Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. Unmanned Aircraft System / Drone Update – House Transportation Committee Announces FAA Reauthorization Act

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016 2:13 pm by

    Today, members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Aviation Subcommittee announced the introduction of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441). The AIRR Act is a six-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While the proposed reforms to air traffic control garnered the most attention in the media, the AIRR Act also addressed efforts to integrate civil unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). (more…)

  2. TOTAL Challenges Legality of FERC Enforcement Processes

    Friday, January 29, 2016 4:28 pm by , , and

    On January 27, 2016, TOTAL Gas & Power North America, Inc. (“TGPNA”) and two natural gas traders filed a complaint for declaratory relief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) claiming that FERC intends to violate TGPNA’s statutory and constitutional rights by proceeding with an administrative enforcement action against the company for alleged violations of the Natural Gas Act’s (“NGA”) prohibition on market manipulation.[1] TGPNA’s complaint represents a direct attack on the legality of FERC’s existing enforcement processes and, if granted, could result in significant changes to the manner in which FERC investigates and prosecutes allegations of market manipulation and other regulatory violations. (more…)

  3. CFTC Settles Gas Index Manipulation Claim While FERC Allegations Remain

    Monday, December 21, 2015 8:00 am by , , and

    CFTC Order Accepting Settlement with Total Gas & Power North America, Inc. & Therese Tran for Attempted Manipulation of Natural Gas Monthly Index Settlement Prices

    On December 7, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) issued an order instituting proceedings, making findings, and imposing sanctions (“Settlement Order”) to resolve charges against Total Gas & Power North America, Inc. (“TGPNA”) and one of its natural gas traders, Therese Tran, for attempted manipulation of natural gas monthly index settlement prices.  The Settlement Order represents a settlement between the CFTC and TGPNA and requires TGPNA and Tran to jointly pay a $3.6 million civil monetary penalty and imposes other sanctions, including a bid-week trading limitation for two years; reporting requirements; and a documents/communications preservation requirement.


  4. FERC Issues 2015 Report On Enforcement

    Tuesday, November 24, 2015 5:00 pm by and

    On November 19, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) released its annual report on enforcement activities for fiscal year 2015.  The report highlights FERC’s continued focus on incidents involving fraud, market manipulation, and other anticompetitive conduct in the markets subject to its jurisdiction.  It also highlights the types of activities and conduct that have been subject to FERC scrutiny over the past year and provides informal guidance that jurisdictional entities should consider when evaluating their own conduct and compliance programs. (more…)

  5. Recent Drone Developments and a Look Ahead to 2016

    Friday, November 13, 2015 3:56 pm by

    The 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act called for the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) to institute a program to facilitate the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) into the National Airspace System (“NAS”) by September 30, 2015. While the legislatively imposed deadline passed with no regulatory program in place – and such a program is unlikely to be finalized until at least mid-2016 – 2015 has been a year for significant developments in UAS integration. FAA’s approvals under the Section 333 exemption process have skyrocketed, drafting of the final small UAS rule is wrapping up, the FAA recently proposed the largest penalty ever for the unauthorized operation of a UAS and announced the creation of a UAS Registration Task Force. (more…)

  6. What Constitutes a Reasonable and Prudent Operator?

    9:18 am by , and

    The English Commercial Court interprets the definition of the standard of a “Reasonable and Prudent Operator” in the context of a dispute relating to long term gas sales agreements

    The phrase “reasonable and prudent operator” is frequently used in commercial contracts in the oil and gas industry to specify the standard at which a party must perform a particular obligation (or group of obligations).  Helpfully, contracts often define the phrase in order to give the content of that standard greater substance, albeit a definition that inevitably imports a degree of subjective judgement. (more…)

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