Richard E. Powers, Jr.

Partner
Powers Richard

Dick Powers chairs Venable’s Regulatory – Energy Group. Dick has extensive experience with a broad range of administrative, judicial, legislative, and transactional matters, primarily in the energy industry.  He has handled more than 100 rate cases, market-based rate proceedings, and rulemakings involving cost and compliance matters before federal agencies, primarily FERC, and before the DC Circuit.  He counsels airlines, oil and natural gas companies, propane companies, refiners, trade associations, and others with respect to rates, regulated practices, and business opportunities.  

Dick works closely with clients on matters that include:

  • Representing clients during proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), state public utility commissions, federal courts, and arbitration forums
  • Advising foreign governments on drafting and implementing  mineral and mining tax laws, and contracts for exploration and development of natural resources
  • Drafting and negotiating agreements for the purchase, sale, and financing of energy, energy properties, transportation, storage facilities, distribution facilities, and refining and gas processing facilities
  • Handling transactions related to small power generation, cogeneration, hydroelectric, solar, and biomass facilities
  • Counseling clients involved in international transactions
  • Handling arbitrations before international fora in disputes between private parties, and between private parties and sovereign governments

Some of Dick's past and present clients include major airlines and carriers, traditional and renewable energy companies, oil and chemical companies, independent exploration and production companies, and businesses owning or having a substantial interest in mineral properties. He also represents trade associations, energy and power marketers, transportation companies, banking and financial institutions, manufacturers, marketers, and natural gas storage companies. He has represented clients on operations in countries around the world, including Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iraq, Mexico, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Russian Federation. He also works with international organizations in resolving issues, including the World Bank Group (WBG), the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Experience

Representative Matters

Crude Oil and Refined Petroleum Products 

  • Represented major airlines in a fully litigated rate case involving rates on a major interstate pipeline over transportation to the New York City airports; settled the case and the related market-based rate case, and obtained refunds, reparations, and reduced rates
  • Represented airline and propane associations in the five-year FERC index review; persuaded FERC to set the index by reference to a new metric linked to actual pipeline cost changes, resulting in a lower index adjustment than initially proposed by FERC
  • Represented numerous propane companies and a refined petroleum marketer in a complaint against a major interstate pipeline over the discontinuation of certain petroleum product transportation services on its system; obtained a FERC order that the pipeline’s actions breached a settlement agreement, entitling complainants to damages, and negotiated a settlement of the damage claims
  • Represented refining and marketing interests in petroleum product pipeline market-based rate proceedings; obtained favorable FERC actions denying requests for market-based rate authority and blocked an application by a major interstate oil pipeline for authority to charge market-based rates on its midwestern system
  • Represented refining and marketing interests in the first two fully litigated petroleum product pipeline cost of service rate proceedings at the FERC; this was the first case to challenge grandfathered rates under the Energy Policy Act of 1992
  • Represented major propane companies in opposing a major rate increase (98%) for natural gas liquids (NGLs) shippers; this was  the first NGL pipeline rate proceeding ever to be litigated
  • Represented an oil and gas producer concerning a tariff and accounting dispute under an Alaska PSC tariff
  • Represented refining and marketing interests in a petroleum product pipeline complaint, cost of service and market-based rate proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
  • Represented major and independent oil and gas producers in the development of a crude oil-quality bank for offshore production, shipped on a large interstate pipeline; obtained a favorable settlement 
  • Represented independent oil and gas producers before DOI, related to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) royalty, pricing, transportation, and valuation matters
  • Represented a large independent oil and gas company on leasing tribal and allotted lands, including obtaining related state and federal legislation, and DOI approval

Natural Gas, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and Electricity

  • Represented a producer/owner/shipper on regulatory and structuring matters on a U.S.-Canadian pipeline
  • Represented natural gas industry participants on issues involving the transportation of natural gas from Canada to the United States, the importation of natural gas from Canada to the United States, and the importation of natural gas to and from the United States and Mexico, including pipeline issues in Mexico
  • Represented natural gas shippers on major interstate natural gas pipeline systems regarding compliance with FERC Order Nos. 436, 636, and 637
  • Represented natural gas shippers in interstate natural gas pipeline rate proceedings, including obtaining favorable FERC decisions and favorable settlements for natural gas shippers
  • Represented U.S. natural gas storage providers in certification, abandonment, and pipeline rate and interconnect proceedings
  • Represented an unregulated subsidiary of a major U.S. utility in the acquisition of 1500 MW of generation capacity, operating or under development in the Midwest and Northeast, and 6500 MW of generation capacity, operating or under development in the Midwest, South, and Southeast
  • Represented an unregulated subsidiary of a major U.S. utility in a portfolio financing ($2.3 billion) involving a significant portion of its generating assets on Federal Power Act (FPA) and Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) matters
  • Represented a national power marketer in breach of contract actions brought against other wholesale purchasers and sellers of electricity associated with the Midwest Price Spike for electricity in 1998, resulting in the recovery of several million dollars
  • Represented an unregulated subsidiary of a major U.S. utility in FERC proceedings concerning the recertification of electric power projects such as QFs or EWGs and establishing market-based rate tariffs
  • Represented an IPP regarding proposed electricity generating facilities on Indian lands
  • Represented electricity users and others in the 2000-2001 energy crisis in the Western states regarding electricity pricing and transmission issues
  • Represented foreign and domestic entities on matters related to the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA), PUHCA, FPA, Natural Gas Act ( NGA), and other relevant laws governing various energy concerns
  • Represented IPPs and renewable energy companies on various matters related to electricity transmission, interconnection, and interlocking directorate issues

Renewable Energy, International Energy, and Infrastructure Projects

  • Represented a developer in state and federal regulatory and legislative initiatives that made possible the 64-MW Solar Thermal Electric Generating Plant in Boulder City, Nevada
  • Represented a developer of multiple hydroelectric facilities along the Allegheny, on financing, construction, and permitting
  • Represented an African nation in restructuring the country’s oil and natural gas laws and regulations, and related tax, exchange, and customs laws and regulations that became law (project funded by the World Bank)
  • Represented an African nation in litigation against a national foreign bank on a government loan involving related diplomatic recognition issues
  • Represented an oil field service company in expropriation of goods issues, during the Iranian revolution, including handling the resulting arbitration proceeding in The Hague and settlement thereof 
  • Represented a large Kuwaiti engineering and construction company in its reconstruction efforts in post-Saddam-era Iraq, including resolution of government contracting claims
  • Represented an international oil and gas company on an oil and natural gas concession in Guatemala, against a government-owned oil company, including arbitration under the International Chamber of Commerce and other matters, resulting in a cash and property settlement
  • Represented an international petroleum products testing and gauging company in establishing operations in Panama, and complying with various U.S. trade and investment laws
  • Represented independent oil and gas companies involving multiple multi-million-dollar sales and acquisitions of oil and natural gas concessions in Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina
    Represented a task force developed to address the restructuring of the oil and natural gas production, and pipeline laws and regulations in Russia

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. magna cum laude Notre Dame Law School 1977
  • B.S. summa cum laude Gonzaga University 1974
    • Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society
    • Pi Mu Epsilon Honor Society

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Texas

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Texas Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Energy Bar Association
  • Member, International Bar Association 

Recognition
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  • Recognized in Chambers Global, Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), 2014 - 2017
  • Recognized in Chambers USA, Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), National, 2010 - 2018
  • Included in Washington DC Super Lawyers, 2014 - 2016, 2018
  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Community
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Volunteerism

  • Member, board of regents, Gonzaga University