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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 & Partners 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 2017.  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®.

Access our Energy Regulations Insights

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.


Recent Notable Matters

Alcoa Power Generating Inc. — development and administration of a FERC Compliance Plan

Basalt Infrastructure Partners II LP — acquisition of Detroit Renewable Energy LLC, an integrated renewable energy system comprised of Detroit Thermal, Detroit Renewable Power and Hamtramck Energy Services

Central Maine Power Company, Maine Electric Power Company, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation — FERC and CFTC compliance and various wholesale power sales, centralized markets, transmission and ratemaking issues at FERC, including transmission formula rate, Order No. 1000 and interconnection matters

Electric utility’s power marketing subsidiary — against claims of market manipulation, tariff violations, and other fraudulent and deceptive trade practices arising out of the 2000-2001 California Energy Crisis

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. — commercial contracting and energy regulatory issues related to the new Dakota Access Pipeline, a crude oil pipeline project

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

Equitrans, LP — preparation, filing, and prosecution of an application for FERC certificate approval to expand its pipeline system to transport an incremental 600,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas from production supply in the central Appalachian Basin

GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Inc. — successful defense against allegations of market manipulation and associated violations of the Commodity Exchange Act

Great Plains Energy Incorporated — revised stock-for-stock merger of equals transaction with Westar Energy, Inc., creating 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

Hydro One Limited — $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

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

Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, L.L.C. — in a greenfield project to develop two parallel pipelines, one moving crude oil from Albany to the New York Harbor and New Jersey refining centers, and the other moving refined products from the New York Harbor and New Jersey refining centers to Upstate New York

Plains All American Pipeline, Shell Energy North America (U.S.) L.P., Kinder Morgan Inc., Apache Corporation, Targa Resources Partners L.P., Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas, Madison Gas and Electric Company, ENGIE (f/k/a as GDF SUEZ Energy North America Inc.), NRG Energy, 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

Retail energy marketer — exchange inquiries, including advocating on our client’s behalf to the enforcement staff and disciplinary committees

Rockland Capital, LLC — $180 million acquisition of the 625 MW Lee Energy Facility in Dixon, Illinois from Dynegy Inc.

Rockland Power Partners II, LP — sale of a portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of peaking generation units in the PJM Interconnection to Lincoln Power, L.L.C., a subsidiary of Carlyle Power Partners II, L.P.





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...

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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 pm (EST) at FERC in the Commission Meeting Room...

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