GOVERNMENT: Yardstick for Gas

Ever since the Federal Power Commission set out eleven years ago to regulate the nation's 3,000-odd independent natural gas producing companies (those not owning their own pipelines), a battle has raged over the question: What is a fair profit for independents? Last week the FPC finally had an answer. In a test case involving the Phillips Petroleum Co. of Bartlesville, Okla., FPC Presiding Examiner Joseph Zwerdling recommended that Phillips be permitted a 9.25% return on its investment. The rate was a compromise between the 18% return asked by Phillips and the 6% return that FPC has been allowing integrated...

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