Beveridge & Diamond
 

Oil and Gas

Overview

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.’s Oil & Gas practice assists clients ranging from major oil refiners to small oil and natural gas producers to pipeline companies, in matters as large as the global development of new drilling technologies and nationwide enforcement actions, and as small as obtaining individual well permits.  Our practice in this sector covers all aspects of environmental regulation and enforcement, and involves issues under the Clean Air Act (PSD/NSR, MACT, Title V, NSPS, Benzene and Asbestos NESHAPs), the Clean Water Act (stormwater permitting, oil spill prevention, release reporting), RCRA (E&P exemption analysis, NORM evaluations), CERCLA, EPCRA, auditing, remediation, environmental impact review/NEPA, and wetlands, as well as land use, zoning, and other related real estate issues.  We also advise clients on matters involving oil and gas development on public lands onshore and on the Outer Continental Shelf, involving issues under the Mineral Leasing Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act.  At the international level, the Firm has advised clients on marine spill and pollution control requirements and matters arising under the Law of the Sea (LOS).

Full Description

Attorneys in Beveridge & Diamond's Oil & Gas practice have decades of experience in all aspects of the industry.  Several of our attorneys have previously worked as in-house counsel for oil refineries, natural gas producers, and pipeline companies, in a number of different states across the nation, and held senior positions with federal government agencies that regulate the industry.  Our in-depth knowledge and understanding of this industry allow us to solve problems quickly and cost-effectively, without the delays and costs occasioned by a “learning curve” in a new industry.

The Firm’s compliance assistance practice focuses on permitting and compliance issues, typically under the Clean Air Act.  We routinely assist clients large and small in applicability and compliance determinations under PSD/NSR, NSPS, MACT standards (both the refinery MACT and the natural gas production/transmission MACT), and several NESHAPs.  We routinely assist clients large and small in developing a Title V permitting strategy, negotiating appropriate permit terms, challenging unreasonable state and EPA additions, and reviewing and submitting deviation reports and compliance certifications.  We have undertaken numerous facility audits, and negotiated resolutions of potential violations discovered through this process with EPA and the states involved.  We also actively participate in the rulemaking process on behalf of a number of clients.

Our project development work for the oil & gas industry has involved a number of pipelines and new wells, from planning through permitting through construction.  We have worked with EPA, FERC, and a variety of state regulators to address wetlands, sediment and erosion control, and NEPA/environmental impact review issues, as well as land use and other related issues.  As part of the permitting and approval process for new facilities, we frequently negotiate permit terms and compliance obligations under a variety of federal and state programs, from the air issues discussed above to RCRA and UIC programs.  We have also assisted with a variety of acquisitions within the industry.

The Firm's federal oil and gas practice focuses on the royalty management and offshore leasing and management program of the Minerals Management Service and the onshore oil and gas program of the Bureau of Land Management.

Our litigation practice involves all aspects of our compliance and project development practice.  We have challenged improper EPA rulemakings, negotiated settlements and dismissals of civil and criminal enforcement actions at the federal and state levels, staved off citizens’ suits, defended against class actions for claims arising from alleged MTBE contamination, handled claims resulting from the violation of acquisition agreements, and defended against site remediation claims. Our attorneys have considerable experience with regulatory matters and with administrative and federal court litigation involving the minerals program of the Department of the Interior.

Our international practice has addressed overseas environmental impact assessment and compliance for explorational production in Latin America and the North Sea.

Representative Matters
Representative Matters
  • We served as legal and policy counsel to a major transportation association in its development, execution and publication of a nationally-recognized study regarding the application of leak detection technologies to buried, pressurized pipelines.
  • Working with engineering and operations experts, our lawyers took the lead in preparing a fuel facility operation and maintenance guidance manual focusing on environmental and safety aspects of fuel facility management.  This guidance manual has become the industry standard at the types of fuel facilities to which it applies.
  • The Firm successfully negotiated major Clean Air Act settlements under EPA’s refinery enforcement initiative on behalf of two major refiners.  We addressed the very disparate needs of numerous refineries, state and local regulatory agencies, EPA Regions, EPA Headquarters, and the Department of Justice.  The final settlements not only resolve refiners’ liability for alleged past violations, but also give them the flexibility necessary to undertake the major capital projects necessary to meet the new EPA fuel standards without undergoing complex federal permitting processes.
  • We successfully challenged EPA’s attempt to impose unwarranted and illegal requirements through the permitting process for a refinery.  The court concluded that EPA’s decision was not merely “manifestly arbitrary and capricious,” but was also the product of “apparent irrational discrimination.”  Puerto Rico Sun Oil Co. v. EPA, 8 F.3d 73,78, 80 (1st Cir. 1993).
  • We represented in-house counsel for a major petroleum refining company in a criminal investigation and indictment under the Benzene Waste Operations NESHAP.  After four years and multiple grand juries, we persuaded the government to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • The Firm advised an exploration and production company in the acquisition of mineral interests in a productive well field, and in the expedited permitting of drilling operations for over forty sites simultaneously.
  • We worked with a coal bed methane driller to successfully obtain one of the first NPDES salinity offset permits in Colorado and to develop alternative salinity offset proposals for consideration. 
  • We helped a major refining company develop a plan to implement obligations it had accepted as part of a criminal consent decree.  Working with a large team of engineers, consultants, and regulatory experts, we developed a plan that allowed the facility to complete its obligations and go off probation several years early.
  • We advised a major oil and gas services firm on the successful deployment of new drilling technology worldwide, assessing pollution control and related requirements at the national level in Latin America and Europe, as well as international law requirements under various IMO conventions.
Overview





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Case Studies
Case Studies
Dismissing All Criminal Allegations Against In-House Counsel Meeting the Terms of a Plea Agreement Two Years Ahead of Schedule