happen during bidweek," he said. "We did
about 12 Bcf/d [in gas trading] yesterday, but it likely cost us 5
Bcf." Hanson said on Tuesday the system handled nearly 20 Bcf in
gas trades because of high bidweek traffic.
The outage was "an inconvenience for our customers," he said.
"Some traders instead did their business on the phone. Others
waited until today. Some of them just because of the volatility of
the market would rather carry volumes over into August on a swing
"The last time we had a problem like this was about two years
ago. IBM is consistently rated very high as an Internet provider so
I don't expect to see this happening again anytime soon."
Altrade was formed in May through a merger of the two dominant
electronic trading systems, Altra Energy's Streamline and
QuickTrade. It's average daily volume is between 5 and 6 Bcf with
about 600 traders logged on.
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