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John S. Decker

John S. Decker Partner, Energy Regulation

John represents companies in the energy industry in transactional and regulatory matters, primarily focused on the natural gas and electric power industries. He is one of a handful of lawyers in the country who is ranked by Chambers USA for his regulatory work in both electricity and oil and gas.

John has worked on numerous domestic and international transactions involving the production and transportation of natural gas and liquefied natural gas, the development of gas-fired power plants, and the sale or acquisition of electric power and natural gas assets.

He has also represented natural gas pipeline owners, liquefied natural gas importers, investor-owned utilities, owners of qualifying facilities, exempt wholesale generators, electric power marketers, and municipalities before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE). John also counsels clients on commercial and regulatory issues in the domestic retail electricity market.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented a private equity fund in a proceeding under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for approval of a multibillion dollar merger to form a new publicly traded independent power company
  • Obtained approval pursuant under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for the acquisition of a transmission and distribution utility, where the new ownership structure was designed to facilitate the creation of a real estate investment trust, the first time such an ownership structure was approved by FERC
  • Represented BG Group, as co-owner of Lake Charles Exports, in successful application before DOE for long-term authorization to export 2 Bcf per day from the Lake Charles LNG terminal; Lake Charles Exports received the third authorization to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries
  • Represented a power marketer in the negotiation of a unit contingent tolling agreement for an existing generator, where the capacity, energy, and ancillary services were to be sold into the NYISO markets
  • Represented an exploration and production company in the negotiations of a gas gathering agreement and gathering system operating agreement governing operations in the Midland Basin

FERC Merger Proceedings

  • Represented a private equity fund in a proceeding under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for approval of a multibillion dollar merger to form a new publicly traded independent power company
  • Obtained approval pursuant under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for the acquisition of a transmission and distribution utility, where the new ownership structure was designed to facilitate the creation of a real estate investment trust, the first time such an ownership structure was approved by FERC
  • Represented an energy holding company in a proceeding before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of a merger with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, the first such transaction approved by FERC
  • Obtained approval pursuant to Section 203 of the Federal Power Act for the acquisition of a retail electricity and natural gas marketer with operations in 14 states and Canada
  • Represented a power marketer in a proceeding before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of the acquisition of an electric power trading book from another power marketer
  • Represented the seller of eight power plants in the southeastern U.S. in a proceeding before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of the transaction
  • Represented a joint venture in a proceeding before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of the sale of its electric power trading business to an investment bank
  • Represented the purchaser of a wind power project developer in a proceeding before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of the transaction
  • Represented the seller of a portfolio of hydroelectric power plants in proceedings before FERC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act to obtain approval of the transaction
  • Prosecuted applications before FERC under Sections 203 and 205 of the Federal Power Act to create a regional transmission organization on behalf of a group of investor-owned utilities
  • Obtained recertification of qualifying facilities for several small power production facilities following divestiture of 50 percent ownership interest

Department of Energy LNG Import/Export Proceedings

  • Represented BG Group, as co-owner of Lake Charles Exports, in successful application before DOE for long-term authorization to export 2 Bcf per day from the Lake Charles LNG terminal; Lake Charles Exports received the third authorization to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries
  • Filed an application with DOE for a long-term authorization to export liquefied natural gas from a proposed project in Brownsville, Texas
  • Represents a foreign corporation as an off-taker from an LNG export project; Negotiations include tolling agreements, gas supply arrangements, and regulatory advice
  • Filed an application with DOE for a long-term authorization to export up to 24 million tons per annum of LNG from Freeport-McMoRan Energy’s proposed Main Pass Energy Hub Deepwater Port (MPEH)
  • Represented Total Gas & Power North America in a proceeding before DOE to obtain contract-specific long-term and blanket short-term authorizations to import LNG at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal
  • Filed an application with DOE for a long-term authorization to export compressed natural gas from a proposed project in Florida
  • Represented ENSTAR Natural Gas Company on multiple proceedings before DOE concerning exports of LNG from the Kenai project in Alaska
  • Obtained long-term authorization from the DOE for the importation of liquefied natural gas from Trinidad

Transactional (Electric)

