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January 6, 2012 
Sutherland LTIle

Make that "11, or whatever time you open this email." Every day, the energy industry ships its goods around the world and Bracewell & Giuliani partner Jeff Vaden says it’s becoming easier for companies to find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
In fact, there are more energy employees being prosecuted and sent to jail for shipping violations than in the 1990s or early 2000s, says Jeff, whom we snapped in his downtown office this week. Jeff represents energy companies with shipping violations and tells us agencies are demonstrating more perseverance and becoming more sophisticated in coordinating their efforts federally as well as internationally. Previously, a company who got in hot water for a shipping infraction with a civil agency could be able to settle quietly without any repercussions from criminal agencies. (The same thing used to happen with celebrity divorces.)
Sutherland Mini
One misconception: If enforcement halts a shipment, it is only a civil matter. The mistake shipping companies often make is continuing to handle an infraction like a business transaction even though criminal implications have come into play. He says even though 99% of energy companies understand and follow the law, typically it is the desire for economic gain that drives the 1% to break it. For years, many companies took a calculated risk of being caught versus a big payday of sending goods illegally. Anything that looks suspicious will gain the attention of law enforcement. When red flags go up, shipments can result in costly delays and give competitors an edge.
The Port of Houston is a focal point of enforcement control because of extensive import/export activity. If a shipment is outbound for an international destination, law enforcement doesn't need a warrant because it's a functional equivalent of the border. Energy companies need to make sure their shipments are transparent and that all documentation is in order. Jeff says it's vital for energy companies working internationally to ask their customers the right questions and, he adds the burden is on the shipper to do due diligence and ensure the customer understands what's coming and how it's to be used. He says when the government looks at a situation, they want to know a company showed good faith.

What do you do when you have a killer year placing energy personnel, move your HQ from London to Houston and finish unpacking all the boxes? Throw a party, of course! Swift Worldwide Resources global marketing manager Maegan Toups and North America managing director Chris Lynch let us see how much fun they were having at their end-of-year client and contractor party at the Intercontinental Hotel. Chris organized the soirée, and the menu was a true foodie’s delight: miniature beef wellington, cheese profiteroles, salad, white and sweet potatoes, turkey and beef, a chocolate fountain and fruit. (Anyone else getting hungry?) This was the seventh year the company has hosted the function.

The Houston Marathon Committee has launched its “We are Houston 2012” marketing campaign, a partnership of 15 Houston-based corporations that are collaborating with the host committee of the 2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon in its fundraising efforts. The US Olympic Trials Marathon races will take place on the streets of Houston on Jan. 14, a first for a single city to host both the men’s and women’s US Olympic Trials races on the same day at the same event. Partners include: ABB, Apache Corp, Aramco Services Co, Bank of Texas, Chevron, Gallery Furniture, Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, H-E-B, Kellogg Brown & Root, King & Spalding Law, Maersk Oil Houston, Mammoet USA South, Memorial Hermann, University of St. Thomas, and Waste Management. NBC will broadcast two hours of national coverage from 3pm to 5pm.
Because of the energy crisis, on Jan. 6, 1974, year-round daylight savings time was implemented until Feb. 23, 1975. The pre-existing daylight-saving rules, calling for the clocks to be advanced one hour on the last Sunday in April, were restored in 1976. Is it time you emailed a story idea or photo to greg.miller@bisnow.com?
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