MCC Talks to David Sweeney About Energy M&A, Regulatory Issues

Metropolitan Corporate Counsel has interviewed Akin Gump oil and gas partner David Sweeney on his career and the industry, the resulting article titled “The Certainty of Uncertainty: Energy players fume and fret, but the game is always fueled by price.”

Sweeney, whose practice focuses on energy sector mergers and acquisitions and project development and finance, covered a variety of topics, among them:

  • Energy M&A: “We've seen a substantial uptick in M&A activity recently. Uncertainty ebbs and flows in intensity. As it rolls back a bit, people stop playing their cards so close to the vest and start seeing opportunities to snap up or sell assets to redirect their focus to other areas. It’s been all the rage of late…to narrow the focus to drilling plays.”
  • The challenges of worldwide joint operating arrangements: “To start with, they're vastly different…In the U.S. – you could call it the Wild, Wild West – the emphasis is on speed and repeatability. You don’t have to negotiate a new form every time because no single joint operating agreement is worth enough to justify dumping months of negotiation into it. It's difficult to transition from one way of thinking, the Wild, Wild West way, to another way of thinking, more akin to the European Union way.”
  • Key regulatory issues facing the energy industry: “The single biggest hot button, on the tip of everybody's tongue, is hydraulic fracturing. We've been hearing about things like induced seismicity and earthquakes for years. Air quality permitting is also going to be extremely important. There are substantial new regulations that a lot of newer wells are subject to and are not always taking into account. An unsettled issue, less in Texas and more in other places, is state vs. local preemption, i.e., whose law governs.”

To read the full interview, please click here.