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Winning work: Cooley’s London office acts alongside Slaughters on £168m shale gas deal

US firm Cooley is underway on making good on its ambitious City plans, winning a mandate from IGas, the UK’s biggest shale gas explorer, on a £168m farm out and purchase agreement with Swiss company INEOS, which was advised by Slaughter and May.

Having brought the instruction over from Morrison & Foerster after joining Cooley in January, London-based corporate partner Ed Lukins advised IGas Energy. Slaughter and May finance partner Andrew Johnson led a team advising longstanding client INEOS, alongside tax partner William Watson and corporate partner Hywel Davies.

The deal will provide INEOS with access to IGas sites in the North West and East Midlands while INEOS will also acquire IGas’ interest in the shale gas licence around Grangemouth in Scotland.

Following the transaction, IGas will have up to $285m of total spend from third parties across its key shale gas acreage from major partners, including Total, GDF Suez and INEOS, giving IGas a fully funded work programme including 15 wells, flow tests and gas handling stations.

Having made its entrance to the London market in January with a 55-lawyer team now headed by former Morrison & Foerster corporate head Justin Stock, the firm is predicting ballpark turnover figures of upwards of $40m for the London office and notably, has set a target for 70% of work to be generated from the UK and 30% of work to be generated via referral from the US side.

On its first announcement of a major City instruction, corporate partner Lukins commented: ‘This is clearly a deal which reinforces the position of IGas as a leading player in the shale gas space and its ability to secure world class partners is a validation of a business model which seeks to secure the future of the UK as a self-sufficient energy consumer’.