Oil and gas in Norway
With ‘an in-depth knowledge of the Norwegian oil and gas industry’, Advokatfirmaet Schjødt expanded on its existing expertise in 2019 through its merger with oil and gas boutique Michelet & Co, which brought the highly regarded Christian Fredrik Michelet, group co-head Preben Willoch, Erlend Bakken and Torkjel Grøndalen into the group. The practice’s expertise encompasses field development work, M&A transactions, exploration and production financing, construction projects, regulatory and compliance work, and commercial agreements, which it handles for a client roster of domestic and international players. In a recent highlight, the practice assisted Partners Group with its acquisition of CapeOmega. Other key practitioners include Stavanger-based practice co-head Sverre Bjelland, litigator Trond Sollund and petroleum taxation specialist Peter Hiorth.
‘The team has an in-depth knowledge of the Norwegian oil and gas industry and a high service level.‘
‘Very dedicated and highly qualified, well organised and do their utmost to meet deadlines and requests. Seem very efficient and capable of avoiding unnecessary complications.‘
‘Has a high level of service and offers “one stop shopping” in terms of disciplines and capabilities.‘
‘Preben Willoch has a high level of business acumen, deep commercial and legal insight and provides valuable advice, which focuses on the right matters and get things done in a timely manner.‘
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS
Spirit Energy Norway AS
Total E&P Norge AS
Lundin Norge AS
DEA Norge AS
The Norwegian State – Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
The Norwegian State – Petroleum Directorate / Oil for Development Programme
Panoro Energy ASA
KUFPEC Norway AS
Chrysaor Norge AS
Mime Petroleum AS
Source Energy AS
Dyas Norge AS
Repsol Norway AS
Suncor Energy Norge AS
- Assisted Partners Group with its acquisition of CapeOmega.
- Advised Mime Petroleum on its acquisition of a 10% working interest in the Balder and Ringhorne fields.
- Acted for Suncor Energy Norge on its purchase of a 17.5% interest in the Fenja Field from Faroe Petroleum Norge.
BAHR’s expertise spans the entire oil and gas sector and the team is particularly singled out for its strength in transactional and finance work, development projects, upstream oil and gas issues, petroleum tax, litigation and oil services mandates. The group’s client roster includes exploration and production companies operating on the Norwegian continental shelf, oil and gas infrastructure clients and oil services companies; notable examples include Aker BP, Equinor, Total, Shell and ExxonMobil. Managing partner Thomas Svensen leads the department, which also fields oil services expert Morten P Smørdal, petroleum specialist Jan Jansen, transactional lawyer Jon Christian Thaulow and Stig Klausen Engelhart, who regularly handles cross-border M&A. Senior associate Sandra Simonsen is also singled out, and Eirik Høiby joined from Advokatfirmaet Selmer AS in 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘Thomas Svensen is always available. In-depth knowledge of oil and gas. Good business sparring partner. Understands customer needs.‘
‘Tarjei Thorkildsen is a HR specialist with in-depth expertise. Keeps focus and seeks pragmatic solutions avoiding emotional bias.‘
Aker Energy AS
Equinor (previously Statoil)
Neptune (previously ENGIE)
Vår Energi (previously Point Resources and Eni)
Solveig Gas Norway
Aker Group Companies (Aker, Aker Solutions, Akastor, Kvaerner)
- Advised Point Resources on the merger of its Norwegian operations with Eni’s Norwegian operations to create a new combined oil and gas company, Vår Energi.
- Assisted Rosneft with the establishment of its Norwegian activity through its Norwegian subsidiary RN Nordic Oil.
- Acting for Aker BP on the Alliance project, a new initiative involving the establishment of an alliance structure with key contractors as part of field development projects.
At Kvale Advokatfirma DA, Jens Brede and Yngve Bustnesli jointly lead the group and specialise in oil and gas litigation and petroleum law respectively; Bustnesli is also experienced in contractual issues and transactional work. The team also includes oil services specialist Gry Bratvold, who recently joined from Advokatfirmaet Selmer AS; Andreas Stang Lund, who focuses on contentious work; and corporate team head Jostein Moen. The practice’s client roster includes Marsk Drilling and Equinor; Brede is currently defending the latter in a dispute against COSL Innovator relating to the termination of a drilling contract following damage to a rig on the Norwegian continental shelf caused by a wave. Erik Brannsten moved in-house at Bane Nor.
