Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 5, No. 21

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • FERC issues environmental report supporting Transco pipeline project in Virginia.
  • Landowner challenges DRBC moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in federal court.
  • Texas: University researchers correlate seismic activity in Texas to disposal of oil and natural gas wastewater.
  • Colorado: Boulder County rescinds moratorium on hydraulic fracturing; issues short-term ban to update regulations.
  • CBO working paper projects record U.S. oil and natural gas production by 2020.

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Energy Enforcement Update

Today at the FERC open meeting, FERC Staff and others briefed the Commissioners on Aliso Canyon.  Concerns about reliability and manipulation figured prominently.

On hearing about the issues and proposed solutions, Commissioner LaFleur remarked:  “It’s been my experience that history has shown when there is turmoil and disruptions in quickly developed solutions can create opportunity for market manipulation, price gouging, bad actors and so forth.  I know that Larry [Parkinson, Director of the FERC Office of Enforcement] and his team will be closely looking.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 5, No. 20

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • EPA releases final rule governing methane emissions from new and modified oil and gas sources.
  • EPA issues final Source Determination Rule clarifying when equipment and activities are sufficiently “adjacent” to be considered a single source.
  • EPA issues draft information collection request for data on methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources.
  • Environmental nongovernmental organization asks federal agencies to stop issuing oil and gas leases on federal lands in Oklahoma and Kansas due to induced seismicity fears.
  • Senate passes bill addressing safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail.
  • Oil and gas trade associations sue government based on approval of land plans to protect greater sage grouse.
  • USGS researchers publish paper alleging link between underground injection of wastewater and water quality.

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Energy Enforcement Update

On May 10, 2016, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a press release announcing proposed amendments (the Proposed Amendments) to an order issued in 2013 (the RTO-ISO Order) relating to certain electric energy-related products. If adopted, the amendments would allow private litigants to sue certain Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), Independent System Operators (ISOs) and market participants for certain violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations (the CFTC Rules) relating to such products, including for alleged fraud or market manipulation. The Proposed Amendments would effectively reverse the holding in a recent Fifth Circuit case, Aspire Commodities v. GDF Suez Energy North America,  in which the court held that private rights of action for violation of the CEA and CFTC Rules were foreclosed pursuant to the RTO-ISO Order. The Proposed Amendments were approved by the Commissioners by a two over one vote with a dissent from Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo.

The CFTC’s proposal to amend the RTO-ISO order was published in the Federal Register as of May 16, 2016. The Proposed Amendments will be open for public comment until June 15, 2016.

Please see the full update here.

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ETRACOM’s fight for de novo review; CFTC revisits 2013 orders on RTOs and ISOs; Total and FERC fight over court action

This week’s enforcement update reports on the CFTC’s proposed amendment to the RTO/ISO exemption order to permit private rights of action, as well as developments in the TOTAL complaint case in district court and the ETRACOM case at FERC.

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Energy Enforcement Update

Yesterday, May 10, the CFTC issued proposed amendment to the 2013 RTO/ISO Final Order to exempt private rights of action.  This marks a potentially major change for the financial energy products transacted under the RTO/ISOs tariff.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 5, No. 19

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Nongovernmental organization suit seeks EPA rulemaking for oil and gas wastes.
  • PHMSA begins work on regulations for underground natural gas storage.
  • Colorado Supreme Court quashes hydraulic fracturing ordinances.
  • Pennsylvania state House committee votes to block new oil and gas rules.
  • Halliburton and Baker Hughes drop merger plans.
  • Sabine Pass starts full operations.
  • Report: Proposed Pennsylvania shale gas tax highest in producing states.
  • Staff report recommends changes at the Texas Railroad Commission.

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Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update reports on developments in the TOTAL and ETRACOM cases—FERC’s order to show cause against TOTAL and venue transfer for TOTAL’s complaint in district court; and ETRACOM files an additional expert affidavit in the FERC proceeding, but FERC denies ETRACOM’s request for discovery from CAISO.  Also, there is a new NAV issued against Saracen Energy Midwest for alleged SPP tariff violations.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 5, No. 18

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • DRBC announces plans to hold hearings on proposed PennEast pipeline project.
  • Oklahoma: Drilling companies seek dismissal of Sierra Club lawsuit regarding seismic activity.
  • New York: Pipeline companies say they will challenge state’s denial of permits for Constitution pipeline.
  • Pennsylvania officials investigate seismic activity near hydraulic fracturing operations.
  • Duke University researchers associate elevated level of contaminants with brine spills.
  • Texas study finds changing concentrations of chemicals in groundwater as hydraulic fracturing increases.

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