Bracewell Oil & Gas Regulatory Group Top 10 Highlights 2021
2021 Annual Oil & Gas Regulatory GroupTop 10
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2021 Oil & Gas Regulatory Group Top 10 Highlights In 2021, we handled exciting and important projects for industry leaders such as Kinder Morgan, Phillips 66, Tallgrass Energy, Targa Resources, and TC Energy among others. Over the course of the last year, we have assisted our clients with a wide array of projects, including transactions, regulatory work, commercial agreements, administrative and appellate litigation, investigations, and policy advocacy. We are grateful for the opportunities that our clients have presented to us, the successes we have helped our clients achieve, and the new challenges in the year ahead that we will tackle together. Some of our favorite projects from 2021 included:
1. Kinder Morgan, Inc. —We are representing Kinder Morgan in connection with the Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) that FERC issued in February of 2021 seeking input on potential revisions to its current policy statement on the certification of new natural gas transmission facilities. The NOI is a critical development for the natural gas pipeline industry. Over the course of several months, Bracewell worked with Kinder Morgan to prepare extensive comments on the NOI. Bracewell also prepared comments for Kinder Morgan (and separately for two other interstate natural gas pipeline companies) in a paper hearing that FERC initiated regarding the Weymouth Gas Compressor, which is part of Algonquin Gas Transmission and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline’s Atlantic Bridge Project. The paper hearing received significant attention in the industry and, similar to the NOI, involved consideration of issues related to the approval process for new natural gas pipeline facilities. 2. Major Interstate Pipeline Company — We are representing a major interstate pipeline company in connection with its reorganization of pipeline assets and related capacity across three of its interstate natural gas pipeline companies. Through the abandonment of several hundred miles of pipeline from natural gas service and the construction of relatively minor new natural gas pipeline facilities, the project will allow the company to make more efficient use of existing natural gas pipeline capacity and at the same time repurpose certain current natural gas assets for CO2 transportation service to support CO2 sequestration, while maintaining natural gas service for existing customers. Bracewell is advising the company on all commercial, regulatory, and environmental aspects of the project and the application seeking multiple FERC approvals for the project. The FERC application is expected to be filed in early 2022. Chambers USA 2021 Ranked Bracewell’s Oil & Gas Regulatory Practice as Band 1 for the 7th consecutive year .
3. Phillips 66 Pipeline —We are representing Phillips 66 Pipeline in support of the company’s filing at FERC to raise the rates on the Blue Line propane/butane system on a cost-of-service basis. The filing was protested, we filed an answer on behalf of Phillips 66 Pipeline, and the case was set for hearing. Settlement procedures are currently ongoing. One of the protestors is the same entity that filed a complaint last year against Phillips 66 Pipeline, which complaint we successfully defended resulting in FERC issuing an order dismissing the complaint. That order dismissing the complaint was appealed to the DC Circuit, where we briefed and argued for the company as an intervenor in support of FERC. We are awaiting a decision from the court. 4. Winter Storm Uri Investigations —We are representing a number of natural gas pipeline companies, power producers and gas and power marketers in lawsuits and investigations related to Winter Storm Uri. To date, this has included advising one or more of the clients regarding investigations being conducted by the Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas attorneys general, as well as information requests and related proceedings before FERC, the CFTC, and the FTC, in addition to representing these clients in numerous civil lawsuits involving Winter Storm Uri. 5. Targa Resources Corp. —We successfully defended Targa against a complaint filed at FERC by Enerplus Resources (USA) Corporation (“Enerplus”), claiming that Targa violated the Interstate Commerce Act in the performance of a crude oil purchase and sale agreement between Targa and Enerplus. In March 2021, FERC issued an order on the merits dismissing the Enerplus complaint as Targa had urged in its answer. Enerplus subsequently sought rehearing of the dismissal order, which Targa answered, and the rehearing request matter remains pending before FERC.
The Legal 500 US 2021 Ranked Bracewell’s Oil & Gas Regulatory Practice as Tier 1 for the 5th consecutive year.
