On March 22, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“District Court”) dismissed a complaint by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (“DRN”) alleging that its members had been deprived of constitutional due process because FERC is unable to make unbiased determinations on the issuance of natural gas pipeline certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CPCNs”). Specifically, DRN argued that because FERC’s funding mechanism requires FERC to recover its budget through a charge to regulated natural gas companies, it has a pro-industry bias. Continue Reading Federal District Court Dismisses Suit Accusing FERC of Pro-Industry Bias

On July 11, 2016, FERC imposed fines on BP America Inc., BP Corporation North America Inc., BP America Production Company, and BP Energy Company (collectively, “BP”) of over $20 million in civil monetary penalties, and disgorgement of over $200,000 in profits, for manipulating natural gas prices by, FERC found, uneconomically trading physical natural gas at the Houston Ship Channel to benefit BP’s financial spread positions based on the price differential between the Houston Ship Channel and the Henry Hub. Continue Reading FERC Upholds ALJ’s Finding of Natural Gas Market Manipulation and Fines BP Entities

On June 16, 2016, FERC affirmed its process outlined in Opinion No. 538 for analyzing whether natural gas storage companies lack significant market power for the purposes of determining whether to grant market-based rate (“MBR”) authority for natural gas storage service. However, FERC clarified that the burden to show lack of control over an affiliate rests with the applicant. Continue Reading FERC Largely Upholds Market Power Analysis for Market-Based Rate Authority for Natural Gas Storage Service

On June 1, 2016, FERC granted in part and denied in part National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation’s (“National Fuel’s”) request for rehearing regarding its request to expand the reservoir and buffer boundaries of its Beech Hill Complex natural gas storage facility. In its initial order, issued December 17, 2015, the Commission stated that it “grants jurisdictional storage field operators additional certificate authority to revise the boundaries of storage fields when the applicant can demonstrate, with engineering and geological data, that such authorization is required . . . to improve the operation of a storage field or to maintain its integrity.” In its June 1 rehearing order, the Commission found geochemical data and evidence of hydraulic connections to be persuasive evidence that gas was migrating, discounted theories based on seismic evidence, and observed that “[w]hile geochemical data is not always required to support expansion of certificated boundaries, it is highly persuasive.” Continue Reading FERC Notes “Highly Persuasive” Nature of Geochemical Data, Discounts Seismic Data, in Considering Request to Expand Natural Gas Storage Reservoir and Claims of Gas Migration