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Energy regulatory

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Meet the team

Norton Rose Fulbright's energy regulatory lawyers are leading players in the domestic regulatory arena. Our energy regulatory group is composed of highly experienced lawyers who provide a full range of services in energy regulatory matters, including natural gas regulation, crude oil and petroleum product regulation, electric power regulation and appellate matters.

We have a broad regulatory service geared to helping our energy clients cope with the complex federal and state regulatory schemes affecting their business operations. That service encompasses:

  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") and state regulation of the production, sale and transportation of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products
  • FERC and state regulation of the generation, sale and transmission of electric power
  • Regulation by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and Bureau of Land Management of the development of oil, gas and other natural resources on federal and Indian lands, and the collection of royalties on federal production
  • Department of Transportation jurisdiction over pipeline safety matters
  • FTC and CFTC over market manipulation issues
  • Federal land access issues.

We bring a wide range of skills and experience to bear on regulatory matters, including administrative law issues, rulemaking proceedings, permitting, administrative and judicial litigation of enforcement actions, litigation of rulemaking challenges, the structuring and documentation of transactions affected by state and federal regulations, mergers and acquisitions of regulated entities, and lobbying Congress on issues important to the oil and gas industry.

Our energy regulatory group has represented clients for many years in a full array of proceedings before the FERC, including evidentiary hearings, settlement conferences, technical conferences and informal meetings. Group members are involved on a daily basis with the formal and informal procedures that govern the processing of contested and uncontested matters before the FERC.

As a result, we have developed strong working relationships with the FERC staff, administrative law judges, commissioners of the FERC, and other members of the energy bar. Our lawyers also work closely with consultants and expert witnesses on rate and economic analyses, engineering feasibility reports and market studies.

Our regulatory lawyers, as well as other lawyers in the Washington, DC location, have experience in Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of State and legislative matters affecting the energy industry. In addition, Norton Rose Fulbright has numerous lawyers, both within and outside of the energy regulatory group, with broad experience in energy litigation and appellate proceedings.

Natural gas regulation

Our regulatory lawyers have participated actively on behalf of applicants and intervenors in many interstate pipeline rate and certificate proceedings before the FERC. We have substantial experience counseling clients regarding natural gas pipeline issues, including preparation of applications for FERC certificates of public convenience and necessity; compliance with Order Nos. 636, 637 and other FERC rulemakings; preparation of tariff rate schedules and general terms and conditions; obtaining FERC authorization to charge market-based rates; compliance with marketing affiliate standards of conduct; implementation of GISB standards; negotiation of market-based and negotiated-rate precedent agreements and service agreements; capacity release issues; cost allocation and rate design issues; stranded cost recovery; and open access requirements of interstate pipeline tariffs.

A significant portion of our regulatory service involves the development and certification of new pipeline and storage projects.

Oil pipeline regulation

Our energy regulatory group has represented numerous clients regarding FERC regulation of interstate crude oil and refined petroleum product pipelines under the Interstate Commerce Act. The group has substantial experience representing complainants, protesters and intervenors in litigated rate proceedings before the FERC. Our lawyers also have represented oil pipelines in establishing new tariffs and rates. We have assisted clients in addressing numerous oil pipeline regulatory issues before FERC, including the "changed circumstances" standard of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, FERC's Opinion No. 154-B methodology, FERC's income tax allowance policy for master limited partnerships under the Lakehead rule, cost allocation and rate design, rate of return, undue discrimination and preferences, quality standards, prorationing and market-power.

We also have significant experience in oil pipeline rate litigation before the California Public Utilities Commission.

Electric power regulation

Our energy regulatory lawyers have a great deal of experience in providing advice on the development of open-access electric transmission tariffs. We also are well experienced in advising clients on the scope of FERC jurisdiction over municipal entities under the Federal Power Act, ways to conform to FERC's pro forma tariff through the reciprocity provisions, and Section 211 or 212 requests under the Federal Power Act. Regulatory lawyers in both our Los Angeles and Washington, DC locations are actively involved in the California electric industry restructuring proceedings.

Our energy regulatory lawyers have been extremely active in retail and wholesale industry restructuring activities in Texas. Lawyers in our Austin location have represented a broad spectrum of industry participants before the Texas Public Utility Commission ("PUC") and in litigation arising out of PUC regulation, including investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities, merchant generators and cogenerators and emerging competitive retail electric providers. We have represented clients in wholesale transmission and retail open-access rate cases, rulemaking proceedings, licensing, and merger and sale reviews.

We have worked extensively with clients to address the myriad of new industry legal and economic considerations that new restructured markets present.

Energy regulatory lawyers also work closely with our lawyers engaged in the development, acquisition and financing of power projects, providing analysis of the regulatory issues and regulatory assistance in connection with such projects.

Extensive experience with the restructuring of the natural gas industry in the wake of Order No. 636 enhances the energy regulatory group's ability to effectively counsel clients through the electric industry's restructuring to open access. Norton Rose Fulbright's representation of local distribution companies and other customers on interstate natural gas pipelines has involved issues similar to those facing the electric industry, including the functional unbundling of service, the restructuring of tariffs and service schedules and the process of responding to stranded-cost filings.

Our regulatory lawyers have the experience to effectively counsel clients about preparing for uncertainties surrounding stranded costs and taking service under both the pro forma tariffs and negotiated service schedules.

Our regulatory lawyers are highly-regarded litigators of energy controversies, including contested administrative proceedings, and they are exceptionally knowledgeable in rate matters.

That, together our extensive background, experience and knowledge in the electric industry, provide the necessary elements to assure clients of a vigorous representation in any filing of an open-access transmission tariff filed by a transmitting utility.

Awards and accolades

  • Chambers Global, USA: Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), Chambers & Partners, 2016
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide: Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), Chambers & Partners, 2016