18 CFR 2.76 - Regulatory treatment of payments made in lieu of take-or-pay obligations.
With respect to payments made to a first seller of natural gas as consideration for waiving or revising any agreement for the first sale of natural gas, as defined by section (2)(21) of the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA), the Commission sets forth the following statement of general policy and interpretation of law.
(a)Payments in consideration. A first seller of natural gas that receives payments as consideration for amending or waiving the take-or-pay or similar minimum payment provisions of a contract for the first sale of natural gas is not in violation of section 504(a) of the NGPA.
(b)Recovery in rates. A pipeline that makes any payments referred to under paragraph (a) of this section, to first sellers may file to recover such costs in any section 4(e) rate filing other than a filing to recover purchased gas costs.
(c)Case-specific review. A pipeline's method of recovering these costs and how it should apportion them among customers will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in the context of individual rate case filings.
(d)Customers' rights. When a pipeline seeks to recover payments referred to under paragraph (a) of this section, its customers will have the full opportunity contemplated by section 4 of the Natural Gas Act to raise questions as to the prudence of such payments, the apportionment of costs among customers proposed by the filing pipeline, and any other reasonably related matters.
(e)Certificate amendments and abandonment. With regard to natural gas the sale of which is subject to the Commission's jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act, if any payments referred to under paragraph (a) of this section are accompanied by a change in or a termination of, the first seller's contractual obligation to provide natural gas service, the Commission will, as a general policy under sections 7(c) and 7(b) of the Natural Gas Act, expeditiously grant any certificate amendments or abandonment authorizations, required to effectuate such contractual or service modifications.
In cases where a producer abandonment application is based on payments made pursuant to this policy statement, the interstate pipeline making the payments will be deemed to have waived any right to oppose the abandonment.