R.J. Colwell

Associate, Houston

Biography

Overview

R.J. advises stakeholders actively engaging or investing in the energy industry, with a particular focus on the midstream sector (natural gas, crude oil, liquids, biomethane, hydrogen, water, and CO2 pipelines; related processing, treatment, storage, and sequestration assets; and LNG and import/export facilities). He also represents clients on a wide range of domestic and international transactions (mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, project finance, and commercial and operational matters) that span the energy industry, as well as related markets for carbon credits and other environmental attributes.

R.J. also counsels clients regarding compliance with applicable Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other regulatory tariffs, regulations, orders, policy statements, and standards of conduct, including drafting compliance plans, conducting compliance trainings, and addressing any non-compliance events. R.J.  likewise regularly drafts and prepares regulatory applications in support of obtaining federal and state authorizations for projects and transactions involving natural gas, LNG, crude oil, liquids, and power commodities and assets. He also routinely represents pipeline companies, liquefied natural gas exporters, storage operators, shippers, and owners and offtakers of electric generation in administrative litigation before FERC, in FERC enforcement investigations, and in tariff and ratemaking proceedings before FERC and the Texas Railroad Commission.

R.J. serves as co-chair of the Firm's global midstream strategic specialty area, where he assists in developing the Firm's expertise and capabilities across all aspects of the midstream sector.

Prior to entering private practice, R.J. served as an Honors Attorney and then as an Attorney-Adviser at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C. As an Honors Attorney, R.J. received the Secretary's Achievement Award for his work on enforcing energy efficiency standards. As an Attorney-Adviser, he provided legal counsel to the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management on a broad range of transactional, operational, regulatory, and policy issues and matters, with a specific focus on regulating natural gas and LNG imports and exports and advising DOE senior leadership on Strategic Petroleum Reserve and other energy security matters. R.J. additionally assisted in representing DOE National Laboratories and other national security sites in state-level tariff and ratemakings proceedings and other disputes.

Before attending law school, R.J. served in the U.S. Army as a Field Artillery Officer, attaining the rank of Captain in three years. During his military service, R.J. deployed to Iraq and received several prestigious decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

Outside the office, R.J. is actively involved in a number of national and local veterans organizations and initiatives, including Impact A Hero, the PTSD Foundation of America's Camp Hope, and the Veteran Leadership Development Group.
 

Bars and Courts
Texas State Bar
Colorado State Bar
District of Columbia Bar
Education
JD
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
BA
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Languages
English

Experience

Energy Transactions and Projects

  • ExxonMobil Corporation, in its disposition of offshore and midstream oil and gas assets in California to Sable Offshore Corporation.
  • Oxy Low Carbon Ventures LLC, in its negotiation of a CO2 transportation services agreement with a major midstream company.
  • 1PointFive LLC, in its negotiation of a CO2 removal purchase and prepayment agreement with an Amazon entity.
  • 1PointFive LLC, in its negotiation of a CO2 removal marketing agreement with a Swiss-based carbon finance consultancy.
  • 1PointFive P1, LLC, in its negotiation of a zero-emission solar power purchase agreement, shared facilities agreement, and ground lease in support of developing its first large-scale direct air capture plant in Texas.
  • Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc., in its negotiation a net zero oil offtake agreement with an SK Trading International subsidiary.
  • Onward Energy Inc., in its acquisition of two power generation facilities from Arroyo Energy Partners, LLC subsidiaries.
  • Devon Energy Corporation, in its negotiation of produced and recycled water midstream services agreements in connection with its formation of a midstream partnership in the Permian Basin with a major midstream water management company.
  • Avantus LLC, in its negotiation of an offtake agreement and other project documents for a solar and battery storage project that it is in the process of developing.
  • Riverstone Holdings LLC, in its negotiation of a master midstream services agreement related to its $100 million investment in an independent Argentine oil and gas gathering and processing-focused midstream company.*
  • Occidental Chemical Corporation, in its negotiation of commercial agreements with a major midstream company for the transportation and storage of ethylene.*
  • Noble Midstream Partners LP, in its negotiation of a pipeline capacity agreement, tariff, and crude transportation agreement in connection with formation of a joint venture with Salt Creek Midstream LLC in the Delaware Basin.*
  • PennEast Pipeline Company LLC, in connection with amendments to FERC certificate application for a greenfield pipeline and petition for declaratory order interpreting the eminent domain authority conferred to certificate holders by Section 7(h) of the Natural Gas Act.*

Project Finance

  • Samchully Asset Management, in connection with amendments to existing financing documents in support of providing $50 million incremental credit facility to Salt Creek Midstream subsidiaries.
  • I Squared Capital Advisors (US), LLC, in its negotiation of a loan agreement to retrofit a Montana Renewables refinery that produces renewable diesel.
  • Broad Reach Power LLC, in connection with a senior secured facility to be provided by Deutsche Bank and other lenders to finance the development, operation, and maintenance of certain Texas and California electric generation, transmission, and storage assets and related facilities.
  • Harvest Midstream I, LP, in its negotiation of a credit agreement with Wells Fargo to add $50 million to its 7.5% unsecured notes due 2028.
  • Riverstone Credit Partners LLC, in its conversion of a term loan to EPIC Propane Pipeline, LP to a sustainability-linked loan.
  • Calpine Corporation, in connection with amendments to existing financing documents in support of upsizing existing loans for Calpine's geothermal power plants located in California.

