EPA Releases Final Control Techniques Guidelines for Existing Oil and Natural Gas Sources

In its latest effort targeting emissions from the oil and gas industry, EPA last week released final Control Techniques Guidelines (CTGs) for reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from existing oil and natural gas equipment and processes (Oil and Gas CTG) . The CTGs represent EPA’s Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) recommendations for reducing VOC emissions from existing sources in the oil and gas industry. While EPA may characterize the CTGs as voluntary guidelines, they are anything but voluntary. On October 26, 2015, EPA issued a new stringent National Ambient Air...

FERC Confirms Contract-Specific Nature of Mobile-Sierra Presumption and WSPP Agreement Requirements

Earlier this year , we alerted you to a January 8, 2016 Revised Initial Decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) that implicated issues of concern to the industry as a whole, as well as to the parties to the proceeding. The Commission recently issued an order reversing the Revised Initial Decision and, in doing so, upheld the well-established contract-specific nature of a challenge to bilaterally negotiated contracts pursuant to the Mobile-Sierra presumption. [1] Background As described in more detail in our April 11, 2016 post, in...
Tags: 

FERC Audit Report Provides Guidance Regarding Reporting Of Uplift And Capacity Payments In Electric Quarterly Reports

On October 14, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order approving an audit report providing guidance regarding how to report certain types of transactions and payments received by those participating in the FERC-jurisdictional markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTO”) and Independent System Operators (“ISO”) in a seller’s Electric Quarterly Reports (“EQR”). The audit report highlights pitfalls that market-based rate sellers should avoid when submitting EQRs and provides insight into areas of likely FERC scrutiny. In particular, FERC staff’s...

U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Releases Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (“CSB”) released its Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 today. The Strategic Plan is the result of 18 months of staff and stakeholder development and review. The plan serves as a blueprint for the CSB’s investigative priorities over the next five years. Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland described the Board’s mission as “driving chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment.” The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to help the Board advance its mission. The three goals listed in the Strategic...

Federal Report Identifies New Criteria for Underground Gas Storage Facilities

On October 19, a federal task force released a Final Report outlining recommendations for industry and government in the wake of the 2015 natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon in southern California. The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety (“Task Force”), created by Congress in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 , convened to analyze the Aliso Canyon incident and to recommend ways to reduce the likelihood of future leaks from underground natural gas storage facilities. The Final Report sets out 44 recommendations for industry...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - September 2016

NYMEX NYMEX 16-0355-BC EFRP Violation of Rule 432.X – General Offenses. In June 2015 a member company executed two EFRP transactions on two dates with the intent that they be block trades. Because there were no corresponding related positions, the EFRP transactions were non-bona fide. Pursuant to a settlement offer, the member neither admitted nor denied the violation. $15,000 penalty. NYMEX 16-0374-BC EFRP Violation of Rule 432.X – General Offenses. On a single day in July 2015 a non-member company executed one EFRP transaction that, because there was no corresponding related position, was...

PHMSA Releases Civil Penalty Policy Framework, Sets its Sight on Higher Penalties “Across the Board”

This week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a General Policy Statement announcing its intent to make available to the public a Civil Penalty Policy Framework. Previously only available by request, the civil penalty framework provides insight into the factors PHMSA considers and the ranges of proposed penalties that the agency might issue in civil enforcement cases. Now, PHMSA will maintain the penalty framework on the agency’s website in an effort to provide “greater transparency” to operators and the public during the civil enforcement process...

PSA and Allocation Wells – The Current State of Play

The Railroad Commission of Texas (the “RRC”) routinely grants drilling permits to operators seeking to drill horizontal wells across multiple leased tracts (or existing pooled units) that are not formally “pooled” together under the pooling clauses in the applicable underlying oil and gas leases. Some of the more frequent situations in which these wells are drilled include instances where the pooling provisions of the underlying leases do not allow for pooled units of a sufficient size to support the full lateral length of the horizontal well in question or instances where the leases on which...

Energy Legal Blog Nominated for 2016 Best Legal Blog

Energy Legal Blog has been selected to compete in The Expert Institute’s Best Legal Blog Competition . From a field of hundreds of potential nominees, Bracewell's Energy Legal Blog has received enough nominations to join the one of the largest competitions for legal blog writing online today. Now that the blogs have been nominated and placed into their respective categories, it is up to their readers to select the very best. With an open voting format that allows participants one vote per blog, the competition will be a true test of the dedication of each blog’s existing readers, while also...

EPA’s Amended Regional Consistency Regulations Tilt the Playing Field: Industry Groups Seek to Overturn

Last week, three industry groups filed challenges to EPA’s final rule amending the agency’s Regional Consistency Regulation in 40 CFR Part 56. [1] The final rule , which was issued on August 3, 2016, addresses the question of how to treat Federal court decisions regarding locally or regionally applicable actions that may affect EPA’s ability to apply its national programs, policies, and guidance consistently. Notably, the rule is substantively flawed and simply unfair. EPA wants to have its cake and eat it too. The agency’s rule limits decisions adverse to the agency to a particular region of...

Pages