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United Kingdom > Scotland > Projects, energy and natural resources > Oil and gas > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Index of tables

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

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Graeme Clubley - CMS
    • Neil Hehir - Pinsent Masons LLP
    • Paula Kidd - CMS
    • Frances Reilly - CMS

Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP & Aberdeen's 12-strong specialist group is 'excellent in every way' for advice on the gamut of issues impacting businesses active in the upstream and supply chain ends of the oil and gas industry. Clients benefit from the notable in-house experience of key members of the team; practice head Clare Munro, Sonia Love (who has specialist knowledge of FPSO field developments), and managing associates Suzanne Hopkinson and Rhona McFarlane, have all spent significant periods of their careers working at major exploration and production companies. Gregory May, who is an expert on drilling and the other service sectors of the oil and gas industry, also has substantial in-house experience. In addition, Munro, May and Love each have more than 20 years of experience providing legal advice to the sector. May has increasingly been active recently in the advice to operators on the terms and conditions of invitations to tender in relation to service sector contracts for field developments. In 2017, Munro, McFarlane and others acted for INEOS FPS Limited in its high-profile $250m acquisition of the Forties Pipeline System from BP, and for INEOS Upstream (Shale) in its acquisition of Engie E&P UK Limited's entire onshore upstream licence portfolio. ConocoPhillips, Maersk Oil, Awilco Drilling and Shelf Drilling are among other key clients.

Burness Paull LLP's team 'understands its clients' requirements and ways of working', and its standing in the market is reflected by the fact that it acts for names such as Marathon, DEA and CATS. Brian Hemming and department head Bruce McLeod both have experience of serving as commercial managers (at Maersk and BP respectively) and have also worked in-house in legal roles for oil and gas companies. McLeod is primarily engaged in oil and gas matters that have a nexus to the UK, but he also works on agreements involving interests in countries like Egypt, Romania and Norway, among others. McLeod, and associates David Smith and Laura Fraser, recently assisted Premier Oil with the $200m sale of its entire interests in Wytch Farm to Perenco. Hemming is experienced in drafting and negotiating various types of agreements, including construction and tie-in agreements, transportation and processing agreements, and agreements over the acquisition/disposal of oil and gas interests. In addition to Hemming and McLeod, practitioners across all the firm's disciplines have experience of serving oil and gas clients; Chris Gotts was the lead adviser to i3 Energy Plc on its acquisition of oil and gas assets from Dana Petroleum, and also its subsequent $6m convertible loan note issue and AIM IPO. A particularly standout deal saw Gotts, McLeod and others act as UK principal legal counsel to Savannah Petroleum in a reverse takeover transaction, which involved the acquisition of oil and gas assets from Seven Energy International in Nigeria, and a proposed $250m equity fundraising. Corporate finance partner Alasdair Freeman has experience of handling oil and gas sector M&A, insolvencies and restructurings. Practitioners from other areas - such as projects, finance and health and safety (among others) - are also active in oil and gas sector matters. Robin Clarkson retired from private practice in 2017.

