On January 22, 2013, the American Antitrust Institute (AAI), an independent non-profit organization with a mission to advance the role of competition in the economy and protect consumers, filed comments in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s proceeding involving the proposed merger of the transmission businesses of ITC Holdings Corp. (ITC) and Entergy Corporation (Entergy). FERC is reviewing the transaction under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act.
If the $1.8 billion transaction is approved, ITC will become one of the largest electric transmission companies in the U.S., with over 30,000 miles of transmission lines spanning 11 states from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. (more…)
On November 7, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission announced it had closed its investigation of Hilcorp Alaska LLC’s proposed $375M acquisition of Marathon Oil Company’s Cook Inlet, Alaska natural gas production, storage, and pipeline assets, despite identifying several competitive concerns with the transaction. The FTC explained in a written statement that this unusual move was based upon the “unique circumstances” of the case, specifically, that the effects of the proposed acquisition are confined solely to consumers in Alaska and that the State of Alaska has negotiated a consent decree that the State believes alleviates the competitive concerns arising from the transaction and mitigates the State’s energy security concerns. (more…)
In late September 2012, the Obama Administration blocked plans by a Chinese company to build wind projects in Oregon, citing national security considerations due to the close proximity of a U.S. Navy site near the proposed site. This recent order to cease activity related to the wind projects was the result of a review process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
CFIUS is a federal inter-agency committee that is charged with reviewing the national security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies or operations. With the cross-border nature of many investments in the worldwide energy industry, questions relating to the national security implications of investments in the United States inevitably arise. In the video below, Josh Zive, senior counsel in the Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell & Giuliani, recently sat down with my colleague, PRG partner Paul Nathanson, to provide a concise overview of CFIUS, including explanations of:
how the CFIUS review process works,
why companies undertake the time and expense of going through the voluntary filing process,
why CFIUS disapproves transactions, and
what foreign investors and U.S. companies should be looking out for in the near future.
Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced today that five partners, formerly with Dewey & LeBoeuf, will join the firm in its New York, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut offices, effective immediately. The group includes John G. Klauberg, Dewey’s former co-head of the Utilities, Power and Pipelines Global Industry Sector Group, as well as Catherine P. McCarthy, former Dewey co-head of the Energy Regulatory Department. It is anticipated that they also will be joined by a number of associates.
“We are excited to be adding this group,” said Bracewell Managing Partner, Mark C. Evans. “We have been looking to enhance our energy practice in the northeast, and our new partners will immediately help us in this regard. Many of our partners have worked with John and Cathy and their teams for years and have great respect for their work. They will all be outstanding additions to the firm,” added Evans.
The partners include John G. Klauberg and Frederick J. Lark (New York); Catherine P. McCarthy and David R. Poe (Washington, D.C.); and Charles F. Vandenburgh (Connecticut).
On February 16, 2012, FERC issued an order (February 16 Order) reaffirming its existing merger review policies under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) and its current framework for analyzing requests for market-based rate authority under section 205 of the FPA. In March of last year, FERC had sought comment in a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on whether it should amend its existing policies in these two areas in light of new Horizontal Merger Guidelines (2010 HMG) issued jointly by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) on August 19, 2010. The NOI explained that the 2010 HMG deemphasize market definition as a starting point for merger analysis and depart from the sequential analysis found in the prior 1992 version of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines (1992 HMG), and instead support the use of a fact-specific inquiry and greater analytical flexibility. (more…)
With the 2012 election year upon us, it promises to be an interesting year in energy politics and policy. Here are 12 (really 13 because of some creative headline writing) issues that will keep the sector hopping this year.
1. Keystone Cops – The biggest energy story of the first quarter without a doubt will be the Keystone pipeline. Not only has this issue blossomed into a larger-than-reality political issue, the President has seemingly been boxed into a corner on the issue that will force him to choose between two major constituencies – labor and environmentalists – just after he thought he got the political break he needed to delay the decision, thanks to Nebraska Republicans. Nonetheless, the battle will rage as the decision approaches. Regardless of the final result after 60 days (I’m predicting politics/jobs will win the day), the legal battle will likely begin then (promising a real fight) – of course likely delaying a final decision until after the election anyway. (more…)