Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. FEDERAL POWER COM'N

Decision Date29 December 1960
Docket NumberNo. 6395.,6395.
Citation285 F.2d 737
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit

Robert T. James, Tulsa, Okl., for petitioner.

Peter H. Schiff, Washington, D. C., for respondent.


HUXMAN, Circuit Judge.

Petitioner, Amerada Petroleum Corporation, herein called Amerada, has filed a petition for rehearing asking the court to reconsider its opinion and order of November 7, 1960, and upon rehearing to set aside the order and judgment dismissing its appeal. The court has considered the petition for rehearing and concludes that it should be denied and the judgment of the court should stand.

It is correct, as stated by Amerada, that the court rested its decision sustaining the motion to dismiss on a ground not presented by the motion to dismiss and erroneously based its decision on the ground that the Board did not act arbitrarily in refusing to approve petitioner's offer of compromise and settlement.1 It is, however, a well established principle of law that a correct judgment will not be overturned merely because an untenable ground is assigned therefor. That principle applies equally to the judgments of the Circuit Court of Appeals as well as to those coming to it from the lower courts. For the purpose of clarifying the record, the original opinion is hereby withdrawn and this opinion is substituted as the opinion of the court.

This case is here on the motion of respondent, Federal Power Commission, to dismiss Amerada Petroleum Corporation's2 petition to review and set aside an order of the Commission issued January 4, 1960, in a proceeding entitled, "In the Matter of Amerada Petroleum Corporation, Docket No. G-14421."3 Amerada is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware and is engaged in the business of exploring for and producing and marketing oil and natural gas. It maintains its principal place of business in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On December 31, 1957, Amerada entered into a long-term contract with United Gas Pipeline Company for the sale of Amerada's portion of the gas from a common pool owned jointly with Pan American Petroleum Corporation and some individuals holding minor interests. The new contract called for an initial price of 18½ cents per MCF. Prior to the execution of this contract, Amerada had terminated a short-term contract with the same purchaser and had sought permission from the Commission to discontinue the sale under such contract. Amerada states that this relief was sought to place it in a position of equality with Pan American which had been authorized to discontinue a similar short-term contract of sale to United and to commence a new sale from its share of the common stream of gas to American Louisiana Pipe Line Company at a price of 18¼ cents per MCF. Upon failure to obtain the consent of the Commission to discontinue the sale to United under the short-term contract, Amerada transmitted the contract of December 31, 1957, to the Commission by letter dated January 10, 1958. The letter stated that the contract was filed as a new contract and "solely for the purpose of avoiding any penalty that might be incurred by failure to comply with the regulations of the Commission or the Natural Gas Act 15 U.S.C.A. § 717 et seq.."

Thereafter, on February 10, 1958, the Commission issued its order suspending the effectiveness of the price provisions of the contract of December 31, 1957, until July 18, 1958. By order of March 21, 1958, the Commission denied a motion filed by Amerada to shorten the period of suspension. On October 19, 1959, Amerada filed with the Commission a petition for reconsideration of the Commission's order of February 10, 1958, and "Offer of Settlement." In its Offer of Settlement, Amerada offered to reduce the price of gas under the contract of December 31, 1957, from 18½ cents per MCF to 18¼ cents per MCF and offered to refund the excess of ¼...

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15 cases
  • Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Federal Power Com'n
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • February 20, 1973
    ...limit themselves to review of an actual order following a hearing. See FPC v. Metropolitan Edison Co., supra; Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. FPC, 285 F.2d 737 (10th Cir. 1960); United Gas Pipe Line Co. v. FPC, 206 F.2d 842 (3d Cir. 1953); Eastern Utilities Associates v. SEC, 162 F.2d 385 (1st C......
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • November 7, 1980
    ...387 U.S. 136, 152-53, 87 S.Ct. 1507, 1517, 18 L.Ed.2d 681, so as to justify review at this stage. See also Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. FPC, 285 F.2d 737, 739 (10th Cir.).5 Moreover, the potential of exercise of Commission jurisdiction over du Pont pictured by the opinions is subject to chang......
  • National Ass'n of Regulatory Utility Com'rs v. F.E.R.C.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • July 10, 1987
    ...action" by petitioners, and did not "require" petitioners "to refrain from anything [they] might wish to do," Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. FPC, 285 F.2d 737, 739 (10th Cir.1960), the res judicata effect of that ruling does make petitioners aggrieved parties within the meaning of Section 19(b)......
  • Public Service Co. of New Mexico v. Federal Power Commission
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • June 16, 1977
    ...before the Commission". FPC v. Metropolitan Edison Co., 304 U.S. 375, 384-85, 58 S.Ct. 963, 967, 82 L.Ed. 1408; Amerada Petroleum Corp. v. FPC, 285 F.2d 737, 739 (10th Cir.). The requirement that a reviewable order be "definitive" is something more than a requirement that it be unambiguous ......
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