A focus on oilfield services companies’ decades old compensation plans for their service technicians began shortly after President Obama took office in 2009. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) commenced a more concentrated effort to audit the manner in which oilfield services companies compensated their service technicians. (more…)

On May 12, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rules establishing – for the first time – limits on methane emissions. In addition to creating the new methane emissions standards, the amendments to the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) further curb permissible volatile organic compound (VOC) and other toxic air emissions and mandate routine monitoring and repair of new or modified point sources for the oil and gas sector. The final rule is available here. (more…)

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced final well control regulations for offshore drilling last week. The rules will purportedly make offshore drilling safer and are a consequence of the administration’s desire to prevent well control events like the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon blowout, which killed 11 workers and leaked millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (more…)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) focus on wage and hour violations, which caught the oil and gas industry by surprise a little more than six years ago, continues to cause problems for the energy sector. Most recently, the Wage and Hour Division announced Thursday, March 24, that oil field service companies Nova Mud Inc., Nova Hardbandings LLC and Nova Sand LLC violated overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). (more…)

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I’d love to stick around but I’m running behind
You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find
Running into the sun but I’m running behind
Jackson Browne

In a much anticipated ruling, Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman has granted the motion of Sabine Oil and Gas Corporation (No. 15-11835, USBC SDNY) to reject certain executory contracts with Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering, LLC and HPIP Gonzales Holdings, LLC. The court issued its ruling noting that due to the procedural posture of the motion for rejection the decision was not binding on the underlying legal dispute of whether the covenants at issue run with the land. (more…)

A regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, currently does not exist in Florida. Actually, neither does fracking itself, but both of those things could change soon. The State Affairs Committee passed a controversial bill proposed by republican representatives, Ray Rodrigues and Cary Pigman, regulating fracking, and it is on its way to the House floor. (more…)

In Watervale Marine Co. v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently affirmed a district court ruling allowing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security – acting through the Coast Guard – to impose certain conditions (non-financial in nature) upon the release of ships suspected of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. (more…)

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains annual statistics on patents issued across various technologies. Specifically, each year the USPTO’s Patent Technology Monitoring Team prepares the Patent Counts by Class by Year Report, which includes the number of patents granted in more than 400 top-level U.S. patent classes. (more…)