Energy litigation: oil and gas in United States
Baker Botts L.L.P. is a key name in the oil and gas sector with a wealth of litigation experience, principally from its Houston headquarters. Though historically focused on the Texas market, it has successfully expanded its geographic coverage and handles a broader suite of disputes ranging from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing cases to climate change litigation, royalty class actions and headline disputes regarding the routing of pipelines. The practice represents many of the biggest oil and gas names in the market. William Kroger leads the team and has substantial experience in big-ticket oil and gas disputes. Jason Newman is singled out for disputes connected to horizontal drilling. The firm has also hired George Fibbe, former deputy general counsel for litigation, regulation and enforcement at the US Department of Energy, and recruited nine partners from Katten's environmental and workplace safety team in 2019. All named individuals are based in Houston.
Other key lawyers:
Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline
Murphy Exploration & Production Company
- Represented Intercontinental Terminals Company in connection with environmental, toxic tort, and business claims arising from a chemical fire and environmental release on the Houston Ship Channel.
- Acted for EOG Resources in two cases involving the transport of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to points of sale on the Gulf Coast.
- Acted as lead appellate counsel for Southwestern Energy Company in a royalty class action in which 12,000 royalty owners alleged that Southwestern Energy improperly deducted from royalty payments the full amount of gathering and treatment costs charged by its subsidiaries.
- Represented Compass Well Services in obtaining a jury verdict exceeding $5m against Great American Insurance Company of New York in an oil and gas dispute involving breach of insurance policy, statutory bad faith, and failure to pay the claim promptly.
- Acted for Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company in a Supreme Court case involving the deduction of post- production costs when calculating overriding royalty interest.
Gibbs & Bruns LLP is a Houston-based trial boutique with a notable reputation in the oil and gas sector. The firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants in the energy sphere and cases range from construction disputes to royalty cases and class actions. The group has achieved prominence through a series of headline matters over the years. Robin Gibbs is a highly regarded practitioner for high-stakes litigation in the oil and gas field. Kathy Patrick and Barrett Reasoner are also highly celebrated names for major disputes, and Brian Ross also contributes to the practice.
Sanchez Oil & Gas
Natural Resource Partners
Pioneer Natural Resources
- Represented Occidental Chemical Corporation in a suit seeking contributions from more than 100 defendants for, among other costs, $165m, which Occidental has agreed to spend to design the dredge-and-cap remedy to remediate pollution in the lower right miles of the Passaic River.
- Acted for Enterprise Products Operating in an engineering and construction suit against Amec Foster Wheeler USA and its British parent company, concerning a large petrochemical refinery recently constructed in Mont Belvieu, Texas.
- Represented Chevron/Unocal in a dispute over its withdrawal from the ownership of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
- Acted for Sanchez Oil & Gas, Sanchez Energy Corporation and Sanchez Production Partners in seeking injunctive relief against three former employees and their new employer Terra Energy Partners.
- Represented Occidental Energy Marketing in seeking recovery of over $5m in damages from Jupiter MLP, Jupiter Marketing & Trading, Jupiter Transport and Remuda Energy Transportation under claims of breach of contract.
King & Spalding LLP's significant presence in Houston, exceptional disputes expertise and strong regulatory background in Washington DC ensures it is fully adept at oil and gas cases including environmental contamination cases, climate change disputes and a growing number of contentious infrastructure and construction matters. Commercial and royalty cases remain at the core of the practice, and the team is especially active in the Texas, Louisiana and California markets. Robert Meadows is an accomplished trial law with a track record in commercial and tort cases in the oil and gas sector; Jeremiah Anderson is recommended for commercial and environmental tort cases; and San Francisco's Charles Correll is also noted for commercial, mass tort and environmental litigation. Tim Engel has retired from the partnership, and Marcella Burke has filled the gap in Washington DC, having joined the firm from the Department of the Interior. Tracie Renfroe leads the team and is active in big-ticket cases across the country, as is Carol Wood. All partners are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.
Other key lawyers:
Halliburton Energy Services
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company
- Acted for Chevron USA in over 40 lawsuits brought by more than 30,000 individually named persons who claim personal injuries, lost wages, property damage, and punitive damages liked to a fire at its Richmond, California Refinery.
- Represented Chevron as lead national trial counsel in numerous cases in which municipalities, water purveyors, State Attorney Generals, and individuals claim that water has been contaminated by the gasoline additive MTBE.
