News Types: Press Releases

KBH Center Unveils Updated SSRN eLibrary

Did you know that the KBH Center has an updated SSRN eLibrary? Here you’ll be able to read and download nearly 60 papers on energy, law, and business by the KBH Center’s affiliated faculty.

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research network in each of the social sciences.

Subscribe to receive the KBH Center’s quarterly eJournal, which currently has 15,000 subscribers.

KBH Center Releases November 2014 Newsletter

The KBH Center is pleased to announce the release of its November 2014 Newsletter. We invite you to read the newsletter to learn about the latest happenings at the KBH Center, including Center events, research and publications, news, and students.

The new KBH Center website will feature an option on the homepage for visitors to subscribe to our newsletter, as well as an option to receive new blog post alerts. We plan to go live with the new website on December 15, 2014.



McCombs School of Business Hosts National Energy Finance Challenge (NEFC)

For the past ten years, the McCombs School of Business has hosted the National Energy Finance Challenge (NEFC). This year’s competition took place on October 17th at the Texas Union in front of a panel of judges selected by major energy corporations. The competition revolved around a business case designed by Chevron. The students had 72 hours to complete two tasks, a full analysis of the case and a presentation of their solution. The case presented asked students to consider several different investment opportunities, as well as potential divestments across several different regions. Students were presented with numerous data points and provided quantitative and qualitative analysis on wide-ranging topics, from production and cash flow to political considerations to arrive at their strategy. The competing universities included some of the top business schools in the country, including MIT, Ross, Darden, Columbia, Wharton, Kenan-Flagler, Tepper, Rice, Purdue, Cornell, Chicago Booth, Tuck, and UCLA.

However, none of these schools were able to top the home team from the McCombs School of Business. Named “Drilling and Thrilling,” the team consisted of five members: Kirk Sisco, Joung Park, Kyle Gabb, Robert Buckwalter, and Eric Franco. The teams in second and third were “Proven Power Resources” from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and “Oil and GAAP” from the New York University Stern School of Business. It should be noted that the McCombs School of Business students have come in first place in the last four out of five case challenges.

The University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Poll released the latest findings on October 28th, providing unique insight into how energy issues might influence the Midterm elections

The University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Poll released the latest findings on October 28th, providing unique insight into how energy issues might influence the Midterm elections.

The latest survey was conducted September 4-16, revealing that 82 percent of Americans say energy issues influence the candidates they choose. A key finding widely reported in the media was that younger and older Americans have distinct priorities regarding energy and federal spending. For example, forty-one percent of survey respondents under age 35 say the U.S. should permit export of natural gas to other countries, while just 22 percent of those age 65 and older support the policy. The online poll also corroborates a longstanding trend among likely voters: A much higher percentage of older respondents (87 percent) indicate they were likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election, compared with 68 percent of those age 35 or under. “Consumer perspectives on energy issues continue to track political party lines, but we’re seeing a widening gulf among older and younger Americans,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll. The generational divide surfaces in several areas, particularly the importance of environmental protection and support for renewable forms of energy:

  • Fifty-six percent of younger consumers say they are willing to pay much higher prices to protect the environment, compared with only 20 percent of respondents age 65 and older.
  • Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents under age 35 say they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support steps to reduce carbon emissions, compared with 50 percent of those age 65 and older.
  • Support for renewable sources of energy is considerably stronger among younger consumers, with nearly 2 out of 3 (65 percent) favoring an expansion of financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. Less than half of older respondents (48 percent) say they would support candidates who endorse such incentives. Likewise, 62 percent of younger respondents favor requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, versus 48 percent of older voters.
  • Younger consumers also strongly support subsidies for renewable energy, with 72 percent saying they back federal government support, compared with 58 percent among Americans age 65 and older.
  • Fifty-two percent of respondents 65 and older say they are familiar with hydraulic fracturing for fossil fuel extraction, compared with 39 percent of younger Americans.  Among those familiar with the term, only 37 percent of younger survey respondents support its use, compared with more than half (52 percent) of Americans age 65 and older.




For complete online survey results, charts and other information, visit

Foreign-Educated Applicants and Foreign Attorneys Now Eligible to Take Texas Bar Examination

Foreign-Educated Applicants and Foreign Attorneys Now Eligible to Take Texas Bar Examination

The Supreme Court of Texas issued an order amending the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Texas effective October 1, 2014.

After New York and California, Texas is the third state to reform its rules to allow eligible foreign educated applicants and foreign attorneys to take the Texas Bar Examination (primarily intended for licensed foreign lawyers who have graduated from an accredited law school in their home country and complete an LL.M. at an American Bar Association-accredited law school).

According to Haynes & Boone partner Larry Pascal, “The reforms would make Texas competitive with New York and California and create expanded commercial opportunities for the state’s lawyers.” Pascal chaired the task force that recommended the proposed reforms to the state’s international law practice rules.

