Jose Maria Lujambio (LL.M. ’14) recently published an article, “A Critical Analysis of the Regulatory Model for Mexico’s New Wholesale Electricity Market,” in Mexican Energy Law, a new bimonthly publication by Cacheaux, Cavazos & Newton LLP. Mr. Lujambio practices energy and environmental law in CCN’s Austin office.
The Center for Climate and Resilience Research at the University of Chile in Santiago seeks 5 energetic Postdoctoral Fellows to research climate change, water, drought, and land use issues. The deadline for submitting applications is December 30, 2014. For more information, please visit the Center’s website.
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 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 www.utenergypoll.utexas.edu.
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.
The Forth Worth Business Press quoted Professor David Spence in a November 5 article about the Denton vote to reject the controversial drilling technique known as fracking. According to Professor Spence, “If anti-fracking initiatives ‘continue to proliferate, then companies lose access to those resources.’”
Cities in Texas, California, and Ohio had initiatives on the ballot this fall to ban or restrict hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the controversial production technique for extracting oil and gas from shale. Professor David Spence has studied these local ordinances (of which there are more than 400 in existence nationwide), and was quoted in coverage of the issue by the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, and Bloomberg News this election season. Prof. Spence’s article analyzing the legal issues triggered by local fracking bans will be published in the Texas Law Review later this year.
Professor David Spence was quoted recently in a Houston Chronicle article about a local referendum on the drilling technique that could have national significance. According to the article, “If passed, the proposition would be the first to completely ban the petroleum extraction technique known as hydraulic fracking in one small corner of the great oil and gas boom sate of Texas . . . If the proposal becomes law, both sides expect litigation of epic proportions. Untested legal questions include whether the ban would conflict with the state’s powers to regulate oil and gas extraction.” Spence said, “If it goes down that road . . . that will effectively kills these bans, because no local government can afford to pay those claims.”
In an article about the conflict between energy production and environmental protection, UT Law: The Magazine of the University of Texas School of Law (Fall 2014, Volume 13) quoted Professors Jeff Civins, Tom McGarity, and Melinda Taylor, the Energy Center’s executive director, on how energy production and environmental protection are looking for a balance.
Read a PDF version of the article.
In an article about why lower crude oil prices are good for the oil industry, the Houston Chronicle quoted Professor David Spence on how despite recent sustained prices of $100 a barrel, prices are still high. According to Spence, “I think for the major produces, there are precious few projects of theirs that can’t produce at $80 oil. The lower-cost wells are still going to have a healthy profit margin.”