Other key lawyers:
‘In-depth understanding of oil and gas business in Norway. Very strong on regulatory advice.‘
‘Kvale has solid knowledge of the oil and gas industry. Their people are highly experienced. As a company, they are always able to turn around quickly and provide needed assistance within deadlines given. They are flexible in their approach and give solid advice to us as customers. I have had a relationship with Kvale for 15 years and have no intention of changing.‘
‘Yngve Bustnesli is a top adviser. To the point, high standards, trusted adviser.‘
‘People like Yngve Bustnesli provide deep insight into regulations and best practices. He has worked in the Ministry of Oil and Energy and has a very significant contact network. The dedication of him and the team are highly appreciated. Most of all, the ability to trust each other is key. They always provide honest and good advice at an affordable price.‘
Maersk Drilling A/S
Neptune E&P Norge
Equinor (previously Statoil)
INEOS E&P Norge (previously DONG E&P Norge)
Island Drilling Company
M Vest Energy
Total E&P Norge
Ørsted AS (previously DONG Energy)
- Defending Equinor in a dispute brought by COSL Innovator relating to the termination of a drilling contract following damage caused by a wave.
- Assisting Pandion Energy with its acquisition of Aker BP’s 30% participating interest in Production Licence 842 and a 10% share of Production Licence 820 S from Wintershall.
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig is singled out for its longstanding expertise in regulatory issues, transactional work including petroleum law mandates and field developments, and exploration phase operational activities; the team has also recently strengthened its knowledge of oil field facilities, oil and gas litigation, decommissioning work, procurement issues and financing matters. Bjørn-Erik Leerberg and Gunnar Espeland jointly lead the team from Oslo and Stavanger respectively; other noteworthy practitioners include petroleum specialist Frode Berntsen, Trym Landa, who ‘asks the right questions and identifies brilliant solutions’; and senior lawyer Nikolai Brøvig, who is experienced in regulatory work.
‘The team has competence in all areas of the oil and gas industry, from regulatory frameworks to transactions, contracts and procurement issues. They have a unique understanding of the oil and gas business.‘
‘Strong local presence. Acts quickly in response to requests for urgent meetings. Adapts internal teams to legal complexity and the disputed matter in a very good way.‘
‘They have a very strong team with a huge capacity for giving quick answers and concrete solutions to the problems presented, even for new subjects. They are always available for what we need and bring the best solutions to the issues. They are always ready to work tirelessly.‘
‘Gunnar Espeland listens carefully when issues are presented, and is more eager to understand the clients’ expressed needs for legal advice and support. Pragmatic and focused on practical solutions.‘
‘Trym Landa has solid knowledge of petroleum offshore and onshore contracts, is able to provide reliable guidance on contracts quickly, asks the right questions, and identifies brilliant solutions the client had not yet seen. Easy to work with, and a team player.‘
‘Trym Landa is well known within the E&P community in Stavanger as an E&P lawyer with previous experience as in-house counsel. He has great background knowledge of the E&P industry, which is very useful.‘
‘Bjørn-Erik Leerberg is unique, not only in that he provides you with the best solution but also teaches you how to achieve the better solutions to the problems that have been presented. Always in a good mood and always available to help. His capacity for learning in new cases is amazing. The best professional I have worked with.’
VNG Norge AS (now merged into Neptune Energy Norge AS)
Neptune Energy Norge AS
Eni S.p.A / Eni International B.V
Vår Energi AS (previously Eni Norge AS)
Aramco Overseas Company B.V./ Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures LLC
Capricorn Norge AS
ONE-Dyas Norge AS
OMV (Norge) AS
Chrysaor Energy Holdings/ Chrysaor Norge AS
Tullow Oil plc/Tullow Oil Norge AS
Faroe Petroleum Norge AS
Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority
Instituto Nacional de Petroleo, Mozambique
Uganda: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, Petroleum Authority
Lebanese Petroleum Administration
- Advising the National Petroleum Authority of Mozambique on the implementation of the special legal and contractual regime for the Rovuma Basin gas mega deposits operated by Eni/ExxonMobil and Anadarko.
- Acting for Eni on the negotiations with Point Resources for its merger with Eni Norge.
- Advising Aker BP on the Ærfugl subsea field development.
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS excels across the full spectrum of oil and gas mandates including M&A, financing work, development projects and litigation. ‘Rising star in the oil and gas sector’ Christian Hals leads the oil and gas team while ‘great negotiator’ Pål Lieungh heads up the oil services practice; Jacob F Bull is also singled out for his expertise in development projects, Mads Haavardsholm focuses on contract negotiations and transactions, Ståle R Kristiansen assists with tax-related matters, and Henrik Hagberg handles work in the oil services sector. Kristine Hyldmo Bjørnvik is also recommended for contentious work; she joined the firm in 2019 from Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS and made partner in 2020. The practice also notably strengthened its Stavanger offering in 2020 with the recruitment of Thomas Abrahamsen, Audun Stornes and newly promoted partner Jone Stakkestad from Kluge Advokatfirma AS.
