Energy & Natural Resources
Squire Sanders’ energy practice has long been recognized for its comprehensive and innovative approach to the energy industry and its participation in nearly every major energy initiative of the past several decades, from the creation of intercontinental gas pipelines to the development of ground-breaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving facilities and renewable energy projects throughout the world.
We advise our clients on issues arising from conventional, nuclear and renewable power generation, electricity transmission and distribution, natural gas storage and distribution, LNG facilities development and transacting, energy and commodities trading, and gas and electric utility ratemaking, as well as extensive experience in major antitrust, construction, and price review dispute resolution involving energy companies.
Energy Sectors and Capabilities
We serve clients in the following energy industry sectors:
- Electric Transmission and Distribution – Our energy team advises clients on construction contracting and financing related to electricity transmission, as well as in utility rate and certificate regulation and restructuring. We also counsel on transmission access, integration, and cost and revenue sharing.
- Hydro –Our experience includes nearly all aspects of hydroelectric regulation, encompassing permitting, licensing, exemptions and competitive relicensing proceedings.
- LNG – We have extensive experience with LNG matters including the importation of LNG, short- and long-term LNG sales contracts, terminal use agreements, ship charters, and rate and certificate proceedings. We also have experience in the development of LNG facilities all over the world.
- Nuclear – We advise clients on the development, financing, licensing, construction and regulation of nuclear power projects. We have handled matters relating to the cleanup issues, governmental licensing of facilities, nuclear transport regulation and consortia formation, and bidding for government-led nuclear decommissioning procurement programs.
- Oil and Gas – In the oil industry, we represent producers, transporters, refiners, marketers and service companies in upstream production-related matters and downstream refining and marketing matters, in secondary or tertiary recovery, governmental authorizations or regulatory requirements, and in dispute resolution. In the gas industry, we provide representation in connection with natural gas exploration and production, gathering systems, reinjection systems, processing, royalties, marketing, off-shore production, transportation and service contracting. We are experienced in negotiating and drafting gas supply and transportation agreements as well as major pipeline rate filings, applications for certificates to construct and operate facilities, and industry-wide rulemaking proceedings.
- Renewables – We have an outstanding track record of advising on all aspects of onshore and offshore wind farm projects in Europe, the Americas and Asia. We also have expertise in developing solar power plants and facilities fueled by biomass and other renewable resources such as waste. Our experience with power plant construction includes cogeneration, geothermal, wood-waste, agricultural waste, waste oil and peat-fueled facilities.
- Thermoelectric – We provide legal counsel in the structuring, development, financing and regulation of power generation projects for simple and combined cycle facilities. We represent investors in analyzing and responding to international tenders for thermoelectric projects, negotiating concession documentation with local governments, and negotiating and preparing project documentation, including construction, fuel supply (natural gas, coal and oil products), power purchase agreements (PPAs), and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts. We also counsel on the establishment of electric rates, obtaining market-based rate authority and exempt wholesale generator status, maintaining qualifying facilities status for cogenerators, and regulatory reporting requirements and other administrative conditions.
Our energy-related capabilities include:
- Environmental and Green Credits – Our environmental team is well versed in all aspects of substantive environmental law affecting the energy industry. We counsel both private clients and governmental entities regarding the generation, use, valuation and trading of emission reduction credits and other market-driven strategies for environmental compliance.
- Dispute Resolution – We have experience in litigating or arbitrating construction and warranty disputes, natural gas and LNG pricing issues, acquisition issues, environmental compliance, fuel supply disputes, labor disputes and other issues involving energy projects. We are experienced in litigation relating to energy matters in courts in numerous countries. We are also experienced in arbitration regimes from around the world.
- Mergers and Acquisitions – We advise on energy-related acquisitions, divestitures, fund raisings, initial public offerings and restructuring transactions as well as takeovers, joint ventures and other consortia and change-of-control activities. We have extensive experience in providing counsel in relation to competitive auction style processes for a wide range of energy projects. Our experience covers cross-border deals, and we work closely with our tax lawyers in connection with deal structuring.
