Regulators Probe UK Natural Gas Market

From Financial Times

By Javier Blas

UK regulators are investigating an alleged attempt to manipulate the country’s physical wholesale natural gas market, the latest sign of watchdogs stepping up their vigilance of electricity and natural gas trading.

The UK Financial Services Authority and the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) are investigating unusual price activity in late September in the National Balancing Point (NBP), a so-called virtual hub that serves as the main pricing point for UK natural gas, according to people familiar with the probe.

NBP is the most active gas market in Europe, attracting billions of dollars of physical and financial transactions from utilities, hedge funds and banks.

Edward Davey, UK energy secretary, said in a statement he was “extremely concerned” about the allegations of manipulation. “[We] will be keeping in close touch with the regulators while they get to the bottom of this,” he said.

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