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Shippers ask FERC to keep on its rate investigation into NGPL

Shippers opposed a motion by Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America LLC to end FERC's Natural Gas Act Section 5 investigation into its natural gas transportation rates.

The shippers said their opposition was partly due to NGPL's failure to explain certain factual inconsistencies of the company's capital structure in its motion. The shippers included Anadarko Energy Services Co., Apache Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Cross Timbers Energy Services Inc., Occidental Energy Marketing Inc. and Shell Energy North America (US) LP.

At its monthly meeting on Jan. 19, FERC introduced draft orders to begin the investigations into rates charged NGPL, owned by Kinder Morgan Inc. and Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, and Wyoming Interstate Co. LLC, owned by Kinder Morgan, in 2014 and 2015. NGPL submitted a motion to terminate the investigation into its rates on Jan. 30.

"In fact, this motion reinforces the need for such an investigation," the shippers said in their Jan. 31 filing. Section 5 rate investigations usually obtain input from pipeline customers and tend to be resolved with a settlement agreement between the investigated companies and FERC.

In announcing the rate investigations against NGPL and WIC, the commission said there were concerns over whether or not the companies' earnings surpassed their service cost and a reasonable return on equity. NGPL and WIC must file a cost and revenue study for the most recent year-long period by April 4. (FERC docket RP17-303)