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.
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  1. A permit system may finally arrive for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – New Opportunities and Responsibilities

    Wednesday, May 27, 2015 5:06 pm by

    For years, Federal Courts have held that individuals can be held criminally liable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the death of birds regardless of whether they intended to harm them. While several courts have recently called into question this precedent, yesterday, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) started a process that could help clarify liability under the Act. However, with this clarity will come additional regulatory obligations and the creation of a bright line between compliance and noncompliance.

    Like the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the MBTA imposes criminal liability for harming specifically-identified birds. Unlike the ESA, however, the MBTA does not currently have an extensive permitting system. As a result, most companies are unable to proactively ensure compliance with the MBTA unless they can avoid harming any migratory birds during their operations – and complete avoidance is extremely difficult when engaging in many industrial activities of any scale. Thus, entities operating wind energy, communication towers, oil and gas production, and electrical transmission facilities, for example, have generally adopted best management practices and hoped that their proactive efforts would result in lenient treatment by FWS if and when their operations accidentally harm migratory birds. (more…)


  2. Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission Issues Round One’s Third Bid For Onshore Fields

    Thursday, May 14, 2015 4:36 pm by , and

    Mexico’s National Hydrocarbon Commission (Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos) (“CNH”) announced on May 11 the terms for the third bid of Round One. Unlike the two earlier bids which covered 19 shallow water areas, the third bid covers 26 onshore areas that contain approximately 2.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) most of them with 3P reserves. (more…)


  3. Commercial UAS Modernization Act Introduced to Streamline Drone Integration

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015 5:16 pm by

    Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Hoeven (R-ND) recently introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act, legislation designed to streamline the integration of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the United States. The legislation would establish an interim rule governing small UAS operations, provide the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with some flexibility on issues like visual-line-of-sight (VLOS) operations, reduce the regulatory burden for commercial operators, create a new deputy administrator position at the FAA focused on UAS, and encourage maximum use of current FAA UAS test sites. (more…)


  4. Progress Report: Shale Play in Algeria

    2:50 pm by and

    Legal basis

    The 2013 amendments to Algeria’s 2005 Hydrocarbon Law (the “Law”) provided a legislative framework for the exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons. In addition to wider changes to the Law designed to revive foreign investment in Algeria’s oil and gas sector, the amendments were expected to kick-start exploitation of Algeria’s estimated 707tcf and 5.7 billion barrels of technically recoverable shale gas and oil reserves (estimated to be the world’s third largest)[1].   (more…)


  5. Risk Analysis: Libya’s Oil and Gas Market

    2:40 pm by , and

    Libya is reputed to hold the ninth largest proven oil reserves in the world (approximately 38% of Africa’s total proven crude reserves)[1] making it a key player in the global energy market. Since 2011 however, the country and its energy sector has been in turmoil and there are currently two rival governments struggling for control over Libyan territory and resources. In this article, we highlight the five major legal risks currently facing companies operating in the territory (or indeed outside when handling Libyan crude exports). (more…)


  6. Texas Regulators Take Robust Step Reacting to Reports Connecting Seismic Activity and Wastewater Injection Wells

    Friday, May 8, 2015 4:03 pm by

    Two members of the Railroad Commission of Texas recently said they will consider taking action against two wastewater injection wells linked by a recent scientific report to earthquakes north of Fort Worth Texas. Hearings have been scheduled for June, and the operators have been directed to “show cause” on why their permits should not be canceled, or perhaps suspended or modified, and the wells not be shut down. (more…)


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