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Late Breaking News....

Late Breaking News....

Three of the four leading natural gas trade associations on Friday were said to be either definitely on board or "favorably inclined" to jointly ask FERC for a second extension of the deadline for industry comments on the major notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and notice of inquiry (NOI) issued in July [RM98-10, RM98-12]. A source indicated there was a "50-50 chance" the lone association holdout would sign on too. The joint request, which reportedly is being spear-headed by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), would seek a six-month extension of the current Jan. 22nd deadline, and could be filed at the Commission as early as this week. A possible reason for the move is that one of the groups is trying to buy time to broker a compromise with the other three associations on a voluntary auction proposal, the source said. This would make pipeline participation in capacity auctioning optional, as opposed to the mandatory route that FERC seems to favor.

This would mark the second time that FERC has been asked to push back the comment deadline for the NOPR and NOI. In early October, it granted a 74-day delay to Jan. 22nd from Nov. 9th. The extension request then came from the top four gas associations - INGAA, the Natural Gas Supply Association, the American Gas Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of America - and the Process Gas Consumers Group/American Iron and Steel Institute, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Meanwhile, another report has FERC staff meeting privately with individual industry segments to trouble-shoot problems associated with NOPR issues. This is in addition to the second technical conference on auction issues the Commission has scheduled for Dec. 8.

Susan Parker

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