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Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
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  1. BLM Releases Final Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands; Industry Immediately Files Suit

    Friday, March 27, 2015 1:37 pm by and

    Brief Overview

    On March 20, 2015, three years after its initial proposal, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized new regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing activities on federal and Indian lands.  BLM previously released a draft proposed rule in May 2012 and revised draft in May 2013.

    Key aspects of the final rule include requirements to:  (1) request approval of hydraulic fracturing before commencement of operations; (2) disclose chemicals after completing hydraulic fracturing activities (preferably via FracFocus); (3) perform well integrity and cement evaluation tests and obtain approval if cement remediation is required; (4) use steel tanks for the storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing; and (5) supply information  on estimated fractures and existing wellbores to reduce the risk of impacts to existing wells, i.e., “frack-hits.” (more…)


  2. FAA Announces New Policy to Streamline UAS Integration for Low-Level Flights

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015 2:53 pm by

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a new policy aimed at reducing the amount of time it takes for companies to deploy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Specifically, companies that have obtained a Section 333 exemption for a UAS will now receive a “blanket” Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 200 feet. In the past, once the FAA granted a Section 333 Exemption the exemption holder would also have to file for a separate COA to fly the UAS in a particular block of airspace. The COA approval process can take 60 days.   This announcement comes on the heels of the FAA’s release of a proposed rule governing small UAS flights in the United States. A major component of the proposed rule that stakeholders have supported was the FAA’s introduction of alternatives to the COA process. (more…)


  3. News You Can Use on Net Neutrality

    1:34 pm by

    At first blush, there would appear to be no connection between the regulation of electricity and gas services and the FCC’s most recent order[1] on what is commonly called “net neutrality.” But lurking just beneath the surface of that order are arguments and analogies that should be of concern to every lawyer with a connection to the netherworld of electric power and gas regulation. The FCC’s Net Neutrality Order, unless overturned in the inevitable court challenge, represents a precedent for open-ended informal rulemaking without meaningful notice and comment. It also represents the end of the Delegation Doctrine as known and practiced by generations of administrative lawyers because it embodies agency decision making untethered to any legislative determination of policy. (more…)


  4. EgyptERA Expected to Issue Guidelines for the Renewable FiT Program – With a Plot Twist!

    8:17 am by

    Egypt’s Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency is expected to issue long-awaited guidelines on special purpose vehicle incorporation.   In recent days it has emerged that these guidelines will be more flexible than previously expected.  This is expected to be particularly welcome news to  prequalified developers interested in participating in multiple projects within the feed In tariff programme.

    However, it is expected that the rules will require developers seeking to maximise their participation in the program to act quickly.  (more…)


  5. UK Government announces major North Sea tax cuts

    Thursday, March 19, 2015 8:03 am by , and

    The existing tax regime for exploration and production of oil and gas in the UK and UK Continental Shelf (“UKCS”) comprises three elements:

    (i) Petroleum Revenue Tax (“PRT”) at a rate of 50% which is levied on profits from fields given development consent before 16 March 1993;

    (ii) Ring Fence Corporation Tax at a rate of 30% levied on the post-PRT profit of companies engaged in oil and gas extraction activities; and

    (iii) Supplementary Charge at a rate of 30% (with effect from 1 January 2015, prior to the 2014 Autumn Statement this was levied at a rate of 32%) which is levied on the post-PRT profit of companies engaged in oil and gas extraction activities, (more…)


  6. FERC Enforcement Developments

    Friday, March 13, 2015 3:08 pm by

    During the past few months, there have been a number of important developments concerning FERC enforcement matters. FERC Enforcement staff is involved in four cases that are currently in litigation either before a FERC administrative law judge or in Federal district court. This is the easily the most cases that FERC Enforcement has had in court at any one time. In addition, FERC has three other cases in the order to show cause stage and it appears that all three may also end up in federal court. There are a number of consequences from this unprecedented amount of enforcement litigation. First, market participants should get some clarity from the courts on the reach of the FERC anti-manipulation rule. These are the first court challenges on the rule. Second, FERC enforcement investigations have slowed considerably. While FERC has significant resources devoted to enforcement, FERC did not staff that division expecting this many simultaneous court actions. Absent a considerable influx of staff, FERC investigations will take longer to resolve. (more…)


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