Few law firms in the world can boast of Weil’s collective experience and knowledge of the energy industry. Our expertise extends to all facets of the oil, gas, and coal industries – from oil and gas exploration and production to marketing, retail, and energy trading operations – and involves nearly every practice group at the firm.
Our restructuring lawyers have worked on some of the signal cases in the industry, large and small. Weil served as chief debtor’s counsel in the Enron bankruptcy, unwinding the massive energy business by utilizing litigation, corporate and restructuring lawyers across the country. More recently, our restructuring expertise was called upon in the chapter 11 filing of SemGroup, the large mid-stream oil business that controlled a vast network of oil storage, processing, gathering, and transportation assets.
Weil’s Litigation Department has long been a go-to resource on cases of great commercial significance to energy companies. Our powerful blend of litigation and transaction experience brings expertise to all sides of complex disputes and crises, including successfully defending clients against private, government, and class action lawsuits. Additionally, we litigate, mediate, and arbitrate swap agreements, ISDA master agreements, trading contracts, netting agreements, reserve reporting, toxic exposure, ERISA, and intellectual property issues both domestically and abroad. We also handle environmental claims in all potential forums – in negotiations with regulators and private parties, in formal proceedings before agencies, in discussions with private claimants or insurers, in legislative hearings, and before state and federal courts
Among our notable recent victories for energy clients, we successfully defended ExxonMobil in defeating certification of a national class in a litigation alleging conspiracy among major integrated oil companies to restrict the supply of gasoline; twice defeated motions for class certification in defending Shell Oil Company in multi-district class action against major oil companies that alleges the defendants exchanged information relating to salaries paid to employees with the effect of lowering salaries in violation of the Sherman Act; and successfully defended a major petrochemicals producer in consolidated U.S. class actions seeking collective recovery for alleged price fixing of industrial rubber.
Our corporate team has an equally stellar reputation and track record acting for energy companies. Our most significant representations in recent years have been of midstream services companies that own oil and gas pipelines and processing and storage facilities. Our clients have included Enron, KinderMorgan, SemGroup, Koch Industries, GE Energy Financial Services, SouthernStar and others, and our representations have principally involved merger and acquisitions and securities offerings. We have also represented a number of oil and gas producers and drilling rig operators in connection with mergers and acquisitions, master limited partnership formations, and securities offerings.
In the retail area, our practice has involved the representation of both regulated and unregulated natural gas utilities (see Utilities), such as KinderMorgan’s former natural gas utility and SemGroup’s regulated propane utility, as well as sellers of refined products to consumers such as 7Eleven and Susser/Stripes convenience stores. Our practice also includes representation of traders of energy who do not own any energy-related infrastructure. Recently, we sold the energy trading business of Lehman Brothers, Eagle Energy Partners, to EDF Trading North America and have worked on a number of projects for JPMorgan Energy.