(Houston) – On July 14, Akin Gump hosted its annual mid-year energy briefing, moderated by Houston partner in charge Christine LaFollette. Featuring partners from around the firm and across practices, the briefing focused on critical issues of interest to clients in and around the energy space.
The Akin Gump lawyers participating in the live and webcast event were partners Chuck Gibbs (Dallas), Doug Glass (Houston), Marc Hammerson and Hamish Lal (London), John Marciano (Washington, D.C.) and Ed Zaelke (Los Angeles), and senior counsel Melissa Schwartz (Washington, D.C.).
The topics and presenters were as follows:
- Policy and Commercial Impact of Brexit for Energy Markets (Hammerson)
- Issues to Consider in the Sanctions Era (Schwartz)
- Bankruptcy Issues Involving Midstream Contracts (Gibbs, Glass)
- Predicting the Future of the Renewable Energy Yieldco – What Do the Recent Failures of SunEdison and Abengoa Tell Us? (Zaelke, Marciano)
- Construction Disputes on the Rise in the Energy Industry: Current Problems and What to Expect in the Year Ahead (Lal)
Among the observations offered were:
- Brexit: The period leading up to the U.K.’s departure from the EU could see a lower GDP, a devalued pound, reduced M&A activity and reduced infrastructure investment.
- Sanctions and Compliance: Due diligence is critical, from a compliance standpoint, for new investments, including review of past sanctions compliance to understand how Office of Foreign Assets Control will view current or future issues.
- Yieldcos: Yieldcos are “sleeping,” rather than “dead” vehicles, despite recent publicized failures. But there are currently other options—private yieldcos, strategic partnerships, securitization—that investors are using as alternative equity vehicles.
- Disputes: Irrespective of global location, E&P projects—pipelines, tank farms, drilling contracts, among others—are suffering from increasing disputes in construction largely caused by the inability of contract purchasers to make payments and of those performing contracts to pay subcontractors, and disputes that formerly would have settled are now not settling.
The full presentation can be viewed here.