K&L Gates’ oil and gas team includes lawyers located across our global office network representing clients with operations in virtually all of the major oil and natural gas-producing regions around the world.
Our lawyers have handled challenging energy-related project engagements in North and South America; Western, Central, and Eastern Europe; Russia; the Middle East; Asia and Australia. Our comprehensive oil and gas practice in the United States is recognized for its extensive experience in both conventional and unconventional formations throughout North America, in particular for its work in Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico, including the largest on-shore domestic shale plays - the Barnett Shale in Texas, the Haynesville Shale in Texas and Louisiana, and the Marcellus Shale formation in the Appalachian Basin. This experience is strongly complemented by significant pipeline and utility regulatory experience. In the Middle East and Asia our lawyers work on a range of engagements in the upstream and downstream sectors, including oil and gas field development, petrochemical and refinery developments, and energy trading.
The interdisciplinary team of lawyers in our oil and gas group addresses the myriad of legal issues involved with exploring for, producing, transporting, trading, storing, marketing, and processing natural gas, coal bed methane, oil, and other petroleum products. Our lawyers have experience in an array of practice areas including: arbitration litigation and dispute resolution; facility siting and permitting; environmental regulation; real estate, land use, planning, and zoning; water rights and water management; mergers and acquisitions and finance; public policy; FERC and public utility commission regulation; insurance coverage; construction and engineering; and intellectual property.
Our lawyers understand both the legal and business issues facing the oil and gas sector. Many were industry professionals in legislative, regulatory, and corporate roles prior to joining K&L Gates. Their experience and knowledge gained in those roles has provided a unique and valuable perspective in handling a wide range of matters for our oil and gas clients.
To support the rapidly growing oil and gas industries in Texas and the Appalachian Basin, we have instituted annual regional seminars dedicated to the Barnett and Marcellus shale plays focused on regulatory, infrastructure, water management, and financial concerns as well as legislative and litigation issues.
K&L Gates has represented clients in judicial and administrative proceedings involving a wide variety of issues, including: leasehold and surface use disputes; royalty payment issues concerning crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids; joint operating and participation agreement disputes and taxation issues; drilling issues; personal injury actions; challenges to municipal regulation of oil and gas development; coal bed methane issues; and storage rights disputes.
The firm regularly appears in proceedings before state utility commissions in the Mid-Atlantic and the Western United States and before various federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Western Area Power Administration, the National Energy Board of Canada, and the Federal Communications Commission. We have also represented clients in proceedings before environmental agencies, including the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, and the Delaware River Basin Commission. Moreover, our lawyers regularly appear in state courts, federal district courts, state appellate courts, and federal appellate courts on oil and gas matters.
K&L Gates also regularly represents clients in the oil and gas industry in both domestic and international arbitrations. Our lawyers have conducted successful international commercial and investment treaty arbitration proceedings in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia under a variety of trade association and international arbitration center rules including United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA), Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA), China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), Indonesian National Arbitration Board (BANI), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), American Arbitration Center (AAA), International Arbitral Centre of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (VIAC), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). We also have a proven track record in ad hoc arbitrations under the rules and with investment treaty cases under Multilateral and Bilateral Investment Treaties acting on behalf of both investors and respondent sovereign states.
Perhaps as importantly, by working with clients at the earliest stages of proposed projects, transactions, and other business initiatives, K&L Gates has helped numerous clients avoid or curtail lengthy regulatory or judicial proceedings.
Water resource concerns are a crucial issue for our oil and gas clients. In the United States, we have counseled a substantial number of producers through regulatory, permitting, and enforcement proceedings involving water resource and wastewater regulatory agencies, including the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. New regulatory approaches are rapidly evolving, as these agencies have announced new policy, guidance, administrative, or permitting approaches to shale well drilling and development activities. We have actively assisted industry coalitions in responding to regulatory developments.
We have also represented clients concerning claims of diminution of water quality and quantity and compressor station contamination cases involving polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, and other substances.
We have advised numerous clients in connection with the acquisition and disposition of oil and gas producing and exploration properties, fee mineral interests, and royalty interests in every significant producing basin in the United States and many in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. These transactions have ranged from straight-forward asset deals to complex joint venture arrangements and multi-step, tax-advantaged structures that facilitated our clients’ successful bidding efforts. We have also assisted gas utilities with regulatory diligence on possible acquisitions. Acting as primary counsel or as special maritime counsel, the firm has represented clients in the offshore exploration, production, and transportation of oil and gas. Additionally, we have assisted clients in a number of transactions involving construction, financing (both construction and permanent), mortgaging, sale, and chartering of various types of oil rigs, supply boats, crew boats, lift boats, and crude and product tankers. We have also advised various clients on the acquisition of other oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) and oil field services companies. The U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” rankings recognized the K&L Gates Corporate practice as a national first-tier corporate law practice.
