Enforcement

PG&E CEO ‘Deeply Concerned’ About ‘Excessive Penalty’

The $2.25 billion penalties proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Safety and Enforcement Division for the San Bruno, CA, pipeline explosion in September 2010 “far exceed anything that I have seen in my 30 years in the industry and fail to appropriately account for the actions taken by the company,” PG&E Corp. CEO Tony Earley said late Monday.

May 8, 2013

Another Colorado City Nears Drilling, Fracking Ban

Elected officials in Ft. Collins, CO, the university town about 57 miles north of Denver, have passed a ban on oil and natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within the city limits. The measure still must pass on a second reading in early March.

February 25, 2013

Nymex, Ex-Employees Leaked Trade Info, CFTC Charges

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) last Thursday filed an enforcement action charging New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (Nymex), a unit of CME Group, and two former CME Nymex employees, William Byrnes and Christopher Curtin, with violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations through the repeated disclosures of nonpublic material customer information over a two-and-a-half-year period to an outside commodity broker. CME Group fired back that not only did it address and handle the issue appropriately, the complaint against Nymex is “neither justified as a matter of law nor consistent with the regulatory structure” established by the CEA.

February 25, 2013

Nymex, Former Employees Leaked Trade Information, CFTC Charges

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Thursday filed an enforcement action charging New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (Nymex), a unit of CME Group, and two former CME Nymex employees, William Byrnes and Christopher Curtin, with violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations through the repeated disclosures of nonpublic material customer information over a period of two and a half years to an outside commodity broker. CME Group fired back that not only did it address and handle the issue appropriately, the complaint against Nymex is “neither justified as a matter of law nor consistent with the regulatory structure” established by the CEA.

February 22, 2013

CME Asks Court to Enjoin CFTC from Enforcing Dodd-Frank Rules

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, against the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, challenging the agency’s enforcement of its swap data record-keeping and reporting requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

November 12, 2012

CME Challenging CFTC Enforcement of Dodd-Frank

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, against the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, challenging the agency’s enforcement of its swap data record-keeping and reporting requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

November 12, 2012

Industry Briefs

In what it said would be its final update of evacuation and shut-in production statistics related to Hurricane Isaac, the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said Tuesday that two production platforms and a single rig remained evacuated in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, BSEE estimated 4.73% (213 MMcf/d) of natural gas production and 4.16% (57,439 b/d) of oil output in the GOM was shut in. All of those statistics peaked in the immediate aftermath of Isaac, when BSEE reported 509 production platforms and 50 rigs evacuated, and an estimated 75.52% (3.264 Bcf/d) of gas production and 94.99% (1.311 million b/d) of oil production was shut in (see Daily GPI, Aug. 31).

September 12, 2012

GOM Production Nearing Pre-Isaac Levels

Based on data from offshore operator reports submitted as of 11:30 a.m. CDT Monday, the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) estimated that about 6.11% (274.85 MMcf/d) of current natural gas production, and 7.98% (110,144 b/d) of oil output in the GOM was shut in.

September 11, 2012

Industry Briefs

The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed changes to its Part 190 procedural rules to broaden enforcement powers as called for in a bill that President Obama signed into law earlier this year (see NGI, Jan. 9). Congress passed the legislation following fatal pipeline explosions in San Bruno, CA, and Allentown, PA (see NGI, Feb. 14, 2011; Oct. 18, 2010). Key proposed changes include: increase in the administrative civil penalty caps to $200,000/violation/day and up to $2 million for related violations; authority to seek civil penalties for obstructions of inspections or investigations; more power to issue subpoenas; prohibits ex parte communications; and adds references to PHMSA’s new authority under the Clean Water Act to enforce its oil spill plan regulations. Comments on PHMSA’s notice of proposed changes are due on Sept. 12.

August 27, 2012

Interior Urged to Shift from Punish-Only Regime in Offshore

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has to move from a “pure” compliance-type of regulatory environment to “something that is a more goal-setting regulatory regime” in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), said the head of a committee established by the National Research Council (NRC), which issued a study last week on offshore safety.

June 25, 2012