On November 17, 2014, Halliburton Company (“Halliburton”) announced plans to acquire Baker Hughes, Inc. (“Baker Hughes”) for $34.6 billion. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are two of the world’s largest oilfield services companies, providing drilling, formation evaluation, reservoir consulting and related services to oil and gas producers. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are reportedly considered two of the big three global oilfield services companies in the industry, second and third behind Schlumberger Ltd. (“Schlumberger”), the leading oilfield services company in the world. Although Schlumberger is reportedly the largest oilfield service company, reducing suppliers from 3 to 2 in any market will inevitably raise red flags with the Department of Justice (the agency expected to review the transaction), who will undoubtedly conduct a thorough antitrust review.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly pledged November 11 in Beijing to make significant CO2 reductions in the next two decades. The United States will reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, accelerating the pace of reductions already planned by 2020. China will peak its CO2 emissions no later than 2030, by which point the country will obtain 20 percent of its energy supply from non-fossil fuel sources. China’s commitment marks the first time the country has pledged to stop its rapidly increasing emissions; the nation has previously resisted calls for reductions, saying that as a developing country, the pollution increases are necessary for its growth. China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and the United States ranks second. The surprise joint announcement precedes the 20th annual COP/MOP, scheduled to begin December 1 in Lima, Peru, and it further builds momentum for next year’s international climate negotiations in Paris. The two countries had pledged to make their commitments by this coming March. The United States and China join the European Union in making early commitments for Paris. European Union leaders agreed in October to set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030.
In a recent Law360 article, Mintz Levin members Stephen Gulotta and Kenneth Koch discuss several alternative strategies for PE sponsors looking to exit investments that do not attain the originally projected levels of growth and profitability. They explore the pros and cons of strategies including small-cap and microcap public offerings, reverse mergers and Form 10 transactions, SPAC transactions, middlemarket/small-cap sales and a variety of spinoffs, carveouts, splitoffs, and bolt-on transactions. To read the full article, please click here.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
Republicans gained control of the Senate last Tuesday, and, with Republicans picking up several House seats as well, Congress rests in their hands. The question now becomes: can D.C. govern?
Republican gains in the midterm elections bode well for increased oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency, due in large part to Senator James Inhofe’s (R-OK) imminent ascension to chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will move to the Ranking Member slot. Senator Inhofe, self-proclaimed climate skeptic, has indicated that he will use the committee to investigate the agency’s regulations and authority. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will replace Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as majority leader, and, he is likely to lead the party’s efforts to roll back Environmental Protection Agency rules, including CO2 standards for power plants, ozone air quality standards, and expanded Clean Water Act jurisdiction over U.S. waterways. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) faces a runoff December 6, and she is likely to lose, meaning that Senator Maria Cantwell (D-CA) will join Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as ranking member and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, respectively. With a 54-member majority, it is likely that Senate Republicans will be able to find the 60 votes necessary to move legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The White House is declining to say whether President Obama would veto legislation approving the Keystone pipeline. To reach the 67 votes needed to overcome a presidential veto, Senate Republicans will still have to work closely with their Democratic counterparts, and they will need to employ creative approaches, such as using authorization bills, appropriations riders, oversight hearings, and the Congressional Review Act, to advance their energy agenda. Other agenda items may include altering the Renewable Fuel Standard; expediting liquefied natural gas exports; streamlining transmission project decisions; expanding oil and gas drilling; and funding the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
R.J. Lyman has recently been quoted in a Law360 article entitled GOP Senate Will Have EPA’s Clean Power Plan In Its Sights. In the article, R.J. shares his dim outlook on the future of production tax credits (PTC) due to the change of power in the Senate. He suggests alternatives to PTC that may be able to gain more legislative traction. We encourage you to read the article for additional insights from R.J. and other experts in the field!
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
With election day looming, our attention turns to the outcomes of the close races, potential lame duck issues, and what the election means for the new 115th Congress.
While Republicans may reclaim control of the Senate, they will need to employ creative approaches to advance their energy agenda, which may include approving the Keystone XL pipeline; restricting Environmental Protection Agency regulatory authority; altering the Renewable Fuel Standard; expediting liquefied natural gas exports; streamlining transmission project decisions; and expanding oil and gas drilling. Unlike in the House, the Senate’s close majority will necessitate the use of tools such as authorization bills, appropriations riders, oversight hearings, and the Congressional Review Act in order to move any of the contentious issues forward.
Many energy innovators were in attendance at the Cleantech Open Northeast 2014 Innovation Expo and Awards Gala on October 28th, but only one was the recipient of the first Cleanweb Prize, sponsored by Mintz Levin and EnerNOC, Inc. The $5,000 award, presented by Mintz Levin’s Tom Burton and EnerNOC’s Micah Remley to ecoVent, was designed to recognize the most promising cleanweb team participating in the Cleantech Open Northeast accelerator program and business competition.
You may have heard that Governor Brown signed two new laws that may further support California’s sustainability efforts. The first, AB 2565, gives residential and commercial tenants of certain buildings the right to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. And the second law, AB 2188, requires cities and counties to streamline permitting for small residential rooftop solar. For in-depth information on AB 2565 and AB 2188 and when the new laws go in effect, read our latest Green Building & Energy Technology newsletter.
ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE
One week until election day, Congressional campaigns are in their final days, and several races remain too close to call. While Congress prepares for a brief but intense Lame Duck session, stay tuned for election updates.
In the meantime, climate negotiators spent last week in Bonn, Germany, with the last United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change summit prior to the annual international climate negotiation this December in Lima, Peru. The third round of the Bonn Climate Change Conference concluded October 25, though negotiators reached no concrete result, leaving a busy schedule for the 20th COP/MOP in a few weeks. Almost 1,200 negotiators from 176 countries and organizations gathered last week to negotiate a new climate agreement, which is on target to be approved in Paris next December and to become effective in 2020. Last week’s talks failed to reach a conclusion on elements of the 2015 agreement and what should be included in the nationally determined contributions, which governments are expected to submit by early next year.
The New England Women in Energy and the Environment’s 2014 Annual Meeting and Second Annual Autumn Extravaganza will be on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at Blu. NEWIEE is welcoming two new members to its Advisory Board: Alicia Barton, Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Carrie Cullen Hitt, Senior Director, Project Development, NextEra Energy Resources.