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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Oil and gas
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP’s projects group advises on all aspects of upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas work across the globe for clients such as Engie, Shell and Total. In an illustration of the firm’s multi-disciplinary capability, Troy Edwards is acting for TAP AG on the project development of a gas pipeline commencing at the border between Greece and Turkey border and ending in Italy, with Lorraine Bayliss and the Istanbul-based Charles Lindsay handling the financing work. In another highlight, M&A partner John Geraghty acted on a number of high-value oil and gas transactions, and handled the establishment of two joint ventures to provide onshore and offshore drilling services in the Middle East. In an Africa-related highlight, upstream specialist Andrew Castle acted for government authorities on the development of an offshore gas project. Conrad Andersen acted on behalf of the funders on the acquisition of significant stake in a pipeline grid in Central Europe. Also recommended are Gareth Price and Jeremy Parr; they jointly head the firm’s energy department, and Price also acts as global leader of the projects group.

The ‘dedicated and responsive’ team at Ashurstis excellent in terms of technical skills, availability, commercial flexibility and preparation’ and ‘has strong integrated knowledge in LNG’. The practice was recently strengthened by the arrival of new Africa group head Yann Alix from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and dispute resolution specialist Matthew Saunders from DLA Piper. Recent highlights include advising EnQuest on its financial restructuring, which involved the amendment and restatement of a revolving credit facility, the exchange of high yield notes for new ones, and the amendment of the terms governing retail notes. Nikhil Markanday, whose ‘expertise in international transactions is remarkable’, together with global oil and gas co-head Philip Thomson, whom clients praise for his LNG expertise, is advising the EIB on the project financing of the Trans Adriatic pipeline project. In an illustration of the firm’s track record in private equity deals, Michael Burns acted for Siccar Point Energy, backed by Blackstone and Blue Water Energy, on its $1bn acquisition of OMV’s UK North Sea business, which was the largest private equity-backed deal in the European upstream sector since the financial crisis. In another key matter, Huw Thomas assisted Lundin with a seven-year secured revolving credit facility of up to $5bn, to fund its Sverdrup project in Norway.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP’s lawyers, led by energy group head Mark Rowley and power practice head Robin Mizrahi, ‘are experts in the field of oil and gas’ and provide ‘excellent, always consistent advice from all angles’. Stuart Jordan, who joined the firm from King & Wood Mallesons, acted alongside Rowley for a leading LNG player on chartering, supply and gas offtake arrangements for two regasification units in Asia. In another highlight, Hamish McArdle acted alongside associate Rob Butler for Quantum Power regarding the Tema LNG floating receiving terminal in Ghana. Other highlights included advising Steelhead on a LNG project development in British Columbia, and Rubin Weston’s advice to Gazprombank on the project financing of the construction of a high-density polyethylene and polypropylene plant. The firm’s oil and gas offering was further strengthened by the arrival of corporate partner Paul Exley from Jones Day.

CMS fields a host of oil and gas specialists, including energy, projects and construction practice group leader Bob Palmer, head of energy and chairman Penelope Warne, and Ian Herbert. Herbert is acting for BP on its purchase of a 10% stake in the Zohr gas field in Egypt from Eni, with an option to acquire a further 5%. Other highlights included advising on OMV’s acquisition of 25% interest in a gas field in Russia, and acting for Seadrill Group on the the renegotiation of $11bn in bank debt with more than 40 lenders; Andrew Shaw and Stephen Millar are leading on that matter. On the contentious front, Phillip Ashley acted for Rosneft in innovative arbitration proceedings in which the client was given permission by the Court of Appeal to intervene as an interested third party to overturn a High Court decision.

Clifford Chance LLP’s oil and gas team is jointly headed by the ‘hardworking and pragmatic’ Graham Phillips, Alex Panayides and Ashvin Seetulsingh; they handle all aspects of upstream, midstream and downstream matters, while the global energy and resources group, which is led by Russell Wells, has ‘strong expertise in oil and gas M&A’. The firm is equally adept handling disputes as well as non-contentious matters: Panayides, who also heads the construction disputes department, worked alongside Rob Lambert to represent Hyundai in LMAA arbitration proceedings regarding the cancellation of a semi-submersible drilling platform; they also acted for Lukoil in an ICC arbitration in connection with an oil field in the Middle East. On the transactional front, the firm acts for oil majors on strategic acquisitions, and is also active in oil and gas related restructurings. Highlights included advising the lenders on the restructuring of Premier Oil’s Schuldschein loans (the German equivalent of a private placement) as part of the wider restructuring of $4bn of financial liabilities; this was the first instance of loans of this type being restructured by an international oil and gas company. In another key matter, John MacLennan and Philip Hertz worked alongside the Singapore office to advise Prosafe, a global provider of semi-submersible offshore accommodation vessels, on the restructuring of English and Norwegian facilities. Other notable clients include Statoil, Total and Sinopec.

