• January 29, 2015

    Senate Panel Considers Easing LNG Export Rules

    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Thursday on a bill streamlining liquefied natural gas export permits to countries without free trade agreements with the U.S., with industry groups split over concerns about potential spikes in domestic prices.

  • January 29, 2015

    Pa. Gov. Revives Gas Leasing Ban In State Parks

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday reinstated a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in state parks and forests, nixing an order enacted by his predecessor that overturned the ban on further oil and gas development and fulfilling a campaign promise.

  • January 29, 2015

    Biofuels A Looming Threat To World Food Production: Report

    A leading conservation group is urging governments around the world to rethink the use of biofuels as a clean energy source, saying that burning crops for fuel threatens to dramatically increase the already gargantuan food production gap.

  • January 29, 2015

    Sasol Holds Off On $14B Louisiana Gas-To-Liquids Plant

    South Africa-based Sasol Ltd. postponed its decision on investing in a Louisiana gas-to-liquids plant costing as much as $14 billion, saying on Wednesday that it was looking for ways to hold on to its cash amid a plunge in oil prices.

  • January 29, 2015

    Cobalt Ducks SEC Charges Over Angolan Bribery Allegations

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has dropped its investigation of Cobalt International Energy Inc. over the alleged bribery of foreign officials in Angola in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company said Wednesday.

  • January 29, 2015

    Shell Plans $15B In Spending Cuts Amid Oil Price Plunge

    Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday that it would slash its capital spending by $15 billion over the next three years, a clear sign that the historic slide in oil prices is affecting the plans of even the world’s largest oil companies.

  • January 28, 2015

    Senate Cans 11 Keystone XL Amendments

    The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took up a dozen amendments to the Keystone XL pipeline legislation, passing only one concerning energy retrofitting for schools, two days after Democrats refused to end debate on the bill until all pending amendments had been voted on.

  • January 28, 2015

    Houston Energy Co. Wins $8.5M In Ex-Employee Fraud Dispute

    A Texas judge has affirmed a jury’s $8.5 million award to Houston-based Smith Energy Co. in its suit accusing a former employee of fraud and theft in connection with oil and gas leases in West Texas, Smith Energy’s attorneys at Rusty Hardin & Associates announced Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    BP Spill Payments Helped Local Economy, Expert Testifies

    BP Exploration and Production Inc. pumped billions into economies surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and helped stabilize tourism and fishing industries through spending and subsidies in the years following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, a witness for the company testified Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    Squire Patton Boggs Picks Up SolarWinds General Counsel

    Squire Patton Boggs has added the former general counsel of information technology management software company SolarWinds Inc., who brings transactional and intellectual property experience to its Tampa, Florida office, the firm announced Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    Enviros Criticize EPA's Delay Of Power Plant Emissions Rule

    A coalition of national and regional environmental groups including Greenpeace USA and the Center for Biological Diversity accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of caving to special interests by delaying the implementation of greenhouse gas emission curbs for power plants.

  • January 28, 2015

    Pembina To Sell $600M In Notes To Fund Capital Spending Plan

    Canadian energy transportation and service provider Pembina Pipeline Corp. said Wednesday that it is planning a $600 million note offering, with some of the proceeds expected to fund its recently announced $1.7 billion capital spending plan for 2015.

  • January 28, 2015

    Consol Coal Unit Polluted WVa. Waterway, Judge Rules

    A West Virginia federal judge on Tuesday found a Consol Energy Inc. coal mining unit liable for damages stemming from the pollution of a nearby stream, which he said “profoundly reduced” aquatic life abundance and species diversity.

  • January 28, 2015

    Law Profs Ask To Weigh In On EPA Emissions Rule Row

    A group of law professors have asked the D.C. Circuit to allow them to file an amicus brief backing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, saying the agency is empowered to put the plan into effect under the Clean Air Act.

  • January 28, 2015

    Manatt Snags Veteran Energy Partner From K&L Gates

    Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP is expanding its energy and natural resources practice in Los Angeles with the hiring of a new partner from K&L Gates LLP who brings with him more than 40 years of experience in energy, infrastructure and project finance, the firm announced this week.

  • January 28, 2015

    Worker Who Withheld SSN Can’t Claim Bias, 6th Circ. Says

    The Sixth Circuit on Wednesday affirmed the dismissal of a discrimination suit filed against FirstEnergy Generation Corp. by a man who says the company refused to employ him without his Social Security number, which he disavowed because of religious beliefs, ruling such an accommodation would violate federal law.

  • January 28, 2015

    Market Rumors: Citgo, LSE, Davivienda

    Citgo Petroleum is offering $1.5 billion in bonds as part of a credit package to raise money for its parent company, while the London Stock Exchange is pushing forward with plans to part ways with Russell Investments.

