Oil & Gas

News & Analysis as of

New Federal Chemical-Disclosure Regulations? Public-Comment Period Has Ended

In our July/August newsletter, we wrote that in May 2014, the Obama administration began to accept comments regarding potential federal hydraulic-fracturing regulations. The EPA, through an advance notice of proposed...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Business Judgment Rule to Directors Who Approve Merger Supported by Large Shareholders

In its October 24, 2014, decision in In re Crimson Exploration Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 8541, the Delaware Court of Chancery confirmed that the business judgment rule is applicable in evaluating claims for breach...more

Judge Barbier BP Attempt to Limit Clean Water Act Fines

On September 4, 2014, District Court Judge Carl Barbier issued his “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law – Phase One Trial” in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation. In his 153 page opinion, Judge Barbier found BP...more

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry... Wage and Hour Investigations on the Rise

A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)'s Wage and Hour Division recently warned that the payroll practices of some of this state's most active industries (including the oil and gas services industry) may be...more

Sink or Swim as Oil Prices Continue to Fall

As Warren Buffett once wrote in a 2002 letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., "you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out." Well, the tide is going out for many in the oil and gas industry...more

EPA Announces New Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule for Oil and Gas Sector

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions that will apply to the oil and gas sector, part of EPA’s plan to institute a comprehensive strategy for...more

The Myth of the Regulatory Gap: BLM’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Compared to Existing State Law

For the better part of the last decade, oil and natural gas production from domestic wells has increased steadily. Technical advancements in identifying promising sources of oil and gas and extracting hydrocarbons from...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

The “Show” in 2015 – Pass the Popcorn, Please

Anyone trying to read the tea-leaves of the recent elections might want to take a step back and slow down before predicting how they will impact American manufacturers in 2015. The recent, dramatic drop in oil prices may...more

Avoiding “Gotcha” Moments: Excusing Non-Production to Address Mechanical Issues Under the Temporary Cessation of Production...

In Landover Production Company, LLC v. Endeavor Energy Resources, L.P., et al., the Texas Court of Appeals re-affirmed the application of the implied, “temporary cessation of production doctrine” to prevent an oil and gas...more

Halliburton’s Acquisition of Baker Hughes Likely to Receive Close Antitrust Scrutiny from Department of Justice

On November 17, 2014, Halliburton Company (“Halliburton”) announced plans to acquire Baker Hughes, Inc. (“Baker Hughes”) for $34.6 billion. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are two of the world’s largest oilfield services...more

The Keystone Pipeline – It’s About Time

Representative Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) continue to fall over themselves to see who can be more supportive of legislation forcing President Obama to approve construction of the Keystone Pipeline....more

Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - November 2014

In This Issue: - Administrative Items - Electric Items - Gas Items - Hydro Items - Excerpt from Hydro Items: H-1: Hydraco Power, Inc. and Warren David Long (Docket No. P-12588-010) - On...more

Alien Tort Case Development: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against Occidental Petroleum and AirScan

On November 12, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) against Occidental Petroleum and AirScan. The case, Mujica v. AirScan, involves claims by...more

Chamber of Commerce: Corporations Form the Cornerstone of FCPA Compliance

Recently one of the most unlikely sources for praise of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) came out to inform us all that corporations are the cornerstone of FCPA compliance and enforcement. You may be surprised to find...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Heat, drought worsen smog in California, stalling decades of progress: Los Angeles Times - Nov 10: Heat and extreme drought have worsened smog in California over the last year, stalling...more

Ohio Elections Yield Mixed Results on Local Hydraulic Fracturing Bans

Last week’s Election Day in Ohio produced victories for fracing supporters and opponents alike. Proposed hydraulic fracturing bans were on the ballot in four different municipal contests. Voters in one city, Athens, approved...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

OCS Operators and Lenders Beware - Comment Period Ending on BOEM Risk Management, Financial Assurance and Loss Prevention Notice...

Monday, November 17, 2014, is the last day to provide comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in connection with its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) with respect to risk management, financial...more

Avast! – Tankermen Held To Be Seamen Exempt From FLSA Overtime Pay Requirements

In a much and long anticipated ruling, the Fifth Circuit in Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Inc., No. 13-20144 (5th Cir. Nov. 13, 2014), has held as a matter of law that vessel-based tankermen (specially...more

Ninth Circuit Rebuffs Shell’s Declaratory Judgment Act Suit

The Ninth Circuit recently rejected “a novel litigation strategy” under the Declaratory Judgment Act (DJA). Shell Gulf of Mex. v. Ctr. for Biological Div., 13-35835 (9th Cir. Nov. 12, 2014) (Slip Op.). According to the Ninth...more

Meet Your Deadlines: West Virginia AST Act Challenges [Video]

Although the W.Va. Aboveground Storage Tank Act, enacted this spring, is comprehensive in its scope—imposing new requirements for registration, permitting, inspection and certification, notice, spill response planning and...more

High Stakes Out on the Range: Gunnison Sage-Grouse Listed as an Endangered Species

In the first salvo of a larger environmental-industry showdown impacting Western shale development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday (Nov. 12, 2014) that the Gunnison Sage Grouse would be granted...more

Surveying the Oil & Gas Industry Landscape: Acquisitions, Divestitures and Joint Ventures

In the rapidly evolving global oil and gas market, changes in composition of assets, financing, market players and types of transactions are among the many emerging industry trends. These topics were part of the discussion at...more

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