Clients describe the oil and gas team at Dentons as ‘excellent in quality and first class in terms of industry and contractual knowledge’. The firm’s global reach allows the team to act in matters in the UK as well as emerging markets in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia. In an illustration of its track record in emerging markets, Alistair Black, who joined the practice from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, is advising Pertamina on its joint venture agreement with Rosneft to develop the Tuban oil refinery in East Java. The team is led by M&A specialist Danielle Beggs and the ‘vastly experiencedDavid Tennant; Tennant assisted National Grid with the regulatory aspects of the client’s separation from its gas distribution and transmission business in advance of the disposal of a majority interest in the distribution assets to third-party investors. Other key figures include Charles Wood, who acted alongside Tennant for the Energy Networks Association with regards to the implementation of new funding, governance and ownership arrangements for Xoserve; and Liz Tout, who is leading the team handling ICC arbitration proceedings between two multinational energy companies in connection with a price review following an LNG sale and purchase agreement.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a prominent reputation the in oil and gas market, as illustrated by the firm’s heavyweight client roster, featuring oil majors such as BP, private equity powerhouses including Carlyle and multinational natural gas companies such as Engie. Energy disputes are a cornerstone of the practice, and in 2016 James Baily successfully defended a group of oil majors as the owners of the Andrew Field in the North Sea against a commercial court claim brought by Scottish Power as the purchaser in a long-term gas sales agreement seeking £85m in damages following the prolonged shut-in of the field. On the transactional side, Anna Howell, who co-heads the firm’s global energy practice, acted for BP on its first investment in Mauritania in the form of an agreement with Kosmos to acquire 62% interest in its offshore exploration blocks in Mauritania and 32.5% in Senegal; she also handled E.ON’s sale of 100% of its shares in its UK and Norwegian subsidiaries to Premier Oil. Other names to note include the ‘very efficient and result-orientedSteven Dalton and Alexander Currie. John Balsdon joined Latham & Watkins and Henry Davey departed for Squire Patton Boggs.

Clients of Norton Rose Fulbright’s oil and gas team praise its ‘appropriate and practical advice’. The firm fields among the largest dedicated oil and gas teams in London under the leadership of Richard Hill, and is able to leverage further resource across the firm’s extensive global network, making the group a natural choice for complex, multi-jurisdictional projects. Clients include Eni, ExxonMobil and BP. Charles Whitney led the team advising the lenders on four separate financings related to the Southern Corridor gas project, including a financing in connection with the TANAP gas pipeline in Turkey (on which it advised a consortium of commercial banks), and the project financing of the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas development project in Azerbaijan. In another financing highlight, Madhavi Gosavi acted for a syndicate of international lenders on $1.79bn of financing to Angola LNG for the purposes of paying for remediation works at an LNG plant and the repayment of equity which had been invested by sponsors. On the M&A front, Geoffrey Peters advised BP on the combination of its Norwegian subsidiary with Det norkse Oljeselskap to create Aker BP, while Eleanor Martin acted for Maersk Drilling on its acquisition of a newbuild harsh environment jack-up rig from Hercules Offshore, and Nick Prowse advised Eni on its investment in an $8bn oil and gas project in Ghana. The team also has a strong profile in disputes, with London-based energy disputes partner Neil Miller leading on contentious matters.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s energy group has wide-ranging expertise encompassing financial, corporate, contentious and regulatory matters, and recently strengthened its offering with the hire of cross-border transactional expert Igor Krivoshekov from Dentons and construction litigation expert Hamish Lal from Jones Day. The firm has capitalised on the recent spate of oil and gas related restructurings; in a highlight, restructuring partners James Terry and Neil Devaney acted alongside Marc Hammerson for the bondholders and administrators on the administration of Afren, which has involved the divesting of oil and gas assets and shares in oil and gas companies in Nigeria, Kenya, Seychelles and Tanzania. Justin Williams is handling more than 20 claims arising from the Afren administration. In an illustration of its track record in oil and gas matters arising from Russia and the CIS, the practice acted for longstanding client Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil and gas company, on the $1bn financing for phase two of the development of the Shah Deniz offshore gas exploration and production project in Azerbaijan. In another highlight, John LaMaster (who heads the team jointly with Williams) advised Palestine Power Generation Company on a landmark development of a power plant in the West Bank of Palestine, which involves the delivery of natural gas through a pipeline across Israel. Counsel Caroline-Lucy Moran is acting on the Afren administration and on the firm’s work for Palestine Power Generation, and is also recommended.

