For the fifth year in a row, Russia’s energy market regulator played its part in implementing the country’s flagship renewable incentive scheme – by holding a capacity auction for renewable generation projects. For years, though, Moscow’s efforts to boost green energy production have fallen far short of the government’s very modest goal of increasing renewable power to 4.5 percent of energy use by 2024. Continue reading
Quite a lot has happened since my last post about Yukos investors’ attempts to enforce a $50 billion Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) award from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands. With that in mind, this post will cover some of the more notable developments that highlight the major fault lines in the law of recognition and enforcement of foreign awards/judgments. Continue reading
In his recent speech at the Detroit Economic Club on August 8th, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump provided some detail as to what his administration’s economic plan would entail. In addition to tax cuts for economic elites (i.e., his proposal to abolish the estate tax, which only matters for individuals with assets of roughly $5.5 million and couples with assets over $10 million), what caught my eye was his proposed moratorium on Dodd-Frank Act regulations. Crucially, I doubt the constitutionality of such a move across the board, but it really would boil down to the specific underlying statutory language used as the basis for a potential regulation. Additionally, his influence over relevant agency officers would be limited because the most important agencies under Dodd-Frank are independent agencies.
Roughly one and one-half years since an arbitral tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, handed shareholders of the now-defunct Yukos oil company an unprecedented $50 billion award, the victorious litigants don’t appear much closer to getting their hands on any of that judgment. According to the shareholders’ attorneys, recognition and enforcement proceedings have been initiated in France, the US, the UK, Belgium and Germany. While the Paris Court of General Jurisdiction granted recognition of the award in December 2014, Russia has appealed the lower court’s recognition order. In the US, however, things are progressing significantly more slowly. Continue reading
While the start of a new year for many people means a list of resolutions and lifestyle changes, for Recep Erdogan’s Turkey the start of 2016 means the implementation Russian agri-food sanctions. Moscow adopted the measures in the wake of the shooting down of a Russian jet by the Turkish Air Force. In November 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin directed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s administration to identify a number of goods to be banned from import into Russia. Two days later, on November 30th, Medvedev dutifully issued Resolution No. 1296, which singled out seventeen tariff line items (mostly fruits, vegetables and poultry) to be barred from import. Continue reading
Wasting no time after the 10-day grace period expired on December 31, 2015, Russia’s Ministry of Finance announced that it had initiated proceedings against Ukraine for nonpayment of $3.075 billion that came due on December 20. In addition to simple nonpayment, the Russian side also has claims that Kyiv violated certain covenants and triggered at least one other event of default in the months and weeks leading up to the maturity date. Continue reading
By now many of you have surely read about the deal reached by Ukraine and its Franklin Templeton-led group of creditors. In short, the parties agreed to (1) write off 20 percent of Ukraine’s debt, (2) extend repayment dates by four years, (3) increase the coupon payment to 7.75 percent, up from 7.2, and (4) issue the creditors a GDP-linked obligation that will pay out a percentage of annual economic growth above 4 percent after 2021. The agreement has been a long time coming and represents a compromise between the two sides’ earlier negotiating positions: as recently as last month, Ukraine insisted on a 40 percent debt write-off while the main creditors had begrudgingly admitted that they might be willing to stomach a 5% haircut to principal. (If you’re interested in the background of the debt dilemma that Ukraine has been wallowing in for the past year or so, check out FT Alphaville’s series of articles on the saga, penned by the exquisite Joseph Cotterill.)
On August 18th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule governing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from oil and gas operations. According to the EPA, oil and gas operations are the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases (which includes methane and VOC), after fossil fuel-fired power plants. If you recall, at the beginning of August 2015, the EPA issued its final rule on CO2 emissions (another greenhouse gas) from existing fossil fuel-fired electricity generators. By coming out with the proposed rule, the EPA has begun the process of eliciting comments from the public, with an eye to have the final rule published by 2016. With this latest rulemaking process seeking to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama-era EPA appears to be making its final push to leave a lasting mark on US clean air/climate policy before the end of his term.
West Virginia and fourteen other states filed a pair of petitions at the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on August 13th, connected to their challenge of the recently announced Clean Power Plan (In re West Virginia, et al., No. 15-1277). (If you need a refresher on the 1,560-page rule that regulates CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, see this primer I recently wrote.) In the first filing, an Emergency Petition for Extraordinary Writ, the petitioners ask the court to impose an emergency stay, which would absolve states of the requirement to comply with the rule until the court case is resolved. In the second, an Emergency Motion to Consolidate and for Expedited Treatment, the petitioning states request the court to combine their latest challenge with three cases that were initiated after the Clean Power Plan was first proposed in 2014 (In re Murray Energy Corp., No. 14-1112; Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA, No. 14-1151; and West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, No. 14-1146). While the fact that many states that rely heavily on coal-fired power plants are challenging the rule is hardly surprising, the petitions are novel in several respects.
On August 7th, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR §§ 730–780) to include Russia’s offshore Yuzhno-Kirinskoe oil and gas field in the Entity List. The Entity List specifies companies and persons that the government believes “pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” The EAR imposes additional licensing requirements on exports, re-exports and transfers to entities and persons on the list.