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Energy Regulations

Energy Regulations

At Bracewell, We Know Energy®; we are not just an energy regulatory practice, but energy lawyers across multiple disciplines who understand the regulatory implications of achieving your commercial objectives. Our energy regulatory team is comprised of energy lawyers immersed in the industry and well versed in our clients’ businesses. For decades, Bracewell’s energy regulatory attorneys and consultants have practiced within and before federal and state courts, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as state energy regulatory agencies. Our regulatory team includes counsel with more than 25 years of senior-level experience at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and FERC.

Our lawyers have a deep understanding of the overarching energy regulatory regime and have been internationally recognized as a market leader by Chambers Global, with our Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) group receiving a Band 1 ranking and our Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) group receiving a Band 3 ranking in 2018. Market commentators recognize that Bracewell is frequently seen on big-ticket transactions, projects and regulatory disputes in both the power and oil and gas spaces.

Additionally, as part of our support to clients and friends of the firm on enforcement matters, Bracewell administers the Energy Compliance Network (ECN), an ad hoc industry group that monitors energy compliance and enforcement issues at the FERC, CFTC and state regulatory commissions. To keep our clients abreast of current regulations and potential impacts, Bracewell’s regulatory team also offers analysis and commentary featured on our Energy Legal Blog®.

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We are a leading law firm in compliance with commodity trading regulations and the defense of enforcement of those regulations by regulators.   Our team includes lawyers who have held in-house positions overseeing bank and trading company commodity businesses and structuring transactions, as well as senior positions with federal energy commodity regulators. We are consistently engaged in representations before the U.S. CFTC and the FERC and are well known to agency staff. Our large dedicated team with significant experience in the full range of commodity regulation has an in-depth understanding of our clients’ trading strategies and objectives and the regulations that govern them, allowing us to provide practical advice to mitigate compliance and enforcement risks and successfully resolve enforcement matters.

Our lawyers help clients avoid compliance issues that lead to activity by the DOE’s Office of Enforcement. Our energy regulatory team works closely with the firm’s litigation, transactional, white collar and environmental lawyers to provide comprehensive compliance and enforcement representation. We routinely develop audit procedures, regulatory compliance manuals and suggest procedures to ensure continued compliance with the requirements of the CFTC, FERC, DOE, Federal Trade Commission and various state agencies. We represent clients in responding to enforcement inquiries and investigations from FERC, CFTC and self-regulatory organizations such as CME Group and ICE Futures U.S. Our work extends from the initiation of the investigation, through data responses and depositions, to the matter’s final resolution. Bracewell provides comprehensive representation before the CFTC and other regulators in the development of regulations and policies to implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

With decades of experience practicing within and before federal and state energy regulatory agencies, our energy team knows how to make regulation work for and not against our clients’ interests. Bracewell's energy regulatory group represents clients in all aspects of power generation and transmission regulation, licensing and ratemaking. The group's attorneys and non-attorney regulatory consultants, together with the firm's white-collar crime and regulatory investigations group, have experience in representing clients before the DOE, FERC, CFTC, Securities & Exchange Commission, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in regulation, compliance and enforcement cases. Our regulatory team includes counsel with more than 25 years of senior-level experience at the CFTC and FERC, and our clients benefit from the relationships our lawyers and consultants have developed with decision-makers and staff at these agencies.

Bracewell’s large oil and gas regulatory team is unique among law firms handling oil and gas regulatory matters – we are not exclusively regulatory lawyers, but multi-disciplinary practitioners who are able to help clients navigate the implications of regulatory issues in project developments, acquisition and divestiture transactions, and disputes.  Bracewell’s energy regulatory attorneys regularly practice within and before the FERC, DOE, CFTC, and other federal and state energy regulatory agencies.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

Kinder Morgan, Inc. construction, operation and ownership for the Gulf Coast Express Pipeline, a joint venture among affiliates of Kinder Morgan, Inc., Targa Resources Corp. and DCP Midstream, LP of a 450 mile, 1.92 billion cubic feet per day natural gas pipeline from Waha in the Texas Permian Basin to Agua Dulce, Texas, including regulatory advice related to rate design and tariff issues

Powerex Corp. U.S. legal and regulatory advisor in negotiations with the California ISO (CAISO) to create a framework for cross-border participation in the CAISO’s western energy imbalance and expanded multi-state day-ahead markets; representation at FERC for approval of the same

Apache Corporation — strategic partnership with EPIC Midstream Holdings, LP and Noble Energy Inc. to develop the EPIC Crude Oil Pipeline, including transportation service agreements, tariffs and related regulatory matters

Apache Corporation — formation of SCM Alpine, LLC, which will own and operate a greenfield NGL y-grade pipeline, including transportation service agreements, tariffs and related regulatory matters

Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. heavily litigated Western energy markets cases before FERC involving long-term contracts

Phillips 66 Partners LP joint venture construction and operating agreements for the Gray Oak Pipeline, LLC, a joint venture with Andeavor and an equity option with Enbridge Inc., and in a joint venture to develop the new South Texas Gateway Terminal with Buckeye Partners LP, a terminal at the Corpus Christi Bay, including transportation services agreements and related regulatory issues

Central Maine Power Company and The United Illuminating Company — a series of FERC complaint proceedings, including full hearings, and D.C. Circuit appeals regarding the return on equity (“ROE”) the companies recover for their transmission investments through FERC jurisdictional transmission rates