Bracewell (UK) LLP fields a team of ‘specialists who combine considerable expertise with astute commercial awareness and excellent business acumen’. The oil and gas practice is headed by Darren Spalding, who is noted for his ‘exemplary knowledge and attention to detail’, and Jason Fox, who is acting for Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration on the $1.75bn financing for the development of the Leviathan offshore gas field in Israel. In another illustration of the firm’s strength in transactional gas matters, Martin Stewart-Smith and Alastair Young advised Eni on the $1.5bn sale of its interests in the Zohr gas field to BP and Rosneft, while Ben James is assisting Genel with its natural gas discoveries in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, including advising on the development of a cross-border gas export project to export the gas to Turkey. Senior associate Adam Blythe is another key figure in the department and is advising new clients such as Edison, Oranje Nassau and Trident on oil and gas matters.

Clyde & Co LLP’s oil and gas practice has an extensive track record in high-value, cross-border disputes and transactional matters, and acts for a heavyweight client roster that includes Total, Glencore and Scottish Power. The firm has a particularly strong profile in emerging markets work; in a highlight matter, Clare Hatcher is advising West African Gas, which is jointly owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Sahara Energy Resource on the development of an LNG import terminal at the port of Tema in Ghana, which involves advising on construction contracts for dredging works at the port and the installation of a pipeline from the terminal to the delivery point. Other key figures on the emerging markets front include Michael Wachtel and Philip Mace, who have extensive experience in Africa-related oil and gas matters; Benjamin Knowles, who handles disputes with a Middle East flavour; and Peter Hirst, for Latin America-related mandates. David Bennett jointly heads the team with Wachtel and is a highly-respected figure in oil and gas disputes. Also recommended are Paul Lowrie, who was recently promoted to partner and focuses on energy insurance matters, namely offshore oil and gas disputes; David Leckie, who regularly acts for operators and contractors on oil and gas disputes; and Richard Power.

Hogan Lovells International LLPalways provides a strong team with a good back bench’. The firm has a longstanding track record of advice in the oil and gas sector, and has attracted a strong client roster that includes oil majors such as BP, state-owned multinationals including Statoil and Kuwait Petroleum, financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, and regulators such as OFGEM. In keeping with its diverse client base, the firm handles a wide range of oil and gas matters, including E&P, domestic and cross-border oil and natural gas pipeline projects, LNG projects, and trading and sales agreements. Richard Tyler heads the practice and has extensive track record in complex, cross-border projects; in addition to leading the team acting as sole legal counsel to the Shah Deniz Consortium on phase two of the Shah Deniz offshore gas exploration and production project in Azerbaijan, he also acted for EIG Global Energy Partners and Africa Finance Corporation as principal senior lenders on a debt facility for New Age (African Global Energy), an oil and gas group focused on developing upstream oil and gas fields in Africa. In another highlight, David Moss worked as part of a multi-office team acting for a multinational oil company on a multibillion-dollar loan facility. The firm also has a significant capability in high-value oil and gas disputes, Kieron O’Callaghan and John Meltzer singled out for their expertise in complex, cross-border proceedings. Also recommended are Nigel Read, whose experience includes advising on contractual arrangements in connection with upstream licences in South America, and the ‘focused and very competentMarkus Burgstaller.

Linklaters LLP’s energy team has a strong footprint in the oil and gas sector, where it advises sponsors, developers and lenders on large-scale projects. The firm’s wide-ranging expertise and global footprint makes it a natural choice for cutting-edge mandates; in a highlight mandate, Daniel Tyrer is leading a team advising the project sponsors on the development and financing of the $10bn Coral FLNG project in Mozambique, which is the largest-ever sub-Saharan project financing to date and which involves a team (led by Fiona Hobbs) providing assistance on the unitisation agreements, while a team led by Mark Russell advised on LNG sales agreements. In another sponsor highlight, Mark Russell and Andrew Penfold worked alongside Tyrer to advise the sponsors on the development, construction and operation of an offshore buoy mooring facility in Djibouti, a refined product pipeline, and associated infrastructure. On the lender side, Matthew Keats led a team advising a lender consortium on the multi-sourced financing for the construction of the Yamal LNG project in Russia. The team also acted for Rosneft on the purchase of a stake in the Vadinar refinery in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as advising on supply and offtake agreements related to the purchase. Fiona Hobbs, who co-leads the group with Tyrer, advised Maersk Oil on its acquisition of 50% of Africa Oil’s stake through a farm-in to three Kenyan and two Ethiopian licences.

The ‘excellent and very knowledgeable’ oil and gas team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has continued to expand, most recently through the arrival of Jonathan Roberts and Robert Thompson from Dentons and Linklaters LLP, respectively. They join a team with an extensive track record of handling oil and gas mandates globally, with an emphasis on matters with a UK/US nexus, and which acts for a wide-ranging client base that encompasses financial institutions, export credit agencies, sponsors, developers and government institutions. John Dewar is leading the team advising the lenders on the development and financing of the OCTP oil and gas field project in Ghana, while Manzer Ijaz acted for Nabors Industries on its joint venture with Saudi Aramco to own, manage and operate onshore drilling units in Saudi Arabia. Other highlights included advising the lenders on the restructuring of the Damietta LNG project in Egypt. Matthew Hagopian co-leads the practice with Ijaz and has considerable expertise in LNG matters. Clients also single out Clive Ransome, who ‘is able to take a complex situation and give a succinct summary of the legal position’.

