Power struggles – the challenges facing counsel in the $5trn oil and gas industry

Power struggles – the challenges facing counsel in the $5trn oil and gas industry

Legal Business talks to lawyers on the frontline of the controversial and risky oil and gas business to explore the industry trends and challenges in-house legal teams face

2010 was arguably a turning point in the $5trn global energy market. That was the year that Brazilian oil giant Petrobras undertook a record-shattering $70bn equity offering ahead of unveiling a $224bn investment plan, on some measures the largest corporate spending programme the world has ever seen.

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Profile: Alison Kay, National Grid

Profile: Alison Kay, National Grid

The energy giant’s group GC discusses the overhaul of its legal function

When the in-house legal team of a large corporate announces a ‘review’, it’s often enough to instil a sense of foreboding in its external legal panel. For the law firm, it’s likely to mean months of painstaking paper pushing, parading in front of senior lawyers (and, these days, possibly their bosses) and making promises they hope they can keep, particularly when it comes to costs versus service levels.

But at National Grid, things are a little different, for now at least. There is a review planned, but group general counsel (GC) and company secretary Alison Kay is determined to analyse service levels closer to home, starting with her own 31-strong UK team.

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Energy run: Clifford Chance advises Shell on series of major M&A deals

Energy run: Clifford Chance advises Shell on series of major M&A deals

Clifford Chance (CC) has secured a run of major mandates for Royal Dutch Shell including last week’s A$2.9bn ($2.6bn) agreement to sell the global energy giant’s Australia downstream businesses to Vitol and the sale of a number of businesses in Italy to affiliates of Kuwait Petroleum International.

The Vitol deal, which was announced on 21 February, saw CC led by London-based partner Kathy Honeywood, Singapore-based Geraint Hughes, and Australia-based Tracey Renshaw advise on all aspects of the transaction, which included the sale of Shell’s Geelong refinery and 870-site retail business in Australia. Continue reading “Energy run: Clifford Chance advises Shell on series of major M&A deals”

Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market

Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market

While most of central and eastern Europe (CEE) predictably remains in recovery mode from the global financial crisis, the buoyant energy sector has led to a steady stream of foreign investment and some prized mandates for law firms active in the region.

Anything that can galvanize the region’s economy is to be welcomed. While the CEE’s major countries have generally avoided the kind of economic contraction seen in western Europe since the 2008 banking crisis, the rise of more potent rival emerging economies has drained away much of the foreign investment that would have once gone to the region. The mood has been further darkened by persistent concerns over cronyism and the quality of political governance in some states – a factor not helped by an increasingly difficult balancing act between the competing influences of the European Union (EU) and Russia. Continue reading “Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market”

Dentons hires high profile energy partner Charles July and Eversheds’ banking partner Michael Wainwright

Dentons hires high profile energy partner Charles July and Eversheds’ banking partner Michael Wainwright

Increased optimism within the business sector at the start of 2014 is being reflected in a flurry of lateral hires as high profile energy partner Charles July joins Dentons as a partner in the energy, infrastructure and project finance City practice.

July joins from Watson, Farley & Williams, where he was head of the firm’s projects, commodities and export finance group in London. He joined the firm as a partner in May 2010, before which he was at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for 28 years, latterly heading the energy and infrastructure group for the Middle East and North Africa region. He also led the firm’s Abu Dhabi launch in 2008, and was former head of the firm’s Asia project finance practice as well as Singapore office head between 1992 and 1998. Continue reading “Dentons hires high profile energy partner Charles July and Eversheds’ banking partner Michael Wainwright”

High energy – Bracewell & Giuliani continues City push with CC partner hire

High energy – Bracewell & Giuliani continues City push with CC partner hire

With shale gas emerging as one of the most touted new markets for advisers, one of the leading US players in the sector this week continued its well-publicised City push with Bracewell & Giuliani recruiting Clifford Chance (CC) energy and construction partner Tracy London.

The appointment is the eighth senior London hire this year for the 485-lawyer Bracewell, which is best known in the US for its energy work and the addition of former New York mayor and US presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani (pictured) as a name partner in 2005.

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Going nuclear – Herbert Smith advises EDF on £16bn power plant deal

Going nuclear – Herbert Smith advises EDF on £16bn power plant deal

The UK government’s game-changing decision to build the first nuclear power plant for a generation has seen Herbert Smith Freehills advise longstanding client EDF Energy on the deal.

The £16bn agreement to build two European pressurised reactors at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset is the culmination of two and a half years of negotiations between the two parties and Julia Pyke (pictured), a Herbert Smith partner and co-head of the firm’s nuclear group, told Legal Business ‘It has been immensely satisfying to reach this milestone. Continue reading “Going nuclear – Herbert Smith advises EDF on £16bn power plant deal”