On December 7, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) released its proposed 2020, 2021, and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations (“RVOs”). RVOs determine the amount of renewable fuel (typically, ethanol) certain fuel refiners and others involved in the transportation fuel supply chain (“Obligated Parties”) are required to blend into their own fuel production during a given year. Obligated Parties failing to meet their RVOs for any year must buy Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”) or other credits, or risk default under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”).
Continue Reading Renewable Fuel Standard Update: Recent EPA Activity Drives RIN Value

On May 7, 2021, pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline Company suffered a ransomware cyberattack on its namesake Colonial Pipeline. Hackers attacked computerized management equipment, effectively freezing one of the largest pipelines responsible for delivering gasoline and jet fuel across the Southeastern United States. The attack was the largest of its kind on an oil infrastructure target in United States history.

With FBI assistance, the company paid a $4.4 million ransom to restore pipeline operations. Law enforcement agencies and media sources identified DarkSide, a criminal hacking group, as the culprit.

In the wake of the attack, developers of energy projects which rely on pipelines to deliver products (from traditional oil to renewable natural gas) find themselves exposed to the new risk of ransomware attacks – a risk which security technology is still struggling to address. In the meantime, energy project stakeholders (from financing sources to offtake customers) are turning to cyber risk insurance for protection. Project financiers and offtake customers to whom firm delivery obligations are owed are increasingly seeking evidence of cyber risk coverage during diligence efforts. But not all policies are created equal; selecting the coverage most appropriate to a project requires an understanding of the types of coverage available and common exclusions.
Continue Reading Cyber Risk Insurance in the Wake of the Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

The Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference (NEC) concluded on February 13. During the last few quarters, ethanol margins have been at the lowest levels in many years resulting in reduced production and the permanent closure of some plants. A number of plants are seeking buyers. In this climate, the focus of the NEC was on the future of the industry. Here are some key points gleaned from multiple conference presentations.
Continue Reading Insights from the 2019 Renewable Fuels Association National Ethanol Conference

The biodiesel industry is gathering at the National Biodiesel Board’s National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego starting January 19.  With turmoil in the federal Renewable Fuel Standards program and low petroleum prices, the industry will be highlighting the important role biodiesel has to play in lowering carbon in the atmosphere. Biodiesel is commercially available and

Ethanol PlantOn November 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Support Growth Rule, which proposes changes to EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and other renewable fuel regulations designed to encourage market growth of ethanol and renewable fuels in the U.S. and provide
Continue Reading EPA Proposes Rule to Ease Barriers in Renewable Fuel Standard Program

biofuels-refinery-cornfield-iStock_000014433282_LargeAn uptick in recent federal enforcement actions involving renewable fuel credits is signaling that market participants can expect more fraud investigations and prosecutions as federal regulators strive to maintain control over the renewable fuel credit program.  The enforcement actions involve the trading of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program.
Continue Reading Fraudulent RIN Cases Underscore Continuing Concerns for Renewable Fuel Credit Program