‘Excellent client service and great quality advice. The firm is especially strong in oil and gas work in the energy sector and has an excellent track record. The team is very well informed on what is happening in the market and with regulators and other oil and gas stakeholders. Hands-on, client driven and very easy to work with.’
‘Thommessen’s team have excellent negotiation skills and are very analytical in their approach.’
‘They do not beat around the bush and they find solutions.’
‘Christian Hals is a rising star in the oil and gas sector. He is very pleasant to work with, dedicated and able to deliver top quality work at all times.’
‘Pål Lieungh is a great negotiator with a hands-on approach. He really is your true adviser.‘
‘I have worked extensively with Audun Stornes, Thomas Abrahamsen, and Jone Stakkestad. All three are first class oil and gas lawyers with excellent industry knowledge and work ethic. Availability, client engagement, and speed of response are top rate. Thomas specialises in oil and gas M&A work and is a highly effective negotiator; calm, logical and pragmatic, but very persistent when the situation requires it. Audun and Jone have a wider remit and provide well considered and effective advice across the oil and gas spectrum.‘
PGNiG Upstream Norway AS
TTC Norge AS
- Assisted One-Dyas with its acquisition of a 10% interest in the Nova development on the Norwegian continental shelf.
- Acting for Energean Oil & Gas on its $750m acquisition of Edison Exploration & Production.
- Advising Kongsberg Gruppen on its acquisition of Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine.
Sondre Dyrland heads up the practice at Wiersholm, which acts for a high-profile client roster including Equinor, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, ConocoPhillips Skandinavia, VNG and Eni. The group also recently advised Eni on the merger of Eni Norge and Point Resources to create upstream exploration and production company Vår Energi. The practice is also experienced in transactional work, litigation, regulatory mandates and operational issues and is regularly involved in complex matters on the Norwegian continental shelf. Jon Rabben counts Norwegian and international energy sector companies as clients, Thomas Naalsund and newly promoted partner Hans Augun Parmann focus on contentious work, and Kristian M. Lind handles transactional work.
‘Good knowledge and understanding of the oil and gas industry and strong strategic capabilities. Very likeable individuals.’
‘Thomas Naalsund is a pleasure to work with. Strong strategic capabilities and an excellent litigator with a very pleasant appearance in negotiations and in court.’
Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE)
ConocoPhilips Skandinavia AS
Spirit Energy Ltd.
DNV-GL Group AS
Bangchak Corporation PCL
North Sea Infrastructure AS/PKA AIP A/S
CHC Helikopter Service AS
ABB Group Ltd
- Advising Eni on the merger of Eni Norge and Point Resources to create Vår Energi.
- Acted for VNG on the sale of its subsidiary, VNG Norge, to Neptune Energy Norge.
- Assisted Bangchak with its €90m investment in Okea.
The practice at Arntzen de Besche has a ‘flexible, can-do attitude with the right balance of speed and quality’ and fields ‘good experienced lawyers who have different areas of expertise, which helps to find a better solution’. Key practitioners include practice head Karl Erik Navestad, who handles development projects and regulatory issues; Rune Omdahl, who focuses on licensing issues, field development and the purchase and sale of petroleum products; and Stavanger-based Anders Rødland. The full-service department acts for several key players in the oil exploration and production sector and the petroleum industry; notable clients include DNO, Lundin Norway and Gassco.
‘Flexible, “can do” attitude, with the right balance of speed and quality.‘
‘Good experienced lawyers with different expertise make up the team and they can cover each other and find a better solution.‘
‘Strong competence within oil and gas, offshore contracts within maintenance and modifications, legal issues, and other typical areas within the sector.‘
‘Anders Rødland is a unique individual, always ready to assist and provides practical information immediately relevant for the company rather than academic legalese.‘
‘I particularly want to emphasise Anders Rødland from the Stavanger office. He has always been available and very co-operative when we have needed legal support. His strength is that he is able to understand our issues due to his experience in the oil & gas area, and help to solve these almost as an integral part of our organisation.‘
Instituto Nacional de Petróleo (INP) in Mozambique / Norwegian Petroleum Directorate
Lundin Norway AS
Vår Energi AS
Hess Corporation / Hess Norge
Teekay Corporation /Teekay Offshore Partners
Idemitsu Petroleum Norge
- Acted for Lundin Petroleum on its sale of a 2.6% stake in the Johan Sverdrup oil field as part of the redemption by Lundin of 16% of its outstanding shares currently held by Equinor.