Pinsent Masons LLPscores highly on pragmatism, practicality, industry knowledge and experience’. Global energy practice is headed from Aberdeen by Bob Ruddiman, ‘a respected industry figure who runs his team intelligently and efficiently’. In London, Paul McGoldrick (‘a highly experienced practitioner’) worked alongside Glasgow-based Rosalie Chadwick on Total’s £585m sale of its North Sea Midstream business to North Sea Midstream Partners, which was the first transaction of its type to be considered by the Oil and Gas Authority and which involved negotiating with the Authority as well as Norwegian regulators. On the construction side, the Edinburgh-based Julia Maguire is advising a West African industrial conglomerate on the procurement of a £12bn petroleum refinery and petrochemicals plant, which involved handling more than 700 contracts related to the project, including equipment supply contracts and construction contracts. In other key mandates, Akshai Fofaria has been acting on one of the largest administrations in the sector to date and Katharine Davies is acting for a subsidiary of an oil company in ICC arbitration proceedings. Other notable clients include BP, Shell, Faroe and Siccar Point. International projects expert George Booth is also recommended.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, ‘very articulate and clear’ team leader John Inglis is ‘an expert at conveying complex concepts in a simple manner’. Inglis’s recent highlights include advising Italian export credit agency SACE and other lenders on the financing of the modernisation and expansion of the Middle East Oil Refinery in Egypt. In other key mandates, Iain Elder is part of the team assisting the Bahrain Petroleum Company with its project to upgrade and modernise its refinery in Bahrain, which will involve the construction of a new cross-border oil pipeline; and George Karafotias led the advice to Delek Group on its acquisition of Ithaca Energy. The group’s clients also include Engie, Dow and Crédit Suisse. Dual qualified in New York and English law, Frank Miller handles a range of oil and gas related transactions.

Vinson & Elkins RLLP’s oil and gas offering was given a boost with the arrival of private equity expert Shaun Lascelles and counsel Simon Rootsey from Ashurst and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP, respectively. They join a team that is headed by Alex Msimang and Nabil Khodadad and which is highly active in international upstream oil and gas transactions. Recent highlights include acting for Statoil on its $2.5bn acquisition of a 66% interest in the Carcara field in offshore Brazil from Petrobras, and advising Woodside Petroleum on its acquisition of ConocoPhillips’s upstream assets in Senegal. Christopher Strong is a key name in the project development area and represented the Occidental Petroleum Corporation with regards to the development of a natural gas processing plant, while Andrew Nealon worked with Khodadad to assist Uz-Kor Gas Chemical and its sponsors with the construction and financing of its $4bn integrated upstream gas and petrochemical complex in Uzbekistan. Mark Beeley handles oil and gas related international arbitration and dispute resolution.

According to clients, White & Case LLP is ‘an excellent firm; its lawyers are pragmatic, responsive and knowledgeable, and its service is uniformly and consistently exceptional’. Head of the EMEA energy, infrastructure and project finance practice Jason Kerr has been involved in a number of market-leading project financings. In other key mandates, Mark Castillo-Bernaus led the team assisting six export credit agencies and a syndicate of banks in connection with the development and financing of a $6.4bn Liwa Plastic Industries Complex in Oman, which was among the largest projects financings to close in 2016; and a team including David Baker and the ‘always effective and pragmaticTom Bartlett acted for Harbour Energy on its backing of Chrysaor’s acquisition of a portfolio of North Sea oil and gas assets from Shell. Other key figures include Philip Stopford, who co-heads the firm’s global oil and gas practice, the ‘thoroughly knowledgeable and practicalSaul Daniel, and Peter Finlay, who is ‘one of the best negotiators and facilitators’.

Led by Hugh Stewart, the energy, mining and infrastructure team at Baker McKenzie handles cross-border M&A, project financings, disputes and arbitrations. David Duncan recently arrived from Allen & Overy LLP to strengthen the corporate offering, and Kate Corby was promoted to partner in the energy disputes practice. Stewart led the team assisting Vopak with the sale of its UK terminals business to Navigator Terminals, a joint venture between Greenergy International and Macquarie Group. Michael Herington is advising Sound Energy on its acquisition of a 17.5% interest in an offshore gas field in Morocco, a farm-in agreement, and a synthetic farm-out with Schlumberger regarding the Badile exploration license in Northern Italy. On the disputes front Steve Abraham is leading the team acting for a national oil and gas company in a dispute with a major manufacturer concerning the sale and purchase of two drills ships, and is acting for an oil company and its directors in a complex case against its retail joint venture partner in Europe following allegations that the client had pursued unlawful activities and designed the joint venture unfairly. Richard Blunt’s clients include Vitol, Crown Energy and British Airways.

