By Katherine Rollins
Ms. Rollins graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with B.A.s in English and Art History. This summer she will be clerking for Vinson & Elkins in Houston, and is expected to receive her J.D. from the Texas School of Law in May 2012.
Issue: Did a contractual obligation for a wholesaler to provide transmission services for a generation facility include an obligation to provide adequate transmission capacity?
Three wind-powered electrical generation facilities (collectively, “the Wind Farms”) in the McCamey area of West Texas executed contracts agreeing to sell TXU Electric Company, a retail electric provider, annual minimum quantities of renewable electric energy and the associated renewable energy credits produced by the generation. TXU Electric assigned its interest in the three contracts to TXU Portfolio Management (“TXUPM”). In 2002, the Wind Farms failed to deliver the contractually-required annual minimum quantities of renewable energy, and TXUPM sued the Wind Farms for liquidated damages. View full article »
By Yan Zhu
Yan Zhu received a Bachelor of Law from Shandong University in 2005, and a Master of Law from Peking University in 2008. She is expected to receive her LL.M. from the Texas School of Law in May 2011.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“the Convention”), also known as the Law of the Sea Convention, the Law of the Sea Treaty, or simply LOST, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which took place from 1973 through 1982 and entered into force on November 16, 1994. Today, it is the globally recognized regime dealing with all matters relating to the law of the sea.
Among its seventeen parts, the one that caused the most disputes is Part XI. Titled, “The Area,” this section applies to the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (“the Area”). This part was designed to govern “activities” in the Area, including all activities of exploration for, and exploitation of, resources in the Area. By “resources,” it means all solid, liquid or gaseous mineral resources in situ in the Area at or beneath the seabed, including polymetallic nudules. Of course, energy resources, such as oil and gas, are included. View full article »
By Molly Wurzer
Ms. Wurzer graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2009. She expects to earn her J.D. from the Texas School of Law in 2012.
2010 marks an important year in the world’s oil market: the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Since its creation, OPEC has exercised not only a large effect on the world’s oil market, but also played a role in several significant global political conflicts, including both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Although the United States does not share the same ideologies as many of OPEC’s member states (think Iran and Saudi Arabia), we are highly dependent on OPEC’s choices, since the United States currently uses twenty-five percent of the world’s oil production and relies on foreign imports for sixty-five percent of its oil needs.
On September 10-14, 1960, the five Founding Members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezula) created OPEC at the Baghdad Conference. Today, OPEC consists of twelve member countries: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC’s members produce about a third (or up to forty percent by other estimates) of the world’s daily oil output, but they possess about eighty percent of the world’s oil reserves. In 2009, OPEC earned $571 billion on net oil export revenues, and is expected to earn $741 billion on 2010. This enables OPEC to exercise an unprecedented amount of control over the world’s oil market. View full article »
By Lisa Thompkins
Ms. Thompkins graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2008 with a B.S. in Psychology. Before law school, Ms. Thompkins worked at Weatherford Inc., a Houston-based oil and gas service provider. This summer, she will be clerking at Thompson & Knight’s Houston office, and ExxonMobil’s Houston tax law department.
In Water Privatization Trends in the United States: Human Rights, National Security, and the Public Stewardship, Craig Arnold states that one aspect of privatization is “about the recurring and relentless efforts in the United States to treat interests in water as private property rights, akin to private ownership of land.” From its beginning, the United States has highly valued the private property rights of its citizens. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” A common argument that arises in water law cases is that private water rights are private property under the Fifth Amendment, and a number of cases raise Fifth Amendment takings claims with regard to water rights. View full article »
By Tomisin Lagundoye
Tomisin received a LL.B. from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 2006. Tomisin started her legal career as an intern at O.J. Bamgbose & Co. in Ibadan, Nigeria. After receiving her license to practice law in Nigeria in 2007, Tomisin served as counsel at SimmonsCooper Partners in Victoria Island, Nigeria, and most recently as an associate at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie in Lagos Island, Nigeria. Tomisin is expected to receive her LL.M. from the Texas School of Law in May 2011.
Local content in the oil and gas industry has increasingly been utilized as a tool for ensuring sustainable development in oil and gas producing countries. Local content essentially helps to promote the growth of local business and services in such countries by mandating the utilization of local goods and services in the execution of projects in the country. The local content concept may be entrenched in a country’s national policy on the oil and gas industry, contained in specific laws on local content or may be expressly set out as contractual obligations in an agreement such as a production sharing contract.
In Nigeria, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development Act 2010 (the “Act”) provides an elaborate framework for the utilization of Nigerian goods and services in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria. Nigerian content is defined in the Act as “the quantum of composite value added to, or created in, the Nigerian economy by a systematic development of capacity and capabilities through the deliberate utilization of Nigerian human, material resources and services in the oil and gas industry.” The provisions of the Act apply to all matters relating to Nigerian content in respect to all operations or transactions carried out in, or connected with, the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The Nigerian oil and gas industry refers to the totality of activities connected with the exploration, development, exploitation, transportation, and sale of Nigerian oil and gas resources including upstream and downstream oil and gas operations. The Act places an obligation on all regulatory authorities, operators, contractors, subcontractors, and other entities involved in any project, operation, activity, or transaction in the Nigerian oil and gas industry to consider Nigerian content as an important element of the overall project development and management philosophy for project execution. The term “operator” refers to the government-owned national oil company, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, its subsidiaries, joint venture partners, and any Nigerian oil and gas company – foreign or international – operating in the Nigerian oil and gas industry under any petroleum arrangement. View full article »