On April 12, 2011, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that the agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) to work together and share information on non-public energy investigations.  The CFTC and FTC were unanimous in approving the MOU.

Both of the agencies conduct investigations in the oil and gas markets, and both agencies have the authority to seek legal action in order to stop fraud-based manipulation in the petroleum markets.  However, the CFTC has exclusive jurisdiction over exchanges, clearing organizations and intermediaries in the U.S. futures industry.  The MOU will facilitate sharing of information, and it will also maintain confidentiality of the non-public investigations.  The MOU will remain in effect until terminated by either agency.  Further, the MOU states that nothing in the agreement will modify the duties and responsibilities of either agency, and the MOU will not create any legally binding obligations for either agency.

The CFTC press release on the agreement is available here, and a copy of the MOU is available here.