The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and EnerSoft Corp., a New York State Electric & Gas subsidiary, have launched Channel 4, the only electronic bulletin board (EBB) that allows companies to trade natural gas and pipeline capacity in the United States and Canada via a single system. Channel 4 is also the only system connected to over 40 pipelines, which it sweeps for information. The network itself is private, and not connected to the Internet for security reasons.
Channel 4 offers three trading methods: 1) market match (matches bid and asked prices, time frames, and delivery points using standard contracts), 2) electronic auction (gives discretionary control over spot-market purchases using predetermined business partners), and 3) trader match (allows online, customized negotiations).
EnerSoft president David Keller claims that Channel 4 is the only system open to everyone, and notes that the EBB information is free. Keller said that until now EBBs have been used as weapons against competition, but that Channel 4 would promote it. He added that Channel 4 will eventually add other commodities.