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Kinder Morgan, Spectra Pipeline Charges Under Scrutiny

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Spectra Energy Corp. may be charging too much to ship natural gas through their pipelines, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today.

FERC studied the rates Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission LLC and Spectra’s Ozark Gas Transmission LLC charged in 2008 and 2009, and will ask the companies to provide information for 2010, agency Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said during a commission meeting in Washington.

Rates for Kinder Morgan transmission pipelines in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Wyoming, and Spectra’s Ozark link in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri are “quite above the industry average,” Wellinghoff told reporters after the meeting.

Kinder Morgan’s current rates are just and reasonable and the company will give the commission information “in support of that position,” Larry Pierce, a spokesman for the Houston-based company, said in an e-mail today.

Ozark will provide FERC with cost and revenue information for 2010 and the data should help the commission determine that no “significant” adjustment is required, Spectra Energy Partners, which owns Ozark, said in a statement.

The rate review probably won’t have any material impact on either company’s earnings, Spectra Energy and Kinder Morgan said.

Kinder Morgan Interstate transports about 940 million cubic feet of gas a day, Pierce said. Ozark has capacity to ship 500 million cubic feet per day, Houston-based Spectra said.

Kinder Morgan rose 44 cents to $70 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Spectra advanced 28 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $23.99.

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