Prepay agreements - The ten-year pitch

Since the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirmed the tax-exempt status of gas prepayment deals in October 2003, energy major BP has executed three such transactions for a total of more than $1 billion - the latest in August. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) expects to see further increased interest in these deals, particularly given the clear regulatory environment for them, created both by the IRS ruling and the Energy Policy Act (EPA) this year (see box).

"We expect to see many

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