6. Rockies Express Pipeline LLC — Starting in the fall of 2020, we represented Rockies Express in a hotly contested proceeding at FERC, obtaining favorable orders providing unprecedented findings that modification or abrogation of firm transportation service agreements would not be in the public interest. These orders, issued in advance of Gulfport Energy Corporation’s bankruptcy, allowed FERC to rule on the merits before being barred by the automatic stay upon Gulfport’s filing and provided support for Rockies Express to oppose Gulfport’s efforts to reject in bankruptcy the contracts under which Gulfport owed Rockies Express approximately $800 million in fees. In early 2021, Rockies Express ultimately reached a favorable settlement with Gulfport that was approved by both the bankruptcy court and FERC. 7. El Paso Pipeline Company, L.L.C. —We represented El Paso in connection with litigation before FERC related to a number of emergency directives that El Paso issued to its customers during Winter Storm Uri. The non-compliance of certain customers resulted in El Paso issuing approximately $192 million in penalties. Bracewell represented EPNG in all facets of this litigation at FERC and has been involved in extensive negotiations with customers and their counsel. During the summer of 2021, El Paso reached an agreement with its customers that resolved all pending litigation. several major interstate natural gas pipeline companies with strategic, regulatory, and commercial issues associated with previous settlement agreements that require the filing of cost and revenue studies or new Section 4 rate cases. Aside from assisting some of these pipelines in preparing new rate cases to be filed at FERC under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act in early 2022, we are also working with pipelines who are seeking to reach new rate case settlement terms with their customers. This work includes, as applicable, working with our clients to develop strategy, researching and preparing legal arguments for issues likely to arise in the rate case or to support settlement, supporting witnesses as they prepare testimony, and counseling the companies on the full array of rate case issues ahead of this anticipated filing or as may be warranted for settlement purposes. 9. Sixth Street —We were part of a team of Bracewell lawyers representing investment firm Sixth Street in its $700 million acquisition of an equity interest in several BP crude and refined products pipelines, including those serving BP’s largest refinery. We counseled Sixth Street on regulatory issues arising in the course of the transaction, and were closely involved in drafting and negotiating the various transaction documents. 10. Energy Transition Matters —We are currently representing multiple midstream entities on energy transition issues. These include advising our clients on jurisdictional and other regulatory issues associated with developing or converting existing pipeline infrastructure for hydrogen and CO 2 transportation. Our team members are also part of a Bracewell team representing Navigator CO 2 Ventures, backed by BlackRock, in negotiating long term agreements for CO 2 capture, transportation, and sequestration services to underpin the development of Navigator’s Heartland Greenway CCS system. 8. Section 4 Rate Cases for Major Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines (client identities are non-public at this time) —We are assisting
CHAMBERS USA A leading firm with highly impressive expertise across the energy arena, particularly esteemed for its ability within the oil and gas regulatory space. Offers excellent capability in FERC and CFTC investigations, as well as representation of pipeline clients in FERC rate, tariff and jurisdictional matters. “Bracewell is a strong team with breadth and depth of experience. They are capable of mobilizing at a moment’s notice and following through no matter what it takes.” – Chambers USA 2021 THE LEGAL 500 Bracewell LLP handles a mix of transactional and standalone regulatory work in the oil and gas field, covering the full spectrum of upstream, midstream and downstream mandates. The team is at the forefront of pipeline infrastructure work and is experienced in issues involving both oil and gas pipelines. Senior team members frequently represent clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Department of Energy (DoE), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and other state and federal regulatory agencies. The core team includes Washington DC office managing partner Mark Lewis, Kirk Morgan, Michael Brooks and George Fatula. All are based in Washington DC. “Mark Lewis, Kirk Morgan and George Fatula are very pragmatic, responsive and have excellent relations with the regulators.” – Legal 500 2021
Rachael Novier Marsh, a seven-year veteran of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), rejoined the firm in our Washington, DC office as a partner in the energy regulatory practice. Rachael held various positions at FERC, including most recently as a top legal advisor to Neil Chatterjee, former FERC Commissioner and Chairman.
Mark K. Lewis Managing Partner Washington, DC
D. Kirk Morgan II Partner Washington, DC
George D. Fatula Partner Washington DC
Michael W. Brooks Partner Washington, DC
Rachael Novier Marsh Partner Washington, DC
Molly Behan Associate Washington, DC
Lauren Johnstone Associate Washington, DC
Kathryn F. Penry Associate Washington, DC
Joshua Robichaud Associate Washington, DC
Boris Shkuta Associate Washington, DC
Taylor M. Stuart Associate Washington, DC
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