For Oil & Gas M&A, It’s a Buyers’ Market

For the majority of global oil and gas companies, 2016 was a tough year. Buffeted by depressed crude oil and natural gas prices, corporate profits were squeezed, sparking widespread restructurings, layoffs and in certain cases bankruptcies. In normal circumstances, such conditions would be a boon for merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. But uncertainty over the length and severity of the commodity price downturn created a value mismatch between buyers and sellers. The result was a moribund M&A market in the oil and gas sector. In fact, according to business advisory firm Deloitte,...

EPA Announces Methane Rule Reconsideration, Adding to List of Obama-Era Rules Under Review

On April 18, 2017, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that the EPA will convene a proceeding for reconsideration of certain elements of the 2016 rule establishing methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry (“Methane Rule”). The Methane Rule applies to oil and gas facilities for which construction, modification, or reconstruction started after September 18, 2015. See 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart OOOOa (40 C.F.R. § 60.5360a et seq., adopted at 81 Fed. Reg. 35824 (June 3, 2016). In particular, EPA will reconsider elements of the fugitive...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - March 2017

NYMEX NYMEX 15-0200-BC-6 EFRP Violation of Rules 538 – Exchange for Related Positions and 538.C – Related Position. A non-member entity was found to have entered into an EFRP transaction on December 1, 2014 that was in violation of Exchange Rule 538.C. No evidence was found that the non-member entity, as the seller of a futures contract, purchased a corresponding swap or other related position, as required by Exchange Rule 538.C. Nevertheless, it was found that the EFRP transaction that the non-member entity entered into was non-bona fide, since it did not involve the requisite transfer of...

EPA Seeks Public Comment on Existing Regulations for Repeal, Replacement or Modification

On April 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is seeking comments from the public on existing regulations that the Agency should consider repealing, replacing, or modifying. 82 Fed. Reg. 17793 (Apr. 13, 2017). EPA issued the Request for Comment in response to the February 2017 Executive Order issued by President Trump, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” that seeks “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens on the American people.” As required by the EO, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt formed an EPA Regulatory Reform Task Force to carry out the...

FERC Reexamines its Policy on Hydro License Terms

The term of years granted in a federal hydroelectric license is a major – if not the major – factor in inducing a licensee to invest money in a hydroelectric project. The longer the term, the greater the opportunity to earn a return on such investments, particularly given the year-to-year variability of river flows. Thus it was not surprising that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC’s”) recent Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) on the length of license terms in Docket No. RM17-4 drew a range of responses across a swath of interest groups. What was perhaps unexpected was the apparent...

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