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Energy Regulation and Government Affairs

Our energy regulatory lawyers help our clients, including investors and financiers, react to the complex laws and regulations impacting their businesses, minimizing risks and costs and maximizing opportunities.

Energy companies operate under an increasingly complex set of laws and regulations around the world, including those regulating corporate governance, environmental, taxation, employment, health and safety matters. Our lawyers can help your officers, directors and employees understand and appreciate the regulatory regime in which you operate to minimize risks and costs and maximize opportunities.

We have a long history in representing power generators and electricity providers, natural gas producers, and utility companies. In recent years, we have been active in representing clients in the merchant and international power markets, in both acquisition and compliance matters. We have assisted clients in developing, constructing, and operating electric power and natural gas transmission and storage projects. We also have regularly represented institutions that finance and acquire energy assets. We use the know-how accumulated from our involvement in these matters to facilitate our clients' growth in the 21st century.

From representing parties in merger and acquisition proceedings, representing lenders in financing energy projects, representing parties in rate and regulatory proceedings before regulatory bodies, and helping clients understand and comply with the regulations governing their energy marketing and trading businesses, the regulatory attorneys within our Global Energy Practice Group offer a full range of interrelated regulatory services in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Because we regularly deal with regulatory and compliance issues before a wide range of regulators, represent both developers and financing parties, and work with producers, pipelines, generator and transmission providers, we have the ability to look at transactions and issues with a very broad focus.

Our focus is helping energy companies and investors interpret and interact with the complex laws and regulations impacting their businesses. We advise developers, owners, operators, and acquirers of power projects and marketers of energy from power projects, as well as lenders and investors in these projects. Our work includes negotiating and securing regulatory approvals, and assisting energy companies in establishing and implementing their legal and regulatory compliance programs.

We also routinely represent clients in hearings, investigations and contested actions before energy industry regulatory authorities.

Physical and Financial Commodity Trading
Over recent years the regulation of both physical and financial commodity trading has been an area of increased attention and activity for regulators both in the EU and the US, with new legislation that will take previously unregulated activities under the licensing, supervisory and market conduct regimes of the regulators for the first time already in place, and with more to come into force over the coming months. These new regulatory regimes will not only expand the regulation of commodity derivative trading, but also apply to some purely physical supply contracts. Our lawyers can help you understand and adapt to these new regulatory regimes, as they have considerable experience of obtaining financial services licenses, advising on what can be done without a financial services license and of advising on the requirements for ongoing compliance with such regimes. Our lawyers are also experienced in defending clients against regulatory investigations for breaches of these regulations.

Our regulatory lawyers in the UK also have considerable experience of commodity trading regulation, having worked in this field both for the regulator, the UK Financial Services Authority, and in-house for a commodity trader with extensive global trading activities in physical oil and gas, together with associated trading in soft commodities, emission allowance, metals and in commodity derivatives both OTC and on exchange.

Anti-corruption and economic sanctions
The extraction industries and the trading organizations that trade the commodity products they produce face particular issues in the area of corruption, money laundering and ethics given the scale of the work they undertake and the challenging jurisdictions in which they typically operate. Our regulatory and dispute resolution teams are well versed in anti-corruption legislation, such as the US FCPA and the UK Bribery Act, and can advise on systems and controls to combat corruption and comply with the relevant legislation and can also conduct internal investigations into allegations of corruption.

Sanctions are another area that present considerable challenges to commodity producers and traders. For example, the expansion of sanctions against Iran and Syria the recent imposition of sanctions against Libya and the Ivory Coast have all created issues for oil-producing and trading companies. These economic sanctions are subject to constant change and typically affect countries that are major exporters of oil, gas and other commodities and the penalties for breaching the sanctions are severe. Our lawyers frequent advise on the interpretation of these sanctions and on appropriate compliance measures.

Government affairs
Our government affairs practice is also able to provide clients with lobbying strategies and policy solutions that enable them to receive the focused, consistent and responsive service they deserve, no matter where they are located.

With offices in Washington DC, Brussels and Beijing we are positioned to negotiate and advise in all types of governmental regulatory and legislative issues affecting the business of energy companies with a presence in the American, European and Asian markets.

Our lawyers are active in transatlantic and transpacific wide issues of major concern for regulators and of major impact for energy companies, such as the development of renewable energy, the promotion of technical solutions for zero emissions carbon markets, energy-efficient technologies and practices and renewable energy sources.

We are experienced in advocating major regulatory and legislative changes, and are keyed into the relevant institutions and main players in relation to energy policy and legislative initiatives. Major activities include:

  • Advocacy and lobbying at all levels of public institutions to influence public energy policy measures on the basis of evidence, best practice, and new ideas
  • Communication of the scale and diversity of issues to decision-makers, the public and media to create a clear and timely understanding of clients' advocacy and arguments for businesses in the energy industry
  • Analysis of relevant legislative and regulatory provisions/proposals and development of appropriate strategies
  • Networking and alliance-building with a wide variety of organizations active in the energy sector
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