- Project Development and Finance – Our experience includes the development of greenfield projects from the concept or bidding stage; analyzing tender documents and assisting in the preparation of bids; negotiating consortium, teaming and joint development agreements; preparing detailed legal risk analyses for developers; and negotiating and preparing the full range of project documentation, including project engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, O&M contracts, capacity and services agreements, PPAs and fuel supply contracts. Our finance experience includes nonrecourse and limited recourse financing, as well as more traditional credit facilities.
- Regulatory – We have extensive experience with planning, project siting, permitting, licensing, competition, health and safety, antitrust and trade-related issues relating to energy projects. We are recognized leaders in precedent-setting cases before regulatory commissions involving oil pipeline rates, government enforcement agencies, and open access and bypass issues. We have experience in counseling on the establishment of electric and gas transmission rates, obtaining market-based rate authority, and reporting requirements and other administrative matters.
- Advising in a US$250 million project financing for a new 120-mile, 1.5 billion cubic-foot-per-day natural gas pipeline and compression facilities project in Mexico. The project was named by Project Finance International magazine as Latin America Oil & Gas Deal of the Year. Financing was provided by a US-based international bank and a syndicate of international commercial banks led by Citigroup. Our lawyers represented the development and ownership joint venture between Pemex, the Mexican state-owned oil and gas monopoly, and another Squire Sanders client that is the largest natural gas pipeline company in the United States. Our work involved structuring, negotiating and finalizing all commercial and financing agreements for the project and applying for and obtaining all major governmental approvals. The project was the most significant energy project in Mexico of that year and represented the first time a portion of the Pemex pipeline system was financed without a Pemex corporate guaranty.
- Representing a major solar photovoltaic manufacturer in all aspects of international supply procurement.
- Representing FPL Energy (now NextEra Energy Resources, LLC) in a US$206 million project financing for two wind facilities aggregating 196.5 MW of capacity.
- Advising an India-based global wind turbine manufacturer on a US$135 million multicurrency letter of credit facility arranged by a US bank.
- Representing a major power company in the development of landfill gas combustion projects in Latin America to generate greenhouse gas credits and electricity.
- Representing a US supplier of natural gas in the preparation and negotiation of a term sheet for natural gas supply with one of the bidders of the Rio Bravo IV Power Project including the negotiation of a conditional precedent agreement for transportation on the TGP South Texas Expansion Project.
- Serving as project counsel to an international consortium of energy companies in all aspects of the development, permitting, construction, operation and maintenance of a 1 billion cu. ft. LNG receiving and regasification terminal under development in Sonora, Mexico, including infrastructure connecting an LNG regasification terminal in Sonora with distribution points in Mexico and the United States.
- Assisting our client, an integrated energy company based in Italy, in negotiating with the LNG division of a US-based energy company to become the anchor user of its proposed LNG terminal to be located on the Louisiana coast. On behalf of our client we negotiated a contract for approximately 40 percent of the terminal's capacity over a 20-year period, as well as a long-term contract for transportation on the interstate pipeline to be built by the LNG's company's affiliate. The terminal will be the first new LNG facility to be built in the United States in more than 20 years; its projected capital cost is US$500 million.
- Counseling the developer of the world's two largest solar power projects (to be located in California) including negotiation of power purchase agreements with utility and other development-related activities.
- Representing the natural gas, power and petroleum marketing subsidiary of a US energy company in the negotiation of the cross-border fuel supply agreement for the Naco-Nogales Power Project in Mexico including the negotiation of US pipeline transportation agreements.
The three major producers of emulsion fuels, diesel fuel with high water content, encountered significant difficulties in marketing their product within the EU. The problem stemmed from the fact that (1) there was no technical standard for such fuels...
A Recommended International Firm for Project Finance in Latin America, by Energy and Infrastructure: Latin America 2013 – A Guide to the Industry’s Leading Law Firms and Lawyers.