Nigeria's upstream petroleum sector: looking back at 2020 and looking ahead in 2021

We review what happened in Nigeria’s upstream petroleum sector during the previous year – a year that saw a new marginal field bid round, an oil price crash and the onset of a terrible global pandemic. We also consider what we can expect in 2021 and if this will be the year the Petroleum Industry Bill finally overhauls the sector. What happened in legal matters? Upon his re-election in 2019, President Buhari set out an ambitious plan to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the end of 2020. He did not achieve that. However, progress was made: the PIB passed its second reading in both the...

FERC Issues Notice of Inquiry on Possible Expansion of Accounting and Reporting Requirements for Renewable Energy Assets

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a notice of inquiry to explore the treatment of accounting for certain costs associated with renewable energy assets. [1] Specially, FERC seeks comments from the public on whether FERC should: (1) create new accounts in the Uniform System of Accounts (“USoA”) to include costs associated with non-hydro renewable assets such as solar, wind and biomass; (2) modify FERC Form No. 1 to reflect any accounts ultimately created; and (3) update its accounts to reflect costs related to renewable energy credits (“RECs”)...

FERC Seeks Industry Input on Financial Assurances for Hydro Projects

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) requesting industry input regarding the scope and necessity of potential financial assurances that it should impose on hydroelectric projects seeking FERC licenses. [1] In opening this NOI, the Commission noted recent experiences where a lack of funding for needed dam safety repairs led to the recent dam failures near Midland, Michigan in May of 2020. This proceeding has been instituted to determine whether additional Commission requirements for financial assurances by...

Will Congress Rollback Trump Regulatory Actions to Advance the Biden Policy Agenda?

Recent news that the Democrats flipped both U.S. Senate seats in Georgia’s run-off election means that the Democrats have enough votes to add the Congressional Review Act (CRA) [1] to the tools that could be used to advance President-elect Joe Biden’s regulatory agenda through the repeal of recent Trump administrative actions. The CRA is a desirable tool because it can reverse actions of the prior administration without the time and resources necessary to do so through traditional rulemaking. But what considerations might Congress and the Biden administration face in deciding whether to...

EPA Approved Texas NPDES Oil and Gas Program Authorization on January 15, 2021

On January 15, 2021, Region 6 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) approved the State of Texas’ October 12, 2020 submittal to the EPA requesting partial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program authorization for oil and gas discharges. TCEQ’s authority to implement NPDES permitting, compliance monitoring and enforcement for oil and gas activities applies to discharges into water in the state from facilities on land within the State of Texas and extends three (3) statute miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. EPA retains jurisdiction for oil and gas...

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