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…)
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Unmanned Aircraft System / Drone Update – House Transportation Committee Announces FAA Reauthorization ActWednesday, February 3, 2016 2:13 pm by Michael Weller
Darren Spalding, Alastair Young and Aoife Keane
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…)
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a new policy aimed at reducing the amount of time it takes for companies to deploy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Specifically, companies that have obtained a Section 333 exemption for a UAS will now receive a “blanket” Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for flights at or below 200 feet. In the past, once the FAA granted a Section 333 Exemption the exemption holder would also have to file for a separate COA to fly the UAS in a particular block of airspace. The COA approval process can take 60 days. This announcement comes on the heels of the FAA’s release of a proposed rule governing small UAS flights in the United States. A major component of the proposed rule that stakeholders have supported was the FAA’s introduction of alternatives to the COA process. (more…)
On February 15, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) announced the release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking focused on the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) or “drones” within the United States. The release of the UAS NPRM is a step in the right direction that many in the industry have been waiting for since the FAA first chartered the small UAS Aviation Rulemaking Committee (“ARC”) in 2008.
While some industries may find aspects of the proposal restrictive, many are pleased with the FAA’s initial UAS regulatory effort, which is focused on small UAS or those that weigh less than 55 lbs. The UAS NPRM will at least remove some uncertainty for industry and could trigger more investment in UAS technology. However, the process from release of the UAS NPRM to when a final rule takes effect could take years. Companies looking to operate UAS in the interim are left to navigate one of many current certification processes, which are limited to specific purposes and still involve a bit of uncertainty.
In the meantime, companies interested in deploying their UAS technology as well as industries that see an expanded role for the use of UAS (e.g., energy, agriculture, entertainment) should consider commenting on the FAA’s proposal, which will set the stage for future of UAS regulation. There will be an opportunity to comment for a 60-day period once the UAS ANPR is published in the Federal Register. (more…)
Michael Weller, Salo Zelermyer and Joshua Zive
Drones – or, in Federal Aviation Administration parlance, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) – are proliferating everywhere. In the past few weeks an unmanned drone landed on the White House grounds and the federal government had to issue warnings not to fly drones over the Super Bowl. The energy industry has already begun to exploit UAS’s potential for enhanced efficiency and safety. Likewise, governments are finding ways to use drones to further their monitoring and enforcement efforts. It promises to be very interesting times.
This blog will focus on the use of drones in the energy industry and the FAA’s upcoming proposed regulations governing UAS usage. (more…)
Adam Waszkiewicz and Darren Spalding
In order to prevent the increase of energy prices and to safeguard domestic supply, at the start of the millennium the Argentinian federal government made various amendments to the legal regime regulating the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. Such measures included the introduction of a system of regulated prices and the prohibition of exports until domestic demand had been satisfied. Following these changes, oil and gas production and exports declined and Argentina has subsequently had to manage a reduction in its energy self-sufficiency as fuel imports have increased.
Following months of extensive negotiations in 2014 between the federal government, the regional oil-producing provinces, YPF and other key members of the private oil and gas sector in Argentina, the Argentinian Congress passed a new law amending its hydrocarbon regulatory framework (the “New Hydrocarbon Law”). (more…)