- Acted for G2X Energy and Natgasoline, its affiliate, in defense of a $90m claim by its EPC contractor arising from the design and construction of a methanol plant in Beaumont, Texas.
- Represented Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in four related lawsuits, all arising from flooding that occurred in and around Sweeny, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
- Counsel to ConocoPhillips in a series of climate change tort cases brought by local governments seeking to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for global climate change.
Vinson & Elkins LLP operates across the industry with particular strength in the upstream segment. It handles many of the biggest ticket cases across the US, including matters in Texas, Delaware, Colorado, Oklahoma and West Virginia. The practice has also been notably active in climate change and environmental disputes, and is also at the forefront of bankruptcy and restructuring cases linked to the downturn in oil prices; it also has extensive experience in royalty disputes. Jim Thompson is global head of litigation and is a former petroleum engineer with substantial oil and gas experience. Guy Lipe chairs the energy litigation practice and is an experienced figure in big-ticket disputes, including royalty cases. Other key names include Marie Yeates, who is singled out for appellate matters; Dallas based Matthew Stammel and energy litigation specialist Nicholas Shum, who was elected partner in early 2020.
- Successfully acted for Antero Resoures in a case involving one of the largest long-term gas supply contracts in the US.
- Represented Linn Operating in a royalty class action before the Western District of Oklahoma.
- Defended Anadarko Petroleum against claims brought by Cimarex claiming that it was entitled to receive payments associated with production from the Permian Basin wells.
- Acted for Vitol in obtaining the dismissal of a $400m alleged fraud claim brought by the spouse of an executive.
- Representing Apache in climate change litigation brought in the Northern District of California.
Beck Redden is a trial and appellate firm headquartered in Houston. While its disputes practice covers multiple industries, it has extensive experience in big-ticket oil and gas cases. In this regard, David Beck is an highly praised trial lawyer with a notable track record in oil and gas cases, while Matthew Whitley covers IP and commercial disputes within the oil and gas sector.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has substantial disputes credentials, which are increasingly applied to major cases in the oil and gas sector; its growing presence in Houston has further enabled its capacity to handle cases in the industry. The practice has a notable track record in the state and federal courts, appeals courts, international courts and in arbitration proceedings. Anna Rotman heads up the Houston litigation practice, while Washington DC's Daniel Donovan and Chicago's Richard Godfrey are singled out for plaintiff and defendant engagements; the latter is also noted for class actions and acted for BP in the Deepwater Horizon case with Chicago-based practitioner Matthew Regan. Washington DC's Paul Clement is recommended for appellate matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is comprised of highly qualified lawyers who know the space very well. It has the biggest bench of headliners in the industry. It is very responsive.‘
‘Anna Rotman is very smart, responsive, and a tactical litigator.‘
‘Paul Clement is the best Supreme Court lawyer in the country.‘
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network
Harvest Oil & Gas
Primexx Energy Partners
Sabine Oil & Gas
Total E&P USA
- Acted for Aegean Marine Petroleum Network and certain subsidiaries in Chapter 11 cases filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
- Represented BP in a multi-district civil litigation, a US Department of Justice criminal investigation, and various other governmental investigations arising out the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and fire in 2010.
- Successfully defended BP against allegations that it had wrongly collected multiple payments related to leaking gasoline tank cleanup.
- Defended BP America against a series of putative state-wide class actions filed by domestic water well owners in federal courts.
- Acted for Chesapeake Appalachia in a case concerning alleged violations of well-density, pooling requirements and underpayment of royalties in Wyoming.
Norton Rose Fulbright has a track record in big-ticket, headline and complex disputes with substantial experience in upstream, midstream and oilfield services-related disputes. With extensive regulatory expertise, the group is able to provide a fully-rounded service, covering key areas including market manipulation, antitrust and environmental enforcement mandates. Commodities and derivatives enforcement issues are also areas of particular growth for the department. Melanie Rother jointly leads the energy and infrastructure practice and is an experienced trial lawyer, operating principally in the energy and technology sectors. Fellow co-head Reagan Brown is another prominent trial and appellate lawyer with notable experience in royalty cases. Dan McClure is also highly rated. All named individuals are based in Houston.
Energy Transfer Partners
- Acted for Noble Drilling (US), Noble Bob Douglas and Noble Drilling NHIL in a marine casualty case arising from Hurricane Harvey involving several vessels and non-vessel marine assets.