  • Represented a power marketer in the negotiation of a unit contingent tolling agreement for an existing generator, where the capacity, energy, and ancillary services were to be sold into the NYISO markets
  • Represented an existing generator in the negotiation of a firm (LD) tolling agreement, where the capacity and energy were to be sold into the CAISO markets
  • Represented an existing generator in the negotiation of a financial heat rate call option based on CAISO market pricing
  • Advised the developer of a biomass-fueled generation facility in connection with the negotiation of a power sales agreement
  • Advised an investor-owned utility on regulatory issues arising from a joint venture to develop wind power generation facilities
  • Advised an investor in a wind power generation project being constructed pursuant to a Department of Energy loan guarantee
  • Represented owners of electric transmission systems in the negotiation of an operating agreement for a regional transmission organization
  • Drafted commercial agreements for a major power marketer’s retail electricity marketing campaign in California
  • Drafted and negotiated an electricity and steam supply agreement for a new cogeneration facility serving an industrial facility in California
  • Negotiated a reliability must-run power sales agreement for a merchant power plant in California
  • Performed regulatory due diligence for the successful acquisition of a major independent power producer’s domestic generation facilities

Transactional (Gas)

  • Represented an exploration and production company in the negotiations of a gas gathering agreement and gathering system operating agreement governing operations in the Midland Basin
  • Represented a gas gathering company in the negotiation of a gathering agreement for a rapidly expanding shale gas production area
  • Represented the developer of a 50 Bcf gas storage facility in the negotiations of precedent agreements with its customers
  • Drafted an agreement for the sale of liquefied natural gas outside the territorial waters of the United States
  • Represented a Brazilian local distribution company in the negotiation of gas supply agreements for power plants being developed pursuant to the Brazilian government’s thermoelectric priority program
  • Represented the project sponsor in the negotiation of a gas supply agreement for a power plant in Brazil
  • Represented an international development bank in connection with the negotiation of fuel supply agreements for a project-financed power plant in Mexico
  • Drafted a water rights contribution agreement in connection with the construction of a natural gas pipeline expansion project in the United States
  • Represented the project sponsor in the negotiation of gas supply arrangements for inclusion in a bid to develop a power plant in Mexico
  • Drafted a natural gas pipeline capacity allocation agreement for a project-financed natural gas-fired power plant in Argentina
  • Represented the project sponsor in the negotiation of a gas transportation agreement for a liquefied natural gas facility in Trinidad
  • Drafted gas supply and gas transportation agreements for a natural gas transportation and distribution project delivering gas produced in Argentina to markets in Chile

FERC Electric Rate Proceedings

  • Represented the largest transmission customer as an intervenor in a proceeding under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act to establish formula transmission rates
  • Represented generators in PJM and ISO New England in proceedings before FERC under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act seeking approval of Reliability Must-Run contracts

FERC Certificate Proceedings

  • Obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act for a $289 million pipeline expansion and extension project in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia; represented the project sponsor in defending certificate orders on appeal before the D.C. Circuit
  • Represented the developer of a high-deliverability, multi-cycle natural gas storage facility in obtaining a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC
  • Represented a developer of a depleted salt dome natural gas storage facility in certificate matters before FERC
  • Obtained an amendment of a certificate of public convenience and necessity under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act for a $60 million pipeline expansion project in Nevada; represent project sponsor in defending certificate orders on appeal before the DC Circuit

FERC Gas Rate Proceedings

  • Represented an importer of liquefied natural gas before FERC as an intervenor in a rate case under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act
  • Advised a natural gas pipeline company on compliance with FERC’s marketing affiliate regulations
  • Advised a natural gas pipeline company transporting Canadian gas into the West on FERC rate and certificate matters
  • Obtained dismissal of two complaints filed by an electric utility company against a natural gas pipeline company before the FERC alleging undue discrimination under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act

Department of Energy Loan Guarantees & Grants

  • Represented a solar panel manufacturer in connection with an application for a Department of Energy loan guarantee
  • Advised the developer of a carbon capture and sequestration project in connection with a Department of Energy grant award


Contact Details

Washington

T +1.202.639.6599
F +1.202.879.8899
jdecker@velaw.com
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20037
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John's Practices

  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1994 (Editor-in-Chief, Virginia Environmental Law Journal; Order of the Coif)
  • Duke University, A.B., Economics and Political Science cum laude, 1991 (Omicron Delta Epsilon)
  • Admitted to practice: Maryland; District of Columbia
  • Chambers Global, Energy & Natural Resources, Energy - Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (USA), 2014–2019
  • Chambers USA, Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation), 2007–2019; Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), 2007–2019
  • Legal 500 U.S., "Leading Lawyer" in Energy: Regulatory, 2013–2019; Real Estate: Construction, 2019
  • Legal Media Group's (Euromoney's) Expert Guide to the World's Leading Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers, 2016
  • Member: Energy Bar Association