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CFTC Sought Oil Trading Data Tied to BP, Canadian Natural

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Alberta regulators sought oil trading information last year as part of a probe of BP Plc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., according to a lawsuit.

The requests for information from MEG Energy Corp. were revealed in court documents filed as part of an Alberta Securities Commission lawsuit this month to compel the Calgary-based company to turn over documents. MEG, an oil-sands developer, filed suit the same day to stop what it called “unreasonable” data demands from the regulator.

The U.S. regulator in June requested the company provide all oil trading files from the start of 2011, for a matter involving BP’s North American unit and Canadian Natural, according to a subpoena included as evidence in the suit. Alberta’s securities regulator sought the same documents and last month requested more files, saying it’s looking into potential violations of fraud and manipulation rules.

Canadian Natural gave the CFTC information it was asked to provide and was never told there is an active investigation into the company, according to the Calgary-based producer.

MEG, BP and both the Alberta and U.S. regulators declined to comment on the information requests.

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary has scheduled a hearing on the cases for April 22.

Calls, E-mails

The CFTC sought MEG documents related to oil trading and shipments including daily positions, e-mails, phone calls and instant messages, and files of employees involved in trading, according to the June 22, 2012, subpoena. The Alberta regulator asked MEG for the same files plus all documents tied to interactions between the oil-sands developer, BP and Canadian Natural.

The Alberta regulator’s request would cover more than 100,000 records, according to MEG. MEG produces about 30,000 barrels a day of bitumen from one oil-sands site, the company said.

At the time of the CFTC’s subpoena, MEG had never been involved in derivative trading in commodities and none of its oil transactions involved BP or Canadian Natural, the company said in a filing. The CFTC didn’t say MEG was the subject of the investigation, the company said.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has filed suit against the CFTC challenging one of the agency’s proposed swaps rules.

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