DLA Piper is praised for its ‘exceptional service; advice is tailored to each situation with an excellent overlay of the real commercial issues of a transaction’. International head of finance and projects Charles Morrison provides ‘fantastic commercial insight’ and is supported by Dimitri Papaefstratiou, who leads the newly formed London energy and infrastructure projects team. Highlights included acting for HSBC on a letter of credit issuance facility made available to GNPC to support its role in the development of Sankofa gas project in Ghana; and representing Gazprom in a series of ICC arbitrations relating to the supply, pricing and transfer of gas to Ukrainian supplier Naftogaz. Papaefstratiou also worked alongside the Madrid office to assist the Spanish Egyptian Gas Company in connection with the development of the Damietta LNG terminal in Egypt. Philip Chong is also recommended for international arbitration matters.

Clients of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP rate Greg Hammond and his team for their ‘responsiveness, strong business acumen and outstanding knowledge of the sector’; ‘from partner to associate, the service is excellent’. Hammond led the team, which included Jason Lovell, advising Macquarie, Tribeca Asset Management and Rorick Ventures on the disposal of Petrolatina to Gran Tierra Energy. The firm is also acting for a national oil and gas company in a complex and high-value arbitration regarding a long-term international sales contract. Project financing expert Conrad Purcell joined the practice from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s energy and natural resources practice handles a wide range of corporate transactions and energy disputes. It has an extensive track record of handling LNG project financings in Africa and Latin America. Graham Watson and the New York-based Elliot Friedman jointly lead the practice.

HFWadopts a very thoughtful, analytical and commercial approach to its cases’. Practice head Paul Dean is praised for his ‘patient and thorough work in litigation and arbitration’. Alistair Feeney is acting for BP in a dispute against Sonatrach regarding a contract for the use of the Isle of Grain LNG terminal in Kent. On the non-contentious side, Jayson Marks is advising two clients on a joint venture, and Nick Hutton advised on the purchase of a bulk storage fuel terminal and related infrastructure in Northern Ireland. Upstream expert Diana France is also recommended, as is Simon Blows, who is representing an oil company in a claim brought by a deep sea drill company in connection with a force majeure suspension of a contract.

The ‘excellentInce & Co has a strong track record in disputes, but has recently made efforts to expand its transactional practice with the recruitment of Nuno Frota from Trafigura and Spencer Gold from HFW. Jonathan Goldfarbis very easy to deal with’ and is praised by clients for his ‘quick response times and excellent industry knowledge’; he acted alongside Renaud Barbier-Emery for Golar on its joint venture with Schlumberger. In other highlights, practice co-head Jeremy Farr acted for Bluewater on its deal with Hurricane Energy to operate an FPSO vessel in the North Sea. On the disputes front, Charles Lockwood defended an international oilfield service provider in Commercial Court proceedings in connection with the use of submersible pumps in the North Sea, and Clare Kempkens acted in an arbitration arising from the termination of a drilling contract. Simon Hems heads the practice with Farr.

King & Spalding LLP is prominent in the LNG space, with clients noting that ‘the advice provided is on-point and timely’. Nina Howell continues to advise Anadarko on all aspects of its $50bn Mozambique LNG project, which involved a unitisation and unit operating agreement with Eni, while team leader Garry Pegg acted for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation on the evaluation and implementation of the Tema LNG project comprising several integrated storage, re-gasification facilities, and related infrastructure. Clients also recommend the ‘knowledgeable’ Martin Hunt, who ‘is straightforward, business-oriented and practical while being able to switch between US and UK matters seamlessly’; he is acting for an oil and gas service provider on the multi-jurisdictional sale of its global pipeline and specialty business to an international entity. Hywel Jones is a key part of the practice’s M&A and project offering and has particular expertise in joint ventures, disposals and acquisitions in Africa and the North Sea.

The oil and gas practice at Latham & Watkins is led by the ‘logical, methodical, practical and coolSimon Tysoe and was recently strengthened by the arrival of international arbitration specialist Sophie Lamb from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and finance partner John Balsdon from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. M&A has continued to be a key area of activity; notwithstanding challenging market conditions, the firm advised on more than 60 oil and gas related acquisitions and sales worldwide. Richard Butterwick was part of a multi-office team advising FMC Technologies on its merger of equals with Technip to create a global oil services firm valued at $13bn, while Tysoe, Nick Cline and Dan Maze led the team advising EQUATE Petrochemical Company on its acquisition of the MEGlobal – a manufacturer and marketer of ethylene glycol jointly owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Petrochemical Industries Company – for nearly $3bn. In an illustration of its capital markets credentials, Olof Clausson led the team advising the underwriters on DONG Energy’s $2.85bn IPO on Nasdaq Copenhagen. On the contentious front, the firm is representing Royal Dutch Shell and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in two class actions brought in the English High Court on behalf of residents of the Bille and Ogale communities in the Niger delta; the claims concern alleged environmental pollution from onshore pipelines and other infrastructure in areas affected by widespread sabotage of pipelines, as well as illegal theft and illegal refining. Sophie Lamb is acting as one of Shell’s advocates in the case and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is acting as co-counsel.

