• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Strikes Again - FERC Pursues Yet Another Allegedly Manipulative Energy Trading Scheme
  • August 17, 2013 | Authors: Daniel A. Mullen; J. Peter Ripley; Michael A. Yuffee
  • Law Firm: Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP - Washington Office
  • On August 5, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission” or “FERC”) issued an order directing BP America Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “BP”) to show cause why it should not pay a $28 million civil penalty and a $800,000 disgorgement fee for manipulating the next-day, fixed-price gas market at the Houston Ship Channel (“HSC”) from September to November 2008 in violation of Section 4A of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) and Section 1c.1 of the Commission’s regulations (the “Anti-Manipulation Rule”). This is the third in a string of high-profile orders in which the Commission has sought or assessed unprecedented civil penalties against energy traders, financial institutions, and/or energy companies. This latest case demonstrates that the Commission will continue to investigate and prosecute allegedly manipulative energy trading schemes, even years after the trading activity at issue has occurred. Further, it bears noting that, while the Commission uses a complex formula to determine civil penalties, its assessment of civil penalties in recent cases ranges from roughly two to thirty times the corresponding disgorgement fee.