CMS has a number of heavyweight practitioners in its market-leading oil and gas team. Department head Norman Wisely is 'experienced, knowledgeable and a source of great advice', Judith Aldersey-Williams is 'very strong' and senior associate Paula Kidd is 'responsive and diligent'. Other names to note in Aberdeen include 'very personable' Graeme Clubley, Lorna Dawson, Frank Fowlie and Valerie Allan. Senior associate Frances Reilly is another key figure. The Aberdeen group also benefits from wider support in Scotland from the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices; David McGowan, Eleanor Lane, Rob Wilson and senior associate Shehzad Khalid all have significant oil and gas experience. The practice, which has a sizeable UK and international reach, covers all manner of clients' upstream and downstream activities, including high-value and high-profile M&A, licensing, drilling, decommissioning and energy disputes. In addition, the team particularly excels cutting-edge matters, such as those involving FPSO, LNG regasification and floating LNG projects. A recent highlight for the firm included acting for BP in the $250m sale of the Forties Pipeline System and certain other interests to INEOS. Clubley and Wisley assisted Israel-headquartered oil and gas company Ratio Petroleum with negotiating a farm-in agreement with Azinor Catalyst Limited (and with handling various regulatory issues), to facilitate the client's entry to the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). Schlumberger, TAQA, Apache, Nexen and EnQuest are among other clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP , which is 'very good at getting the deal done', 'scores highly on pragmatism, industry knowledge and experience'. 'Respected industry figure' Bob Ruddiman, who is the global head of oil and gas, 'runs his team intelligently and efficiently'. Shirley Allen, who leads the group based in Aberdeen, is involved in some of the largest transactions in the market; she recently acted as the firm's lead adviser to Shell UK Limited on the $3.8bn sale of UKCS assets to Chrysaor - this was the largest deal by value in the North Sea in 2017. Allen, who also has specialist knowledge of decommissioning, is also leading the firm's oil and gas initiatives in Ireland and Norway. Other names to note in Aberdeen are Martin Ewan and legal director Neil Hehir, who both advised Peterson on a project to decommission the Buchan Alpha Floating Production Unit. Ewan is leading the firm's oilfield technology practice, where he acts for numerous hi-tech oilfield services companies. Rosalie Chadwick acts for international oil and gas companies with assets or listings in countries such as the US, Canada and Georgia. David McEwing has more than 20 years of experience acting for exploration and production companies, and oilfield services companies, and is involved in cross-border transactions involving countries such as Norway, India and Singapore. Bruce Craig focuses on litigation and regulatory issues. Outside of Aberdeen, Edinburgh-based Julia Maguire  is leading a cross-practice group, which is acting for West Africa's largest industrial conglomerate in the procurement of a $12bn petroleum refinery and petrochemicals plant. Gillian Frew is recommended for her expertise in advising borrowers and lenders on oil and gas finance transactions. Roger Connon  has retired from the partnership to focus on heading up the oil and gas offering of the firm's Vario business.

Dentons, which merged with Maclay Murray & Spens LLP in 2017, added the latter firm's historically strong supply chain offering to its own pre-existing capability acting for operators/licence holders. Bill Fowler leads the team, which is a key part of a larger UK-wide group, and is particularly strong in decommissioning and drilling projects, and also in oil and gas disputes. Fowler and others recently assisted Peel Gas & Oil Limited with the negotiations over a lease with a participant in the onshore UK oil and gas industry; the lease involved bespoke provisions to cater for industry-specific regulatory requirements and the allocation of risks/liabilities associated with an onshore shale/fracking project. Kirsti Olson is the chair of Oil & Gas UK's Decommissioning Work Group, which is in the final stages of producing the first LOGIC standard form contract to be used for decommissioning projects in the North Sea. On the contentious side, Malcolm Gunnyeon and senior associate Florinda Soldani are acting for Completion Products Limited (a manufacturer of downhole cable and control line protection systems) in a cross-border dispute with an Omani company; court proceedings are currently pending at the Omani Supreme Court. Gunnyeon also has experience of handling commercial and contractual disputes for clients such as Stork Technical Services (RBG) Limited and Weatherford. Nicola Rae is also recommended. Decom North Sea (the UK decommissioning industry body), KCA Deutag Drilling Limited, Schlumberger Oilfield UK Plc and DOF Subsea are other clients of the team. Jill Reid has left the firm to set up her own consultancy.

The team at Stronachs LLP delivers 'excellent value for money at all times' and is particularly praised for its 'extremely fast turnaround'. Its strong market profile is reflective of its excellent record in decommissioning projects, M&A, drilling and development. It is highly active in international upstream oil and gas mandates; in 2017, James Downie, James Muir (who made partner in 2017) and senior associate Ian Easton acted for Petrofac in the sale of its interest in a Mexican company, which holds an integrated service contract in the Panuco area in Mexico, to Schlumberger. Downie and Muir also provide advice on an ongoing basis to Black Sea Oil & Gas in relation to its upstream development and operations in Romania and offshore in the Black Sea. On the supply chain side, team head Ewan Neilson (who is dual-qualified in English and Scottish law) and Muir advised the management team of fast-growing technology subsea company Enpro Subsea Limited on an investment into the company by Energy Ventures.  In the area of oil and gas technology, Neilson is leading a team, which is working on an international joint venture between Norwegian, UK and Chinese entities on the construction of a ship to be used for decommissioning.

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