- Represented Energy Transfer Partners in litigation associated with the planned construction of the 1,168-mile Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Defended EOG Resources against a class action in the State of Oklahoma alleging improper deduction of post-production costs in calculating natural gas royalties from over 15,000 wells since 1993.
- Represented Phillips 66 in a class action alleging that petroleum refiners on the West Coast conspired to fix gasoline prices.
- Acted for TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company in a copyright infringement case alleging that the client had unlawfully obtained, used, and distributed certain seismic lines.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP is noted for its defense of oil pipeline companies before FERC and the appellate courts, and is also building a standing within the natural gas pipeline sector. Contentious regulatory matters, pipeline safety work, accident responses and enforcement cases are also areas of expertise for the team. Steven Brose, Daniel Poynor and Steven Reed frequently represent pipeline companies before FERC, other regulatory agencies and the appellate courts; they were also engaged in headline litigation surrounding the development and operation of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). David Coburn is also rated for big-ticket regulatory proceedings and litigation, Laura Swett joined as of counsel from FERC, and Stephen Snyder arrived as of counsel from Paul Hastings LLP. All named individuals are based in Washington DC.
Other key lawyers:
‘A top firm in energy litigation, particularly regarding oil pipelines.’
‘Deep and comprehensive experience, seasoned judgment, a pragmatic approach and strong advocacy.‘
‘I consider them them to be the premier practice on oil pipeline regulation at FERC.’
‘Excellent advocacy and depth of understanding of the industry and key issues.’
‘Steven Brose has outstanding knowledge and is a great communicator.’
‘Daniel Poynor is smart, delivers excellent written advocacy and is an excellent presenter.’
‘Steven Reed is highly regarded for his knowledge and advocacy.’
‘David Coburn is a go to litigator in this space. He is very smart and pragmatic, provides creative arguments and has a deep understanding of the industry and legal issues.’
Association of Oil Pipe Lines
BP Pipelines (Alaska), ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska and ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (Trans Alaska Pipeline System owners)
Colonial Pipeline Company
Northern Natural Gas
Plains All American Pipeline
North Dakota Pipeline Company
- Acted for the Association of Oil Pipe Lines in a Clean Water Act citizen suit case.
- Defended Colonial Pipeline Company against a series of complaints filed with FERC challenging its rates, including its market-based rates and market-based rate making authority, and its indexed rates.
- Represented Enbridge Energy in an appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concerning the decision by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan that PHMSA must conduct an environmental review under NEPA and consult with the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act before approving Enbridge’s emergency response plans for Line 5’s crossing of the Straits of Mackinac.
- Acted for Enbridge Energy as an intervenor-defendent challenging the adequacy of the US Coast Guard’s Northern Michigan Area Contingency Plan (NMACP).
- Represented Northern Natural Gas Company in a FERC investigation into the justness and reasonableness of its rates.
Susman Godfrey LLP
Susman Godfrey LLP is 'focused on energy', handling both defendant and plaintiff work. While it is engaged by some of the biggest names in the industry, including Chevron and Hess, it is also known for representing clients in cases against oil and gas companies and is active in a range of disputes, including climate change litigation. Managing partner Neal Manne has represented defendants and plaintiffs in numerous major cases and recently acted for Chevron in climate change litigation across the US. Thomas Paterson is equally well-reputed for defendant and plaintiff engagements, and Alexander Kaplan is an emerging talent.
Other key lawyers:
Mewbourne Oil Company
- Acted for Apache Deepwater against W&T Offshore in claims regarding an allegation that W&T breached the parties’ operating agreement by refusing to pay its 49% share of the costs to plug and abandon three subsea oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Represented Chevron Corporation in numerous climate change lawsuits across the country.
- Defended Chevron against The State of Louisiana and multiple coastal Louisiana parishes, which sought damages for land loss allegedly caused by oil and gas operations.
- Acted for plaintiffs in a class action against Orlando Utilities Commission, alleging that it had contaminated the properties of more than 30,000 residents with toxic by-products from its coal-fired power plants at the Curtis H Stanton Energy Center.
- Represented plaintiffs accusing leading tank manufacturers AmeriGas Partners and Ferrellgas of engaging in a de facto price-fixing scheme by reducing the amount of propane in tanks without changing the price.
