Oil & Gas

News & Analysis as of

Summary of Obama’s Final Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its final rule governing hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. The final rule comes almost two years after BLM...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: The Broader Lesson of the El Paso Pipeline Decision

Alternative entities, such as limited partnerships and limited liability companies, have an advantage over corporations because of the greater flexibility to define the terms of the arrangement by contract. ...more

Pa. Toxic Tort Settlement Shows Potential Danger in Benzene Exposure Lawsuits

A settlement recently reached between U.S. Steel Corp. and the widow of a Pennsylvania man allegedly exposed to benzene may fuel use of toxic tort lawsuits to sue over benzene exposures. ...more

Is Your ORRI What You Think It Is?

Bankruptcy Court reinforces importance of parties’ intent in determining the nature of overriding royalty interests under state law. On April 2, 2015, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware...more

New Standards for Shipping Crude Oil, Petroleum Products and Renewable Fuel by Rail

On Friday, May 1, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) issued a final rule establishing new requirements for transporting flammable liquids in a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars or 35 or more tank cars loaded...more

Maryland Legislative and Regulatory Updates

Maryland’s annual legislative session ended on April 13, 2015, and with the close of the session came new legislation that affects environmental regulation in Maryland....more

“Peace Train” or “Crazy Train”?

In my former days defending agency actions in federal court, I had a standard line I used with frequent success when rules were attacked by all sides: “Your Honor, we’ve been sued here by both industry and environmental...more

Schlumberger OFAC Enforcement Action – A New Threat?

I have been writing lately about the rise of OFAC sanctions enforcement. OFAC and the Justice Department have started to build a close working relationship similar to that between the SEC and the Justice Department relating...more

EPA Requests Comment On Analysis Of Carinata Oil Feedstock

On April 24, 2015, EPA released a Federal Register notice inviting comment on analysis of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced during the production and transport of Brassica carinata (carinata) oil feedstock for use...more

Discovery Orders May Threaten Traditional Notions of Trade Secret Protection

Historically, confidential and proprietary information, such as the formulas for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, is trade secret information that will not be made available to the public during litigation. While Coke and Pepsi are...more

Corn-Based Ethanol Debate Intensifies – – A Bit

A recent article in USA Today questions whether ethanol’s days are numbered. While that article is written from the perspective of whether the stock of ethanol producing companies is a good investment, it focuses on some of...more

Recent Crude-by-Rail Developments

The transportation of crude oil by rail continues to be a key issue for rail and energy industry stakeholders as well as policy makers. Below is a summary of recent developments. 1. DOT Takes Six Crude-by-Rail Safety...more

Antitrust & Competition Newsletter - April 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That State Action Immunity Does Not Apply to State Boards If the Board Is Controlled by Active Market Participants - On Feb. 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in a 6-3 decision, that a state...more

DOT Issues Final Rule for High-Hazard Flammable Trains

On May 1, 2015, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) long awaited (and already highly controversial) final rule strengthening standards for trains carrying flammable...more

NERC's Polite Review of the Clean Power Plan: A "Challenge"

When the draft of EPA's Clean Power Plan was promulgated in the Federal Register last June, one of the critical questions raised by those in the electricity space was: what about reliability? If you shut down all those coal...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring...more

FERC Policy Statement Regarding Pipeline Recovery of System Modernization Costs

On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued a Policy Statement on Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities (the “Policy­­­.Statement”), opening...more

Keystone XL’s Opponents Won’t Derail Canadian Oil Trains to the Gulf Coast

The U.S. Gulf Coast—with its 1.4 million barrels per day of coker[*] refining capacity geared to maximize output of high-value lighter products from lower-cost, heavy, high-sulfur crude oil feedstocks—is an ideal market for...more

Your Texas Legislature at Work, Part 2

The Texas legislature is still busy on energy issues. Is that good or bad? It depends on your situation; oil patch thieves won’t like it. Wind Energy - Senate Bill 931 would blow away the Renewable Portfolio...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Mixology 101: Blending Trade Secret Protections and Fracking Chemical Reporting

Whether you live in the East, the Great Plains, the Southwest, or the Rocky Mountain West, the oil and gas industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in oil and gas development is something you have likely heard a...more

"Managing Related-Party Transactions With Yieldco and MLP Vehicles After El Paso Pipeline"

Sponsors generally form a yieldco or a master limited partnership (MLP) because the structure of these permanent capital vehicles allows for the issuance of equity to investors at a lower cost of capital, providing a...more

Energy Bulletin (US)

Transportation Department acts on safety issues regarding crude and ethanol shipped by rail. The US Department of Transportation on April 17 issued regulatory changes it believes will address “some of the issues...more

Justices Spar Over Pre-Emption as High Court Allows State Law Antitrust Claims to Proceed Against Interstate Pipelines

On April 21, 2015, in a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Breyer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state law antitrust claims brought against interstate pipeline companies by a group of manufacturers and other retail buyers...more

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