Thursday, October 25, 2007

Energy Trading Oversight Awakens from its Slumber with Anticipated BP Settlement

Raymond Learsy writing at the Huffington Post.

Here are a couple paragraphs:
(in the past I've nitpicked the length of some of Mr. Learsy's comments, this one is tighter. One quibble: although the Enron exemption was codified in 2000, it was a CFTC rule back in the 90's)

...This potential for mischief by those who have a vested interest in ever higher oil/energy prices, has been exacerbated exponentially by the emergence of "sovereign wealth funds." These funds control some $2,200bn, or 1.3 percent of the stock of global financial assets and whose operations and lack of transparency is of such growing concern that it was discussed at the European Union's Lisbon summit last week. It is no surprise that a number of OPEC members, as does Russia, rank high on the list of the largest sovereign funds.

I have long contented that oil prices are being manipulated higher by oil interests and their allies (see "An Energy Agenda For A Newly Energized Congress, Part IV. . . ," 12-11-06). Now comes a sweeping validation of these contentions. According to today's Wall Street Journal the Justice Department is expected to seek indictments against four former BP PLC traders, while BP itself is expected to pay $303 million to settle civil charges and avoid criminal prosecution for allegedly manipulating and cornering the U.S. propane market in 2004. The settlement does not include a specific assurance, which BP had sought, by the CFTC or the Justice Department that they will not take future action against BP stemming from a longstanding investigation of BP's crude oil trading....MORE