概览

在全球各地,能源公司面临日益复杂的法律法规体系,包括约束企业管治、环境保护、税务、雇佣、健康及安全事宜的法律法规。我们协助高级管理人员、董事及员工了解并正确认识公司经营所在地的监管制度,以期降低风险,缩减成本,扩大商业机遇。

我们长年服务于发电公司及电力供应商、天然气生产商以及公用事业公司。近年来,我们积极为商业及国际电力市场的客户提供法律服务,在收购及合规两方面均取得了傲人业绩。我们协助客户开发、建造、运营电力及天然气传输及存储项目,还就能源资产的融资及收购向各类机构提供法律意见。通过多年的执业经验,我们积累了广博的专业知识,助推客户稳步增长。

在美国、欧洲、亚洲及拉丁美洲,本行全球能源团队的监管律师提供一系列互相联系并相互影响的监管服务,既协助交易各方处理并购程序,协助贷款人为能源项目安排融资,协助相关当事方应对监管部门的评级与监管程序,也协助客户了解并遵守约束其能源经销及贸易业务的法规。我们代表开发商及融资方处理由不同监管当局受理的监管及合规事宜,此外还向生产商、管道公司、发电商及输送供应商提供法律服务,从而能够从更加宽广的思路出发,协助客户化解难题。

我们注重协助能源公司及投资者理解并合理应对影响其业务的复杂法律法规。我们的客户包括:电力项目开发商、所有人、运营商及收购方;电力项目中的能源经营者;以及电力项目中的贷款行及投资者。我们为其提供的法律服务包括:与监管当局进行谈判;获得监管批准;协助能源公司建立并执行其法律及监管合规计划。

我们还代表客户应对由能源行业监管部门发起的聆讯、调查及诉讼。

实物及金融大宗商品交易
近年来,欧盟及美国监管当局对实物及金融大宗商品交易投入了更多的监管关注及监管行动,一些新的法规已落实到位,首次把此前不受监管的活动纳入监管当局的许可、监督、市场行为准则之下。这些新的监管制度不仅将扩大对大宗商品衍生品交易的监管,还适用于某些纯实物供应合同。我们的律师擅长协助客户获得金融服务许可证,就在没有金融服务许可证的情况下能做些什么以及持续的合规要求提供法律意见,协助客户了解并适应上述新监管制度。我们还协助客户就违规行为应对监管调查。

本行英国监管律师在大宗商品交易监管方面经验丰富,曾代表英国金融服务管理局,亦曾担任大宗商品交易公司的内部法律顾问,该公司拥有广泛的全球实物油气贸易,还从事软商品、排放配额、金属相关交易,以及通过场外交易( OTC)或是在交易所买卖大宗商品衍生品。

反垄断及经济制裁
由于能源业务通常规模较大,经营所在司法管辖区通常充满挑战,提炼业以及贸易组织交易其生产的大宗商品时,往往在腐败、洗钱及道德领域面临重重困难。本行监管及争议解决团队精通美国《反海外腐败法》、英国《反贿赂法》等反腐败法规,擅长就系统及控制提供法律意见,打击企业腐败现象,严格遵守相关的法律法规,并协助客户就腐败指控开展内部调查。

大宗商品生产商和贸易商同样面临巨大的制裁挑战。例如,对伊朗和叙利亚的制裁进一步扩大,最近实施的对利比亚和科特迪瓦的制裁,为石油生产及贸易公司制造了相当多的麻烦。这些经济制裁频繁变化,通常会影响主要的石油、天然气及其他大宗商品出口国,而违反制裁决议将面临严厉惩罚。我们经常就如何理解此类制裁以及适当的合规措施提供法律意见。

政府事务
我们的政府事务团队专注于客户服务,始终迅速回应客户诉求,一贯提供优质的游说策略以及政策应对方案。

对于在美国、欧洲及亚洲市场经营的能源公司而言,我们以华盛顿、布鲁塞尔及北京办事处为桥梁,在谈判及处理影响其业务的各类政府监管及立法事宜方面具有独特的优势。

我们的律师活跃于跨大西洋及跨太平洋地区监管当局重点关注且对能源公司具有重大影响的领域,例如:可再生能源市场的发展,零排放碳市场技术解决方案的推广,节能技术及实践,以及可再生能源资源。