Cheniere Energy, Inc. —  formation of a joint venture for the development of the Midship pipeline project, an approximately 200 mile, 36-inch, FERC-regulated natural gas pipeline with capacity of up to 1,400 MMcf/day from the Scoop/Stack plays in Oklahoma to Bennington, Oklahoma, including drafting and negotiating precedent agreements for anchor shippers for the project and advising on regulatory and commercial matters

Energy Transfer Partners L.P. (including Sunoco Logistics) regulatory counsel on crude oil pipeline projects including Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge, Permian Express 2, Permian Express 3, and other crude oil pipelines; advised on open season and transportation agreements issues and handled regulatory approvals, including obtaining declaratory orders from FERC approving rates and terms and conditions of service

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. various filings in dockets involving the Magellan Petition for Declaratory Order on marketing affiliates and the pending petition for rulemaking on marketing affiliate standards of conduct for oil pipelines;. drafted comments in those dockets for other pipeline companies

H.Q. Energy Services (US) Inc. regulatory advice in connection with Central Maine Power Company’s (CMP) New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project and the negotiation of long-term transmission service agreements with CMP and power sales agreements with the electric distribution operations of Eversource, National Grid and Unitil

New England Power Generators Association filed complaint on behalf of the NEPGA against ISO New England regarding how to price the capacity of a large generation resource in the annual capacity auction

New joint venture pipeline company — preparation, filing, and prosecution of an application for FERC certificate approval of an approximately 255-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from receipt points in eastern Ohio to existing pipeline system interconnects in southeastern Michigan

Rockland Capital, LLC FERC approvals and other energy regulatory submittals for Rockland’s asset acquisition of a portfolio of six generating plants with a combined generation capacity of 972.5 MW from AES Ohio Generation, LLC

Targa Resources Partners LP  Targa Midland Gas Pipeline LLC’s development of a new intrastate pipeline, including the authorization for the pipeline to provide interstate transportation services subject to regulation by FERC under Section 311 on the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978

Avangrid Renewables Holdings, Inc. regulatory and commercial advice regarding a complex structure providing for the optimization of transmission among renewable generators

Great Plains Energy Incorporated — FERC regulatory submittals, including Federal Power Act Section 203 authorization, for the revised stock-for-stock merger of equals transaction with Westar Energy, Inc., creating Evergy Inc., a company with a combined equity value of approximately $14 billion, and with nearly 13,000 MW of generation capacity and more than 51,000 miles of distribution lines

TexGen Power LLC (formally ExGen Texas Power, LLC) successfully handled Texas PUCT review of generator holdco though bankruptcy process and foreclosure with non-traditional equity requiring a unique market power analysis

Hydro One Limited — FERC Federal Power Act Section 203 authorization for the pending $5.3 billion acquisition of Avista Corporation in an all-cash transaction, establishing one of North America's largest regulated electricity and natural gas businesses with more than $25.4 billion in combined assets

Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. litigation, held before FERC and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a settlement filed with FERC over claims for refunds for short-term energy sales that Shell Energy made in the western U.S. markets during the 2000-2001 California energy crisis

EQT Corporation — commercial contracting and regulatory approvals associated with the sale of its gas utility and receipt by exchange of approximately 200 miles of new interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure

Multi-national company — CFTC investigation in which CFTC staff has alleged market manipulation involving a petroleum product

Numerous clients — both registered and unregistered, in investigations and enforcement proceedings conducted by CME Group and ICE Futures U.S., including investigations into allegations of position limit violations, non-bona fide prearranged trades (exchange for related positions and block trades), fictitious and wash trades, fraud, market manipulation, and disruptive trade practices

Numerous clients — non-public, CFTC and FERC investigations surrounding allegations of wash and fictitious trades, position limit violations, and market manipulation, including responding to data requests, defending depositions, responding to CFTC Wells notices and FERC preliminary conclusions and settlement negotiations

Shell Energy North America (U.S.) L.P., Avangrid Renewables Holdings, Inc., Madison Gas and Electric Company, EDF Trading North America L.L.C., Northeast Utilities Service Company, American Electric Power Company, Total Gas & Power, Covanta Energy Corporation, ENGIE (f/k/a GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Inc.), Black Hills, NRG Energy, Inc. and South Jersey Industries, Inc. — comprehensive representation before the CFTC and other regulators in the development of regulations and policies to implement the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

People

Awards

News

Insights

Court Provides Further Clarity Regarding Scope of FERC’s Enforcement Authority

On March 30, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued an opinion granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC”) action seeking to enforce its assessment of civil penalties against Coaltrain...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Alert: March 2018

The Bracewell U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report is a monthly report that provides summaries of certain disciplinary notices by U.S. exchanges during the prior month. The report has a...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Alert: February 2018

The Bracewell U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report is a monthly report that provides summaries of certain disciplinary notices by U.S. exchanges during the prior month. The report has a particular focus on notices potentially relevant to energy commodities and...

Upcoming Opportunity to Help Guide A Discussion With FERC Staff Regarding Accessing and Using EQR Data

March 7, 2018

On March 6, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued notice of its upcoming fifth biannual Electric Quarterly Report (“EQR”) Users Group meeting (see Docket No. AD18-9-000, Notice of Electric Quarterly Report Users Group Meeting ). [1] The spring meeting will take place on June 5, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 5:00...

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