The oil and gas practice at Simmons & Simmons is led by Adrian Nizzola and Patrick Wallace; they have extensive track records in the energy and infrastructure sector, with Nizzola bringing valued experience from his time as general counsel to Qatar Petroleum. Wallace has wide-ranging experience handling mandates for oil majors in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia; his recent highlights include acting for Bulgaria’s state-owned gas company on the Bulgarian portion of the 2400km South Stream international natural gas pipeline project, as well as assisting the same client on the proposed development of the interconnector to the Greece-Bulgaria international pipeline. On the financing front, Adam Cooper is acting for the lenders, including International Finance Corporation, EBRD and Commercial International Bank (Egypt) on the project financing of a bulk liquids terminal for the import and storage of oil, LNG and LPG and the berthing of two FSRUs at Sokhna Port in Egypt. The firm also handles regulatory issues and disputes for oil supermajors and state-owned oil companies; Patrick Boylan is highly experienced in oil and gas related disputes, while Jonathan Melrose undertook a regulatory risk assessment on behalf of an oil company client. The firm boosted its disputes capability with the recruitment of Stuart Dutson from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP; he brings considerable expertise in bilateral investment treaty disputes. Iain Duncan is regularly called on to assist with contractual and corporate joint ventures in the oial and gas sector. Other notable clients include QP, the ADNOC and the government of Kenya.

In addition to being a prominent fixture in large-scale M&A in the oil and gas sector, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s oil and gas capability also extends to high-profile, multi-jurisdictional disputes. David Kavanagh and David Edwards recently secured a win for Ukrainian businessman Gennadiy Bogolyubov in the High Court against Tatneft, which brought claims against the client and three other individuals following an alleged failure to pay for oil delivery by a Ukrainian refinery, while Bruce Macaulay represented the government of South Sudan in ICSID arbitration proceedings brought by the national oil company, Sudapet, which arose from Sudan’s secession to form an independent country in 2011. On the transactional side, Lorenzo Corte – who heads the practice with Macaulay – and Scott Simpson acted for Luxembourg-based investment company LetterOne, which focuses on the telecoms, technology and energy sectors, on a number of deals, including the $1.6bn acquisition of E.ON’s Norwegian E&P business, its $5.8bn acquisition of the oil and gas unit of RWE, and the $725m sale of DEA Group’s UK assets to Ineos. Pranav Trivedi acted for Vitol on its $830m acquisition of a 50% stake in VTTI BV, a global oil storage business, from Malaysian shipping company MISC Berhad. Cross-border M&A, joint venture and private equity specialist Linda Davies is also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP primarily focuses on acting for sponsors and borrowers on large-scale oil and gas projects, and has established a strong track record in precedent-setting mandates. Cross-border pipeline projects have a key area of activity for the practice; Stewart Robertson, who heads the practice along with Craig Jones, worked alongside colleagues in New York and Hong Kong on the advice to Tegngizchevroil, a joint venture between Chevron, ExxonMobil, KazMunayGas and Lukoil, on its $16bn project financing, which was the largest upstream project financing to date. In another highlight, Jones and Robertson advised Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline Company on the refinancing of a $1.63bn term loan facility. Chris Beatty, who handles acquisition finance, distressed debt transactions and lending matters for high-yield issuers and borrowers, is also recommended.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is ‘outstanding in the energy field’ according to clients, who rate ‘highly responsive’ practice head John Conlin for ‘his excellent technical legal skills, commercially-focused approach, ability to manage quality teams in transactions, and very deep experience of the sector’. Rod Chooramun, who was recently promoted to partner, is ‘an expert in the oil and gas field, and a pleasure to work with’; he acted alongside Conlin and corporate partner Andy Savage for OMV on the sale of its UK subsidiary to Siccar Point Energy. The firm is also active on the financing front – it acted for a syndicate of banks on a reserve base lending facility to Chrysoar for the acquisition of a portfolio of UK North Sea assets from Shell. Other key names include senior associates Heike Trischmann and Sarah Williamson, who ‘have strong attention to detail and are very competent, and tax partner Tom Jarvis.

