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…)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently issued an opinion ruling in favor of Cameron International Corporation and certifying a question to the Texas Supreme Court on issues arising out of an insurance dispute filed against Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc. In its ruling, the court considered several issues connected to Liberty’s refusal to fund a settlement between Cameron and BP and Liberty’s refusal to waive subrogation against BP. (more…)

Canada’s energy sector may be significantly impacted by the recent election of liberal Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. The last nine years have seen conservative Stephen Harper at the helm. A known ally of the energy industry, Harper came under attack by environmentalists for failing to do enough to reduce carbon emissions. Trudeau is expected to take more of a watchdog role in relation to the energy sector, having campaigned on a platform that included a rollback of tax breaks for oil and gas producers and greater attention to climate change.

Even without the change in political climate, Canada’s oil and gas sector has seen better days. With global oil prices at less than $50 a barrel, it has become increasingly expensive to produce crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada. Although clearly distinguishable from his conservative predecessor, Trudeau is not anti-energy. The Liberal Party supports several pipeline projects, including TransCanada’s Energy East project, Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain pipeline and the Keystone XL project.

In March 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) became the most prominent governmental entity to join in on the attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. More specifically, the DOI’s sweeping regulations that sought to increase restrictions on fracking on federal and Native American tribal lands were to be implemented by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Although the federal government carries much greater influence than the individual municipalities that have attempted to regulate fracking, its effort also proved to be unsuccessful. (more…)