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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. EPA Considering Major Changes to Risk Management Program

    Monday, August 11, 2014 12:49 pm by and

    Spurred by several recent industrial incidents, both onshore and offshore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced several potential revisions to its Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations.  The RMP program Request for Information (2014 RMP RFI) contemplates a vast array of changes that could, on the one hand, increase the number of sources regulated, e.g., the addition of ammonium nitrate as a regulated substance; and on the other, increase the costs of those sources currently regulated, e.g., mandatory third-party audits, installation of automated detection and monitoring systems.

    Other proposed changes could be controversial or simply difficult for sources to integrate, e.g., mandatory root cause investigations, siting requirements, mandatory disclosure of chemicals and accident history for the facility.  At this time, EPA indicates that it is not committed to undertaking a rulemaking and that it is engaged only in information gathering to assess whether changes to the RMP are necessary.  Comments on the RFI must be received by October 29, 2014.  (more…)


  2. FERC Alleges PJM Manipulation by Powhatan

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 9:26 am by

    On August 5, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Secretary, at the direction of the Division of Enforcement, issued a Notice of Alleged Violations against Powhatan Energy Fund, LLC, a hedge fund owned by brothers Kevin and Richard Gates.  In the Notice, FERC Enforcement alleged that Powhatan’s trader, Dr. Houlian Chen, engaged in Up to Congestion trades in the PJM market that allegedly were the equivalent of wash trades in violation of FERC’s anti-manipulation rule.  FERC’s Notices generally reveal little about the matter under investigation.  However, in this case we know a great deal about Enforcement’s case because Powhatan itself publically disclosed much of the investigative record.  See http://ferclitigation.com/legal-back-and-forth/.  It has been Powhatan’s contention that their actions have been transparent and fully consistent with the PJM tariff and FERC’s rules.  Nevertheless, in staff’s preliminary findings, dated August 9, 2013, Enforcement alleged that Chen made the wash trades in order to capture millions of dollars from the Margin Loss Surplus Allocation (MLSA).  FERC alleged that Powhatan entered the riskless trades in order to boost the volume of its trading thus increasing the MLSA payments.  (more…)


  3. Latest UK Onshore Licensing Round Announced

    Monday, July 28, 2014 1:09 pm by , and

    The UK Government has today announced the opening of the eagerly anticipated 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round, with applications invited until 2pm on 28 October 2014.

    Hundreds of blocks are available in the bidding process. The Government is keen to encourage onshore exploration and drilling and to facilitate the development of a shale industry in the UK.

    The previous onshore licensing round was in 2008.

    For more information, refer to the Government guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/oil-and-gas-licensing-rounds.


  4. Battles Continue Over Local Bans on Hydraulic Fracturing

    10:44 am by

    In towns across America, hydraulic fracturing continues to be a hot-button issue, with municipalities in at least twelve states adopting measures to ban hydraulic fracturing altogether on a temporary or permanent basis.  Recent developments in Texas, California, and Colorado demonstrate that battles continue over local bans on hydraulic fracturing. (more…)


  5. INFOGRAPHIC: EPA’s Regulatory Timeline for Disclosure and Reporting of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals

    9:18 am by

    In May 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comments on its proposed rule regarding disclosure and reporting requirements for chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. Comments for this proposed rule for the upstream shale industry are due September 18, 2014.

    For a printable version of this infographic, please click here.


  6. DOT Proposes Crude-by-Rail Safety Changes

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:46 pm by

    Earlier today, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released two proposals designed to enhance the safety of the transportation of crude by rail. The first, short proposal seeks comments on a potential rulemaking which would increase the oil-spill planning required for crude by rail transport. The second, more lengthy proposal seeks comments on a suite of enhancements intended to enhance the safety of rail transportation itself. (more…)


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