Energy in London Bar
One Essex Court is 'the pre-eminent set for high-value and complex commercial disputes, including those in the energy sector'. The set is 'highly-regarded in China and Asia' and 'its work ethic and the excellence of its work are hard to fault'. Led by Lord Grabiner QC, who is 'a force of nature and is still battling hard in big cases', the set has leading lights such as John McCaughran QC, who acted for Shell International UK in a dispute arising out of a gas sale agreement with British Gas Trading Limited. Laurence Rabinowitz QC, leading Douglas Paine, acted for co-defendant Esso in the same case. Daniel Toledano QC act for investment bank Macquarie Capital (Europe) Ltd in a claim relating to the a €1.6bn equity and debt financing raised for the Meg I/Merkur offshore windfarm project in the North Sea. 'Clerks elsewhere are all, to a degree, a throwback to a Victorian era, but at One Essex they are more modern in their approach', remarks one client.
4 PUMP COURT provides 'excellent service – it sets the standard for commercial sets' and one client remarks that 'the clerks really feel like part of the team'. The set brings commercial, construction and maritime expertise to bear on a broad spectrum of disputes in the energy sector, including those involving highly technical issues. Its barristers frequently act in matters in the oil and gas, renewables and power sectors. Leading light Sean Brannigan QC focuses predominantly on high-value disputes arising from energy and offshore infrastructure projects. He secured more than £35m in damages in Fluor v ZPMC, a prolonged dispute that arose from the construction of a windfarm in the North Sea. Sean O’Sullivan QC's recent work includes high-value LCIA arbitrations relating to rights to oil and gas discoveries in Europe, and the construction of offshore vessels in Asia. In CIECO v Dana, Nigel Tozzi QC represented E&P company CIECO in an application for an urgent injunction prohibiting Dana from commencing the drilling of a well off the coast of Scotland. Prominent junior Kate Livesey is involved in high-value LMAA arbitrations.
Atkin Chambers is 'a "go-to" set for energy construction and engineering disputes'. Clients remark that it is 'very strong academically and has excellent counsel' and that the clerks are 'impressive, welcoming and efficient'. It is a commercial set with an international reputation in energy project disputes, including the construction of power generation plants, FPSOs, drilling rigs, and subsea cabling and pipe-laying vessels. Andrew White QC and Mark Chennells acted in a $400m TCC action arising out of Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm project – one of the biggest cases by quantum in the TCC. Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC handled a high-value claim arising from an EPC project in the Gulf.
Brick Court Chambers frequently handles high-value energy and natural resources disputes with 'a terrific array of silks and juniors at every level; a suitable counsel for every case'. Clients remark that 'the clerks' room is easy to deal with and highly commercial', while another notes that 'the service from the clerking team is second to none'. Rising star silk Fionn Pilbrow QC is representing three defendants – a Nigerian oil company and two of its directors – in claims brought by former international EPC company Afren in the Commercial Court. Richard Gordon QC and Gerard Rothschild frequently act for UK Power, National Grid and Scottish Power.
Essex Court Chambers is 'a "go-to" set in London for complex matters' and has 'excellent strength in depth'. In 2017 and 2018, the set was instructed in energy cases with a combined value in excess of $80bn related to oil, gas, coal and renewable energy. Graham Dunning QC was lead counsel for the Kurdistan Regional Government in a $35bn LCIA arbitration relating to an oil and gas project in Northern Iraq and potential pipelines to serve Europe. Paul Key QC successfully represented Nigeria in its defence of a $9bn arbitration award. David Mildon QC represented the applicant in Kufpec UK Limited v Enquest Heather Limited, which centred on issues under a Farm-In Agreement for various North Sea license blocks. Among the juniors, Siddharth Dhar acted as sole lead advocate for the defendant in Hydro & Ors v Republic of Albania, a $1.5bn ICSID claim arising from alleged investments in the hydroelectric sector. According to one client: 'The clerks are uniformly excellent – responsive and helpful'.
Keating Chambers is 'pre-eminent in construction work, particularly complex energy and infrastructure disputes' and clients see it as 'a set to call upon when the facts get messy'. A number of its members are dual-qualified in engineering, enabling them to handle disputes involving complex technical issues. Another client describes the set as 'at the top of the tree when it comes to high-quality construction barristers' and notes that 'the clerks' room is professional and slick'. Adam Constable QC acted in Hereema Hartlepool v Engie, which concerned the construction of modules to be installed offshore in the North Sea. Veronique Buehrlen QC is involved in high-value arbitrations relating to subsea pipeline construction, logistics services to oilfields in the Middle East, and the construction of a refinery. Among the juniors, Thomas Lazur assisted the claimant in Amec Foster Wheeler v TAQA, a dispute over the Cladhan Field development that is an extension and upgrade of a North Sea drilling platform. Paul Buckingham represented the defendant, a pipework contractor, in a case arising from the fabrication and installation of piping as part of modification works at the UK’s Drax Power Station.
