June 29, 2011 / 3:25 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-EU moves to clamp down on energy insider trading

* Energy traders must sign national and EU registers

* Energy regulator ACER will monitor EU carbon market

* EU govts agree framework of fines for non-compliance

By Pete Harrison

BRUSSELS, June 29 (Reuters) - European Union governments struck a provisional deal on Wednesday on preventing market abuse and insider trading in energy markets, negotiators said.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger proposed new rules in December to prevent market abuse in a wholesale market estimated to be worth around 500 billion euros ($708 billion) per year.

“As the EU internal energy market for electricity and gas is becoming more and more liberalised and interconnected, the potential for abuse and manipulation is also growing,” said a statement from EU government negotiators.

“The proposed regulation sets up a framework for monitoring wholesale energy markets in order to detect market abuse and manipulation, thereby ensuring the integrity and transparency of those markets,” it added.

A team of about 15 market monitors, based at the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) in Slovenia, will be handed extensive powers to collect market data and act on manipulative behaviour and insider trading.

The deal, which still needs approval by the European Parliament, forces energy traders and other market participants to sign up to national register and ACER’s European register.

Wednesday’s agreement also outlines the levels of fines for non-compliance, aimed to be “proportionate, dissuasive and effective”.

ACER will also have access to data on the trade of carbon emissions permits in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to prevent cross-market and cross-commodity abuses. The European Parliament has already pushed for that option.

The EU’s executive Commission may follow up with a specific proposal for regulating the ETS, which forces 11,000 factories and power suppliers to obtain permits for each tonne of carbon they emit. (Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Rex Merrifield and Anthony Barker) ($1=.7062 Euro)

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