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.
Caribbean nations are seeking ways to balance offshore oil development with the fear of oil spills in a region that relies on tourism for its economic well-being. Along with officials from Trinidad, Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas, former U.S. government regulators, industry officials, and NGO representatives met in Trinidad and Tobago on September 13 to discuss the best ways to handle offshore energy development. Chief among the concerns: spill response measures.
Bracewell partner Kevin Ewing, in comments with Greenwire prior to the start of the conference, stated that “Aligning the legal and commercial regimes is a big part of the puzzle. It’s smart to foster serious, experience-based dialogue to put the focus in the right place.” One of the issues, according to Ewing, is cooperation after a spill occurs. Speaking with the FuelFix blog, he stated that “Everyone is real clear about who owns the oil when it’s in the reservoir.” But “the moment it’s actually floating on the surface, no one wants to own the oil.”
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…)
In the aftermath of the offshore wind industry’s recently completed annual get-together in Baltimore last week, there are many signs of success on the ocean blue’s horizon. While those possibilities shine brightly in a number of key areas, the industry is also facing some difficult challenges.
First, the good news. The industry still continues to grow broadly in terms of people developing, constructing and looking to invest in wind projects and its related industrial activity. The conference in Baltimore again had a near-record turnout for an industry that still has yet to build a project in North America. (more…)
Under a rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges would be required to disclose payments they made to foreign governments or the United States government in connection with a broad swath of activity, from exploration to oil processing. (more…)