Regional Enforcement Snapshot of Southern Africa

According to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2014 (hereafter the "International Corruption Index"), the nine countries that make up southern Africa rate from "average" to "corrupt." The South African countries with the worst ratings include Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Malawi, and Zambia. Zimbabwe (21 on the International Corruption Index, with 0 being "highly corrupt" and 100 being "very clean"): President Mugabe's government is considered highly corrupt and inefficient. The labor market is highly restrictive, business licensing is oppressive, and the government...

FERC Report on Transmission Investment and Related Technical Conference

At the March 17, 2016 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") meeting, FERC's Office of Energy Policy and Innovation presented a report assessing the effectiveness of FERC's transmission investment policies, including Order No. 1000 reforms and identifying possible policy changes ("Report"). The Report includes data from 2013-2015. The report is located here and the presentation is located here . On March 17, 2016, FERC also announced a planned Technical Conference regarding competitive transmission development rates to be held on June 27-28, 2016, with details located here . The...

Shale Play South Africa - An update on shale gas exploration

Progress Report: Shale Play in South Africa Legal basis In June 2015, South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources ( DMR ) published Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Production (the Regulations ) which introduced guidelines covering onshore hydraulic fracturing ( fracking ) to be read in line with the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (the Act ). Exploration and production operations will now be subject to the additional requirements set out in the Regulations which cover areas including environmental impact assessment; well design and construction; management...

UK Government announces major tax cuts for the oil and gas industry

UK Government announces major tax cuts for the oil and gas industry Earlier today, the UK government announced its budget for 2016. A copy is available by clicking here. See pages 54 in Chapter 1 and 109 in Chapter 2 in particular for details in relation to the oil and gas industry. The UK government has said that it wants to ensure that the tax regime supports the objective of maximising economic recovery of oil and gas while ensuring a fair return on those resources for the nation. The government has also announced its intention to help to support the industry through the challenging...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report: February 2016

Disciplinary Actions ICE FUTURES ICE 2012-038 Block Trades Violation of Rule 4.07(c) - Block Trading. Allegedly, an entity violated ICE Futures U.S. ("IFUS") Rule 4.07(c) by failing to report a 180 lot block trade, that was erroneously submitted to IFUS as a 180 lot exchange for physical transaction, within the 5 minute reporting window for block trades in Russell 2000 Index Mini Futures Contracts. $25,000 fine. CME GROUP CME 14-0004-BC Misc. Violation of Rule 432(c) and (g) - General Offenses (in part). A non-member individual allegedly executed multiple round-turn transactions in various E...
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Methane Regulations for Existing Oil & Gas Sources Are Coming

On March 10, the Obama Administration announced that it will begin drafting proposed methane standards for existing oil and gas sources. These forthcoming regulations would presumably apply to production, gas processing, as well as the transportation and storage segments. Even though EPA has yet to issue final standards for new and modified sources, this announcement is not surprising. By regulating new and modified sources of methane directly under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act, EPA is legally obligated to regulate existing sources of methane under 111(d) of the Clean Air Act in the...

EPA Proposes Broad Expansion of Risk Management Program Regulations

On February 25, 2016, EPA released a pre-publication version of its much anticipated amendments to the agency's Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations. The proposal, which follows EPA's 2014 Request for Information, would impose significant changes to existing prevention program, emergency response preparedness, and information availability requirements, without furthering the program's goal of accident prevention and release detection. Proposed Changes to Incident Investigation Requirements Would Significantly Increase the Number and Type of Incidents that Require Investigation With No...