In addition, we work closely with our clients in the energy industry, and their lenders, project sponsors, developers, and agents, to employ sophisticated financing techniques in support of their projects. We have acted as lead counsel for the structuring and negotiation of various project financing transactions, including electrical generating, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities, natural gas storage, and transmission projects. Our oil and gas lawyers advise clients concerning oil and gas exploration and development, and regularly structure private placements of securities in the fossil fuels exploration sector.
The K&L Gates oil and gas team has profound experience helping natural gas producers in the major U.S. shale plays—including the Barnett, Marcellus, and Haynesville—navigate through the threats and opportunities posed by local, state, and federal policy.
We assist our clients in the legislative and regulatory processes by helping them understand what motivates legislators and by actively seeking solutions to meet our clients’ public policy needs. Our team is deeply involved with and has decades of experience working with legislative leaders, committee chairs, rank-and-file lawmakers, state regulators, and governor’s offices in key states. We also work with federal officials in Congress and with federal agencies, such as the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on the development of regulatory policies of national and regional significance, as well as effectively resolving individual permitting and enforcement disputes. This allows K&L Gates to be uniquely positioned to offer clients a coordinated strategy between their legal and policy priorities. We are prepared to develop a strategic public policy plan based upon client substantive priorities and preferred public profile—high, medium, or low.
Our team members are highly effective in developing public policy strategies drawing on their prior experience in both industry and government. Various team members have held senior positions in both the industry (for example, as Senior Government Affairs Representative for Amoco Corporation, and as President of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Columbia Gas of Maryland) and in the legislative and executive branches of the federal and state governments. Our team includes past members of Congress from the U.S. Senate (including Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies which has jurisdiction over lands issues) and the House (including a 20-year veteran of Congress representing a district within the Marcellus Shale area and a past Chair of four House Appropriations Committees), as well as senior staff in Congress such as a Chief Tax Counsel for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Chief Counsel for the Senate Environment Committee, and professional staff of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology. Others bring strong executive branch experience, including a former Secretary of Legislation in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office, an Associate General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and senior political appointees in the U.S. Department of Energy.
The lawyers in our Construction and Engineering practice have a complete understanding of the oil and gas industry, from the early stages of finance, development, and design through implementation, construction, and project close-out. Our lawyers draw upon their legal and technical experience to work with clients to minimize disputes and accomplish common project goals on a local, national, and international scale. With full-time, dedicated construction lawyers resident in most major of our offices, K&L Gates has one of the largest and most geographically diverse and technically skilled practices in the world.
Many of the group’s lawyers have worked in the construction, engineering, architecture, and building materials industries or in the government agencies that interact with the oil and gas industry. This practical, real-world experience, combined with the breadth of the practice, allows our lawyers to anticipate, address, and help prevent the myriad of problems that can arise during any phase of a construction project in both the private and public sectors.
Additionally, the substantive knowledge of applicable laws, rules, and regulations possessed by our construction and engineering lawyers, combined with our experience in the industry, enables the firm to deliver high-quality legal services in a personal, results-oriented, and cost-efficient manner. The U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” rankings recognized the K&L Gates Construction and Engineering practice as a national first-tier construction law practice.
K&L Gates’ interdisciplinary Energy and Utilities practice leverages experience on a spectrum of issues facing the dynamic energy industry and the changing field of utility operations. Lawyers across our global offices work together to guide our clients through strategic decisions and the regulatory maze toward implementation of their business objectives. In the United States, we are experienced in representing clients before state public utility commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as other regulatory agencies, such as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
From project development and finance, alternative energy resources, hydropower licensing, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, and legislative advocacy to smart grid and other new energy technologies, we have the experience and creativity to meet the challenge and get results.
K&L Gates has over 225 lawyers, including more than 100 registered patent lawyers and agents with engineering or advanced science degrees, who devote their practice to obtaining protection for intellectual property assets in the form of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. These lawyers not only counsel clients regarding how best to protect their intellectual property, they fully handle the appropriate application and registration processes. They also advise clients on intellectual property matters in connection with licensing, technology transfer, infringement, and validity opinions and the intellectual property aspects of business transactions and financings such as mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity investment, and public offerings. They bring their broad range of substantive technical knowledge to their work in each of these areas.
Our Chemistry/Materials Science industry group includes our clients involved in chemicals, oil and gas production, magnetic media and metals, alloys, and ceramics, including high-temperature superconductors. Materials science brings together metallurgy, ceramics, polymer science, the chemistry of solids, and other diverse fields concentrating on many of the basic elements of manufactured products. We have over 25 licensed patent lawyers with technical backgrounds in chemistry, chemical engineering, metallurgy, and materials science, and the biological sciences. Many of our lawyers also have significant industrial experience, which affords them additional insight into the unique intellectual property legal issues that confront businesses in the oil and gas industry.