Can physical energy contracts ever be classed as derivatives?

Wikipedia says:

"Derivatives are financial contracts, or financial instruments, whose values are derived from the value of something else (known as the underlying). The underlying value on which a derivative is based can be an asset (e.g., commodities, equities (stocks), residential mortgages, commercial real estate, loans, bonds), an index (e.g., interest rates, exchange rates, stock market indices, consumer price index (CPI) — see inflation derivatives), weather conditions, or other items. Credit derivatives are based on loans, bonds or other forms of credit."

The reason this might be important is Tim Geithner's recent statements around the regulation and reporting of OTC derivative trading that he, through the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and through amendments to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA); wants to see implemented in the US

The major banks already fimiliar with this sort of requirement. They already have central trade warehouses for credit and other OTC derivatives. And they already understand the impact and benefits they can expect from a similar setup for commodities. But I am not sure it is as obvious for the major energy companies. Hence the question about physical derivatives.

How much will this regulation effect energy companies and if it does, are they ready?


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