Bankruptcy Complications in Federal Offshore Decommissioning

  • A Virtual Setting
  • November 10, 2020 at 2pm MST

Bankruptcy Complications in Federal Offshore Decommissioning

November 10, 2020 at 1pm PST, 2pm MST, 3pm CST, 4pm EST for 1 hour

This webinar was organized by the Program Committee for the Short Course on Federal Offshore Oil & gas Leasing and Development, chaired by Jana Grauberger and Amy Miller Wall. Save the date for the next Short Course, which will be held at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans on February 15-17, 2022. Registrants of this webinar can credit the registration fee for the webinar against the registration fee for the Short Course when registration opens in 2021.

Lingering uncertainty in the oil & gas markets has continued to force offshore producers into bankruptcy and insolvency. To complicate this, there is often insufficient available remaining capital to cover the cost of decommissioning leases that are abandoned by the debtor and that are not assigned as part of a sale. Because a debtor is not discharged from its obligation to decommission even if it abandons its leases, several creative solutions have arisen to cover off such liability to the extent possible. To tackle such problems, it is imperative that counsel have an understanding of both the applicable BSEE and BOEM regulations regarding decommissioning liability as well as the overlying bankruptcy law. Solutions often involve aligning the interests of several parties, including trustees, the bureaus, sureties, prior lessees, and the Department of Justice. Understanding the interplay of these complicated issues is vital when attempting to resolve decommissioning issues arising out of bankruptcy. This webinar will highlight the applicable regulatory and bankruptcy law and review examples where solutions have been successful and where there is still work to be done.

Topics that will be covered in this webinar include:

  • BSEE and BOEM’s regulations regarding the accrual of decommissioning liability, joint and several liability, and liability associated with assignments
  • Liability of prior lessees and colessees
  • IBLA decisions regarding decommissioning liability 
  • Different solutions and problems encountered in Chapter 7 vs. 11 cases
  • Treatment and use of available bonding
  • Surety obligations and role in reaching solutions
  • Impact of proposed new financial assurance regulations


    ERIC S. ANDREAS, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC (moderator and chair)

    RYAN W. LAMB, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

    EMILY WALL, Cavazos Hendricks Poirot, P.C., Dallas, TX

    STEPHEN W. WIEGAND, Liskow & Lewis, New Orleans, LA