Thompson & Knight LLP
Thompson & Knight LLP fields a team of senior trial lawyers that operate in the oil and gas space, and has gained prominence in class actions, toxic tort claims, royalty and antitrust cases, and oil and gas lease disputes, amongst others. The senior team is primarily located in Dallas where Craig Haynes has a notable reputation for acting for large-cap oil and gas businesses and smaller independents; he is singled out for class action litigation, pricing disputes, take-or-pay issues and operational cases. Dallas partners Greg Curry and Gregory Binns are also highly rated and are the key contacts for the department. Conrad Hester and Robert Vartabedian left the Fort Worth team for Alston & Bird LLP in July 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘The litigation team is the absolute best team for lease litigation in the industry.‘
‘The thoroughness, attention to detail, and concise arguments set them apart from their peers in the industry.‘
‘They dominated at trial, I am very glad we are working with Thompson & Knight.‘
BP America Production
Three Rivers Operating Company
Three Rivers Acquisition
- Successfully acted for BP America Production in the retrial of Laddex v BP, a headline production in paying quantities case.
Baker & Hostetler LLP's broad geographic focus allows for a notable variety of engagements stemming from all key oil and gas basins in the US, including the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, the Piceance and Denver-Julesburg Basins in Colorado, the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, and the Gulf of Mexico. The team has been active in climate change cases, and recently challenged the implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Contractual disputes and royalty cases are also core to the practice. Poe Leggette is noted for onshore shale cases and issues relating to oil and gas operations on federal or Indian lands. Ray Whitman and Denver-based Mark Barron are also rated. James Nye joined Winston & Strawn LLP. Named individuals are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.
Other key lawyers:
Peregrine Oil & Gas II
Carrizo Oil & Gas
Trican Well Service
Chevron North America Exploration and Production
Enterprise Products Partners
- Acted for Castex Energy Partners in securing more than $74m in damages through a counter claim against Apache Corporation relating to cost overruns of a gas processing facility in South Louisiana.
- Represented the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance in two lawsuits in connection with attempts to revive a final rule the Bureau of Land Management issued in 2015 to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands.
- Acted for Union Gas Operating in a case concerning the failures of two connections in a well drilled by Union Gas in 2010.
- Represented HL Brown in an administrative appeal before the Office of Natural Resources Revenue challenging a 2018 order to pay additional royalties on the production of natural gas from federal leases in southeastern New Mexico.
- Acted for Continental Resources in seeking a declaratory judgment that the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands’ royalty calculation methodology is inconsistent with controlling contract terms.
Bracewell LLP is a key name in the oil and gas market with substantial litigation credentials. It acts for defendants and plaintiffs ranging from a number of major oil and gas companies to companies emerging in the market. Cases stem from operating agreements, development agreements, royalty disputes, title disputes, surface use agreements and environmental issues, among others. Chair of the litigation group Stephen Crain has a strong focus on the energy industry, including cases involving securities law violations. Sean Gorman and Andrew Zeve are also key names. All named partners are based in Houston; the practice also fields a number of key partners in Austin including Deanna King, who co-chairs the firm's energy litigation practice with Zeve.
The Bank of New York Mellon
- Acted for Apache against two Texas-based energy companies and a third from Oklahoma in a case linked to depressed oil and gas prices.
- Represented Apache in a major royalty ownership and oil and gas co-tenancy case connected to 100 horizontal wells in the Permian Basin region.
- Acted for Southern Copper in a derivative lawsuit that was filed against it and certain current and former directors and Grupo México in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
- Lead trial counsel for two BNY Mellon-managed oil and gas royalty trusts in a securities class action case brought by an investment fund on behalf of the trust’s investors.