Mergers and Acquisitions; Capital Markets

  • Marathon Oil EF II LLC, in its $3 billion acquisition of Ensign Natural Resources' natural gas assets in the Eagle Ford Basin.
  • Ormat Technologies, Inc., in its upsized $375 million green convertible senior note offering.
  • JERA Americas, Inc., in its acquisition of a 1,633 megawatt thermal power portfolio in New England from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.
  • J.P. Morgan Securities, in connection with underwriting a hydrogen fuel cell company's initial public offering.
  • Blackstone Infrastructure Fund, in its $3.3 billion acquisition of a controlling interest in an interstate natural gas pipeline.*
  • J.P Morgan Securities, in connection with its role as a joint bookrunner for Sunnova Energy International Inc.'s initial public offering.*

Regulatory Compliance

  • Sempra Infrastructure Partners, in connection with a wide range of FERC and DOE power regulatory and compliance matters.
  • TotalEnergies Gas and Power North America, Inc., in connection with identifying ongoing compliance obligations applicable to intrastate natural gas pipeline located at Port Arthur, Texas refinery.
  • Naturgy Servicios, S.A. de C.V., in its DOE applications for short- and long-term authorization to export natural gas to Mexico via pipeline.
  • Pillar EFS, LLC, in its request for RRC consent to the transfer of a land apply permit.
  • Japan Petroleum Exploration, in connection with identifying regulatory requirements applicable to potential transactions involving upstream affiliates of Freeport LNG.
  • Antero Resources Corporation and MU Marketing LLC, in connection with obtaining FERC approvals and waivers necessary to effectuate a corporate reorganization.*

Litigation and Arbitration (including FERC and Bankruptcy)

  • Kinder Morgan, Inc., in connection with its stalking horse bid for Ruby Pipeline L.L.C.
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation, in connection with its settlement of a multi-billion dollar arbitration with a major natural gas liquids midstream company.
  • Antero Resources Corporation, in more than 400 proceedings before FERC involving rate and non-rate tariff filings by interstate pipeline companies.*
  • Nine Point Energy Holdings, Inc. and Nine Point Energy, LLC, in their successful defeat of claims by a former midstream services provider in federal bankruptcy proceeding that parties' contracts contained covenants running with the land that precluded rejection and entitled such provider to more than $150 million in senior secured liens on companies' oil and gas assets.*

Government Service

  • U.S. Department of Energy, in connection with Secretarial authorizations for emergency exchange transactions from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to Hurricane Harvey.*
  • U.S. Department of Energy, in connection with authorization orders approving the export of LNG from various current and proposed LNG terminals to FTA and non-FTA countries.*
  • U.S. Department of Energy, in connection with the close-out of cooperative agreement related to the Kemper integrated gasification-combined cycle demonstration project.*
  • U.S. Department of Energy, in negotiations with Louisiana utility related to demand ratchet relief for electricity service to Strategic Petroleum Reserve sites.*
  • U.S. Department of Energy, in negotiation of a use permit with a wholesale electric-energy cooperative for the siting, construction, operation, and decommissioning of first-of-kind small modular nuclear reactors at the Idaho National Laboratory.*
  • U.S. Department of Energy, in litigation involving over 80 cases related to violations of energy efficiency standards.*

* Matters prior to joining White & Case

Speaking Engagements

Rumble in the Regulatory Jungle – Rockefeller v. Hart: A Comparison of the NGA and ICA, Energy Bar Association (February 2021)

Publications

Biden Administration Pauses Review of Non-FTA LNG Export Applications, White & Case LLP Client Alert (January 2024)

"Pivot Potential: A Deep Dive into Offshore Wind in the Gulf of Mexico," LexisNexis Pratt's Energy Law Report (October 2022)

FERC Overhauls Review of Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects, White & Case LLP Client Alert (February 2022)

Where 'Shale' We Go From Here: Opportunities and Challenges in Shale Plays Located Outside the USA, Journal of World Energy Law & Business (Oxford University Press) (June 14, 2017) [10 J. World Energy L. & Bus. 159 (2017)]