By Allison Prang
An energy joint venture is going to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission over its agreement to purchase a pipeline that the FTC said hinders competition, the regulator said Friday.
NEXUS Gas Transmission LLC, whose member companies are Enbridge Inc. (ENB, ENB.T) and DTE Energy Co. (DTE), agreed to buy Generation Pipeline LLC from North Coast Gas Transmission LLC for $160 million earlier this year. But the FTC said its complaint alleges that a part of the deal agreement is against antitrust law.
The deal would hinder competition because North Coast wouldn't be allowed to compete for natural-gas pipeline transportation in certain parts of Ohio for three years after the deal, according to the FTC's complaint. But the FTC said that the North Coast and Generation pipelines could be the best options for certain customers.
As part of the settlement, the clause in question has to be omitted from the deal agreement, the FTC said. The joint venture and companies involved in it also can't enter any other types of noncompetitive agreements with other natural-gas pipeline transportation operations in that part of the state without prior FTC approval.
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