In response to the announcement that Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company’s Kern River Gas Transmission Pipeline has terminated its acquisition of rival Dominion Energy, Inc.’s Questar Pipeline, the FTC Bureau of Competition Acting Director Holly Vedova issued this statement:
“Yesterday, following an investigation by FTC staff with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Dominion Energy abandoned the planned $1.7 billion sale of the Questar Pipeline. Only two pipelines bring natural gas from the Rocky Mountain production basins to serve central Utah: Berkshire’s Kern River Pipeline and Dominion’s Questar Pipeline. The FTC collected extensive testimonial, documentary, and economic evidence that demonstrated that the acquisition would have eliminated the close competition between Kern River and Questar that has benefited customers who sought large transportation contracts or direct connections between their facilities and the interstate pipeline. This competition historically has enabled Utah customers to obtain lower transportation rates and better terms of service.
“Although this outcome preserves competition, it is disappointing that the FTC had to expend significant resources to review this transaction when we previously filed suit in 1995 to block the same combination. Questar Pipeline attempted to purchase a 50% share in the Kern River Pipeline but the parties abandoned those plans shortly after the Commission’s suit. Given our prior action, and the even closer competition that developed between the pipelines since then, this is representative of the type of transaction that should not make it out of the boardroom. The Bureau of Competition will be actively exploring its options on how to curtail this type of re-review to better deploy the Commission’s scarce resources.”