Energy

  • March 30, 2015

    Texas Committee OKs Bill To Block Local Fracking Bans

    A Texas House committee on Monday approved a bill that would prevent local governments from imposing regulations like the Denton fracking ban, one week after more than 100 people waited hours to testify during a hearing on the bill.

  • March 30, 2015

    First Solar Says Shareholders' Fraud Claims Lack Evidence

    First Solar Inc. told an Arizona federal court Friday that a class of shareholders claiming some of the energy company’s executives misrepresented financial information to inflate stock prices have no evidence to support their claims.

  • March 30, 2015

    Deals Rumor Mill: Warburg Pincus, Guangdong, KIC

    Just two years after closing an $11.2 billion global fund, private equity outfit Warburg Pincus is ready to raise $12 billion for a new fund, while China's Guangdong Rising Assets Management has made a takeover offer for PanAust Ltd. that values the Australian mining company at $860 million.

  • March 30, 2015

    PDVSA Disputes $4 Billion Virgin Islands Tax Assessment

    A Virgin Islands subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA on Sunday challenged deficiencies of nearly $3.8 billion in taxes and penalties from the company’s joint venture with a VI subsidiary of Hess Corp. in a court in the territory.

  • March 30, 2015

    Enviros Fight To Keep Red River CWA Suit Afloat

    Environmental groups on Monday fired back at Red River Coal Co.’s bid to throw out their suit alleging the company violated the Clean Water Act by excessively discharging pollutants from four of its mines, saying Red River is trying to hide behind the word of a state mining agency that is beholden to industry.

  • March 30, 2015

    The 2015 Rising Stars, By Firm

    Law360's Rising Stars recognizes attorneys under 40 who have demonstrated outstanding career accomplishments. This year, King & Spalding LLP and Sidley Austin LLP led the pack with seven Rising Stars each, followed by Gibson Dunn and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP with six Rising Stars each, and Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis LLP with five Rising Stars apiece.

  • March 30, 2015

    Coast Guard Issues Final Offshore Drilling Rule

    The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday unveiled updated safety standards for newly constructed mobile offshore oil drilling units, floating outer continental shelf facilities and other vessels that engage in OCS activities.

  • March 30, 2015

    Kuwait Fund Pays $550M For 25% Stake In Gas Natural Spinoff

    Spanish gas and electricity utility Gas Natural SDG SA, better known as Gas Natural Fenosa, said Monday that it will sell for $550 million a 25 percent stake in its Global Power Generation spinoff to the Kuwait Investment Authority's infrastructure arm.

  • March 30, 2015

    EFH Bond Ruling Offers Costly Lesson For Creditors

    Deep within a judge’s recent refusal to award Energy Future Holdings Corp. bondholders the lost interest payments from a $4 billion refinancing lies a stark lesson on why lenders’ inattention can neuter their ability to collect make-whole premiums in bankruptcy.

  • March 30, 2015

    Total Reaps $569M From Nigeria Oil License Sale

    Total SA said Monday that it has completed the sale of its stake in a Nigerian onshore oil lease to Nigerian firm Aiteo Eastern Exploration & Production for $569 million, in line with the Nigerian government’s goal of getting more domestic companies involved in the country’s oil sector.

  • March 30, 2015

    Gov’t Urges Tough Penalties Against BP In Deepwater Disaster

    The federal government on Friday urged a Louisiana federal judge to hit BP Exploration & Production Inc. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. with heavy Clean Water Act penalties over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, arguing the fines should be high enough to send a message to the entire industry.

  • March 30, 2015

    Ill. Court Upholds Fines Over Acid Pumped Into Gas Wells

    An Illinois appeals court on Friday upheld $260,000 in fines against two companies that disposed of hazardous acid in oil and natural gas wells, finding that the case was properly before state environmental regulators rather than the agency overseeing drilling operations.

  • March 30, 2015

    Saudi Aramco Inks $10B Loan With International Banks

    State-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said on Monday said that it had inked new, $10 billion loan agreement with a syndicate of 27 international commercial banks, a move that the world’s largest oil exporter says will help it maintain financial flexibility.

  • March 30, 2015

    House Ethics Panel Probes Claims Against Whitfield, Wife

    The House Ethics Committee has opened a probe into allegations that House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., improperly used his position in Congress to benefit the lobbying efforts of his wife, it announced Friday.

  • March 30, 2015

    EIG Sinks $1B Into Oil Producer Breitburn Energy

    Breitburn Energy Partners LP said Sunday that EIG Global Energy Partners is sinking $1 billion into the master limited partnership through a combination of equity and debt, the latest private equity firm to shovel cash into the upstream space in a time of depressed oil prices.

  • March 27, 2015

    Pa. Utility Dodges Solar Co.’s Unfair Competition Suit

    A Pennsylvania federal judge shot down a solar company’s unfair competition claim against a utility company that wouldn’t allow access to the power grid for electricity generated by solar power, saying Sunrise Energy LLC’s arguments came up short of the threshold for a claim.

