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Editorial

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  1. Energy regulation: oil and gas
  2. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

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Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Bracewell LLP offers a truly full-service oil and gas regulatory practice; attorneys regularly assist clients with proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Mark Lewis is the head of the DC-based team and concentrates on work arising from the midstream oil and gas sector. Highlights included Kirk Morgan and others acting as project counsel to Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline on its $1.7bn Gulf Coast Express Pipeline project, which will transport natural gas from the Permian Basin to Agua Dulce; work thus far has included advising on rate design and tariff issues. On the contentious side, a group led by Morgan and Lewis is representing Enterprise Products in a contested FERC proceeding regarding the way in which oil pipelines conduct business with their marketing affiliates. Michael Brooks and David Perlman are some other names to note. Cheniere Energy, Phillips 66 and Apache Corporation all feature in the firm's client list.

The Washington DC-based pipeline and LNG group at Van Ness Feldman LLP has 'uniquely sharp insight into difficult issues' and 'achieves favorable results'. Major clients include a number of well-known interstate pipeline and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), such as Mountain Valley Pipeline, Tallgrass Energy Partners and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners. In a recent highlight, Gregory Junge, Michael Pincus and others assisted Millennium Pipeline Company with obtaining federal and state permits necessary for its construction of the Valley Lateral project; this new pipeline will supply a gas-fired power plant. As the project was contested by a New York regulatory body, the team represented the client in federal appellate litigation and obtained a FERC declaratory order stating that the agency waived its ability to deny a permit under the Clean Water Act. Junge 'has knowledge of a broad range of topics' while Pincus is the 'go-to attorney for certificate approval'. Another success saw a team led by Paul Korman representing Dominion Energy in a rate case before FERC and winning a favorable settlement for the client. Korman also assisted the client with preparing comments on FERC's revised policy regarding the ability of MLPs to recover additional income tax costs; he is 'excellent at anticipating difficult issues and formulating necessary solutions'. Additionally, the group counsels clients on pipeline safety. Susan Olenchuk, Mona Tandon and Lawrence Acker are some other names to note.

Deep knowledge of federal regulation is the hallmark of the 60-partner energy regulatory and complex commercial litigation practice at Vinson & Elkins LLP. Washington DC-based John Decker and others are assisting New Fortress Energy with all aspects of its development of multiple small-scale LNG export projects. On the regulatory side, this involves obtaining export authorizations from the DOE. Also in DC, a group led by Anita Wilson advises Jordan Cove on all federal regulatory matters regarding its Jordan Cove Energy Project and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline; the $10bn project will be the first LNG export project developed on the West Coast, and is aimed at supplying the Asian market. Wilson also counsels East Cheyenne Gas Storage on regulatory issues ranging from rates and tariffs to certification and compliance. Other major clients include Enbridge and AltaGas. James Seegers (Houston) is another name to note; counsels Suzanne Clevenger (Houston) and Damien Lyster (DC) are also highly recommended. Matt Henry departed for an in-house position at Oncor Electric Delivery in March 2018.

Providing regulatory counsel, assisting with the permitting of regulated facilities, representation in rate cases and negotiating commercial agreements are some key activities for the energy regulatory group at Baker Botts L.L.P. Washington DC-based Jay Ryan and Houston-based Jim Barkley are the heads of the team. In an ongoing highlight, Barkley and others are representing West Texas LPG Pipeline in complaint proceedings at the Texas Railroad Commission in which several shippers (including Enbridge and ConocoPhillips) allege that the client's 2015 rate increases were illegal since they were determined according to a market-based methodology. Elsewhere, New York-based Mike Bengtson and others are assisting EQT with the regulatory aspects of the development and construction of its $3.85bn Mountain Valley Pipelines project in Virginia. This 72-mile-long interstate natural gas pipeline will provide transmission capacity to the Mid-Atlantic and South-Atlantic regions of the US. The 'outstanding' New York-based Michael Rosenwasser is 'the go-to lawyer in the MLP space'; Gregory Wagner departed for Venable LLP in December 2018.

Devoting its practice to the Texan oil and gas market, Houston-based boutique firm Caldwell Boudreaux Lefler PLLC is jointly led by Charles Caldwell and Sabina Walia. The team has particularly strong FERC representational capabilities, and assists clients such as Kinder Morgan, Marathon Pipeline and BP Pipelines. In ongoing work, Elizabeth Kohlhausen, Michelle Boudreaux and others are representing a pipeline and energy storage company in FERC complaint proceedings filed by five major shippers challenging the client's rates for interstate transportation of petroleum to several destinations on its East Line. Another major contentious highlight was the firm's successful representation of Leveret Pipeline and Mid-America Pipeline in a protest filed by INEOS challenging various tariff filings made by the client; FERC ruled in the client's favor and denied a further request for a rehearing by INEOS; the work was led by Kohlhausen, who was assisted by Caldwell and Deborah Repman. Elsewhere, the firm often assists clients with FERC filings and dockets. Amy Hoff is another name to note.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has 'the unique ability to bring a regulatory focus to transactional matters'. The firm's DC-based energy department represents oil and gas clients before a range of federal regulatory bodies, including FERC, the DOE and the CFTC, as well as several state bodies. Recent highlights include a group led by Kirstin Gibbs being retained by a major LNG company to develop and file a petition for a declaratory order requesting that certain rules and prohibitions are not applied to a series of transactions the client may soon undertake. In addition to this, Gibbs, Levi McAllister and others represent a consortium of natural gas entities in a Natural Gas Act Section rate case. Shell Trading US is another notable client. Gibbs 'always provides fit-for-purpose support' and is 'exceptionally good at advising on complex issues'. Furthermore, the group is active in compliance, enforcement and investigation matters; Gibbs focuses on FERC representation while McAllister has extensive experience before the CFTC. Kathryn Sutton and Steve Spina are key contacts.

