In a move that took many in the industry by surprise, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on July 9, 2013, issued a “Notice of Data Requests to Certain Natural Gas Marketers for Information Related to Natural Gas Sales” in Docket No. RM13-1-000. Last November in this docket, FERC solicited comments on its proposal to require quarterly reporting of every jurisdictional natural gas transaction that entails physical delivery for the next day or for the next month. Quarterly reporting of all jurisdictional electric market contracts and transactions effectuated thereunder long has been the norm. The vast majority of commenters objected to the proposal, with many explaining that the requirement would not advance FERC’s goal of improving natural gas market transparency because jurisdictional transactions make up only a small portion of relevant sales.

Instead of abandoning the proposal as expected, FERC now seeks more information to help it assess whether the proposed reporting requirement would improve transparency. The Notice explains that FERC’s Office of Enforcement will send data requests to “certain natural gas marketers” in order to gather “additional information about what portion of the total natural gas sales are jurisdictional natural gas sales.”

Marketers that receive the five-question data request must respond directly to FERC staff within 15 days. Although marketers can seek confidential treatment of the data they provide in response, if FERC takes further action in the docket it may disclose information “in some summary or aggregated form.”