Practices/Industries

Energy, Environmental & Commodities

“Sutherland knows our business… They understand our risk profile, risk appetite and our structure.” – General Counsel of an energy trading firm

Companies turn to Sutherland for full service legal and business advice on their energy and commodities matters.

For more than four decades, Sutherland’s Energy Practice Group has been counseling energy clients in guiding their businesses through an ever-changing landscape. Over the past few years alone, our 70 lawyers assisted clients through the boom in shale oil and gas production, strategic ownership changes in mid-stream assets, the reversal in the LNG markets from imports to exports, the gyrations of political and tax support for renewable energy projects, the regulations of fuels and biofuels and the implementation of derivatives regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act, EMIR and MiFID.

Effective March 18, 2014, Sutherland and Arbis LLP have joined forces to create a premier global energy and commodities trading practice. Together, our firms represent 11 of the top 15 global independent energy trading houses and seven of the top 10 investment banks in energy trading.

We know the oil, gas, LNG, power and other energy businesses, and the policies and economics that affect each industry sector. We offer a unique focus on the trading of energy commodities, and counsel clients on a global basis in the numerous laws and rules that affect trading, from international sanctions programs to financial regulations. Our lawyers advise clients in commercial, regulatory, credit and other issues arising from the purchase, sale, storage, exchange, financing, transportation and processing of all energy commodities.

Sutherland lawyers assist clients on large-scale and complex transactions, intricate regulatory and compliance issues, and government enforcement matters emanating from FERC, CFTC, EPA, FTC, DOI, CBP and many other federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over the energy industry. We also advise firms regarding European regulations governing the physical and financial trading of energy commodities. Our lawyers provide legal services to crude oil and natural gas producers and refiners, domestic and multinational trading and marketing companies, lenders and other entities that finance projects, hedge funds and financial institutions, independent power producers and electric cooperatives, international oilfield service providers and renewable energy developers.

Why Sutherland

Strong industry background. Clients hire us because we understand their business. Whether in the business of oil, gas, power, LNG, renewables, cooperatives, nuclear or related commodities, our clients know we are positioned to provide comprehensive legal advice.

Energy trading. Sutherland is known throughout the energy industry for its in-depth and global understanding of the physical and financial trading businesses.

Deep regulatory knowledge. We advise clients on complex energy regulatory, compliance and investigation matters associated with government oversight. That kind of knowledge is critical to any successful transaction.

Derivatives Reform. Sutherland is at the forefront of helping clients understand and navigate this new regulatory landscape. We provide detailed monitoring and daily notices of new developments, custom analysis for individual clients and host working sub-groups specific to various areas of the Dodd-Frank Act, EMIR and MiFID (recordkeeping and reporting; position limits; entity definitions; trading, clearing and documentation; capital and margin requirements).

Nuts and Bolts

  • Crude oil
    • Sutherland attorneys advise oil traders on commercial agreements, including oil processing; crude oil supply and products offtake agreements; crude oil forward sale agreements; crude oil and products general terms and conditions and industry master agreements; inventory financing, monetization and consignment arrangements; terminal and throughput agreements and marketing and distribution contracts.
  • Natural gas
    • Sutherland understands the natural gas market and pipeline capacity and the regulatory policies that affect them. That creates value for our clients when it’s time to reconcile the commercial and regulatory aspects of transactions involving the purchase, sale and transportation of natural gas.
  • LNG
    • The lawyers in our LNG Group have detailed knowledge of and familiarity with the commercial, legal, operational, regulatory and technical issues at LNG terminals. Whether importing or exporting, our team understands the elements critical to success in the LNG market from wellhead to burner tip.
    • Moreover, we ensure that our clients can stay abreast of the developments that are changing daily in the industry through lnglawblog.com.
  • Electric power
    • Our lawyers represent an array of clients in the electric power industry on financings (including credit facilities and public and private offerings), regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters, power project development; asset management; acquisition and disposition of energy assets; environmental permitting; and wholesale power supply, power marketing and trading transactions.
    • Independent power producers and marketers, electric cooperatives and other public power utilities, large industrial end users, the energy commodities trading divisions of hedge funds, investment banks, commercial banks and other financial services companies, power marketers and renewable facilities are clients.
  • Electric cooperatives
    • Sutherland’s electric cooperative practice is nationally recognized both for its legal capabilities and its understanding of electric cooperatives and the electric industry. We have been working with electric cooperatives since 1975, addressing significant challenges and capturing promising opportunities.
    • We represent leading cooperatives in finance, offerings, indentures, M&A, renewables, regulatory and compliance, power supply and project development, among others.
    • We recently launched an industry leading blog, cooplawblog.com, to help our clients stay on top of developments.
  • Renewable and alternative energy
    • Sutherland continues to grow with renewable energy clients, including solar projects, landfill gas projects, biomass and biofuels, and on- and off-shore wind.
    • We deliver strategic advice regarding siting; structuring; optimizing federal and state tax credits and grants; drafting and negotiating EPC contracts, fuel supply contracts, REC and emission sales; and power purchase and sale arrangements.
  • Oil pipelines
    • Our energy lawyers counsel and represent clients in oil pipeline regulation and lobby to protect shipper interests before Congress.
    • We possess an in-depth knowledge of the Interstate Commerce Act as applied to oil pipelines, as well as FERC regulations, ratemaking policies and pipeline tariffs.
    • We bring our experience to bear on behalf of clients in both administrative and appellate litigation, in regulatory policy debates and rulemaking proceedings, and in providing advice concerning the common carrier obligations and tariff provisions under which oil pipelines must provide service.
  • Nuclear energy
    • In the most significant acquisitions of global nuclear businesses our clients have benefited from Sutherland’s skills in mergers and acquisitions, antitrust, intellectual property, employee benefits, government contracts, and tax to structure and close complex multinational transactions.
    • Our comprehensive technical knowledge in all facets of the nuclear industry, combined with an understanding of the legislative and policy landscape, facilitates an objective assessment of the issues. Based on this assessment, we work closely with our clients to analyze the risks and potential returns and develop the most cost-effective path forward.

Take Action

Sutherland’s Energy and Commodities Practice Group represents every major sector of the energy industry. We have a global practice. Our many years of serving the regulatory, compliance and policy needs of our energy clients is evident in the commercial and operational experience we bring to the industry’s increasingly complex transactions. Complemented by a team of well-regarded, high-profile litigators, Sutherland is well-positioned to provide a full range of legal services to energy and commodity clients.

Our Story

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

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Videocast: Focus on Russian Sanctions
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© 2014 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.
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