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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
Is a midstream contract treated the same as other executory contracts in bankruptcy, subject to assumption and rejection pursuant to the US Bankruptcy Code? An executory contract is any contract of the debtor where both the debtor and the contract counterparty have ongoing performance obligations on the date of the bankruptcy filing. A midstream contract, if considered by the court to be an executory contract, may be assumed or rejected under 11 USC § 365.
A LawFlash prepared by our energy lawyers discusses the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Notice of Inquiry regarding the certification of new interstate natural gas transportation facilities and the potential addition of environmental justice as an additional area of examination.
A LawFlash prepared by our energy team discusses likely results of the Texas power outages and blackouts during the recent winter storm, which include federal and state investigations into the outages, federal investigations into commodity and futures price spikes during the storm, force majeure inquiries, and demands for corrective actions to ensure future reliability of the grid system.
The US Department of Energy submitted a report to the president last month on “Economic and National Security Impacts under a Hydraulic Fracturing Ban.” This 80-page report analyzed the effects of a hypothetical United States ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing technology used with any new or existing onshore wells starting in 2021 through 2025.
A natural gas trader pleaded guilty in federal district court last week to conspiring to commit commodities fraud and wire fraud in an insider trading scheme over natural gas futures. His co-conspirator had pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate various provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) anti-manipulation rule.
The US Supreme Court granted certification on February 3 to review the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision in In re PennEast Pipeline Co. in order to resolve an important question: Does the Natural Gas Act (NGA) delegate authority to exercise the federal government’s eminent domain power to condemn land in which a state claims an interest when FERC grants a certificate of public convenience and necessity for an interstate pipeline project?
It’s been a difficult several days for the oil industry. First, the Biden administration revoked the border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on January 20. Another executive order, among other things, directed the secretary of the US Department of the Interior to pause oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters pending a review of leasing practices.
Following its December 17 open meeting, FERC issued an order withdrawing and terminating a proceeding that had been opened earlier this year to examine oil pipeline affiliate contracts.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently issued an interim report by CFTC Staff on the April 2020 price collapse of the West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil futures contract (WTI Futures Contract).
FERC has issued an order extending the blanket waivers of all requirements to hold meetings in person and/or to provide or obtain notarized documents in open-access transmission tariffs through January 29, 2021.