Archives: Enforcement Defense

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Department of Justice Launches an Antitrust Investigation into Pressure Pumping Services Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

by Nicole Castle On July 24, 2013, Baker Hughes, Inc., the owner of the third-largest pressure pumping fleet in the United States, disclosed as part of its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had received a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on May 30, 2013.  The CID … Continue Reading

FERC Imposes Whopping Penalty Against Bank and Traders for Allegedly Manipulating Western Power Prices

by Dan Watkiss In a July 16 order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessed civil penalties of $453 million against a British banking conglomerate (BCL) and four of its power traders for manipulating western electricity markets from from November 2006 to December 2008 in violation of the Federal Power Act (FPA) and Commission regulation … Continue Reading

On Heels of European Raids, Energy Companies Face U.S. Class Actions

by Megan Morley White Oaks Fund LP, an Illinois private placement fund, filed a class action suit last week against BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Statoil ASA in the Southern District of New York.  White Oaks Fund v. BP PLC, et al., case number 1:13-cv-04553.  The complaint alleges that the energy companies colluded to distort … Continue Reading

Energy Sector A Target – China’s Antitrust Enforcement Agencies to Take Action Against International Cartels

by Frank Schoneveld In the last six months, China’s antitrust enforcement agencies have signed five Memorandums of Cooperation with antitrust authorities in the United States, European Union, South Korea, Australia and Brazil. During this same period, Chinese antitrust enforcement agencies have substantially increased their personnel resources.  So far, in 2012 more than 10 cartel investigations … Continue Reading

Very Strict Liability for False or Materially Incomplete Representations: Forfeiture of FERC Market Pricing Authority

by Dan Watkiss and William Friedman “No showing of the respondent’s intent or mindset is necessary to show a violation of [18 CFR § 35.41(b)] has occurred,” explained a divided (4-1) Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week in an order suspending for six-months the authority of J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy (JPM) to sell power at … Continue Reading

Alleged Agreement to Suppress Prices for Mineral Rights Highlights the Antitrust Risk Facing Energy Companies

by Jon B. Dubrow and Shauna A. Barnes Recently published reports of land acquisition activities between Chesapeake Energy and EnCana senior executives will likely expose those companies to a Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust investigation and challenge, as well as, if accurate, civil antitrust claims.  This matter highlights the risks that energy companies face when … Continue Reading

FERC Conditionally Accepts New Enforcement Mechanism for Electric Reliability Standards

by Elizabeth P. Philpott The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved with conditions the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) petition proposing the use of the “Find, Fix, Track and Report” (FFT) to report possible lesser-risk violations of Reliability Standards.  FERC determined that the FFT initiative would more efficiently process lesser-risk violations and promote … Continue Reading

Welcome to McDermott’s Energy Business Law Blog

Welcome to McDermott’s Energy Business Law Blog.  Our objective in this forum is to provide our readers with insights into the evolving regulatory, business, tax and legal issues affecting the U.S. and international energy and commodities markets.  Contributions to this blog will be a collective effort of lawyers and professional staff that are part of … Continue Reading

FERC Enforcement Priorities Unchanged for 2012

by Elizabeth Philpott Fraud and market manipulation, serious violations of the reliability standards, anticompetitive conduct, and conduct that threatens the transparency of regulated markets will continue to be the focus of FERC investigations and enforcement actions in 2012 according to the 2011 Annual Report on Enforcement. The 2011 Report, issued November 17, 2011, describes the … Continue Reading

EC to Regulate Market Abuse in Wholesale Power and Natural Gas Transactions

by Thomas Morgan European Union (EU) Regulation 1227/2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency (REMIT), which came into force on December 28, regulates at an EU-level, the wholesale energy markets.  REMIT seeks to detect and prevent market abuse (or more specifically, market manipulation and insider trading) in the wholesale energy sector.  This is in … Continue Reading
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