As the world struggles to adjust to the harsh new reality of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the most recent instalment of the Sixth IPCC Report slipped out almost unnoticed.  And that is worrying, since the assessment in this section of the Report is even starker than previous assessments – noting in particular that in order to avoid global temperatures increasing by greater than 1.5 degrees C above preindustrial levels, the world needs to halve its emissions this decade: a reduction that the world does not currently appear to be remotely on course to do.

However, whilst the IPCC Report and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are not linked, Russian aggression in Ukraine may serve as a catalyst to speed up the European energy transition and accelerate its retreat from dependency on Russian gas and exposure to volatile international oil markets, which could in turn deliver a more rapid reduction in European emissions.  In the process, perhaps setting the world on a path to achieving an outcome that currently seems unattainable.

Continue Reading The IPCC and The Ukraine Crisis

On February 2, 2022, the European Commission adopted a Complementary Climate Delegated Act (the “CCDA”) listing specific gas and nuclear activities as “environmentally sustainable” for purposes of the EU Taxonomy Regulation, subject to strict criteria. Only certain activities that comply with strict emissions limits and other criteria detailed below may be so designated. Even so, the Commission’s decision to list nuclear and gas activities as “environmentally sustainable” is controversial and may still be blocked by EU Member States and the European Parliament through an upcoming scrutiny period, and may also be legally challenged before the EU Courts. Nevertheless there is a significant chance that the Commission’s criteria to consider the listed gas and nuclear activities as “environmentally sustainable” will enter into force by the beginning of 2023. This would allow such listed gas and nuclear activities to have access to green investors and ear-marked public funds under the EU’s Next Generation EU investment program.

Continue Reading Gas and Nuclear Activities in the EU Taxonomy Regulation: Under What Conditions Does the Commission Deem Them Environmentally Sustainable?

The Department of Energy (“DOE”) is proposing to extend to December 31, 2050 the standard twenty-year term for authorizations to export natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. lower-48 states.  According to DOE, the longer term would better match the operational life of LNG export facilities, provide more security in their financing, and maximize the ability to contract for exports.  This change in DOE policy will be of interest to gas and LNG export authorization holders and their counterparties in sales contracts, and to proposed export applicants that are now seeking or will seek such authorizations from DOE.

Continue Reading DOE Proposes to Lengthen LNG Export Terms

Under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), FERC certificates the construction and operation of pipelines to transport natural gas in interstate commerce if they are “required by the present or future public convenience and necessity.”  For almost two decades, FERC has used a 1999 policy statement’s guidelines to evaluate whether new pipelines meet that statutory standard. 

Recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) held that EU Member States are not obliged to require an environmental impact assessment for all exploratory drillings.  However, the Court’s decision can also be interpreted as requiring Member States to demand such impact assessment if the drillings can be classified as “deep drillings” and,

On December 30, 2014, the California Office of Administrative Law approved permanent regulations issued by that state’s Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) governing fracking.  The regulations follow the Division’s final interim regulations (effective January 1, 2014), which we discussed here, and further implement California’s fracking statute (SB 4),

Last week, the EU decided to maintain in force its sanctions against Russia, including the sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector.

The sanctions were adopted on July 31, 2014—by Council Regulation 833/2014 (the Regulation)—and extended on September 12, 2014.  As described in more detail in our recent client alert, the Regulation imposes a licensing requirement

The increasing reliance on natural gas to fuel electricity generators has sparked a need for more coordination between the operators of gas pipelines and electricity grids. Up to now, markets and operations in the two sectors have proceeded independently, but some differences between them have become problematic. Differences are especially problematic in New England, where