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Industry News

Any Round-Trip Gas Trading Insignificant, Companies Report

LCG, June 6, 2002--Filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission submitted yesterday by gas trading companies report that gas volumes reported traded in 2000 and 2001 were not significantly inflated by so-called round-trip trades.

The FERC had requested information from the period that relates to the wholesale energy market in the Western states and California in particular. A significant amount of generation, and most new power plants, are powered by natural gas, the price of which was significantly higher than historical averages during the 2001 power crisis. Round-trip trading of electricity has been under investigation by the FERC due to the possibility that the appearance of high trading volumes could lead to higher prices than would otherwise occur.

Calpine's filing stated that 15 of 52,000 trades might be compared to 'wash' trades, in which two trading partners sell one another equal amounts of gas so as to increase revenues but not profits. Those transactions, Calpine said, were "completed for valid risk-management reasons." Reliant Rsources said a "small number" of its transactions covering a "range of transactions types" conducted for "conventional business purposes" could have been perceived as wash trades, due to "reasons of concidence or mistake." It did identify wash gas trades that had occurred outside the Western market. Duke Energy found three such trades in the West.

Other companies reporting, who all denied engaging in wash trades in the West and in Texas, were Houston's Dynegy and El Paso Corp.; Oklahoma-based Williams; Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C.; and CMS Energy, of Michigan.
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