Marathon settles price manipulation charges

Marathon Oil will pay a $1 million civil penalty to settle allegations it tried to manipulate WTI back in 2003. Here’s the Commodity Futures Trading Commission release.
The company said back in May it was expecting the charges and said at the time it “intends to vigorously defend the proposed enforcement action.” Under terms of the settlement today the company neither admits nor denies guilt.
The alleged manipulation occured during the so-called “Platts window,” a 30 minute interval at the end of the trading day when the energy publishing firm Platts pulls data used to set prices for other foreign and domestic crudes. CFTC said Marathon tried to sell oil below market prices during the window in order to get a lower price set for oil it intended to purchase.
According to a Wall Street Journal article several companies had been contacted about possible manipulation during the “window,” but they are not named.
Judging from the language of the CFTC release it doesn’t appear Marathon was succesful in its alleged attempt to lower prices .
Here’s a link to Platts’ explanation of its methodologies for gathering data.
Given the new level of coordination between the CFTC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, I wonder if we should be seeing a similar settlement with FERC in the near future?

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