The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a consent agreement with Phillips Petroleum Company and Enron Corp., settling charges that Phillips' proposed acquisition of certain natural gas pipeline gathering systems owned by Enron subsidiaries would eliminate competition for natural gas transportation between the two companies in the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle region. The Commission's action makes the consent order provisions, which were slightly modified from the settlement originally announced by the FTC in this matter, binding on the respondents.
Phillips is based in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Enron is based in Houston, Texas.
Under the final order, the acquisition agreement must be modified so that 830 specified miles of pipe and related gas gathering assets within the Panhandle counties is not included in the sale of Enron assets to Phillips. The settlement also requires Phillips, for 10 years, to notify the FTC before it acquires more than five miles of gas gathering pipelines located within the Panhandle counties from any one person during any 18-month period; and requires Enron, for 10 years, to notify the FTC before it can sell any of the 830 miles of pipeline assets excluded from the challenged deal to Phillips or to Maxus Energy Corporation. Maxus is another large gas gatherer in the region.
As modified, the prior notice requirement does not apply to one system, the Transwestern No. 3, located in Beaver and Ellis Counties, Oklahoma, if that system is to be acquired by Maxus, because that firm's operations do not extend into Oklahoma.
The consent agreement was announced for a public-comment period on Aug. 25, 1995. The Commission vote to issue it in final form occurred on Dec. 28 and was 5-0.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
A news release summarizing the complaint and consent agreement was issued at the time the Commission accepted the consent agreement for public comment. Copies of that release and of the complaint and final order are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov.
(FTC File No. 951 0037)
(Docket No. C-3634 )