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Tulsa Firm Fined for Rigging Pipeline Construction Bids

A Tulsa, OK-based pipeline construction firm has been fined $150,000 for rigging the bids they submitted to BP America Production Co. for the construction of natural gas pipelines in the Upper San Juan Basin in Colorado.

U.S. District Judge Phillip Figa for the District of Colorado imposed the fine on Flint Energy Service Inc. Flint Energy and Kenneth L. Rains, general manager of Flint's Farmington, NM, office, pleaded guilty in August to the felony charges of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act (see Daily GPI, Aug. 10). Rains is expected to be sentenced in January 2007, and could face up to six months in a federal minimum security camp.

Flint and attorneys for the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division in Chicago had requested a fine of $100,000, but Figa said the amount did not match the severity of the crime. Flint Energy has repaid BP America the full $672,036 that the company was awarded under at least four contracts.

Rains copped to the charge that he participated in a "conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by submitting noncompetitive and rigged bids from the Farmington, NM, regional office of Flint Energy Services Inc. to BP America Production Co. for the construction of pipelines to transport natural gas from wells in the Upper San Juan Basin in Colorado beginning in approximately June of 2005 and continuing until December 2005," according to a plea agreement worked out with federal prosecutors.

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