News & Analysis as of

Oil Supplier Appeals Conoco’s Right To Buy Stake In Refinery Unit

In a long-standing dispute between Venezuelan state-owned Oil Company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (“Petroleos”) and ConocoPhillips, a New York district court judge upheld ConocoPhillips’ acquisition of a 50% stake in a Texas...more

Fifth Circuit Reverses Citgo Convictions Under Clean Air Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp., No. 14-40128 (5th Cir. September 4, 2015), reversed the district court’s convictions of Citgo Petroleum Corp. (Citgo) for alleged...more

EPA Issues Notice Of Proposed Settlement For Wyoming Refineries

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice of Proposed Settlement Agreement; Request for Public Comment in the Federal Register. The notice is to settle lawsuits filed by Sinclair...more

Legislation Allowing the Export of U.S. Crude Oil Advances in Congress, EIA Report Lauded as Support

Modification of the U.S. policy restricting exports of domestic crude oil has been at the forefront of energy policy discussion due to the country’s recent emergence as a leader in oil and natural gas production. ...more

Citgo Prevails Over EPA at the Fifth Circuit

USA v. Citgo Petroleum highlights the excruciating degree of detail in federal regulations and the gymnastics the EPA will employ justify a prosecution. The Fifth Circuit has reversed Citgo Petroleum’s conviction for...more

Liability for Unintentional Bird Deaths Still Up in the Air

The recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that unintentional bird deaths under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) are not “takes” under the MBTA and therefore not subject to criminal liability, adds fodder to the...more

Birds of a Feather: The 5th Circuit Joins the 8th and 9th Circuits’ Narrow View of the MBTA’s Take Prohibition

On September 4, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in United States v. CITGO Petroleum Co. that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act’s take prohibition does not include the unintentional take of migratory...more

Fifth Circuit Spurns Second and Tenth Circuits, Sides with Eighth and Ninth Circuits on Interpretation of MBTA “Take” Prohibition

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), it is unlawful to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill . . . any migratory bird” protected by the Act. 16 U.S.C. 703(a) & 704(a). In a recent...more

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Narrowly Interpreted: the Fifth Circuit Joins the Eighth and Ninth Circuits

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision holding CITGO liable for three misdemeanors under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for bird deaths (the opinion lists 35 birds, including “twenty...more

Rating Agency Developments

On August 27, 2015, Fitch updated its criteria for analyzing large loans in U.S. CMBS transactions. On August 28, 2015, Fitch updated its UK Whole Business Securitization rating criteria. On August 28, 2015, Fitch updated its...more

Will Congress Repeal the Crude Oil Export Ban in Fall 2015?

Rising congressional support signals real promise that the ban on U.S. crude oil exports could be repealed within the next six months. The U.S. now exports more than 550 thousand barrels per day (kbd) of crude oil and another...more

EPA Methodology For Small Refinery Exemption Upheld

On June 2, 2015, federal appellate judges decided that EPA's methodology for evaluating small refineries (those with crude oil throughput averaging 75,000 barrels or less per day) for exemptions from the RFS program was fair....more

FTC Consent Agreement with Par Petroleum Demonstrates Increased Agency Focus on Competitive Effects

On March 18, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Par Petroleum Corporation to terminate its storage and throughput rights at a key gasoline terminal in Hawaii. This action will settle FTC charges seeking to...more

An Introductory Guide to Rev 973 v. Mouren-Laurens Et Al

Loeb & Loeb LLP represents a group of approximately 45 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in the Rev 973 litigation, though the number is constantly changing as additional parties join the group. The following is an...more

Talks Resume in Ongoing Refinery Worker Strike

Representatives of the major oil companies and the United Steelworkers Union returned to the table on March 9, 2015 to resume talks regarding a three-year labor contract during a strike by workers that has now entered its...more

Oil Patch Regulators Order Bakken Crude “Stabilized,” A Step to Enhance Oil Train Safety

On December 9 the North Dakota Industrial Commission issued an Order requiring production facilities to separate volatile gases, the so-called “light ends,” like propane and butane, from crude oil before it is shipped to...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

The Shale Play Today - November 2014

In This Issue: - Latest Aboveground Storage Tank Act Developments: Interpretive Rule Adopted and Comments Filed on Draft Emergency Rule: On October 21, 2014, the West Virginia Department of Environmental...more

World’s Largest Cellulosic Biorefinery Opens

On October 17, 2014, Abengoa opened -- and DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated -- the world's largest cellulosic biorefinery in Hugoton, Kansas. This second generation cellulosic ethanol plant will process 1,000 tons of...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

Outstanding Design Flaws in California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

On January 1, 2013, California embarked on a grand experiment with the launch of the world’s most complex cap-and-trade program. Under this program, companies operating in California, such as food processors, power producers...more

$91 Million Loan Guarantee To Louisiana Biofuel Plant

On October 3, 2014, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA reached an agreement with Silicon Valley Bank to provide a $91 million Biorefinery Assistance Program loan guarantee to Cool Planet for a biofuel plant in...more

California Proposes Major Changes to Refinery PSM Standard

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has proposed a new Process Safety Management standard for oil refineries (the "Refinery PSM Standard"). The proposal, which is a precursor to formal notice and comment...more

Southwest Research Institute Announces Improved Circulating Fluidized Bed

A custom designed circulating fluidized bed (CFB) has been created so that engineers at Southwest Research Institute can convert crude oil and biofeedstocks into refined fuel samples for clients more efficiently than...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Richmond approves massive Chevron refinery project with $90 million in community benefits: Contra Costa Times - Jul 30: Chevron's five year-plus quest to initiate a $1 billion upgrade...more

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