The Intersection of Energy Law and Project Finance
It’s critically important to understand the regulations associated with financing multi-billion dollar energy projects so as to avoid delays and cost increases that can imperil event the best laid plans. Whether it be an oil & gas project or a major renewable energy initiative, getting the financing right means having the legal pieces in order, and a major law firm with a large energy practice highlights some examples of this in their spring newsletter. Keep reading →
Tax reform in Alaska promises to attract more oil and gas investment, but even for an established player in the state such as ConocoPhillips, getting substantial new production onstream.
Alaska’s state legislature approved oil tax legislation reform earlier this month designed to establish a more attractive investment climate for oil and gas producers. Companies such as ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and BP have been calling for changes to Alaska’s fiscal system for years, arguing that it deters investment in the state’s substantial resources. Keep reading →
Alaska’s legislature has given final approval to a bill designed to reform the state’s oil tax structure with significant tax cuts aimed to spur production and new investment.
On April 14, 2013, Alaska’s Legislature passed Senate Bill 21, an oil-tax reform bill aimed to encourage industry production and investment. The approval came on the final day of the 90-day legislative session after the Senate accepted amendments made by the House. The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 12-8, and the House passed its version by a vote of 27-12. Keep reading →
A Department of Interior (DOI) report on Shell’s 2012 Arctic operations reveals inadequate management oversight and details key recommendations for conduct and oversight of future exploration projects.
On March 14, 2013, DOI released its 2012 assessment of Shell’s Arctic operations. The review identifies inadequacies that led to a series of problems related to containment system deployment, marine transport, and grounding of drilling rigs. DOI also provides key recommendations to recommencement of Shell’s drilling program and future exploratory activities in the Arctic. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently conducting a separate marine casualty probe to assess the currently grounded Kulluk drilling rig. Keep reading →
Crude oil production in Alaska has been steadily declining for years with potentially dire consequences for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the state’s tax revenue base.
“Alyeska today is working to respond to the challenges posed by declining throughput. Throughput peaked at 2.1 million barrels a day in 1988. It has only steadily decreased since. In 2011, Alyeska on average moved about 600,000 barrels per day. With the lower flow levels, the crude oil takes longer to reach the Valdez Terminal – about 2 weeks, on average – and the oil is colder on arrival. The slower, colder oil has more potential for water and wax to settle and drop out, and as throughput declines further, the potential for ice to form during shutdown or flowing conditions increases,” according to operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s website. Keep reading →
The multi-million dollar oil drilling rig named Kulluk that ran aground offshore Alaska on New Year’s Eve has been deemed stable enough to tow out of Kiliuda Bay to Dutch Harbor. The Kulluk will be brought to a purpose-built dock from which it can be safely prepared for “dry-tow transit to Asia” for repairs.
“The completion of the damage assessment revealed that the inner hull of the Kulluk was not breached and that all fuel tanks remain intact. The outer hull did receive damage as expected with a vessel being aground during adverse weather. In addition, the Kulluk encountered water damage to its superstructure which resulted in damage to technical equipment and a breach of windows and hatches. Over the past few weeks, all damaged windows and hatches on the Kulluk’s main deck have been secured, and where necessary, temporary steel structures have been put in place to ensure that the vessel is weather tight and prepared for the tow,” according to an update issued by the Unified Command in charge of the operation. Keep reading →
With Secretary of Energy Steven Chu set to depart his post in the coming weeks, many are watching for clues as to who President Obama will pick to be his successor. Some hope for a more industry-friendly pick, such as Duke Energy’s CEO Jim Rogers. Environmentalists have been pulling for names like Tom Steyer, billionaire investor and cleantech enthusiast, or John Podesta, head of the Center for American Progress. Considering Secretary Chu’s struggles with Congress, many want a more politically-adept pick like former Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).
Whomever President Obama chooses, the nominee will be critical in laying out the energy agenda for the next four years. Keep reading →
Shell can confirm its Arctic-class drillship, The Kulluk, grounded on the southeast shoreline of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, at approximately 9 p.m. local time on December 31, 2012, while under tow in heavy seas from Alaska to the U.S. port of Seattle, Washington State. There has been no loss of life and no significant injuries as a result of this incident and Shell is working hard with the relevant authorities to protect the maritime environment in the vicinity of the grounded vessel.
When Royal Dutch Shell sinks five wells off Alaska — slated for next month — it will be the first drilling in U.S. Arctic waters in decades.
In retrospect, it isn’t surprising that there is a market for writing that fits nicely into the niche between the analytical musings of the Economist and the heart-thumping pace of a Jason Bourne thriller.
A little bit populist and much faster paced than traditional writing about current events, while still retaining a seriousness of purpose but steering clear of the polemics of a Michael Moore documentary, the idea for this generation books is fact that reads like fiction. Perhaps it is “a thriller for the CNN generation” or, given reading patterns in the US, just as likely an “Agatha Christie for the CSPAN generation.” Keep reading →