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Oil and Gas Industry: From Reagan To Macondo – 30 years of Energy Law

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About this Podcast...

In this exclusive interview, Tim Haðdar speaks with Carol E. Dinkins, Partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP about the changing face of the legal profession, from the outgoing energy policy of the Reagan administration to retrenchment after the 2010 blowout of the Macondo 252 well in the Gulf of Mexico and the scope of energy law in the evolving energy landscape worldwide.

From 1981 to 1983, Carol served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, where she supervised the government's litigation in federal environmental, natural resources, and Indian and public lands cases. In 1984-1985, Carol served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, the second-ranking official in the Department of Justice. Her responsibilities included working with members of Congress, the White House, the cabinet, and subcabinet officers on policy, legislation, and litigation.

At Vinson & Elkins,Carol handles all aspects of client counselling on business transactions and permit matters, as well as civil litigation, mediation, and criminal defence. Carol has represented chemical and energy companies; developers; timber, utilities, transportation interests, and a variety of municipal and governmental entities in proceedings under state and federal environmental and natural resources laws.

In the course of her interview, Carol touches on:

· Her role and responsibility within the Reagan administration

· The expansion of outer continental shelf leasing and the pioneering Five Year Leasing Plan

· The Reagan government’s reaction to the oil embargo and energy malaise of the preceding Carter administration

· The move into deepwater prospects in the Gulf of Mexico and the concomitant technological advances

· Macondo as a "world-changing" event for the legal profession

· The post-Macondo drilling moratorium

· Reorganisation of the regulatory agencies within the Department of the Interior

· New safety and permitting regimes – making recommendations mandatory

· The establishment of the Centre for Offshore Safety in Houston as a centre for excellence in offshore HSE

· Macondo as a wake up call for companies to look at whether their risks really match up to their insurance

· Moves for the revision of standard form contracts in the wake of the legal fallout

· The benefits of standard forms: setting expectations and addressing the uniqueness of every situation rather than wasting time on settled practices

· How standard forms create a body of law to set precedents for unanticipated occurrences and provide a framework for self policing

· The need for stringent oversight in the face of ever evolving regulation

· How what has been learned from Piper Alpha and Macondo in the realm of HSE improvement can be a useful resource for those nations at the beginning of their journey in hydrocarbons

· The importance of the uniformity of self-policing and training for a safer and more responsible oil and gas sector


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