SUN OIL CO. V. FPC, 364 U. S. 170 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sun Oil Co. v. FPC, 364 U.S. 170 (1960)

Sun Oil Co. v. Federal Power Commission

No. 321

Argued April 26, 1960

Decided June 27, 1960

364 U.S. 170


In 1947, petitioner, an independent producer of natural gas, contracted to sell gas from a specified field to an interstate pipeline company at a specified price for a term of 10 years. Subsequently petitioner applied for, and obtained from, the Federal Power Commission a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing such sales, and its contract rate schedule was accepted as its rate schedule under the Natural Gas Act. Upon expiration of its 10-year contract, petitioner contracted with the same pipeline company for the sale of gas from the same field for a new 20-year term, but at a higher rate. Petitioner then applied for a new certificate covering the new contract and filed the new contract as an initial rate schedule under the new certificate pursuant to § 5 of the Act. The Commission rejected the certificate application as duplicative of petitioner's existing certificate to make sales from the field in question, and rejected the rate schedule filing on the ground that the purported initial rate schedule was actually a change in petitioner's existing rate schedule. Petitioner then filed under protest, as rate changes pursuant to § 4(d), the rates in its new contract, and the Commission ordered those rates suspended under § 4(e).

Held: the Commission's orders are sustained. Pp. 364 U. S. 171-176.

(a) In acting upon petitioner's 1947 application, based on its 10-year contract, the Commission was authorized to issue a certificate unlimited as to time. Sunray Mid-Continent Oil Co. v. Federal Power Commission, ante, p. 364 U. S. 137. P. 364 U. S. 174.

(b) The Commission properly construed the certificate issued pursuant to that application as being unlimited as to time. Pp. 364 U. S. 174-176.

266 F.2d 222, affirmed.

Page 364 U. S. 171

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