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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Media Headlines Archives January-March 2005

Summary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Market
Oversight and Investigation's (OMOI)

Investigation of Events Related to the Energy Information Administration's Weekly Natural Gas Storage

Report for November 24, 2004

  • Commission staff concludes its investigation of the November 24, 2004, Energy Information Administration (EIA) natural gas storage report.

  • Commission staff finds no evidence that any Dominion Resources, Inc. trader had improper, advance knowledge of the error in EIA's November 24 weekly storage report.

  • On December 17, 2004, Commission staff announced that due to a clerical error, Dominion Transmission, Inc. submitted erroneous data to EIA for the week ending November 19, 2004, which resulted in EIA reporting a larger than expected storage withdrawal.

  • Prior to November 24, market observers anticipated a withdrawal from storage in the range of 13-25 Bcf for the week ending November 19, 2004. When the EIA released its Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report at noon on November 24 showing a net withdrawal 49 Bcf, the price of natural gas futures contracts on NYMEX immediately increased.

  • Prices for December contracts closed up $1.183/MMBtu and January contracts were up $1.018/MMBtu for the day.

  • On December 2, 2004, EIA issued a 32 Bcf correction to the prior week's report.

  • Commission staff conducted a full investigation of this matter.
      1. reviewed documents related to Dominion's submission of storage information to EIA;
      2. deposed and/or interviewed nine Dominion employees, including traders employed by Dominion's trading affiliate, Dominion Energy Clearinghouse;
      3. obtained written testimony from an additional 22 Dominion employees;
      4. reviewed thousands of emails and instant messages;
      5. analyzed Dominion's energy trading book from mid-November until after EIA posted the correction to the weekly report; and
      6. analyzed trading of other market participants during the same period.

  • Dominion Transmission, Inc., and its parent, Dominion Resources, Inc., cooperated fully with the investigation.