EPA Proposes Additional Two-Year Stay of Parts of the Methane Rule

On June 13, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a pre-publication proposed rule that would grant an additional two-year stay to the effectiveness of certain portions of the 2016 rule establishing methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry (“Methane Rule”). The Methane Rule applies to oil and gas facilities for which construction, modification, or reconstruction started after September 18, 2015. See 40 C.F.R. Part 60, Subpart OOOOa (40 C.F.R. § 60.5360a et seq. , adopted at 81 Fed. Reg. 35824 (June 3, 2016)). The June 13 proposed rule affects three...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - May 2017

NYMEX NYMEX 16-0372-BC Misc. Violation of Rule 432.Q, 432.W – General Offenses Pursuant to a settlement offer, a panel found that from July 2015 through March 2016, a non-member trader was concomitantly operating market-making and market-taking automated trading systems during the pre-opening period that entered and cancelled a number of E-mini Crude Oil and Natural Gas futures contracts orders. The market-taking strategy should not have operated in the pre-opening period and the orders it generated were not intended to be entered. Due to the non-member trader’s inability to properly...

Calculating FERC’s One-Mile Rule for Renewable Projects Seeking QF Status

As the vigorous pace of wind and solar energy development continues, the ability of renewable projects to obtain Qualifying Facility (“QF”) status under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) can be critical to a renewable project’s viability and can have important cost implications for the utility receiving the project’s output. A pending application before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) sets the stage for FERC to clarify aspects of its so-called “one-mile rule” that may impact the way certain renewable projects can be configured to gain QF status as...

U.S. Supreme Court: Disgorgement Subject to Five-Year Statute of Limitations

The United States Supreme Court this week unanimously held that the five-year statute of limitations established in 28 U.S.C. §2462 applies to disgorgement in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement proceedings. The Court in Charles Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that the SEC’s use of disgorgement amounts to a penalty and thus is subject to the five year statute of limitations. [1] The decision in Kokesh represents a further practical limitation on the SEC’s remedial power and could have implications for other agency actions, including the Federal Energy...

Offsite Drilling: Lightning Oil v. Anadarko and Its Potential Impact on Offsite Surface Use in Horizontal Drilling

As the global commodity price rout continues, operators have become hypersensitive to increasing efficiencies in order to lower break-even prices. Following a recovery in early 2016, oil prices have remained somewhat range-bound between roughly $45 and $55 per barrel for the past twelve months. [1] A corresponding decrease in service prices has offered some relief, but this alone has proven unsustainable for many producers to continue their current drilling plans. While the geological attributes of formations found in the Permian Basin offer unique opportunities to attain break-even prices in...

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