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. Alternate Currents – The Latest on Egypt’s Feed in Tariff for Renewable Power

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 11:31 am by

    478926805_SolarOn Thursday, 5 March, Bracewell & Giuliani, Shalakany Law Office and the Middle East Solar Industry Association hosted a webinar: Alternating Currents – the latest on Egypt’s Feed In Tariff for Renewable Power.

    A distinguished panel discussed the FiT program and in particular, the guidelines on SPV formation and other issues just minutes after they were made available to prequalified bidders.

    A recording of this webinar is available here.

  2. 41 Questions the FAA Is Asking in Its ANPR on Small UAS / Drones

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015 1:17 pm by

    drone3Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking focused on the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones” within the United States. The publication in the Federal Register starts the clock on the 60-day comment period, which at this point ends on April 24, 2015.   My recent blog outlined the FAA’s general framework for the UAS ANPR, including the main operating limitations.

    Today, I’ve listed below some of the major areas where the FAA is seeking input from stakeholders, including Risk Mitigation, Line-of-sight, Payload, International, Size Class, Crewmember, Testing Site, and other issues. Among other things, the FAA is looking for comments on the feasibility of its proposal, alternatives, any new technology that could inform its decision, data and studies.

    The FAA specifically is seeking comment on: (more…)

  3. Year Long Pause Lifted on MLP Qualifying Income Private Letter Rulings – Proposed Regulations to be Issued

    Saturday, March 7, 2015 8:21 pm by , , , and

    Following a year long pause, the IRS announced Friday that it has resumed its review of pending private letter ruling (PLR) requests and is accepting new PLR requests concerning MLP qualifying income under Section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code. During the qualifying income ruling pause, which began in March 2014, the IRS postponed consideration of taxpayer requests for qualifying income PLRs in order to study issues related to qualifying income and to consider broader interpretive guidance to the MLP industry.

    In addition, according to statements made by an IRS official, the Treasury Department will issue proposed regulations in the near future that address qualifying income. The issuance of proposed regulations will be a significant development in this area, as PLRs historically have been the primary source of interpretive guidance on the scope of activities generating qualifying income. Although no details on the substance of the proposed regulations were given, the IRS indicated that the proposed regulations will address qualifying income related to midstream, upstream and downstream activities, as well as oilfield services activities. In addition, it is our understanding that generous transitional rules will be provided for MLPs and other taxpayers that previously received PLRs that may be inconsistent with the proposed regulations once they are finalized. (more…)

  4. Monthly Futures Exchange Issuance Report: February 2015

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015 1:01 pm by , , and

    February’s Highlight

    This month, CME Group announced fines totaling $1.75 million against derivatives broker Newedge USA for violations of exchange rules in certain metal markets over the course of two years.   Newedge agreed to the fine pursuant to an offer of settlement in which Newedge neither admitted nor denied the rule violations upon which the penalty was based.  Specifically, Panels for both the NYMEX Business Conduct Committee and the COMEX Business Conduct Committee found that Newedge violated exchange Rule 432, Rule 529, Legacy Rule 538.A, Legacy Rule 538.G, and Legacy Rule 538.H., while a clearing member of the exchange.

    According to the disciplinary action notices released by the exchange, on multiple occasions over a two year period, employees working for Newedge, but trading accounts of a Newedge affiliate, executed EFRPs as a counterparty with its customers that were not bona fide.   While trading in Gold and Silver futures, Newedge employees received orders from customers, including market and limit orders, which were executed as EFRPs instead of directly on Globex as was expected by the customers.   In executing the EFRPs, Newedge typically entered them with a liquidity provider and then entered a separate EFRP at a marked-up price with the customer.  The Panel found that at times the price of the EFRP with the customer was simply set by Newedge and was therefore not negotiated in those instances.   In addition, the Panel found that for the OTC leg of the EFRP transactions, Newedge had inadequate documentation.   Further, in many instances Newedge did not designate the trades on the customer account statements as EFRPs because of an operational error.  Of the $1.75 million fine, $650,000 was allocated to NYMEX and $1,100,000 was allocated to COMEX. (more…)

  5. 2015 Platts LNG Conference with Bracewell & Giuliani LLP

    Monday, March 2, 2015 3:34 pm by

    On February 26 and 27, 2015, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP acted as a sponsor of Platts’ 14th Annual LNG Conference in Houston, TX. Bracewell attorneys both attended and presented at the conference, discussing new and ongoing regulatory challenges facing the industry. Follow us on Twitter @bgenergy and @bgllp

  6. Ohio Supreme Court Limits Municipal Regulation of Oil and Gas But Leaves the Door Open for Future Zoning Moratoriums

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 1:35 pm by

    Last week, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that certain oil and gas-related ordinances of the city of Munroe Falls are preempted by the state’s oil and gas law. State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-485. The decision is the latest in an ongoing battle being waged over the authority of local governments to zone or regulate the operations of oil and gas companies. Often, the success or failure of a local government’s ordinance depends on whether it aims to “regulate” oil and gas operations or simply control their location according to traditional zoning principles.

    While a win for industry in this case, the Supreme Court’s holding in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp. was limited to the ordinances at issue in the case and does not go as far as recent rulings in Pennsylvania and New York that were focused on zoning authority. Previously, in July 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional certain sections of the recently passed “Act 13” that would have removed a municipality’s ability to zone out oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania. Huntley & Huntley, Inc. v. Oakmont Borough Council, 600 Pa. 207, 964 A.2d 855 (2009). Then, in August 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals held that municipalities can effectively “zone out” oil and gas operations by passing zoning ordinances that ban oil and gas production activities. Wallach v. Dryden, 23 N.Y.3d 728, 992 N.Y.S.2d 710 (2014). (more…)

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