Oil prices have recently reached historic lows and oil companies are faced with a number of potential legal issues as the prices impact their trading and operational agreements. In this podcast series, our energy disputes lawyers consider some of the key issues triggered by the current low oil price environment. Even investments into relatively stable jurisdictions may be affected by changes in the political and financial landscape. No investor can completely insulate their investment from such changes, but access to an investment treaty can be critical: Andrew Cannon, Laurence Franc-Menget and Hannah Ambrose discuss how investment treaties can protect foreign investments against state action in the second episode in the series. Read more
Joining William Powell and Joseph Murphy of Natural Gas World, Lewis McDonald discusses what the future now looks like in terms of investments in energy, namely oil and gas. Given the burgeoning global population, rising standards of living and climate goals, there has been a serious increase in awareness and concern in global climate change around the world. The environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda is now at the top of many companies’ priorities though currently appearing to mainly affect companies in Europe and less so in Asia. Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, ESG was the major issue being discussed in board rooms. With about 12,000 entities, together controlling around $14 trillion, divesting or wanting to divest from fossil fuels primarily based on consumer demand and consumer sentiment and where the laws and regulation are heading, we have seen rather a chilling effect on investment in the oil and gas sector – and the big question is ... where does it all go from here… Read more
We are well into the pandemic and lockdown in many regions, so it is natural to ask the question, “when will this end and when will we return to normal”... The problem is, “normal” was not sustainable, in so many ways. Those of us in the energy industry particularly know that to be true. The “business as usual” scenario put out by the International Energy Agency in its 2019 World Energy Outlook does not make for happy reading. It had us on a crash course towards over three degrees of temperature increase due to carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption. The IEA also has a “sustainable development scenario” which keeps us within the Paris limits of 1.5 degrees. The only problem is that, according to the OECD, we would need to spend €6.3 trillion per year globally in each of the next 10 years for us to get there. To give you a feeling for how much money that is, the total size of the global economy is estimated at around $86 trillion. And so the challenge seems virtually impossible. Read more
Last month, the Oil and Gas Authority (the “OGA”) released a consultation paper (the “OGA Consultation”) setting out its proposals to revise the Maximising Economic Recovery Strategy for the UK (the “MER UK Strategy”). The OGA’s proposed revisions are potentially far-reaching and are aimed at positioning the UK’s oil and gas industry as a solution, rather than an impediment, to achieving the Government’s carbon neutrality targets. In this briefing we review five key changes proposed in the OGA’s consultation document, and consider their impact on participants in the oil and gas industry. The MER UK Strategy will be familiar to all participants in the industry. Since March 2016, the MER UK Strategy has had as its core obligation a requirement to “take the steps necessary to secure that the maximum value of economically recoverable petroleum is recovered from the strata beneath relevant UK waters”. The OGA Consultation, released on 6 May 2020, has been issued in the wake of the UK government’s introduction of legislation in June 2019 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 (the “Net Zero Target”). Read more
If we look at the last few months, the energy markets have been hit by two crises. The first one, the most obvious, due to a slump in demand as a result of the lock-down and the halt in... Read more
We are delighted to present an update to our European Energy Handbook. The European Energy Handbook usually reports on regulatory, legal and market developments in the European energy sector. However, these are not usual times as the COVID-19 pandemic is creating significant health, social and economic challenges worldwide, forcing governments and businesses to critically assess the impact on their people, operations and governance. In many jurisdictions, governments have made available support schemes for businesses in an effort to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic on their businesses. In this special edition, we cover 52 jurisdictions across the globe. Read more
In Carpatsky Petroleum Corp v PJSC Ukrnafta  EWHC 769 (Comm), the Commercial Court has upheld the enforcement of a US$147 million Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (the “SCC”) award issued in 2010 in favour of Carpatsky Petroleum Corporation, incorporated in Delaware (“Carpatsky”), against PJSC Ukrnafta (“Ukrnafta”), Ukraine’s oil and gas producer (the “Award”). Enforcement was allowed despite an argument from... Read more
In a recent decision, the Commercial Court found that an express and (on its face) unqualified right to discharge the operator in a Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) was not subject to any implied term of good faith, or that the right would not be exercised capriciously, arbitrarily or unreasonably: TAQA Bratani Limited and Others v RockRose UKCS8 LLC  EWHC 58 (Comm). The decision confirms that unqualified termination or discharge rights in JOAs are unlikely to be subject to implied terms of good faith, and therefore provides comfort for those who might exercise such rights. Read more
Now in its eleventh edition, the European Energy Handbook 2019 - 2020 provides an in-depth survey of current issues in the energy sector in 42 European jurisdictions.
This year's edition focuses on recent legal and commercial developments in each jurisdiction, and covers issues such as the Energy Union, the adoption of the latest package of EU energy legislation, and the 'Clean Energy for All Europeans' bundle of directives and regulations updating the EU's energy policy framework to facilitate the decarbonisation of the sector and the transition towards cleaner energy. Climate change, the energy transition and associated challenges are...