- Lead counsel to Maxus Energy in a tax protest case.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has notable regulatory credentials, which it leverages in its contentious work. Coupled with substantial expertise in the oil and gas industry through its Houston, Denver and other offices, the practice has a track record in big-ticket disputes including royalty and environmental cases, tort and contract claims, and drilling litigation. Team members also frequently represent clients before FERC. Houston-based partner Maria Wyckoff Boyce is a well-rounded trial lawyer with key experience in the energy sector and regularly handles energy-related IP cases. As a lateral recruit from Van Ness Feldman LLP in 2019, Washington DC's Greg Junge represents a number of interstate natural gas pipelines, often acting before FERC and in the federal courts.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP represents clients across the spectrum of oil and gas mandates. Drawing on a substantial team of litigators in multiple offices, including Houston, Los Angeles, Washington DC and San Francisco, the practice handles high-profile engagements, particularly in the environmental arena; the group also has experience in royalty, tax liability, regulatory enforcement and climate change cases. The team is also active in crisis management engagements, notably those linked to oil and gas leaks. Los Angeles-based partner James Dragna is a leading figure in environmental engagements, including hazardous waste proceedings and other environmental crises. Pittsburgh's John Gisleson, Michelle Pector in Houston and Los Angeles-based Rick Rothman are also highly reputed; Ella Foley Gannon is a key environmental practitioner in the San Francisco office, and DC's Brad Fagg jointly leads the energy litigation practice.
Southern California Gas
National Gas & Electric
Mitsui E&P USA
South Jersey Industries
- Represented Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy in issues relating to the Aliso Canyon storage facility natural gas leak.
- Acted for Anadarko Petroleum in lawsuits brought by local cities and counties claiming that fossil-fuel producers are responsible for global climate change.
- Defended Anadarko Petroleum in the Deepwater Horizon litigation.
- Acted for Noble Energy in a putative statewide class action involving claims that it underpaid natural gas royalties to royalty owners in breach of leases.
- Represented Mitsui E&P USA in individual and mass actions involving claims that Mitsui underpaid natural gas royalties in breach of leases.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is a global name for litigation and, since the launch of its Houston office in 2014, has become a notable force in the oil and gas sector. The practice is routinely engaged in big-ticket litigation for major and smaller players in the industry. Houston partner Karl Stern is a key name in the market as a trial lawyer with a track record in oil and gas litigation and arbitration proceedings; he successfully represented Vantage Deepwater in an ICDR arbitration against Petrobras concerning Petrobras’ early termination of an eight-year deepwater drilling contract. New York-based Sanford Weisburst and Kathleen Sullivan are also highly rated, while Houston's Patrick King further reinforced the team by joining from Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
Phibro Trading and Phibro Commodities
TOTAL E&P USA
Amplify Energy and Beta Operating Corp
Official Unsecured Creditors’ Committee of EXCO Resources
- Acted for Vantage Deepwater Company and Vantage Deepwater Drilling in an ICDR arbitration against Petrobras concerning Petrobras’ early termination of an eight-year deepwater drilling contract.
- Represented Talen Energy in three related lawsuits against PPL arising out of the wrongful distribution of $730m from a Montana-based company, previously owned by PPL and now owned by Talen.
- Defending Phibro in a putative class action brought by futures and derivatives traders and oil and gas property owners, alleging that Phibro participated in a 12-year conspiracy to manipulate Brent crude oil pricing.
- Represented Total E&P USA in an appeal concerning the liability for offshore decommissioning costs.
- Acted for Joseph Bryant, the former CEO of Cobalt International Energy, in a class action related to Cobalt’s development of oil fields in Angola.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP is noted for royalty, environmental and regulatory enforcement cases, and the group is also highly rated for litigation connected to the Appalachian Basin, thanks in part to its significant Pittsburgh presence. Nicolle Bagnell is global co-vice chair of the firm’s energy and natural resources practice group and has a track record in energy and environmental disputes. Justin Werner and Stefanie Lepore Burt are also highly rated. All named partners are based in Pittsburgh or Houston.
Other key lawyers:
‘Justin Werner and Stefanie Lepore Burt are both very practical lawyers and zealous advocates. They really know the space, know their clients and the issues, and the outcome that the client needs.’
Houston-based litigation firm Reynolds Frizzell LLP has extensive experience in bet-the-company energy disputes in the state, federal and appeal courts, and also handles arbitration proceedings. The practice represents some of the biggest names in the oil and gas industry. Chris Reynolds is a hugely experienced trial lawyer with substantial expertise in the oil and gas sector. Jean Frizzell is also highly reputed.
Moody National Companies
Avera Capital Partners
DCP Midstream Partners and DCP Partners Logistics
BHP Billiton Petroleum
ChevronPhillips Chemical Co
ION Energy Group (Foster Perkins)
- Represented Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling in patent infringement litigation and a breach of contract lawsuit seeking over $200m in damages against Noble and its related entities.
- Acted for Discovery Producer Services in a claim against working interest owners alleging wrongful termination of a long-term gas gathering and purchasing agreement.
