Akin Gump is known internationally for its sophisticated, diverse and full-service energy law practice, encompassing transactional, dispute and regulatory matters, with lawyers and offices that are actively engaged on oil and gas and other energy matters and in key global energy “capitals.” Our energy practice consists of an outstanding firm-wide team of over 250 lawyers who frequently represent public and private companies, sponsors and portfolio companies in project finance and development, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures in both U.S. and foreign markets; issuers and underwriters in a wide variety of public and private equity and debt offerings; borrowers and lenders in bank lending transactions; and non-US clients in the energy sector in investments in North America. We also advise on a wide variety of energy-related project construction, development, operations, and finance matters.
For over 70 years, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has been at the forefront of representing domestic and international oil and gas leaders in their transactions. Through our integrated transactional, regulatory, policy and dispute resolution practices, we are able to provide top legal counsel globally to lenders, investment banks, private equity funds, underwriters, issuers, independent producers, consumers, major multinational and state-owned oil companies, national governments, energy service companies, processing, operations, transportation and pipeline companies and refining and petrochemical companies.
We have been deeply involved in many of the largest and most complex energy projects in the world. Our experience with the oil and gas industry spans the value chain from exploration and production activity through pipelines, LNG, refining and petrochemicals, with particular experience in acquisitions and divestitures in the upstream oil and gas business. Our lawyers have been leaders in the development of the U.S. E&P industry, both in terms of acquisitions and divestitures, and a variety of related financing structures.
Upstream. Following a period of sustained high oil prices that led to robust investment in the exploration and production (E&P) sector of the energy industry in recent years, we are now in a period of oil price volatility. Both scenarios represent opportunities for companies operating and/or investing in the E&P space. Drawing on our experience in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Houston, New York, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London, Akin Gump lawyers have been at the forefront of these developments as a transaction advisor to integrated and independent exploration and production companies, master limited partnerships (MLPs), and key stakeholders in large oilfield service and supply companies, as well as to investment funds and venture capitalists. In this low price environment, our energy group has worked closely with our financial restructuring group to advise numerous stakeholders with respect the impact of substantially reduced exploration budgets, challenges associated with borrowing base redeterminations for reserve based loans, and service costs that have fallen over 30% on average. These challenges have also provided strategic opportunities, and we are helping clients identify and take advantage of them throughout the oil and gas value chain.
Midstream. Akin Gump has been project and general corporate counsel to many of the world’s largest pipeline projects, including the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, the largest privately financed pipeline project in U.S. history, as well as the Joint North Slope Producers on the North Slope Natural Gas Pipeline. We have provided advice to cogeneration developers, end-users, intrastate pipelines and marketers and numerous MLP and other midstream players regarding the structure and implementation of sales, transportation and marketing transactions and the construction and operation of new natural gas transmission facilities, as well as assisted them in raising capital, whether via bank lending, the capital markets, private equity or other means. The presence of so much shale gas and associated natural gas liquids (NGLs) has led to particularly strong growth in the midstream sector in the US, including the development of new petrochemical facilities in the United States, as well as projects to export NGLs and LNG from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
LNG. Akin Gump lawyers have advised on many of the major LNG export projects which are either operational or still under development in the North America, Australia, Middle East, Africa and SE Asia, both land-based and floating. Our lawyers have advised project developers, lenders and investors in structuring the contractual framework for both the pre and post-FID development phases (including advising on and negotiating EPC contracts) and the operation phase. Our lawyers also have significant experience advising developers and offtakers in their negotiation of both long-term and short term (MSA) LNG sales and purchase agreements, as well as numerous long-term tolling agreements. We also have significant experience analyzing the antitrust/competition rules applicable to joint marketing arrangements and the regulatory issues associated with exports of LNG from the US. LNG import demand is likely to continue to grow in developing economies and in other markets seeking cleaner forms of energy or geopolitical security for their energy supplies. All of this will require a continued expansion of shipping capacity and regasification terminals. Akin Gump lawyers have recently advised project developers, aggregators, lenders, investors and gas end-users on several LNG regas terminal developments (both land-based and floating) and related shipping arrangements across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
Downstream. Refiners, marketers and petrochemical companies are upgrading or building new facilities, expanding into new markets and adjusting their asset portfolios. Our lawyers have been heavily involved in this downstream activity as transaction advisors and as environmental and land use consultants.
Master Limited Partnerships. We are one of only a handful of law firms in the U.S. with extensive expertise – and broadly based representation of participants – in the MLP sector. Partners in the energy practice of our firm were pioneers in the MLP sector, participating in the development of the MLP “product” in the energy industry almost 30 years ago. Since then, our attorneys have represented MLPs, sponsors, underwriters, lenders, boards and board committees and other investors in formation, corporate governance, M&A, operational and financing (including public and private offerings of equity and debt) activities, many of which have issues that are unique to MLPs. Like our MLP clients, we pay close attention to market conditions and trends, and anticipate changes that may be required or possible as a result.
Energy Regulatory. Akin Gump’s energy regulation, markets and enforcement practice combines a client service culture with the experience needed to address the most complex and pressing needs of energy industry participants. Our team includes a former director of the Division of Investigations in the Office of Enforcement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as well as a deep bench of experienced practitioners. This gives us a unique perspective on the agency’s deliberative processes and the practical implementation of government policies. We represent a wide range of energy companies in strategic, regulatory, transactional and litigation matters, and are actively involved in representations before FERC, the Department of Energy (DOE), and other federal agencies, Congress, federal and state courts and state regulatory commissions. Our partners have been recognized by Chambers USA in the Energy: Electricity (Regulatory and Litigation) category and by Public Utilities Fortnightly as leading lawyers in their field.
Conventional Power. Fueled by our global capabilities, Akin Gump is able to assist our conventional power clients around legal and regulatory roadblocks while representing them in all aspects of the development and financing of cogeneration, independent and public power projects, including partnership and joint venture agreements, project finance and development documents and sophisticated tax allocation and ownership arrangements. In addition, corporate clients and governments have engaged Akin Gump repeatedly in connection with the privatization of electric generating, distribution and transmission companies in emerging markets.