Energy > AG Speaking Energy
29 Jun '17

A recent report on decommissioning provides up-to-date predictions for the future costs of dismantling infrastructure in the United Kingdom Continental Shelf. It is the first financial estimate by the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) since the regulator was established in 2016. The methodology used is different from that of previous surveys.

The report is noteworthy in its application of the new statutory requirement of Maximising Economic Recovery (MER). As applied to decommissioning, this requires that persons undertaking an activity must do so in a cost-effective way. This includes employing new and emerging technology. The report emphasizes the potential to reduce costs by the application of MER.

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10 Mar '17

On March 3, 2017, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the “Commission”) staff scheduled a technical conference to discuss the interaction between state energy policy priorities for generation resources and resource attributes and market design and development in the organized wholesale markets administered by the Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (RTOs/ISOs) in the Eastern Interconnection.1 The announcement of the two-day conference on May 1 and 2 comes as states continue to enact or consider policy measures to provide subsidies to generating resources that are struggling to earn sufficient revenues in the wholesale markets and address carbon reduction and other environmental policy goals.     

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13 Feb '17

Since our December update, ISO New England (ISO-NE) and New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) stakeholders have convened additional meetings to assess potential reforms to their respective wholesale electricity markets to better align them with state and regional decarbonization goals. In both NEPOOL’s1 Integrating Markets and Public Policy (IMAPP) initiative and NYISO’s Integrating Public Policy Project (IPPP), carbon pricing remains a central discussion point as they look to advance their stakeholder efforts in 2017.

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06 Feb '17

On February 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the “Commission”) issued an order (the “Delegation Order”) delegating “further authority” to its staff—beyond the existing delegations of authority already set forth in its regulations1—to take action on matters that would normally require action by the Commission itself. The additional delegations are intended to address the impending, and potentially lengthy, lack of a three-commissioner quorum resulting from the resignation of Commissioner Norman Bay on January 26, 2017, effective February 3, 2017.2 Bay’s resignation leaves FERC with only two commissioners, one short of the quorum needed for Commission action under the statutes it administers. The relatively limited additional delegations will primarily maintain the “status quo” and ensure that rates and terms and conditions of service subject to FERC jurisdiction that are challenged cannot take final effect without Commission review.

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12 Jan '17

(Houston) – Lawyers and advisors at Akin Gump held a briefing today, titled “The Global Energy Industry: A Look to the Year Ahead in 2017,” addressing some of the big issues likely to affect the global energy industry in the coming year. The event was held as an in-person briefing in the firm’s Houston office and as a webinar for participants around the world.

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10 Jan '17

On January 9, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Final Rule—following an Interim Final Rule issued June 29, 2016, as described here—amending its regulations governing the maximum civil monetary penalties assessable for violations of statutes, rules and orders within its jurisdiction. Like the Interim Final Rule, the Final Rule is a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the “2015 Adjustment Act”), which required each federal agency to issue an interim final rule by July 1, 2016, adjusting for inflation each civil monetary penalty provided by law within the agency’s jurisdiction, and which requires an annual adjustment for inflation by each January 15. Under the 2015 Adjustment Act, increases resulting from the first adjustment were limited to 150 percent of the maximum penalty in effect as of November 2, 2015. The adjustments in the Final Rule represent an additional increase of 1.636 percent for each covered maximum penalty.  FERC’s adjusted maximum penalty amounts, which will apply at the time of assessment of a civil penalty regardless of the date on which the violation occurred, are set forth here and are effective January 24, 2017.

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09 Jan '17

Globe Law & Business, in its new book Oil and Gas Sale and Purchase Agreements, has included several chapters written by Akin Gump lawyers. The chapters and their corresponding authors are as follows:

  • “Conditions precedent and deferred completions,” by oil and gas partner John LaMaster
  • “Oil and gas warranties,” by oil and gas counsel Caroline-Lucy Moran
  • “Environmental provisions in upstream acquisitions and divestitures,” by environment and natural resources partner emeritus Paul Gutermann
  • “Decommissioning,” by oil and gas counsel Nicholas Antonas and partner Marc Hammerson
  • “Anti-corruption provisions,” by international trade counsel Nicole D’Avanzo and partner Tatman Savio
  • Oil and gas boilerplate provisions,” by John LaMaster

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05 Jan '17

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the “Commission”) announced in December that it is opening a new inquiry and seeking comments regarding its current policies with respect to the recovery of income tax costs in the interstate transportation rates of natural gas and oil pipelines and electric utilities.1 The inquiry follows a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, United Airlines, Inc. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 827 F.3d 122 (D.C. Cir. 2016), which held that FERC’s current approach may allow double recovery of taxes by pipelines owned by master limited partnerships (MLPs) and may not ensure parity in after-tax returns between those pipelines and pipelines owned by corporations. As FERC explains, the court’s holding in United Airlines could have a “potentially significant and widespread effect” on the rates and after-tax returns of a wide variety of entities subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.

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