- Successfully represented Huntsman Petrochemical in a jury trial, obtaining $4m judgment in a complex, multi-party employment dispute.
- Acted for Moody National Companies in a dispute relating to a tenant-in-common investment in a hotel property.
- Successfully represented Omnova, obtaining a $5m judgment for the fraudulent inducement of Omnova’s acquisition of New Fluid Solutions.
Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. has a key client base of major oil and gas companies and other industry players. The group has an extensive track record in royalty, lease and commercial litigation, and also handles sizeable arbitration proceedings. The practice also leverages its unique office in The Woodlands, the oil and gas hub outside Houston, alongside significant presence in Houston itself, and stands out for its significant team of senior appellate lawyers in Texas. Craig Stahl is an experienced practitioner in royalty payments and joint operating agreement disputes, and has notable expertise in class actions. Houston's Michael Mazzone and David Ammons are key trial lawyers with extensive oil and gas industry knowledge, and Jeffrey Keuhnle is also highly rated. Named individuals are based in The Woodlands unless stated otherwise.
‘Solid Texas oil and gas litigation group with a big bench. Good depth and knowledge across the state.‘
‘Has experienced lawyers working in the oil and gas industry in the Houston office. We use them on a regular basis to provide relevant, timely, and sage representation.’
‘David Ammons shows responsiveness, client attention and practical application of knowledge.‘
Four Point Energy
- Acted for Chevron USA in filing a plea in intervention to pursue gross negligence claims as a non-operator against the operator of oil and gas wells in West Texas.
- Defended Finley Resources in a lease termination dispute seeking declaratory judgment that valuable Utah oil and gas acreage was no longer held by the client’s lease.
- Represented Hess in an oil and gas lease dispute; the plaintiff alleges that the oil and gas lease it obtained from a statutory mineral trust was superior to Hess’s oil and gas lease.
- Acted for FourPoint Energy in a putative class action concerning alleged improper post-production royalty deductions and delayed interest payments on more than 40,000 wells in Oklahoma.
- Represented all defendants, including ConocoPhillips and Burlington Resources Oil & Gas, in seven lawsuits filed by more than one hundred royalty interest owners.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has significant oil and gas expertise across multiple offices, including its Houston, Dallas and Washington DC bases. The practice has particular prominence in climate change nuisance disputes and pipeline litigation including environmental permit cases; it also has a steady caseload of mainstream oil and gas litigation including royalty and rate cases. San Francisco managing partner Shannon Broome is noted for environmental cases with particular expertise in climate change disputes and Clean Air Act matters. Washington DC's Deidre Duncan is co-head of the environmental practice and a key name for pipeline disputes, Washington DC partner Chuck Knauss is singled out for climate change cases, and Houston's Alexis Gomez is also a noteworthy individual. Eric Murdock leads the administrative law team. Makram Jaber joined McGuireWoods LLP in 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Energy Transfer Partners
GE Oil and Gas
Chemical Safety Advocacy
Texas Oil and Gas Association
Andeavor (formerly Tesoro)
- Defended Marathon Petroleum in six climate nuisance cases brought by cities and counties in California, Maryland and Rhode Island seeking billions of dollars in damages against individual oil and gas companies.
- Acted for ExxonMobil in a challenge brought by environmental groups, EIP and Sierra Club, seeking to invalidate construction and operating permits for a significant part of a billion-dollar plus investment in Texas.
- Defended Central Petroleum against a lawsuit for the breach of an alleged agreement to pay commission to the plaintiff for services performed in connection with the farm-out of 70m acres of Australian oil and gas properties.
- Represented Statoil Oil & Gas in a dispute over an area of mutual interest, where the plaintiff alleged breach of contract and tort causes of actions amounting to $400m in damages.
K&L Gates is expanding its presence in oil and gas litigation, primarily through its Houston and Fort Worth offices; the team's work also has a strong geographic reach encompassing cases in Texas, California, Kansas, Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming. The group has a particularly strong track record in royalty disputes and is also noted for its appellate expertise and experience in cases before the Texas Supreme Court. Jeffrey King and Elizabeth Tiblets are prominent practitioners in Fort Worth, and Sandra Safro, who divides her time between Washington DC and Houston, is practice group coordinator for the oil, gas and resources practice.
