Commission Receives Petition from Williams Companies to Reopen and Set Aside Order; Final Consent Order Issued in Matter of Basic Research, LLC

For Your Information

Petition to reopen and modify Commission order: The Commission received a petition from The Williams Companies, Inc. (Williams), requesting that the FTC reopen and modify a 1998 order, with the docket number C-3817. The order addresses competitive concerns related to Williams’ acquisition of MAPCO, Inc. in 1998. These concerns involved the markets for pipeline transportation and terminaling of propane gas in the upper Midwest and the transportation by pipeline of natural gas liquids from Southern Wyoming to New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

To remedy these competitive concerns, the order requires Williams to provide pipeline capacity to a named operator of propane terminals (Kinder Morgan Operating L.P.) and to allow any competing pipeline to connect to Williams’ Wyoming gas processing plants. Williams is also prohibited from acquiring certain terminaling and pipeline assets without the prior approval of the Commission. The order expires in 2018. In its petition, Williams states that the order should be set aside because, among other things, it has divested substantially all of the assets formerly owned by MAPCO which were the subject of the order and that its only ongoing obligations under the order are now ancillary to its acquisition of MAPCO. Williams also states that these divestitures constitute significant changes in circumstances that “remove the competition issues that the Order was intended to address . . .”

The Commission is accepting public comments on the petition – a copy of which can be found on the FTC’s Web site – for 30 days, beginning today and continuing until July 22, 2006. Comments should be sent to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. (FTC File No. 981-0076; Docket No. C-3817; the staff contact is Roberta S. Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861; see press release dated March 27, 1998.)

Commission approval of final consent order: Following a public comment period, the FTC has approved the issuance of a final consent order in the matter concerning Basic Research, LLC. The Commission vote to issue the final order was 5-0. Copies are available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this pressrelease. (FTC Docket No. D09318; the staff contact is Laureen Kapin, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3237; see press release dated May 11, 2006.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
FTC Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180