  • March 27, 2015

    Drummond Hits Attys With RICO Suit Over Murder Claims

    Drummond Co. Inc. on Friday filed in Alabama federal court a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suit accusing plaintiffs’ attorneys of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to criminals who testified that the company collaborated with Colombian paramilitary forces in the murders of hundreds of civilians.

  • March 27, 2015

    Gray Reed Hires 5-Member Litigation Team In Houston

    A Beirne Maynard & Parsons LLP litigator who handles primarily energy and insurance work joined the Houston office of Gray Reed & McGraw PC on Friday, bringing with him four associates.

  • March 27, 2015

    Exide's $133M No-Prosecute Deal OK'd In Pollution Row

    A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Friday approved a nonprosecution agreement between Exide Technologies Inc. and federal prosecutors requiring the company to admit to illegally handling hazardous waste at its Los Angeles-area battery recycling plant, and to close and clean up the plant, among other remedies costing up to $133 million.

  • March 27, 2015

    9th Circ. Clears 1 Convicted In Oil Investment Scheme

    The Ninth Circuit has overturned a conviction in an alleged scheme intended to defraud investors by telling them they were investing in oil and gas leases on an Indian reservation.

Expert Analysis

  • Look To Pa. Case On Standard Of Liability For Fracking

    Richard J. Wilson

    As natural gas drilling continues to spread where landowners and courts are unfamiliar with the industry, Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. represents a significant step in clarifying the standard of liability under which courts should consider the increasing number of claims alleging damages resulting from hydraulic fracturing, say Richard Wilson and Justin Tschoepe of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

  • Mediation And The Thorny Issue Of Settlement Authority

    Douglas H. Flaum

    Many mediation orders state that attendees must have “full settlement authority” without providing clarity as to what that term actually means. Attendance by just outside counsel or a corporate spokesperson is not enough, even if someone else with full settlement authority is just a phone call or keystroke away, say Douglas Flaum and Kevin Broughel of Paul Hastings LLP.

  • Brazil Continues To Ramp Up Anti-Corruption Enforcement

    Nicholas Berg

    The recently disclosed Bilfinger bribery scandal related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, along with other Brazilian anti-corruption enforcement and regulatory developments, has reinforced the importance to companies doing business in Brazil of implementing effective compliance policies and procedures, say Nicholas Berg and David Rojas of Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • Hedging Contango In The Energy Sector

    Jeffrey Nichols

    With some analysts expecting the crude oil forward price curve to dive into steep contango soon, depending on the rates of production decrease, demand increase and storage availability, this will cause cash-strapped oil and gas companies to explore transactions that are a blend of hedging and financing, says Jeffrey Nichols of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • What Experts Can Say About Inadmissible Facts During Trial

    Jason McDonell

    For reliance material that is not admitted on the stand, consider bolstering the testimony by having the expert describe the evidence generally, but in a way that signals to the jury that the expert has a strong foundation of supporting facts and data. If done well, such testimony can open the door to admitting the evidence, say Jason McDonell and Heather Fugitt of Jones Day.

  • 3rd Circ. Keeps Open Possible Fracking Carveout Challenge

    Emily B. Thomas

    Despite the decision in Rodriguez v. Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Third Circuit’s ruling was very narrow and leaves a door open for future challenges to state trade secret protections for hydraulic fracturing companies when it comes to medical care carveouts, says Emily Thomas of Baker & Hostetler LLP.

  • Combating Climate Change Continues With Executive Orders

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    President Obama's latest executive order on greenhouse gas emissions will impact both federal agencies and government contractors and once again signals the White House's intention to combat climate change in spite of some members of Congress, state governments and industry groups, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • High Court May Take On Corporate 5th Amendment Privilege

    Ramzi Abadou

    A festering but virtually unnoticed circuit split over a legal doctrine the U.S. Supreme Court first recognized early last century may provide the Roberts court with the opportunity to grant corporate persons privilege against self-incrimination for the first time in U.S. history, says Ramzi Abadou of Kahn Swick & Foti LLP.

  • Rage Rises To The Top At BLM's New Fracking Rules

    J. Tom Boer

    The Bureau of Land Management's final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on public lands saw a swift political backlash — energy industry groups filed a lawsuit challenging the rulemaking and the GOP-controlled Senate issued a statement criticizing the rule as duplicative and unnecessary, says J. Tom Boer, a partner with Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP and former attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Regulatory Divergence May Be New Norm After GHG Guidance

    Mark C. Kalpin

    The White House Council on Environmental Quality's revised draft guidance on greenhouse gas emissions gives significant discretion to agencies to proceed appropriately in light of their unique mandates and circumstances, which raises concerns about possible divergent practices among different agencies, say attorneys at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.