39 Essex Chambers is 'a fantastic set' and clients remark of the barristers that 'their analysis is in-depth and to the point' and that 'they work hard to come up with practical solutions'. Karim Ghaly QC's recent work includes acting for the world’s largest independent oil producer, a leading oilfield contractor, and one of the largest power generation contractors in the Middle East. The clerks are 'highly efficient – always responsive and a pleasure to work with'.
7 King's Bench Walk is highly regarded for shipping, insurance and offshore cases and is widely regarded as 'one of the most academic sets – the barristers are very good at whatever they do'. One client remarks that it has 'very good practitioners, with much depth in insurance and shipping, who provide real in-depth knowledge'. Another notes that 'the clerks stand out for their responsiveness – they are commercial, sensible and very good to deal with'. Sought after silk David Allen QC acted for an offshore operator in an ICC arbitration concerning failures by a state-owned oil company to honour its obligations for oil extraction services. In Single Buoy Moorings Inc v Zurich Insurance plc and Others, Jonathan Gaisman QC acted for the insurers in a claim concerning losses allegedly incurred by SBM Offshore following the evacuation of a mobile storage and production platform under construction in the Norwegian North Sea. In Septo Trading Inc v Tintrade Ltd and Septo Trading Inc v Macoil SA, Sandra Healy represented the claimant in disputes concerning the purchase and sale of fuel oil.
Quadrant Chambers is 'simply an excellent set, with a number of strong energy practitioners'. Among its international commercial litigation and arbitration work, energy has been a significant growth area with members handling both upstream and downstream oil and gas matters. Another client comments that 'the clerks are always helpful and approachable, and they understand client pressures'. In DSME v Songa Offshore and (now) Transocean, Simon Rainey QC acted for Songa in a dispute concerning the construction of three new state-of-the-art North Sea exploration semi-submersible drilling rigs and allegations of fundamental design failures which made the rigs too heavy and unsuitable for use. Lionel Persey QC continues to be a leading light in the energy space and was recently involved in high-value disputes concerning the supply of vessels to offshore drilling sites, and the cancellation of orders for drilling vessels. Ben Gardner is building his reputation in the energy sector and is currently involved in a high-value dispute concerning a long-term gas supply agreement by a state entity.
A standout set for shipping and commodities work, Twenty Essex also has a strong practice in energy disputes, notably in the offshore construction and energy trading arenas. One client notes how the set has 'a strong practice for the largest and most commercial disputes'. Timothy Hill QC acted in Glencore Energy UK Limited v Springfield Energy Limited, which concerned the storage and importation of gasoil and gasoline into Ghana for the domestic market. Michael Ashcroft QC advised Repsol on a $1.3bn Commercial Court claim brought by SBM on contractors all risks policies relating to the YME Mopustor Project in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Co-head of chambers Duncan Matthews QC is active in several high-value disputes, including an UNCITRAL matter on behalf of the claimant that concerns a long-term drilling contract and the performance of a drilling vessel. Junior Malcolm Jarvis handled a substantial claim concerning the termination of contract for the supply and sale of subsea equipment for an offshore oilfield in Africa.
In 2018, members of 3 Verulam Buildings appeared in numerous court and arbitration cases related to oilfields and mines, as well as technical disputes and matters concerning the economic interests of parties involved in the operation of major oil and gas pipelines. The set is 'more than just its core finance and banking practice', remarks one client, while another recommends the 'efficient and forward-looking' clerking team. Andrew Onslow QC acted for the claimant in Iran Offshore & Engineering Construction Company v Dean Investment Holdings SA & Ors Acting to attempt the recovery of $87m for an offshore oil drilling rig. Heavyweight commercial silk Hodge Malek QC joined the set in 2018. He is currently involved in a multibillion-dollar arbitration concerning a long-term gas supply contract. Ali Malek QC acted for Ukrainian oligarch Gennadiy Bogolyubov in a $380m oil distribution dispute. Paul Wee is acting for The Russian Federation in enforcement proceedings concerning the $50bn arbitral awards obtained by former shareholders of Yukos under the Energy Charter Treaty.