FERC commissioners dispute natural gas project approvals

On May 21, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied requests to reconsider the approval of two natural gas projects despite a commissioner’s concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and decreasing demand for natural gas. For more, read the full article

National, Oil & Gas Litigation

One-two punch of warm weather, COVID-19 may lead to shale bankruptcies

Natural gas prices “bobbing not far from 25-year lows hit on March 23” as warmer spring weather and COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures “have slashed commercial demand for heating” has led to major budget changes for exploration and production companies — and bankruptcies may be next, investing.com reports. Gas production in the lower 48 U.S. states averaged 92.92. billion cubic feet per day for the week ending March 27, slightly lower than the previous week. Bankruptcies “are expected to gain momentum in the second quarter, accelerating as some drillers are forced to shut in production amid reduced oil demand and low available storage capacity.” For more, read the full article.

National, Oil & Gas Litigation

EPA announces plan to loosen restrictions on methane for energy industry

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced plans “to loosen federal rules on methane by allowing oil and gas operators to largely police themselves,” The Washington Post reports by eliminating federal requirements that oil and gas companies install technology to detect and fix methane leaks from wells, pipelines and storage facilities. U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the proposal removes “unnecessary and duplicative” regulatory burdens, according to the article. Anne Idsal, assistant administrator of the U.S. EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said U.S. EPA will continue to require gas and oil companies to limit the release of “volatile organic compounds,” including methane, “but only during drilling and processing.” The proposal also challenges whether the federal government has the authority to regulate methane “without first making a detailed determination that it qualifies as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.” The plan is particularly notable because major energy companies are split on the rollback. For more, read the full article.

National, Oil & Gas Litigation