  • January 28, 2015

    House Passes Bipartisan Bill To Lower LNG Export Hurdles

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday intended to streamline regulatory approvals for exports of liquefied natural gas to countries without a free trade agreement with the U.S.

  • January 28, 2015

    NY Says New LNG Regs Will Facilitate Switch From Diesel

    New York's new regulations for the operation of liquefied natural gas facilities will also make the fuel available to fuel trucks and for other purposes, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation said Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    Power Deals Face Ongoing Scrutiny Under FERC Cost Plan

    A policy on mergers for utilities and transmission companies recently proposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could inject long-term uncertainty into deals by indefinitely opening the door to challenges of any future investment decisions by the merged company, experts say.

Expert Analysis

  • EU’s Russia Sanctions And Tips For The Year Ahead

    Tobias Caspary

    European Union sanctions on Russia are relatively specific — at least where they relate to the access restrictions to EU capital markets and the Russian energy sector. This means businesses have to consider very carefully whether their commercial operations, or specific transactions, are caught by these prohibitions, say Tobias Caspary and Till Vere-Hodge of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

  • NJ High Court Lays Down The Law On Spill Suit Limits

    Richard F. Ricci

    The New Jersey Supreme Court's recent holding in Morristown Associates v. Grant Oil Company that no limitations period applies to claims for contribution under the state’s Spill Compensation and Control Act allows litigants to approach the issue with certainty — even federal courts are now bound by this interpretation, say Richard Ricci and Sean Collier of Lowenstein Sandler LLP.

  • Should You Be Withholding On Per Diems Paid To Employees?

    Jennifer A. Ray

    Two Tax Court cases released last week highlight the importance — and the difficulty — of determining where a traveling worker “lives” for tax purposes, and the stakes are magnified for employers that provide cash allowances for travel expenses or per diem amounts to their traveling employees, says Jennifer Ray of Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: 2014 JPML Practice Trends

    Alan E. Rothman

    At its December session, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation considered the second attempt by a distributor of dietary supplements to create an MDL proceeding, raising the prospect of the first Hawaii MDL proceeding in nearly 20 years. But as we gear up for the panel hearing on Thursday, let's also consider how JPML trends of 2014 compare with prior years, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • New Coal Ash Standard May Reignite Tax-Exempt Bond Market

    Mary Nash Rusher

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent determination that coal ash is solid waste could have a material impact on capital expenditures relating to coal ash. Coal plant owners should be aware that the final rule provides certain financing benefits by clarifying the ability to finance certain facilities with tax-exempt bonds, say Mary Nash Rusher and S. Christina Kwon of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • High Court Weighs Gas Act Preemption In Antitrust Case

    Kenneth W. Irvin

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Oneok Inc. v. Learjet Inc., a case that raises an intriguing question about what the justices aim to achieve given the intervening expansion of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s anti-manipulation authority in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, say attorneys with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP.

  • Calif. Land Grant Case May Change Railroad Rights Of Way

    Neil M. Soltman

    A California appellate court's recent ruling in Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Santa Fe Pacific Pipelines Inc. is likely to significantly affect the relationships between railroads and their subsurface tenants on rights of way that were originally granted by the government, particularly in the western part of the country, say Neil Soltman and Michael Kerr of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • A Data Security Checklist For Companies Hiring Law Firms

    Jenn Topper

    We trust our law firms with huge amounts of data, whether in or out of discovery, investigations or litigation. All too often, we have relied on privilege, confidentiality and attorney ethics as a proxy for data protection and information security. But in fact, law firms ought to be held to a much more stringent standard — and in-house counsel would be wise to begin with a number of specific inquiries, says legal industry consultan... (continued)

  • 10 Tips For Downsizing Workforces In An Energy Crunch

    Steve Shardonofsky

    While the energy sector is no stranger to the employment effects of cyclical oil prices, small and midsized oil field services companies that grew up during the recent U.S. energy boom will likely bear the brunt of falling oil prices. Further, these companies face new legal risks and obligations when downsizing that were nonexistent during the oil bust of the 1980s, say Steve Shardonofsky and Brian Wadsworth of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

  • What Legal Departments Can Expect If Buying Into E-Billing

    David Houlihan

    Recent interviews with law departments in eight companies — ranging from $600 million to $70 billion in annual revenue, and spanning the financial services, telecommunications, hospitality, software and discrete manufacturing industries — reveals that e-billing and "spend management solutions" offer some of the clearer business cases for technology investment by an organization’s legal department, says David Houlihan of Blue Hill Research Inc.