The oil and gas sector is a key driver of Winston & Strawn London LLP’s workload, and as a result the firm has an extensive track record in handling "first-of-their-kind" oil and gas projects. James Simpson (who is global co-chair of the firm’s project finance practice) is leading the team advising on all aspects of the Malta BOOT LNG to IPP project, including the construction, development, engineering, implementation, maintenance, operation and financing of the project, which will supply electricity and natural gas to Enemalta. Zoë Ashcroft, who heads the London corporate and finance department, has wide-ranging expertise handling joint ventures and financings in the oil and gas sector; she has been particularly active in Africa-related mandates. Other key figures include Stewart Worthy, who specialises in cross-border M&A and investments; of counsel Jason Parker, who handles a range of oil and gas related financings; Katharine Sonneborn (also of counsel), who led on the financing for the Malta BOOT matter; and associate Conor Boyle, who acts for project sponsors, infrastructure funds and lenders on project financing and infrastructure transactions.

Addleshaw Goddard fields a ‘well-balanced team with the right range of knowledge, skill and weight’ to provide ‘an excellent level of service’ in oil and gas matters. It recently strengthened its cross-border capabilities and upstream experience through the addition of corporate partner Anna Nerush from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP and international arbitration specialist Sarah Vasani from King & Spalding LLP. ‘Heavyweight’ M&A partner Angus Rollo advised BP on the sale of its Belfast fuel terminal to Puma Energy, and assisted Guy Winter in connection with Nobel’s acquisition of a minority interest in the Maclure field from Shell. Other recent highlights include acting for Nigerian client Seven Energy on a $100m equity fundraising matter and handling the sale of North Sea oil and gas interests to Petrogas on behalf of PA Resources. Clients also recommend the ‘bright, hardworking and enthusiastic’ managing associate Kevin O’Connor.

The multi-disciplinary oil and gas team at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP handles the full range of upstream and downstream matters for a range of oil and gas companies. Recent highlights include advising on a joint venture for the operation of an offshore oil field in Western Africa. Practice head Adam Dann is acting alongside senior associate Tim Sumner for an international drilling client on financial and strategic matters related to its drillship operations. Carol Mulcahy, who was recently joined in the international arbitration practice by Ania Farren from K&L Gates LLP, handles a range of multi-jurisdictional oil and gas disputes. On the domestic front, the firm is assisting an energy group in connection with the development of an underground gas storage facility in the UK which involved equity and debt investment into the project.

Responses are always rapid and comments always client-oriented’ at Bond Dickinson LLP, where Paul Stockley heads the energy and natural resources practice. Quentin Robinson was part of the team (led by Stockley and featuring Michael Walton and planning specialist Jon Bower) assisting Nomad Energy with its joint acquisition (alongside Vitol) of two exploration assets in offshore Cote d’Ivoire from Taleveras and Afren. The team is also providing ongoing advice to Cuadrilla with regards to its onshore shale gas operations. Other key names include Simon Hughes, who is acting for Scottish Power Generation on the real estate aspects of a combined-cycle gas turbine power station in South Gloucestershire; and Alex Hirom, who is advising Barking Power on the contractual aspects of the conversion of a gas-fired power plant in East London. Tom Beezer is the name to note for disputes.

Fasken Martineau LLP’s recent oil and gas highlights include handling Viathan’s acquisition of Akute Power from Oando and Petromanas’ sale of its Albanian assets to Shell. Key figures in the London office include Abayomi Akinjide, who co-leads the global energy group and focuses mainly on corporate and commercial matters, and Jodi Katz, who acts for clients in the UK and Canada.

Fieldfisher’s ‘lawyers are invariably conscious of all the legal and commercial issues and balance the two extremely well; they have a strength in depth that others simply cannot boast’. Brad Isaac ‘is a strong technical lawyer’ and recently led a team with Stuart Carter advising Northern Petroleum on its sale of interests to a buyer who simultaneously acquired a 29% stake in the client’s company. Nodir Sidikov acted alongside Dominic Gurney-Champion – who ‘has excellent commercial nous’ –for KazMunaiGas in connection with an offer by state-owned majority shareholder KazMunayGas to purchase shares held by minority shareholders. The real estate and infrastructure team is headed by Roger Sargologo and supported on the financial side by Oliver Abel Smith, who ‘has a good grasp on the details’. Corporate associate Naomi Nguyen is also recommended, as is Shane de Beer, who specialises in corporate energy and projects work in emerging markets and recently joined the team from Dechert LLP.

Gowling WLG advises clients such as NuStar, Essar and EOG on the full range of oil and gas work both internationally and abroad. On the transactional front, global head of oil and gas David Ponsford has significant experience in upstream, midstream and downstream M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, and joint ventures; he was part of the team advising Upland on farm-ins to a 10% interest in two UK onshore petroleum exploration and development licenses in the Wressle Field. The team also acted for the shareholders of Opus on its sale to Drax, while global head of natural resources Charles Bond acted for AGR Energy on its acquisition of shares in Max Petroleum’s Dutch subsidiary. Gordon Bell, who specialises in international arbitration and oil and gas disputes in emerging markets, joined the practice from Reed Smith LLP, where he co-headed the international arbitration unit.