Praised by a client for its 'exceptional depth of experience', Steptoe & Johnson LLP's DC-based oil and gas pipeline department is led by FERC and appellate court specialist Daniel Poynor. The 'seasoned' team is 'full of strategic thinkers' who specialize in representing companies in cost-of-service and market-based rate proceedings. Recent highlights include Poynor and Steven Reed leading a team that negotiated and obtained regulatory approvals for a settlement pertaining to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System on behalf of ConocoPhillips; the settlement brought to an end over a decade of rate litigation at FERC, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and various state and federal courts. Elsewhere, Douglas Green and others successfully acted for Eversource in a class action antitrust and consumer fraud complaint initiated by retail electric consumers in New England; the plaintiffs alleged that the client, along with Avangrid, purposely withheld gas transportation capacity on the Algonquin gas pipeline in order to benefit from the resultant increased prices of rival electric generators. Enbridge and Colonial Pipeline Company are some other impressive names which feature on the firm's client list. Steven Brose is also highly recommended.

The energy and natural resources department at Greenberg Traurig LLP 'brings tremendous industry and government experience to its representation of clients'. Key areas of work include rate-making proceedings, appellate proceedings, certification and licencing matters and market manipulation cases. DC-based partners Kenneth Minesinger and Howard Nelson are assisting the State of Alaska and Alaska Gasline Development Corporation with a broad range of matters related to the construction of the Alaska LNG Project; on the regulatory side, this involves advising the clients on the FERC licensing process and filing for the necessary FERC authorizations. In an ongoing contentious highlight, Nelson and Minesinger are representing El Paso Natural Gas in an appeal of a rate case before FERC, which could cost the client over $700m in return on investment. Nelson 'considers the issue from all possible angles'. Energy transaction specialist Douglas Atnipp departed for Winston & Strawn LLP in January 2018; counsel Edwin Nazario joined the DC office from Reed Smith LLP in February 2018.

Stefan Krantz leads the 50-partner Washington DC-based energy practice at Hogan Lovells US LLP. The team is known for its expertise in LNG export projects and has a track record of success in complex energy litigation before FERC. Krantz and others acted for Great Lakes Gas Transmission Limited Partnership in a commercially sensitive FERC rate case; the work included assisting the client with navigating FERC's newly implemented settlement process and ended in a favorable settlement worth $186m. In a cross-jurisdictional matter, a group led by Christopher Schindler is acting as project counsel to Energy World USA in the development of its LNG export facility in Louisiana; regulatory work on this matter includes obtaining FERC permits and DOE export authorizations. The project is worth over $1bn and is expected to export 5m tons of LNG per annum.

The Washington DC-based government matters department at King & Spalding LLP handles the firm's oil and gas regulatory work. James Bowe, Charles Engel and Neil Levy are the joint heads of the team. Bowe and others are advising Mexico Pacific Limited on all aspects of its development and implementation of a new LNG export facility to be located in Mexico worth over $1bn. Regulatory work thus far has included preparing and submitting a an export application to the DOE and counseling the client on Mexican LNG regulation. Another key highlight is Engel's assistance to a multinational energy company with its decommissioning of offshore oil and gas production platforms and related assets. This involves representation before numerous authorities, including the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Counsel William Rice is also of note; Engel is 'a top-notch attorney who understands business needs and provides clear and cogent advice'.

Regulatory work for Latham & Watkins LLP's oil and gas clients is handled by the oil and gas industry group in conjunction with the energy regulatory and markets group, with David Schwartz acting as the key contact for both teams. Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil Pipeline and Santa Fe Gas are some examples of notable clients of the practice. In an ongoing matter, J. Patrick Nevins serves as counsel to the $9bn Delfin Midstream LNG export project on a range of issues, including obtaining FERC approvals for the onshore components of the project; once completed, this will be the first deep-water port LNG export project in the US. Nevins has both 'deep regulatory knowledge' and 'commercial acumen on par with transaction specialists at other firms'. Elsewhere, Eugene Elrod and others are acting for PTE Pipeline in rate proceedings at both the Regulatory Commission of Alaska and FERC.

