Category Archives: Natural Gas

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Methane Rule Litigation Creates Uncertainty for Oil and Gas Companies

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently denied the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed delay of an Obama-era rule that limits methane emissions from new oil and gas equipment, sending oil and gas companies scrambling to immediately ensure compliance with the rule to avoid any enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

Energy Independence is Theme of Trump Environmental Plan

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) called “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”  The EO rescinds a host of climate change-related policies and rules instituted by the prior administration, including the Clean Power Plan and the Climate Action Plan. This new energy policy promotes all forms of domestic energy, and, … Continue Reading

Renewable Energy Development Can Still Look to PURPA as New Administration Moves In

With the inauguration of President Trump as the 45th President of the United States, stakeholders in various sectors of the energy industry have speculated about the future of energy policy in the new administration. While the early days of the administration have seen a clear commitment to the oil and gas sectors with action on … Continue Reading

FERC Issues NOPR on Information Collection, Rescinds Previous Iterations of Rule

On July 21, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in Docket No. RM16-17-000 to revise regulations regarding the collection of data for analytics and surveillance purposes from market-based rates (MBR) sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights (Virtual/FTR Participants). FERC also withdrew two … Continue Reading

Recap: Climate Action Plan Nears Completion

In 2013, President Obama issued the Climate Action Plan. Its goal: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a broad range of economic sectors. Moreover, the Climate Action Plan is the key set of initiatives necessary to achieve the United  States’ GHG reduction commitment set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international accord. We covered … Continue Reading

BLM Targets “Waste” in the Oil and Gas Industry

On January 22, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a new rule targeting oil and gas producers on federal and Indian lands. The rule aims to reduce waste of natural gas by limiting flaring, prohibiting venting, and requiring operators to identify and repair leaks. Additionally, the proposal would grant BLM discretion to increase … Continue Reading

FERC Terminates Proceeding Regarding Increased Reporting of Natural Gas Sales

On November 17, 2015, FERC issued an order terminating a proceeding (Docket No. RM13-1) in which it had issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proposing to substantially increase the reporting requirements applicable to sellers that make certain types of wholesale sales of natural gas. The NOI was issued on November 15, 2012 and proposed to … Continue Reading

FERC Order: Supply AMAs Are Exempt from Prohibition on Buy-Sells

On October 15, 2015, FERC issued a declaratory order stating that asset management agreements (AMAs) entered into by natural gas suppliers are exempt from the prohibition on buy-sell transactions (http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2015/101515/G-4.pdf).  The Commission issued the order in response to a request for declaratory order filed by Rice Energy Marketing, LLC, which asserted that the Commission’s previous … Continue Reading

Climate Action Plan Takes Shape

The summer of 2015 saw several controversial EPA rulemaking proceedings that will affect the energy, transportation, waste management and construction sectors across the United States.  These rulemakings implement President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, which has a goal of  reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.… Continue Reading

EPA’s Newest Attempt at Aggregating Emission Sources in the Oil & Gas Industry

EPA has proposed to resolve an issue that has vexed the oil and gas industry for years—how to determine which operations compose a single “source” for permitting decisions.  Unfortunately, the proposed resolution introduces new ambiguities.  The proposal comes as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, but in reality is the latest chapter in EPA’s … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Additional Elements of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan

On August 18, 2015, EPA released additional components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.  The four separate actions are intended to reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions from the oil and natural gas sector.  The newly-released components include: 1) Additional New Source Performance Standards; 2) New Control Techniques Guidelines; 3) Proposed revisions to the regulatory … Continue Reading

Clean Power Plan: EPA Issues Final Carbon Reduction Rule for Existing Stationary Sources

On August 3, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS) component of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), setting the first-ever carbon dioxide emission reduction goals for States. Environmental Protection Agency, Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources, 40 CFR Part … Continue Reading

Natural Gas Act Does Not Pre-empt State Antitrust Laws

Last week, the U. S. Supreme Court handed down an important decision on the jurisdictional reach of the Natural Gas Act (NGA).  The Court concluded that the NGA does not pre-empt a long-running group of state-law antitrust suits aimed at alleged misconduct by natural gas pipelines. In Oneok, Inc. et al. v. Learjet, Inc. et … Continue Reading

FERC Issues Final Order on Gas Day NOPR

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) last week released its final rule, Coordination of the Scheduling Processes of Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines and Public Utilities, 151 FERC ¶ 61,049 (2015) designated as Order No. 809, in docket RM14-2.  In Order No. 809, the Commission took action on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) … Continue Reading

CFTC Fines ICE Futures U.S. $3 Million as Part of Settlement for Recurring Data Reporting Violations Regarding Certain Energy Products

On March 16, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had entered into an administrative settlement with ICE Futures U.S., Inc. (ICE), a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc., to resolve charges that ICE violated a number of data reporting requirements regarding certain energy futures products over a 20-month period. As part of … Continue Reading

Ohio Supreme Court Invalidates Local Fracking Restrictions

On Monday, February 16, 2015, a sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court held in a 4-3 decision that Ohio local governments do not have authority to enact certain local zoning ordinances restricting hydraulic fracturing. The Court found that an Ohio statute regulating oil and gas well production operations that gives state government “sole and exclusive authority” … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Announces Plan to Cut Methane Emissions

The Obama Administration (Administration) on January 14, 2015 unveiled new plans to regulate methane emissions from the nation’s oil and natural gas sector.  Specifically, it announced a new goal to cut methane emissions from the sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.… Continue Reading

Illinois’ New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules Webinar

Schiff Hardin partner Daniel J. Deeb will present during “Illinois’ New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules,” a webinar hosted by Schiff Hardin. Mr. Deeb will address the primary issues to consider when preparing and defending an application filed under the Illinois rules. Lawrence L. Fieber of Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc. will also present. Mr. Deeb, a … Continue Reading

USEPA Finalizes Amendments to GHG Reporting Regulations for the Oil and Gas Sector And Proposes Additional Subpart W Revisions for Comment

Final Rules On November 13, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) finalized revisions to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) for the petroleum and natural gas systems source category. 40 C.F.R. part 98, subpart W (subpart W).  The final revisions also revise the general provisions (subpart A). … Continue Reading

FERC Issues Proposed Policy Statement Regarding Cost Recovery For Pipeline Modernization

FERC is seeking comments on a proposed Policy Statement regarding Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities.  The proposed Policy Statement, issued on November 20, 2014 in Docket No. PL15-1, notes that interstate pipelines are likely to incur costs associated with modernizing their facilities pursuant to obligations imposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous … Continue Reading

CFTC Proposes Clarification of the Interpretation on Forward Contracts with Embedded Volumetric Optionality

On November 3, 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), proposed a clarification of its previously issued interpretation concerning the exclusion of forward contracts with embedded volumetric optionality from the “swap” and “future delivery” definitions.  The CFTC seeks to clarify the seven elements previously provided as guidance … Continue Reading

FERC Concludes It Lacks Jurisdiction Over LNG Facility in Marcellus Region

FERC recently issued an order disclaiming jurisdiction over an LNG facility to be constructed and operated by Gulf Oil Limited Partnership (Gulf Oil) in the Marcellus Shale region.  Gulf Oil sought a declaratory order asking FERC to disclaim any jurisdiction it might have under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act.  Gulf Oil asserted that … Continue Reading

FERC Approves Cameron LNG for Exports

Over the objections of leading environmental groups and others, FERC recently approved a second application to export LNG.  Specifically, FERC granted Cameron LNG, LLC’s (a Sempra Energy affiliate) request pursuant to Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act to modify its LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana to permit LNG exports up to approximately 14.95 … Continue Reading
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