Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond might have new fuel to support any legal action his office takes for the natural gas market manipulation he alleges occurred during the 2021 Winter Storm Uri—the one where gas prices soared by more than 1,000%.
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, the AG who’s led the movement to hold a natural gas firm accountable for the gas prices that resulted in historic high consumer prices, refiled his $50 million lawsuit against Macquarie Energy, the same firm that supplied electricity producers in Oklahoma during the storm.
“It’s disgraceful that Macquarie would manipulate prices at a time when Kansans were already hurting from the storm,” Kobach said in a statement from his office.
“We will do everything we can to recover what was taken from those Kansans.”
His first lawsuit was refiled in federal court, only to be dismissed on a legal technicality. His latest attempt made the same accusations against Macquarie Energy—that it allegedly manipulated prices by overpaying for natural gas from the largest supplier in Kansas. Macquarie is considered to be the second-dlargest gas marketer in the U.S.
Kobach hired a Nebraska-based law firm to help with the action, very much like Oklahoma’s Attorney General did in hiring Foshee & Yaffe law firm of Oklahoma City.
You can read the full complaint here.
The lawsuit claims Macquarie’s actions led to skyrocketing natural gas prices at the time of the storm.
“At various Mid-Continent and nearby locations, natural gas spot market benchmark prices doubled, tripled, rose ten-fold, and even, in certain locations for a short time, rose 100-fold. During a February 13-16, 2021 price peak, benchmark Mid-Continent natural gas prices, which at February’s beginning were approximately $2.50/MMBtu, rose to approximately $200-
$300/MMBtu,” stated the lawsuit.
The suit accused Macquarie of “aggravating an already stressed market” by entering into an “eonomically irrational natural gas trade” on the morning of February 16, 2021 and purchasing natural gas for next-day delivery “at the single highest price every paid for Southern Star” Gas Daily.
“The only logical explanation is that the Trade was an intentional effort to manipulate the February 17, 2021 Southern Star Gas Daily price,” charged the lawsuit.
Oklahoma Attorney General Drummond has yet to file any lawsuit or other legal action after announcing his investigation last spring. His most recent action was to subpoena the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and some of its employees for their email communications made prior to the state’s use of securitization bonds allowing utilities to pass consumer rate hikes over a period of up to 28 years.