Pascal also believes that “These reforms will particularly make it attractive for foreign lawyers interested in the energy sector to complete an LLM degree in the state, possibly do a one-year practical training with a correspondent law firm, and then return to their home country, thereby building up long-term economic and cultural ties to Texas.”

For more information about the reforms, please refer to the updated Rulebook, as well as the updated Frequently Asked Questions for Foreign-Educated Applicants and Foreign Attorneys.

For more information about Texas Law’s LL.M. Certificate in Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, please visit the Energy Center’s website or email

Professors John S. Dzienkowski and Owen L. Anderson Teach Intensive Course on International Petroleum Transactions in Lisbon

Professors Dzienkowski and Anderson with students from their International Petroleum Transactions intensive course.
Professors Dzienkowski and Anderson with students from their International Petroleum Transactions intensive course.

Professors John S. Dzienkowski and Owen L. Anderson taught an intensive course on International Petroleum Transactions on September 15-19, 2014 in Lisbon, Portugal.

The course was sponsored by the Sociedade Portuguesa de Direito Internacional, Portugal’s International Law Association.


“Mexico Energy Reform To Inject Billions Into Texas, Panel Told” (Law360)

By Jess Davis


Law360, Dallas (September 19, 2014, 7:38 PM ET) — The denationalization of the Mexican energy market after 75 years of government control will give Texas industry enormous opportunities for growth, with Mexico expected to spend more than $10 billion to import Texas goods and services in early stages of the overhaul, experts told a Texas Senate panel Friday.


Speaking to a Senate subcommittee formed to study the impact of Mexico’s landmark 2013 energy reforms, policy experts, economists and lawyers outlined the massive changes Mexico adopted and the opportunities the change provides for Texas companies and universities, not just in the energy sector but in manufacturing and technological research. Committee chair Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, said the restructuring “will be a tremendous benefit not only to Mexico but also to the state’s economy.”


Primary and secondary impacts will give Texas $10.5 billion in additional economic activity, with 132,000 new jobs and more than $2 billion in tax revenue headed to the state, said Nathaniel Karp, executive vice president and chief economist of BBVA Compass. A tertiary effect, coming from increased regional trade as Mexico grows and improves its living standards and income, will generate $34.9 billion in incremental economic activity in Texas, Karp said.


“Texas stands to be the major beneficiary from the reform due to deep economic ties, geographic proximity and expertise in energy exploration, production and distribution,” Karp said.


Karp said Mexico will need Texas firms to provide physical resources, cutting edge technologies and human capital and expertise, particularly because more than half of Mexico’s resources are considered unconventional and needing horizontal drilling and fracking to be productive and with its two largest basins near the Texas border and the Eagle Ford Shale.


The Mexican government in August finalized legislative measures that open up its oil industry to private and foreign investment. It also laid out a road map for energy firms to grab a piece of Mexico’s vast oil and gas reserves: Model forms of contracts will be unveiled later this year, with bidding on reserves not held by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos — also known as Pemex — and the awarding of contracts in 2015.


Jose Maria Lujambio Irazabal of the Texas and Mexico law firm Cacheaux Cavazos & Newton LLP, the former general legal counsel of the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission, described the new model as free market, with regulation where needed. Among the options for contracts to develop oil and resources will be service contracts like those already used by Pemex, along with alternatives that could be more profitable, he said.


“The novelty here is we’re going to have licensing contracts, which will be almost like concessions, and production sharing contracts, which are the ones that will give the best incentives for private companies to invest in Mexico,” Lujambio said.


He said while Texas may not need to make any legislative changes to best take advantage of the reforms, the U.S. may need to change its process for granting permits for cross-border infrastructure like gas and fuel pipelines and electricity transmission lines.


Mexico’s energy reforms have gotten significant attention, but they’re just part of a broad reform agenda that includes changes to its labor, education, economic competition, telecommunications, finances and tax, as well as updates in social areas like the justice and penal systems, electoral changes and transparency.


Cesar Martinez, a vice president at consulting firm Vianovo, called the reforms in Mexico a paradigm shift equivalent to the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.


Within the energy sector, Martinez said, the first area likely to see growth is in the midstream sector, with pipeline infrastructure one of the key areas for partnerships between Texas and Mexican companies. And as the reforms continue to be implemented, opportunities will arise in actual drilling for shale oil and gas, in improving the Mexican energy grid and power generation capacity and in human capital, with educational exchanges between Texas and Mexico universities, he said.


Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, asked whether the opportunity for American companies would be mainly in an advisory and support role, providing guidance, technology and workers. Martinez pointed out American companies will be able to directly invest and operate in all sectors except for nuclear energy, which will remain operated by the Mexican government.


–Editing by Jeremy Barker.