我们在倡导重大的监管及立法变化方面经验丰富,与能源政策及立法提案相关机构及主要参与者保持着密切的联系。主要业务活动概述如下:

  • 宣传及游说各级公共机构,以证据、最佳实践以及新想法为基础对公共能源政策施加影响
  • 与决策者、公众及媒体沟通相关事务的规模及多样性,使上述各方清晰、及时地了解本行客户在能源业务方面的主张及论点
  • 分析相关立法及监管条文/草案,制定适当的应对策略
  • 广泛地与活跃在能源行业的各类组织交流并建立同盟

执业经验

  • Acquisition support. We represented Southwestern Energy Company in the sale of its local distribution company subsidiary.
  • Anti-bribery legislation. We are advising various clients in the oil, gas and associated engineering and construction industries in the UK and elsewhere on compliance with the Bribery Act 2010 and the US FCPA.
  • Anti-money laundering. We are advising the trading division of a global energy producer on anti-money laundering systems and controls and market conduct and abuse issues.
  • Commodity transactions. We are advising a major investment bank in relation to a global revolving credit agreement in the aggregate principal amount of up to $1 billion for the financing of margin payments in relation to exchange-traded commodity broking and prime broking activity. The advice focused on the regulatory aspects of the commodity transactions (metals and soft commodities), margining and clearing, client money considerations and the regulatory capital impact.
  • Export controls. We represented a US natural resources firm in a voluntary disclosure of millions of dollars in exports made in violation of US export controls. This matter concluded without the imposition of penalties.
  • FERC approval. We represented hedge funds in obtaining FERC approval for investments in holding companies which own electric generating facilities and establishing compliance programs for future investments.
  • Interstate transport. We have represented natural gas producers and local distribution companies before the US regulator, FERC, with respect to for interstate transportation services.
  • Market dominance proceeding. We represented a European utility in its successful defense to the action of the UK regulator, Ofgem, under Article 82 and Chapter II of the Competition Act. Ofgem claimed that the utility’s withdrawal of meter-reading services in certain areas of the UK was an abuse of its market dominance. The case involved an attempt by Ofgem to use Article 82 and Chapter II in a novel and unprecedented way–to force the utility to continue to operate a business that it no longer wished to operate. Ofgem issued a formal decision exonerating the utility in 2007.
  • Regulatory approval. We represented BP Alternative Energy North America Inc. in obtaining regulatory approvals for the acquisition of 535 MW Whiting Clean Energy electric generating facility.
  • Regulatory approval. We represented an investment company in the acquisition of an interest in an interstate natural gas pipeline.
  • Regulatory approval. We represented Fortis Bank S.A./N.V. in obtaining regulatory approval for its $700 million acquisition from Duke Energy of its Cinergy gas, power trading and marketing businesses in the US and Canada. The Houston-based company has been renamed Fortis Energy Marketing and Trading, GP. As part of the acquisition, our regulatory team obtained approval from the Federal Reserve Board to engage in energy trading activities as an activity “complementary” to activities that are financial in nature. We also advised Fortis on regulatory filings required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Trade sanctions. We are advising major energy trading firms on issues relating to trade sanctions, FSA regulation and the EU Regulation on Energy Market Integrity and Transparency.
  • Trade sanctions. We counseled a global oil and gas company on the application to its US subsidiary and to its US supply chain of the US sanctions against Cuba.
  • Trade sanctions. We are monitoring Iran sanctions legislation for a foreign company with US operations and evaluating the legislative implications for its global energy operations.
  • Trading compliance. We represented a financial institution with regulatory issues relating to its natural gas- and electricity-trading activities.
  • Trading regulation. We are advising on the financial services and other regulatory issues relating to the formation of a oil and gas trading entity dealing in physical and financial instruments.
  • US acquisitions. We represented several financial institutions in the acquisition of interests of electric generating asset.
  • US pipeline transportation agreement. We represented Southwestern Energy Company and Chesapeake Energy Corporation in the negotiation of precedent agreements with, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceedings with respect to, major expansion of interstate pipelines and new pipelines for the transportation of crude oil NGLs.
  • US pricing investigation. We assisted a major international energy distributor in various investigations conducted by the FTC, Congress and various state Attorneys General into the company’s pricing practices and in connection with a so-called “price gouging” investigation post-Hurricane Katrina.