The energy and natural resources industries continuously undergo innovative advances that present complex legal challenges. When seeking counsel, companies need a law firm with global capacity and lawyers knowledgeable about relevant technologies, skilled in all the relevant areas of law and conversant with industry trends and developments.
Dechert combines these capabilities. We regularly advise clients worldwide on matters involving a wide array of energy resources including oil, gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal, nuclear, wind, solar, biofuels, hydroelectric, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. We have extensive experience advising clients engaged in upstream, midstream and downstream operations, electricity generation and the provision of oil field or other energy and power services, such as engineering, construction and maintenance services, to energy and power companies. We also assist clients, including financial institutions, technology companies and venture capital firms, in achieving their goals in the rapidly developing cleantech sector, whether those goals relate to renewable energy, energy efficiency or other environmentally friendly technologies, including nanotechnology.
Project Advisory Services
Our lawyers have advised on a wide range of legal matters related to energy projects, including:
- Real estate development and venture structuring, as well as option and land purchase agreements
- Feasibility and impact studies
- Environmental due diligence and risk management
- Environmental permitting and regulatory compliance
- Utility supply, performance, management and offtake agreements
We also regularly assist with a broad range of relevant commercial agreements, including:
- Build-own-transfer (BOT)/build-own-operate (BOO) agreements
- Engineering, procurement and construction agreements (EPCs)
- Equipment purchase/leasing agreements
- Operation and maintenance agreements
- Outsourcing agreements
- Production-sharing agreements (PSAs)
- Service agreements
- Transmission agreements
- Vendor warranty/maintenance agreements
Energy Trading and Marketing
Factors including the deregulation of energy markets and economic stimulus packages have created opportunities for companies to diversify and expand their energy trading, marketing and distribution activities. We assist such companies with structuring, negotiating and documenting futures, options, swaps and other derivatives transactions and with the acquisition and sale of emission reduction credits (ERCs). Our lawyers have advised on the establishment of the world’s first oil exchange-traded commodities ETCs (ETFS Brent Oil and ETFS WTI Oil) and the first carbon emission exchange-traded commodities ETCs (ETFS Carbon).
Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
Dechert lawyers are particularly skilled at representing clients before legislative, regulatory and executive bodies in both formal proceedings and informal discussions, applying our experience gained advising governments on energy industry regulation, including in the emerging markets. Our experience includes:
- Developing model siting legislation
- Creating strategies for local government approvals
- Participating in independent systems operator (ISO) stakeholder meetings
- Advising on the transportation of nuclear waste
- Defending or challenging siting decisions and agency-issued permits
- Advising on the privatization of the electricity sector in emerging markets
- Lobbying for electric and natural gas deregulation and restructuring, including advising transmission system operators (TSOs) on the evolving EU regulatory framework
- Counseling in relation to carbon emissions
Litigation and Arbitration
Our team has the skill and experience to handle every aspect of the most complex, sensitive and high-stakes cases, as well as the flexibility to resolve controversies in practically every relevant area of law via arbitration or alternative dispute resolution techniques. We have represented clients in proceedings related to:
- Citizen suits and governmental enforcement actions
- Operating agreements and allocation of financial responsibility
- Construction disputes
- Disputes arising from PSAs
- Payment and supply disputes
- Investment disputes, including those involving joint venture partners or sovereign states
- Class action lawsuits
- Internal investigations
- Environmental litigation
We apply our worldwide experience advising energy and cleantech companies when evaluating potential obstacles to transactions in order to arrive at the best possible solution for our clients.
Our top-ranked corporate practice advises on mergers, tender and exchange offers, leveraged buyouts, going-public and going-private transactions, strategic alliances, collaborations and joint ventures, acquisitions, divestitures, proxy contests, special committee assignments and other corporate governance issues involving parties in the energy and cleantech industries.
Finding capital from the right source can be challenging. Dechert assists with structuring private equity and venture capital investments, syndicated bank loans, capital markets transactions, public-private partnership/private finance initiative (PPP/PFI) and other creative finance strategies. We are fully conversant with limited-recourse project financings, asset-backed structures and off-balance sheet methods.
Private Fund Formation and Investments
Private fund sponsors targeting the energy and cleantech industries rely on our internationally recognized lawyers to advise at every phase of the investment life cycle. We form funds to accommodate investment objectives and achieve the most tax-efficient outcome, structure investments that maximize portfolio value, execute transactions that enhance investment portfolios and assist our clients in accomplishing exits at the right time and with the right return.
Understanding the tax incentives and strategies available to the energy and cleantech industries is key to capitalizing on investments and minimizing overall tax liability. Our tax lawyers advise on issues such as property and sales tax incentives, tax relief and liabilities resulting from emission credits, tax subsidies and the current cost of tax equity.
Dechert’s top-ranked intellectual property lawyers possess a deep understanding of the technologies underlying energy and cleantech innovations. Many of our intellectual property lawyers have advanced degrees in related sciences or industry experience, which we apply to help clients meet their business objectives. We maximize and protect their intellectual property assets through patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection, licensing programs, IP due diligence in the course of transactions and contentious proceedings as needed.