- Advising on the establishment of new oil company, Edge Petroleum.
- Assisting the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in Ghana and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate with the reviewal of existing legislation and the development of a new act.
Kluge Advokatfirma AS’ ‘well-balanced’ E&P practice has been notably active in the transactional space and recently acted for Neptune Energy on its purchase of shares in VNG Norge. Other clients include Ineos E&P, Total E&P and DNO Norge. The group is also recognised for its petroleum tax expertise, which is led by Amund Noss, and has also handles development projects, litigation and regulatory work. The department recently saw Samuel Skrunes, Kyrre Tangen Andersen and Joar Kalsaas promoted to the partnership. Thomas Abrahamsen and Audun Stornes are now at Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS.
‘The Kluge team is well balanced with expertise in all areas of oil and gas. Several of the lawyers have worked in-house themselves which is always a benefit to clients as they understand the relevant drivers from an in-house perspective.‘
‘Solid team, attentive to clients’ needs.‘
WintershallDEA Norge AS
Wellesley Petroleum AS
INEOS E&P AS (previously DONG E&P Norge AS)
DEA Norge AS
Repsol Norge AS
Suncor Energy Norge AS
DNO Norge AS (has taken over Faroe Petroleum Norge AS)
Edison Norge AS
ConocoPhillips Norge AS
Total E&P Norge AS
Pandion Energy AS
Neptune Energy Norge AS
Idemitsu Petroleum AS
LOTOS E/P Norge
OMV Norge AS
- Acted for Neptune Energy on its purchase of all shares in VNG Norge from VNG.
- Advised Faroe Petroleum Norge and Faroe Petroleum with a swap of participating interests with Equinor relating to seven production licences for the Norwegian continental shelf.
- Assisted Wellesley Petroleum with the sale of its participating interest in the Duva field.
Advokatfirmaet Selmer AS’ ‘highly skilled, efficient and very professional’ team has broad expertise, which spans licensing issues, corporate transactions, maintenance contracts for rigs, vessels and offshore installations; litigation and regulatory matters. Thomas G. Michelet heads up the department, which also fields Liv Monica Stubholt, who handles development, strategy and corporate work; and Gro Løge, who focuses on the oil services and oil and gas construction industries. The practice also benefited from the firm’s recent merger with Kyllingstad Kleveland Advokatfirma DA, which introduced Odd-Arne Kleveland into the team. Eirik Høiby departed to BAHR in 2020.
‘Excellent oil and gas team. Rapid response with effective solutions.‘
‘Excellent sector knowledge. Very good at finding solutions to business problems.‘
‘For us, it’s their focus and expertise on upstream oil and gas business in Norway. They have lawyers dedicated in this area of law and they are very commercial in their approach to transactions.‘
‘Our impression of the Selmer team is that they are highly skilled, efficient and very professional. They balance their legal advice in a very good way so that they also work in a practical way.’
‘Hands-on approach with high expertise in the industry, especially oil and gas. More than just legal services.‘
‘Thomas G. Michelet is an outstanding lawyer, very knowledgeable and yet demonstrates a strength of understanding the aims of his clients.‘
‘Øyvind Olimstad is a pleasure to work with. Combines deep legal knowledge with an ability to find practical solutions to manage challenging issues. Always calm.‘
Acta Marine B.V.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Deep C Solutions AS
Global Geo Services AS
LUKOIL Overseas North Shelf AS
Pandion Energy AS
RN Nordic Oil AS
Fortum Oslo Varme AS
Ocean Installer AS
Global Maritime AS
- Advising Okea on its acquisition of a 45% stake in Norway-based oil producing field, Draugen, and a 12% stake in the Gjoea field from Norske Shell.
- Acting for CapeOmega in the high-profile Gassled tariff case.
- Assisting Fortum Oslo Varme with its proposed carbon capture and storage facility at the waste-to-energy plant in Klemetsrud.
