Tuesday, June 18, 2013 8:16 am by Alastair Young and Julian Nichol
The harsh reality is during times of market volatility, the old adage “survival of the fittest,” applies to all companies, but especially junior/mid-cap oil and gas companies.
Unpredictable equity and commodity markets, and lower investor confidence in particular, can make it difficult for junior exploration and production companies to raise capital on the markets, particularly if the company is heavily exposed to development costs and has little to no production revenue. (more…)
Category: Natural Gas/LNG, Offshore, Shale Development, Upstream Energy
Monday, June 17, 2013 8:49 am by Jessica Miller
On May 17, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that its generic findings in its regional transmission planning order, Order No. 1000, were sufficient to overcome the Mobile-Sierra prohibition against the alteration of contract terms unless they seriously harm the public interest. ISO New England Inc., 143 FERC ¶ 61,150 (2013). This conclusion may signal a weakening, under certain circumstances, of the previously high standard for overcoming the Mobile-Sierra presumption of justness and reasonableness. The apparent departure from Commission precedent was significant enough to prompt two Commissioners—Moeller and Clark—to submit separate dissents on that sole issue.
The notable Mobile-Sierra conclusion arose in the context of the Commission’s order accepting compliance filings by the ISO New England (“ISO-NE”) and the Participating Transmission Owner Administrative Committee (together, the “Filing Parties”). The compliance filings responded to Order No. 1000’s regional transmission planning requirements and were, in relevant part, intended to remove the federal rights of first refusal (“ROFR”) from the ISO-NE Transmission Operating Agreement (“TOA”). Though the Commission found that the ROFR was a “prescription of general applicability,” to which the Mobile-Sierra does not necessarily apply, the Commission had previously exercised its discretion to grant Mobile-Sierra protection to the provision, as requested by the Filing Parties. (more…)
Category: Courts, FERC, Organized Markets, Regional Energy Law, Transmission
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:56 pm by John Riley, Richard Alonso and Tim Wilkins
On June 10, 2013, EPA issued a final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit to PL Propylene, LLC for construction of combustion turbines, heaters, waste heat boilers, and a flare at an existing propane dehydrogenation plant in Houston, Texas. Currently, EPA Region 6 has 69 permit applications listed on their docket. Of those applications, EPA has finalized 15 PSD permits. Processing time from initial application to final permit varies, but the time line has ranged between six months to over 14 months with some applications having been pending for longer than that. Bracewell has assisted with the GHG permitting process in Region 6 on twelve applications to date with six of those projects having received final PSD GHG permits. In addition, Bracewell has worked with various clients on strategies for ensuring that GHG permitting is not triggered, allowing certain projects to avoid costly and time-consuming PSD review for GHGs. We have also assisted companies in various States, such as California, Illinois, and New Jersey, and those receiving permits under the Outer Continental Shelf permitting program to navigate GHG permitting requirements. (more…)
8:59 am by Bracewell & Giuliani
J.J. McAnelly, Charles Still and Molly Tucker recently published an article on “Maturing Shale Plays Help Usher in Recent Increase in Upstream MLPs” in Oil & Gas Financial Journal providing insight on the trend of E&P companies evaluating the Master Limited Partnership (MLP) model.
To read the full article, click here.
Category: Master Limited Partnerships, Shale Development, Upstream Energy
Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:14 am by Stephen Hug
On June 4, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) posed data requests to each of the country’s Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations as part of its efforts to explore improvements to the coordination of the natural gas and electric markets. As natural gas has become the fuel of choice for more and more electric generating facilities, concerns have arisen regarding the reliability impacts of insufficient infrastructure to deliver needed gas supplies and other impediments to the seamless coordination of these markets. Over the past year, FERC staff has held a series of technical conferences to consider these issues. In April, FERC accepted a proposal by ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) to align the deadlines for the participation and commitment of resources in ISO-NE’s day-ahead electric market with the trading patterns in natural gas markets. (more…)
Category: FERC, Natural Gas/LNG, Organized Markets, Reliability
Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:59 pm by Seth Quinn
Although it may sound more like a threat in a summer science fiction blockbuster, this month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”) issued a final rule requiring the development of new standards to protect the power grid from the impacts of geomagnetic disturbances (“GMDs”) caused by solar activity such as solar flares (“GMD Order”).
Events like solar flares can expel huge masses of charged particles into space. If these particles reach the Earth, they can distort its magnetic field and cause low frequency geomagnetically induced currents (“GICs”) to flow along the oceans and surface of the Earth. As the GMD Order explains, because many transformers are grounded, these GICs may appear as electrical current to the power grid and flow “through the ground connection and conductors, such as transformers and transmission lines.” If this occurs, transformers and other equipment could be damaged leading to widespread blackouts. (more…)
Category: FERC, Reliability