The energy and infrastructure practice at Eversheds Sutherland is jointly led by Catherine Krupka and Paul Forshay. Besides advising oil and clients on FERC, DOE and CFTC regulation, the department regularly counsels them on matters concerning the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) renewable fuel standard, crude oil exports, liquid pipelines and gas transport storage. Forshay assists Colonial Pipeline with regulatory due diligence in the context of its acquisition of marine terminal facilities from NorthStar Offshore Venture's Port Arthur Pipeline and Marine Terminal. In another highlight, Forshay and counsel Meghan Gruebner represented Oglethorpe Power in a Southern Natural Gas Company rate case and the corresponding settlement negotiation before FERC. Also noted are Jacob Dweck, Susan Lafferty and New York-based David McCullough. Named attorneys are based in DC, unless otherwise noted.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP's oil and gas practice regularly counsels clients on matters pertaining to statutes such as the Natural Gas Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Pipeline Safety Act. Shemin Proctor, Chuck Knauss, Deidre Duncan, Myles Reynolds (Dallas) and Stuart Hollimon (Houston) are the department heads. Highlights included Duncan and others representing Enbridge in its response to a Notice of Inquiry issued by FERC reviewing the policy for approving new interstate natural gas projects. On the contentious side, Reynolds acted for ENSTAR Natural Gas Company in a rate case before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, successfully winning approval of a significant rate increase and a return on equity. Rate proceeding specialist Mark Sundback and special counsel Kenneth Wiseman left for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in April 2018. Named attorneys are based in DC, unless otherwise noted.

Administrative litigation, regulatory due diligence on M&A transactions, rate and tariff cases and compliance and enforcement matters are some key areas of activity for Jones Day's energy department, which is led by Houston-based Jeffrey Schlegel. Highlights included James Olson (Houston) assisting Mach Resources with obtaining a waiver from FERC in the context of its acquisition of oil and gas assets from Chesapeake. Olson also represented an upstream oil and gas company in rate proceedings before FERC initiated by an LNG pipeline, in which the pipeline seeks to remove all rate regulation through the mechanism of market-based rates. DC-based James Beh is another name to note.

Entergy Corporation, NextDecade and American Petroleum Institute feature on the impressive client list of K&L Gates's oil, gas and resources practice. Sandra Safro leads the 'always outstanding' team from the Washington DC office. In a key highlight, Saffro, David Wochner and others serve as lead counsel to Liquefied Natural Gas in its development and construction of the $3.8bn Magnolia LNG project, the first greenfield LNG export project in the lower 48 states to receive FERC authorization. In 2018, the firm represented the client before the DOE and FERC on issues such as potential restrictions on opportunities for foreign investment and the impact of tariffs on the ability to secure investors. A number of additions from Texas firm Winstead has bolstered the team's capabilities; of particular note is the arrival of energy litigator Elizabeth Tiblets in the Forth Worth office. A 'combination of industry-specific knowledge and legal expertise' sets the firm apart, according to clients.

Houston-based Blake Winburne leads the energy and infrastructure focus group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, which consists of six partners. The firm has a strong track record of handling regulatory work for major oil and gas projects. In a standout highlight, a group led by Lisa Tonery (New York) is advising Pivotal LNG on potentially supplying LNG to the US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay for use as fuel; this raises the novel question of whether the transported gas would fall under DOE jurisdiction according to the Natural Gas Act. Elsewhere, Tonery is assisting Cheniere Energy with regulatory issues arising from its construction of the $18bn Sabine Pass Liquefaction project; recently she represented the client in seeking authorizations to expand its export facilities by adding a third marine berth. DC-based partner Erik Swenson is another name to note; energy tax expert Michael Masri joined the New York office from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in January 2019.

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Craig Enochs (Houston) and Nicolle Bagnell (Pittsburgh) are the heads of the energy and natural resources industry group at Reed Smith LLP. Oil and gas pipelines, gas-powered electric utilities, shippers and storage operators all feature on the firm's impressive client list. The team regularly provides compliance counseling, assists with FERC filings and authorizations, and represents clients in rate cases. Former FERC commissioner Colette Honorable (DC) has unique insight into rate-making and gas-electric coordination; Regina Speed-Bost (DC) has also worked at FERC and focuses on issues concerning interstate natural gas pipeline tariffs, rates and services. Also noted is Houston-based Peggy Heeg, who has significant experience in midstream and downstream matters.

New York-based Jason Webber is a key contact in White & Case LLP's oil and gas group. Regulatory work in the context of oil and gas transactions is a cornerstone of this practice, although the team also handles rate cases before state and federal authorities. Daniel Hagan (DC) is recommended for compliance and regulatory counseling.

The energy, environment and natural resources team at WilmerHale represents oil and gas clients before state and federal regulatory bodies and is also retained for FERC enforcement defense. Denver-based partner Andrew Spielman is the chair of the seven-partner practice. Highlights included Spielman, Ken Salazar (DC), counsel Raya Treiser (DC) and others assisting Atlantic Coast Pipeline with securing federal approvals to develop a 600-mile interstate natural gas pipeline that will serve markets in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Treiser is noted for her previous experience at the Department of the Interior and the White House, where she spent several years helping to shape policies governing the development of energy and infrastructure projects on public lands. Also recommended are Tom Strickland (DC), John Walsh (Denver) and Michael Connor (DC).

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