BP denies cheating natural gas markets

Aug. 6, 2013 at 7:24 AM

HOUSTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Charges filed by U.S. regulators against BP for alleged manipulation in the natural gas market are without merit, the company said in a statement.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Monday the British energy company could face more than $20 million in fines on allegations it rigged the natural gas markets in Texas. FERC said BP was suspected of selling natural at a loss in order to increase its financial position.

BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said FERC based its allegations on a two-minute conversation between a natural gas trader and a BP trainee as evidence it cheated the market. He said the allegations were without merit. The information gleaned from the recorded conversation were taken out of context.

"The trainee involved in the conversation states that his characterization was incorrect and the trader never agrees with nor condones the trainee's statements," Morrell said in a statement Monday. "The trader also reacts strongly to the trainee's comments and interrupts him because the trainee's comments -- as the trainee admits on the call -- are incorrect and inappropriate."

FERC gave the British company 30 days to issue a formal response to the allegations.

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