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Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
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  1. BOEM Seeking to Overhaul OCS Offshore Financial Assurance Requirements

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:22 pm by and

    On Tuesday August 19, 2014 the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) provided an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in the Federal Register. BOEM is seeking to update its regulations and program oversight for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) financial assurance requirements, and has solicited comments from stakeholders to assist its efforts.  A full copy of the ANPR can be found at http://federalregister.gov/a/2014-19380.

    Based on the assumption that existing bonding regulations are outdated and fail to adequately deal with the changed business landscape in which organizations now conduct offshore activities, the BOEM is seeking public input as it seeks to overhaul the current program encompassing risk management, financial assurance, and loss prevention requirements. (more…)


  2. EPA Considering Major Changes to Risk Management Program

    Monday, August 11, 2014 12:49 pm by and

    Spurred by several recent industrial incidents, both onshore and offshore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced several potential revisions to its Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations.  The RMP program Request for Information (2014 RMP RFI) contemplates a vast array of changes that could, on the one hand, increase the number of sources regulated, e.g., the addition of ammonium nitrate as a regulated substance; and on the other, increase the costs of those sources currently regulated, e.g., mandatory third-party audits, installation of automated detection and monitoring systems.

    Other proposed changes could be controversial or simply difficult for sources to integrate, e.g., mandatory root cause investigations, siting requirements, mandatory disclosure of chemicals and accident history for the facility.  At this time, EPA indicates that it is not committed to undertaking a rulemaking and that it is engaged only in information gathering to assess whether changes to the RMP are necessary.  Comments on the RFI must be received by October 29, 2014.  (more…)


  3. Environmental Regulations Impacting the Energy Industry – Summer 2014

    Friday, June 20, 2014 11:06 am by


  4. New Business Opportunities in Mexico Energy Market Raise FCPA Concerns

    Friday, January 31, 2014 12:57 pm by and

    After clearing a constitutional hurdle in late 2013, Mexico plans to open its energy market to foreign participation for the first time in seventy-five years, with the first investment opportunities possible later this year. Mexico has more than 10 billion barrels of proven petroleum reserves, and the country will face no shortage of potential investors.

    But companies looking to participate in the newly available market would be wise to consider the compliance risks that come with doing business in Mexico. In particular, companies interested in Mexican energy should have a firm understanding of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and should adopt compliance policies tailored to the Mexican business climate. (more…)


  5. EPA Issues NPDES Permit that Includes Limited Chemical Disclosure Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations Offshore California

    Friday, January 10, 2014 2:52 pm by and

    Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday made available the finalized National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit applicable to discharges from oil and gas exploration facilities offshore Southern California.  NPDES General Permit No. CAG280000 (2014 NPDES General Permit), issued under provisions of the Clean Water Act, authorizes discharges from exploration, development and production facilities located offshore of Southern California in accordance with specified effluent limitations, monitoring and reporting requirements and various other conditions. 

    The final 2014 NPDES General Permit includes certain new requirements that EPA indicates were added to address offshore hydraulic fracturing operations, including increases in the monitoring requirements associated with produced water discharges and new inventory and reporting requirements. (more…)


  6. Coast Guard Looks to Expand Safety and Environmental Management Systems to Vessels on the OCS

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:49 am by , and

    On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (APNRM) in the Federal Register stating its intent to propose regulations that will require vessels engaged in exploration, development or production activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to develop, implement, and maintain a vessel-specific Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS).  The proposed rulemaking would be far-reaching as the Coast Guard estimates that approximately 2,200 foreign and domestic vessels engaged in OCS activities could be affected by this regulatory action, including offshore supply vessels (OSVs), liftboats, mobile offshore drilling units (MODUs), and other vessels under Coast Guard jurisdiction.  (more…)


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