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. Risks and Rewards: Doing Business in Africa and Anti-Bribery Laws

    Monday, February 9, 2015 5:44 pm by , and

    Understanding the risks associated with local corruption, and how to comply with anti-bribery laws such as the UK Bribery Act the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), has become a necessary aspect of doing business internationally.  As companies look for opportunities to do business in Africa, the fight against corruption will need to be an integral part of planning new ventures and transactions.

    With a continent as vast and diverse as Africa, one must be careful about making blanket generalizations about corruption in Africa.  For example, using statistics compiled by Transparency International, one can see that some African countries, such as Ghana and South Africa, have corruption ratings that indicate they are less corrupt than the worldwide average.  At the same time, the vast majority of African nations are classified as more corrupt than the worldwide average, and countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe have corruption ratings that place them among a group of the countries where corruption is most prevalent in the world.  These facts led the Vice President of Botswana to state last year that “our continent has and is still suffering from the deadly disease of corruption.” (more…)

  2. “Friendly Discussions” Obligation is Enforceable Under English law

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 8:23 am by and

    The English High Court has overruled an arbitrators’ decision to hold that a clause requiring “friendly discussions” prior to commencing arbitration is an enforceable condition precedent to arbitration under English law.

    This judgment is interesting because mere “agreements to negotiate” are generally unenforceable under English law because they are too uncertain to enforce (Walford v Miles [1992] 2 AC 128).  This case is especially interesting for the energy sector because it deals with the English law interpretation of escalation or multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses that are common in energy and natural resources joint venture and high value agreements (see for example the AIPN Model International Joint Operating Agreement).  Multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses can provide that parties must first engage in alternative dispute resolution, such as negotiation, referral to senior management, referral to a third party expert and/or mediation (which is not without its costs) before a dispute can be referred to the Courts or to arbitration.  (more…)

  3. FERC Responds to Barclays Motion to Dismiss as Without Merit and so Aggressive That if Granted it Could “Eviscerate” FERC’s Ability to Regulate Wholesale Power Markets

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014 2:14 pm by , and

    On July 16, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order finding Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine, and Ryan Smith (together with Barclays, “Defendants”) in violation of FERC’s anti-manipulation regulations and assessed significant penalties.[1]  The Defendants chose to have the validity of the order tried de novo in federal district court, and on December 16, 2013, filed a Motion to Dismiss the FERC action.[2]  On February 14, 2014, FERC filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss previously filed by the Defendants.  

    This case represents the first time a FERC electric market manipulation claim is being adjudicated in a federal district court.[3]  The court’s ruling could have significant implications for FERC’s jurisdiction in a manipulation action that involves financial transactions and its authority with regard to wholesale power markets.   (more…)

  4. 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…)

  5. Energy Duo Added to Bracewell & Giuliani’s London Office

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013 4:11 pm by

    HOUSTON — Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced today that it is adding energy Partners Julian Nichol and Alastair Young to its London office. Nichol will serve as the office’s managing partner. These additions will serve to expand and enhance Bracewell’s globally recognized energy practice.

    “We are excited to be welcoming Julian and Alastair to the firm,” said Bracewell Managing Partner, Mark C. Evans. “It is important for us to be able to serve our clients in all areas of the globe in which they do business. London is a key jumping off point. I foresee significantly more attorney growth for us in London over the next 12 to 18 months,” added Evans. (more…)

  6. NERC Study on Gas-Electric Coordination to Be Completed By Year End

    Thursday, December 6, 2012 3:00 pm by

    Following FERC’s November 15 order that directed additional technical conferences on gas-electric coordination issues and released the Staff Report on Gas-Electric Coordination Technical Conferences (FERC Staff Report), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is expected to complete a study on the topic by year end.  Based on that study, NERC could initiate a task force to explore possible revisions to reliability standards to address concerns related to gas-electric interdependency and fuel availability. (more…)

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