FTC Seeks Public Comment on Kinder Morgan, Inc.’s Request to Modify Final Decision and Order, Divestiture Agreement Related to 2012 Acquisition of El Paso Corp.

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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on a request by Kinder Morgan, Inc., that the Commission modify the final FTC order and approve a change to the divestiture agreement. The order was issued to resolve Commission charges that Kinder Morgan’s 2012 acquisition of El Paso Corporation would harm competition in several markets for pipeline transportation and processing of natural gas in the Rocky Mountain region.

The final order required Kinder Morgan to divest its Rockies Express pipeline, Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission pipeline, and Trailblazer pipeline, as well as two gas processing plants in the Rocky Mountain region and associated storage capacity. Kinder Morgan also was required, among other things, to provide transitional support to the company purchasing the divested assets.  Kinder Morgan divested the assets to Tallgrass Energy Partners, LP (Tallgrass) in 2012.

In its request, Kinder Morgan asks the Commission to modify the order, and to approve an extension to the Transition Services Agreement it has with Tallgrass so Kinder Morgan can continue to provide support to Tallgrass in operating the assets it acquired. Without this extension, from nine to 19 months, the request states, Tallgrass’s ability to compete in the marketplace would be diminished.

According to Kinder Morgan, its request is based on conditions relevant to the transaction that have changed since the acquisition, and the modifications are in the public interest because they will enable Tallgrass, the FTC-approved acquirer, to more effectively compete in the marketplace. Kinder Morgan notes that its request is being submitted on behalf of Tallgrass.

The Commission will decide whether to approve the request after expiration of the public comment period.  Public comments may be submitted until September 13, 2013.  Written comments should be sent to:  FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580.  Comments also can be filed electronically.  Copies of the application also can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release.  (FTC Docket No. C-4355; the staff contact is Elizabeth Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see related press release dated May 1, 2012)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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