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Canada > Energy and natural resources > Energy and natural resources: oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Energy and natural resources: oil and gas
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Energy and natural resources: oil and gas clients in Canada using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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All lawyers in this section are based in Calgary unless otherwise stated.

A ‘leader in the oil and gas space’, Bennett Jones LLP excels across the full range of transactional, project development and regulatory matters and the consensus is that ‘few firms come close to its comprehensive offering’. Among the names to note, Calgary managing partner Patrick Maguire is ‘excellent at both the big-picture analysis and the detail drafting’ and with John Piasta advised Cenovus Energy on its C$17.7bn acquisitions of ConocoPhillips’ Deep Basin conventional assets in Alberta and British Columbia as well as its 50% interest in FCCL Partnership. William Osler is a ‘superb corporate counsel’ and advised Pembina Pipeline on its joint venture with Petrochemical Industries for a proposed integrated propylene and polypropylene production facility. Donald Greenfield QC is another sought-after name for oil and gas deals and acted alongside ‘ very strong’ department co-head Vivek Warrier to advise Schlumberger Production Management on the C$1.3bn acquisition of the Palliser Block assets in Alberta from Cenovus Energy. Robert Booth QC is also an experienced transactional specialist, while Kieran Ryan is a ‘great up-and-comer’. Brad Gilmour provides ‘very strategic and thoughtful service’ and heads up the regulatory side of the practice, which also benefits from the senior expertise of Lawrence Smith QC and Loyola Keough.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, which is widely revered as being ‘among the best for Canadian oil and gas matters’,attracts strong praise for its well-balanced energy practice that ‘ evenly combines transactional expertise with regulatory capability’. On the transactional side, Calgary managing partner Ben Rogers paired up with Chris Harris to advise Cenovus Energy on the C$1.3bn sale of its Palliser assets to Schlumberger and Torxen Energy. The same team also advised Cenovus on the C$512m sale of its Suffield crude oil and natural gas operations in southern Alberta to International Petroleum. Keith Byblow leads the oil and gas group and landed a key role in one of the most high-profile deals of 2018, when he advised Kinder Morgan Canada on the C$4.5bn sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and expansion project to the Government of Canada. Sector specialist Mungo Hardwicke-Brown and Michael Laffin QC are also highly regarded for oil and gas deals. On the regulatory front, senior counsel Kemm Yates QC and Lars Olthafer are the names to note. The group has also recently undertaken work for Imperial Oil, Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Suncor Energy.

Alberta heavyweight Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP is a ‘standout specialist for oil and gas law’ and sources suggest that ‘it just can’t be beaten on energy transactions’. The firm also packs a punch in project development and regulatory matters and routinely acts for a diverse roster of industry participants, including explorers, developers, producers, facilities owners and operators and lenders. The increasingly prominent Sean Korney had a banner year, which included advising MEG Energy on the C$1.5bn disposal of a 50% interest in Access Pipeline and a 100% interest in Stonefell Terminal to Wolf Midstream and also advising International Petroleum on its C$512 acquisition of oil and natural gas assets in Suffield and Alderson from Cenovus Energy. In another headline deal, Stuart Money advised Whitecap Resources on its C$940m acquisition of light oil assets in southeast Saskatchewan. Alicia Quesnel, who also had a hand in the MEG Energy deal, and seasoned firm vice chair John Cuthbertson QC are widely regarded as market leaders on the transactional side. Evan Dixon is a key contact for regulatory matters.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s group, which comprises ‘excellent lawyers’, stand out for its ‘great transactional expertise', and also packs a punch in regulatory matters. Sector specialist Janice Buckingham jointly leads the practice and led the firm’s advice to ConocoPhillips on the C$17.7bn sale of its 50% interest in FCCL Partnership and certain Deep Basin assets to Cenovus Energy. Buckingham also acted alongside seasoned expert Robert Desbarats Desbarats QC to advise Canadian Natural Resources on its C$975m acquisition of upstream oil and gas assets in the Greater Pelican Lake region, and other assets in northern Alberta, from Cenovus Energy. On the development front, infrastructure co-chair Paula Olexiuk is advising PetroChina on various matters, including advising on its two oil sands projects and its partnership with TransCanada Corporation to construct and operate the Grand Rapids pipeline system. Shawn Denstedt QC is highly sought after for his regulatory expertise and represented Kinder Morgan Canada on regulatory, environmental and aboriginal matters related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Martin Ignasiak is also recommended for regulatory matters, while Craig Spurn — who joined recently from McCarthy TĂ©trault — is another key name for energy transactions.

Dentons houses a ‘solid and diverse energy practice, which can cover most needs’. However, clients draw particular attention to its ‘unmatched regulatory expertise’, with one source asserting ‘most firms lack the depth of strategic regulatory insight that this team possesses’. Most notably, energy regulatory head Bernard J Roth is ‘exemplary’ and Laura K. Estep ‘excels at strategy and detail’. On the transactional front, energy lead Michael A Hurst, together with ‘rising star’ George Antonopoulos, advised Cenovus Energy on the C$940m sale of its Weyburn oil facility to Whitecap Resources. Elsewhere, Toby Allan and newly promoted partner Courtney Burton advised a consortium comprising MIE Holdings, the Can-China Global Resource Fund and Mercuria on the C$722m acquisition of CQ Energy Canada Partnership.