TOTAL E&P USA
Scout Energy Partners
Sunoco Partners Marketing and Terminals
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
EQT Production Company
TH Exploration II
Chief Exploration & Development
Marcellus Shale Coalition
Enterprise Products Partners
- Represented Range Resources in a headline royalty case in Caddo County, Oklahoma.
- Acted for Devon Energy Production in a multi-plaintiff litigation relating to the alleged underpayment of royalties primarily in Wise County, Texas.
- Represented Total E&P USA, one of a number of defendants, in a royalty class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Ohio.
- Represented Range Resources in a royalty case in Grady County, Oklahoma.
- Defended SPMT against challenges to planning approvals for major projects that it is undertaking at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex near Philadelphia.
McGuireWoods LLP's oil and gas practice fields senior litigators from multiple offices, including Richmond, Houston, Charlottesville and Pittsburgh. The practice is noted for its experience in disputes relating to the Appalachian Basin, leveraging its Pittsburgh office. It also has expertise in climate change and coastal erosion cases, and matters arising from natural gas pipeline explosions, which utilize the firm's environmental and toxic tort specialists. Richmond's Ryan Frei is an experienced commercial litigator with a track record in disputes involving oil and gas contracts, allegations of fraud and tort claims. Pittsburgh-based Megan Haines is a key name for environmental disputes, Brian Jackson in Charlottesville has experience in pipeline explosion cases, and oil and gas litigator Greg Krock joined the Pittsburgh office from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.
Porter Hedges LLP is a Houston-based firm with substantial expertise in the oil and gas industry. The group fields a large team of litigators, which covers the full spectrum of oil and gas disputes including royalty claims, leasehold matters, environmental cases and exploration disputes. Eugene Nettles is a seasoned trial lawyer with extensive experience and represents a number of major energy companies. Eric Wade is also a key name to note.
Other key lawyers:
National Oilwell Varco
Momentive Specialty Chemicals
Sable Permian Resources Land
Ascend Performance Materials of Texas
- Represented Halcón Permian, a subsidiary of Halcón Resources, in a lawsuit to enjoin Impact 180 from interfering with Halcón’s right to develop an oil and gas lease in Ward County, Texas.
- Acted for Sable Permian Resources Land in a royalty dispute over several large leases located in Reagan County, Texas.
- Defended Fidelity Exploration & Production against nuisance and negligence claims brought by 82 homeowners in Penitas, Texas, relating to the drilling of 13 wells near the plaintiffs’ residences.
- Defended Maximiliano Poveda against allegations of conspiracy among a large number of entities and individuals to obtain favorable pricing on oil and other cargoes to and from Venezuela.
- Represented Apache in a breach of contract dispute relating to its purchase of Pioneer Natural Resources Company’s oil and gas operations in Argentina.
Winston & Strawn LLP operates across the oil and gas sphere, covering upstream, midstream, downstream, and oilfield services cases. Continuing the expansion of its oil and gas litigation expertise, the practice also recruited experienced trial lawyer James Nye from Baker & Hostetler LLP in 2019; Nye has a background in the petrochemical industry and has an extensive track record in oil and gas disputes. Key figure Hugh Tanner has substantial litigation experience, and also handles investigations, arbitration proceedings and mediation in the oil and gas sector. Denise Scofield is also highly rated. All named partners are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.
‘Practical approach, very responsive and understands the clients’ requirements.‘
‘The energy litigation team led by Hugh Tanner provides the best support from start to finish on any claim or litigation. They get involved early, analyze the different angles to any issue and provide constant communication, advice and feedback with the aim of achieving the best results for their client.‘
‘Denise Scofield is simply outstanding. She understands the business needs, is always available no matter how big or small the issue is and her advice is always on point. Her instincts during depositions are phenomenal and as a client you know you have the best lawyer on your side.’
Plains All American Pipeline Company
- Represented CPB Contractors in multiple disputes with Chevron and KBR US regarding a project in Western Australia to construct a 1.3 mile-long jetty designed for use with an LNG facility.
- Acted for M-I in a copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets case against two former employees and their new employer.
- Successfully defended Schlumberger Technology and affiliates in a mass tort groundwater contamination lawsuit filed by over 300 Midland, Texas residents.
- Represented Plains All-American employees in state and federal investigations relating to the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill.
- Acted for BP in a putative class action case involving antitrust claims related to Brent North Sea Crude futures and derivatives.