Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that the proposed merger of energy infrastructure companies Enbridge Inc. and Spectra Energy Corp likely would harm competition in the market for pipeline transportation of natural gas in three production areas off the coast of Louisiana.

First announced in February 2017, the FTC’s complaint alleged the merger likely would reduce natural gas pipeline competition within the Green Canyon, Walker Ridge and Keathley Canyon production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. In portions of the affected areas, the FTC alleged, the merging parties’ pipelines are the two pipelines located closest to certain wells and, as a result, are likely the lowest cost pipeline transportation options for those wells.

The order requires that Enbridge establish firewalls to limit its access to non-public information about the Discovery Pipeline. Also, with two limited exceptions, board members of the Spectra-affiliated companies that hold a 40 percent share in the Discovery Pipeline must recuse themselves from any vote involving the pipeline.

The Commission vote approving the final order was 2-0. (FTC File No. 161 0215; the staff contact is Eric Cochran, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3454.)

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