Haynes and Boone CDG, LLPis excellent in any case involving offshore oil and gas, drilling and ship and rig construction’, and ‘has a powerful presence in the contentious and non-contentious space’. Clients praise team leader Simon Curtis for his ‘first-rate knowledge of the law, vast experience in the area and sound tactical sense’ ‘Natural problem solverGlenn Kangisser is also singled out for his ‘highly commercial attitude’. Acting mainly for drilling contractors, the team recently represented several clients in disputes pertaining to drilling contracts. James Brown and Simon Curtis acted for Teekay in claims against STX Offshore with regards to its failure to deliver a number of tankers commissioned for construction. Other work highlights included assisting a client with its tender for an FPSO project in Africa, and handling joint venture agreement negotiations. William Cecil leads on contentious matters.

K&L Gates LLP’s ‘excellent’ oil and gas practice is led by ‘very sound oil and gas specialist’ Paul Tetlow and is praised for its ‘particularly strong commercial advice, depth of service and value for money’. Matthew Smith is handling two major international pipeline projects, while Ian Meredith is representing the governments of Spain and France in a dispute arising from the loss of a tanker off the Spanish coast and the resulting oil spill. On the transactional front, James Green worked with Tetlow to assist Faroe with the £66m financing of its acquisition of interests in five Norwegian North Sea assets; they also handled a cash-box placing with accelerated book-build to raise funds for Stifel Nicholaus. International arbitration specialist John Gilbert recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Locke Lord LLP handles a range of large-scale and smaller-scale projects from the London office. Consultant David Manny recently joined the practice from Fasken Martineau LLP, as dis corporate energy partner Kevin Atkins, who previously held a position as partner at Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP. Department head James Channo led the team acting for Dess on its acquisition of Sterling Resources’ interest in the Kirkleatham and Westerdale fields and on the client’s subsequent transfers to Egdon Resources and Montrose Industries. Atkins and contentious specialist Joseph Kosky handled arbitration proceedings for an energy company as defendant and counter-claimant in relation to the termination of a joint venture agreement. Other highlights included acting for a borrower on a debt facility provided by a private equity. David Grant leads the regional practice group for Europe and Singapore and has particular strength in contentious insolvency and restructuring work.

The ‘very experienced’ lawyers at Mayer Brown International LLP are praised for their ‘thoughtful, business-oriented advice’ and were recently joined by banking and finance partner Kieron Dwyer from Gowling WLG. Practice leader Robert Hamill (‘a very smart, trustworthy and efficient lawyer’) handled a number of disputes arising from the development of energy infrastructure in the Middle East. Rachel Speight advised an international industrial commodities group on the refinancing of a refinery project in Germany by a leading investment bank, and Alex Dell acted for a series of borrowers and a lender on the refinancing of $305m term debt and receivables financing facilities. Colin Scagell led the team acting for RINA on its acquisition of Edif Group, which was funded through an equity capital injection from RINA’s shareholders. Dispute resolution expert Mark Stefanini has a particular focus on partnership and joint venture disputes.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP handles oil and gas litigation as well as international arbitration through David Waldron, while Olivier Chambord specialises in transactional work in francophone Africa. The firm’s international presence also allows for close co-operation with offices in the CIS and Latin America. Practice head Lewis Jones has significant experience acting for clients in the UAE with regards to high-profile upstream energy projects such as LNG facilities.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s lawyers ‘are responsive and have a strong track record in projects work’. Peter Roberts and Joanna Kay ‘are among a handful of lawyers who have the experience, skills and commercial sense to handle high-value LNG work’; they act for Tullow on sale and transportation arrangements related to a number of offshore fields in Ghana. Other key contacts include managing associate Rebecca Downes, who supported Roberts on the team’s work for Maersk on the development of a crude oil pipeline from Locichar to Lamu in Kenya. Colin Graham joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP.

Slaughter and May’s oil and gas offering is led by Hywel Davies and Steven Galbraith, and is particularly strong in corporate transactions and financing work. The team recently advised Wood Group on the $2.7bn financing in anticipation of its recommended all-share offer to acquire Amec Foster Wheeler, and acted for INEOS on its proposed takeover of DONG’s entire oil and gas business. Other noteworthy clients include the African Development Bank, Centrica and Maersk.

Stephenson Harwood has particular expertise in energy disputes, the African market and offshore projects, including LNG and subsea pipelines. Tony Concagh leads the department with energy and shipping sector expert Stuart Beadnall and Tony Edwards, who has an emphasis on corporate work for clients in the African market. Clients include BHP Billiton, Eland Oil & Gas and Opus Offshore.

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