Norton Rose Fulbright is lauded for providing ‘insightful advice from both a legal and strategic perspective’. Regulatory expert Don Davies QC is a ‘leading light’ and is representing a major energy transmission client in regulatory proceedings. Wayne W. Fedun is a ‘great dealmaker’ and, together with Marcus W. Archer, advised another major petroleum company on a large acquisition. Corporate finance partner Rick Borden had a stellar year on the energy side, which included advising a midstream client on the acquisition of a 50% ownership interest in a pipeline and a 100% interest in a storage terminal. Clients also single out Justin E. Ferrara (‘a senior securities specialist’); Ryan Keays (‘provides to-the-point advice’); Robert Froehlich (‘profound industry knowledge’); and Rujuta Patel (‘very tactical’).

Stikeman Elliott LLP’s practice, which is particularly strong in the midstream sector, combines the firm’s signature corporate finance prowess with expertise in project development and regulatory matters — notably, its regulatory capability was recently boosted with the arrival of Dennis Langen from Dentons. On the transactional front, the ‘very strong’ Frederick Erickson advised Centrica on the C$722m sale of its Canadian oil and gas exploration and production business to the Canlin Energy Corporation consortium. In addition, Keith Chatwin advised AltaGas on its C$8.4bn cross-border acquisition of WGL Holdings, and related financings. On the project development front, Trent Mercier is advising Spirit Pipeline on the construction of a pipeline to supply petroleum products to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Transactional specialist Chrysten Perry and energy regulatory lead Keith Miller are also recommended.

Torys LLP’s group, which is best known for its transactional strength, provides ‘integrated legal and commercial support that demonstrates it cares about business outcomes’. Indeed, satisfied clients state, ‘I can’t say enough positive things about this team’. Group head Derek Flaman is ‘extremely experienced’ and advised Husky Oil China on the development of the Liuhua 29-1 field in offshore China. Chris Christopher, who ‘provides solution-oriented and spot-on advice’, is advising KUFPEC Canada on its arrangements with Pembina Pipeline concerning its infrastructure development and service agreements with Pembina and Keyera Corporation. Stephanie Stimpson, who has ‘strong international transactional experience and corporate governance knowledge’, advised Vermilion Energy on its C$1.4bn acquisition of Spartan Energy. Energy expert Ron Deyholos, the ‘very diligent’ David Cuschieri and ‘thoughtful and thorough’ senior associate Peter Danner are also noted.

The ‘extremely responsive’ group at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP secures praise for its ‘very straightforward advice’ and ‘ability to add value’. The team, which routinely acts for exploration and production companies, oilfield service companies and other industry participants, handles a broad mix of M&A, infrastructure, Aboriginal law and contentious matters. Highlights included advising TORC Oil & Gas on its C$58.5m acquisition of assets from Crescent Point Resources Partnership. Department head Brian Bidyk left to join McCarthy TĂ©trault.

FASKEN’s impressive record in pipeline projects is a significant string in its bow. The group also sets itself apart through its dominance of the British Columbia energy market. Vancouver-based Paul Wilson chairs the global energy group and is advising TransCanada PipeLines on various regulatory and Aboriginal law issues connected to its C$5bn Coastal GasLink Pipeline project. Vancouver’s Matthew Ghikas is sought after for energy and regulatory litigation.

A strong performer in M&A deals, McCarthy TĂ©trault’s energy practice also handles project development, corporate finance and regulatory matters. Cameron Hughes — who now leads the department following the departure of Craig Spurn to Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP — recently teamed up with Vancouver-based Sven Milelli and regulatory expert Gordon Nettleton to advise Parkland Fuel on its C$1.5bn acquisition of Chevron Canada’s downstream fuel business. Sony Gill advised Spartan Energy on its C$1.4bn acquisition by Vermilion Energy. In 2018, the group was boosted with the double hire of Brian Bidyk and Kerri Howard from DLA Piper (Canada) LLP.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP fields a prominent energy regulation practice. In particular, litigator Randall Block QC is highly regarded for his specialist skill set in oil and gas disputes, including commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory proceedings. Alan Ross is also a regulatory specialist.

In 2018, Gowling WLG bolstered its oil and gas practice with the hires of environmental and Aboriginal law specialist Joshua Jantzi from Dentons and transactional oil and gas partner Jonathan Lalach from Lawson Lundell LLP. John Cusano heads the Calgary energy group and brings to bear a strong track record in contentious and regulatory oil and gas matters.

A ‘go-to firm for operational matters’, Lawson Lundell LLP possesses a comprehensive oil and gas practice, which advises on exploration, M&A, transportation and regulatory issues. Key contacts include Vancouver-based senior counsel Chris Sanderson QC, who is an eminent regulatory specialist, and Paul Negenman, who is the ‘foremost leading expert in Canada for oil and gas title matters’.

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