Wikborg Rein’s energy, shipping and offshore practice acts for a client roster of domestic and international companies including CapeOmega, Naftogaz of Ukraine and Transocean. The department is led by Gaute Gjelsten, while Aadne Haga leads the petroleum and energy practice area and Ola Nisja heads up the contract law and construction practice area. The group also leverages the firm’s offices in London and Shanghai to handle global mandates. Dag Mjaaland is also recommended for gas price disputes, Birgitte Karlsen regularly handles marine energy projects, Jan Erik Clausen acts for companies on the Norwegian continental shelf, and Christian James-Olsen is the key contact in Bergen. Morten Valen Eide was promoted to the partnership in 2019, and Catherine Hetland joined from Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS.
‘They have a practical and efficient way of working. They focus on concluding deals and less on fighting theoretical legal issues.‘
‘The Wikborg Rein team is highly qualified, service minded and has a good profile in the maritime sector.‘
‘The competence and skills are of course important but the ability to give “to the point” advise based on knowledge of the business has been vital for our company and has been the reason we have used Wikborg Rein as our external legal advisor for many years. The availability is 24-7, which is necessary in a business that operates in many time zones and worldwide.‘
Naftogaz of Ukraine, Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas champion
PJSC Ukrgazvydobuvannya (UGV), Ukraine’s state-owned gas producer
COSL Drilling Europe AS
Cladtek Holdings Pte. Ltd.
- Represented Naftogaz of Ukraine in a high-value arbitration against Gazprom relating to the sale and transit of gas.
- Acting for COSL Drilling Europe in a dispute against Equinor relating to the termination of a drilling contract following an incident at a drilling rig.
- Advised HitecVision on its acquisition of Solveig Gas Holdco.
At Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS, Christopher L. Sveen leads the oil and offshore department, while Mikal Brøndmo leads the sector group and Bård Sandstad is a key contact for corporate and M&A work. The practice is noted for its work advising major contractors and also has substantial expertise in oil and gas litigation, corporate matters, contract law, project executions and workforce reductions and company reorganisations. Johnny Johansen is also a key contact for contract and construction law and contentious matters.
‘They have a very strong industry understanding. Their litigation team is very strong. They are building up to become one of the best law firms in Norway.‘
‘High level of service and offers “one-stop shopping” in terms of disciplines and capabilities.‘
‘Very experienced in the contracts covering the NCS oil and gas industry, able to give good advice and solve conflicts. Especially, their attitude and behaviour contributes to a good atmosphere.‘
‘Bård Sandstad has a high level of business acumen, deep commercial and legal insight, keeps focus on the right matters and get things done in a timely manner.‘
‘Worked for a number of years with Christopher Sveen, and can highly recommend him due to his knowledge, personal qualities and ability to make progress in negotiations in an excellent manner.‘
National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
Norsk Industri (The Federation of Norwegian Industries), Oil & Gas
Bangchack Corporation PCL
Seacrest Capital Group
Heerema Fabrication Group B.V.
Heerema Marine Contractors B.V.
North Energy ASA
Fortis Petroleum Corporation
EMAS AMC AS’ bankruptcy estate
Aker Solutions AS
- Advised Seacrest and the investor side on Okea’s agreement with Norske Shell to acquire Shell’s shares in the Draugen and Gjøa fields.
- Representing EMAS in a dispute against Statoil Petroleum (now Equinor Energy) relating to an EPCI subsea contract on the Norwegian continental shelf.
- Assisting Norsk Industri with the development of new standard contracts for deliveries to the Norwegian continental shelf.
SANDS has ‘a truly international offering’ and advises on a wide variety of Norwegian and cross-border transactions and disputes across the oil and gas, oil services, rig and supply vessel sectors for a client roster, which includes Oceanteam, Sevan Marine and Bunker Oil. Practice head Lars Berge Andersen, who has ‘a 24/7 approach to his work’, is a key contact for cross-border work and Oddbjørn Slinning focuses on shipping and offshore matters.
‘Good overall and detailed knowledge.‘
‘SANDS is renowned in the energy, shipping and offshore sector, with a truly international offering and huge experience in the transactional, advisory and disputes sides.‘
‘Lars Berge Andersen has an 24/7 approach to his work, giving us the urgent support needed in our business.‘
‘Lars Berge Andersen has huge experience in oil and gas and an in-depth knowledge of the industry worldwide, the Norwegian energy sector and the Far East, where he worked for some years. He has a significant client base and is very knowledgeable on current trends.‘
MHWirth (Aker Group)
Helix Oilfield Services
Offshore Simulation Centre
- Representing Sevan marine (now Magnora) in a dispute with Logitel Offshore relating to the validity of a convertible bond loan and the related repayment obligations.
- Acted for MHWirth in negotiations with a supply yard for a top-side and drilling equipment package.
- Assisting Bergen City Court with an investigation into Oceanteam.