Bracewell & Giuliani

Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. 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…)

  2. 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…)

  3. 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…)

  4. MLP Qualifying Income – IRS May Reconsider Position on the “Processing or Refining” of NGLs into Olefins

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015 4:31 pm by , , and

    An IRS official indicated that the government may reconsider its position in the recently issued proposed regulations under Section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code regarding the production of olefins derived from natural gas liquids (NGLs).  According to press reports, Curtis G. Wilson, IRS associate chief counsel (passthroughs and special industries), stated that the government has been meeting with industry engineers to better understand how olefins are produced – “We thought we had an understanding. We might have been wrong,” Mr. Wilson said at the American Bar Association 2015 Joint Fall CLE Meeting in Chicago on September 18, 2015. See Laura Davison, Final Publicly Traded Partnership Rules Could Bless Olefins, BNA Daily Tax RealTime (September 18, 2015) & David Stewart, ABA Meeting: List in Proposed PTP Qualifying Income Regs is Not ‘Final Word’, Tax Analysts (September 21, 2015). (more…)

  5. MLP Qualifying Income – IRS Releases First PLRs Since Issuance of Proposed Regulations

    Monday, September 14, 2015 2:15 pm by , , and

    On September 11, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released two private letter rulings (PLRs) addressing MLP qualifying income. These are the first PLRs relating to MLP qualifying income to be released since the issuance of the proposed regulations under Section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) on May 5, 2015, and the lifting of the approximately year-long “pause” on PLRs in this area. (more…)

  6. BP Initial Decision: The Significance of Change

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 8:10 am by , , and

    On August 13, 2015, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) assigned to hear evidence in BP America Inc. et. Al (Docket No. IN13-15) issued an Initial Decision in which she found that BP America Inc., and certain of its affiliates (collectively “BP”) engaged in market manipulation by intentionally trading to influence index prices to benefit a related financial position.  Putting aside the merits of the BP case, the Initial Decision is a good reminder of the kind of circumstantial evidence that regulators might interpret as indicia of manipulation.  The reoccurring theme is CHANGE.  (more…)

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