Energy Disputes

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We have a dedicated energy disputes team which focuses solely on disputes arising across the oil & gas, power and renewable sectors.  The disputes team is featured in Global Arbitration Review ‘GAR100’ of the world’s busiest international arbitration practices and ranked by Legal Week in 2015 in the top 10 litigation firms by revenue. 

As trusted advisors to numerous international energy companies, our energy disputes offering is truly global. We advise clients in the UK and across the world, from South America to the Far East, with significant recent experience in regions such as continental Europe, sub-Saharan Africa (for example, Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Madagascar, Nigeria), North Africa (including Algeria, Egypt, Morroco, Tunisia), the Russian Federation, the Middle East (including extensive experience in Iraq) and Brazil. 

Our recent experience related to energy disputes includes advising:

  • TAQA, Spirit Energy and JX Nippon on their rights under the joint operating agreements to discharge RockRose as operator of their joint venture. A move which has been described as ‘unique’ in the industry.  Our clients were successful and the outcome of this case gave rise to new case law in an area of fundamental interest to oil and gas practitioners.
  • An oil major on a complex arbitration relating to the re-development of an oilfield in Iraq, which was designed to boost national oil production in the country. Whilst the project site is located in Iraq, key client contacts and witnesses are located in Europe, North Africa, the USA, and South America.
  • A major client in a potential arbitration concerning the supply and construction of subsea equipment in relation to an offshore gas field.
  • UAE oil and gas companies in an ICC arbitration with their joint venture partner over its share of a license block in Iraq.  
  • Wind farm owners in relation to a claim against its operation and maintenance contractor. The dispute concerned allegations of gross negligence, failure by the contractor to properly maintain the wind farm during the first 10 years of its life, and disagreement over the calculation for the availability guarantee.
  • A multinational conglomerate on multiple disputes in relation to a package of EPC works being carried out on a Refinery Project Saudi Arabia. 
  • On a high-value litigation for an exploration and production company relating to an FPSO chartered for the purposes of developing and producing an oil field in the North Sea. 
  • A major electricity company in relation to issues arising under an EPC Contract with a contractor.

 To find out more about other related services you can visit the Energy & Climate Change expertise section

"It's a strong team that is very commercially minded."

Chambers, 2024

"CMS has a strong multi-disciplinary team of specialists which enables them to tackle complex problems."

Chambers, 2024

"CMS always adopts a can-do, proactive approach to finding solutions."

Chambers, 2024

"CMS's renewable team is very highly regarded in the sector."

Chambers, 2024

"The team is extremely helpful and quick to respond."

Chambers, 2024

"CMS understands the industry, our business and can give relevant, concise and commercial advice."

Chambers, 2024

"The team is always proactive and responsive."

Chambers, 2024

"They are demonstrating rapid and impressive growth in which the quality of domestic and international work is conducted to an exceptional standard. I would suggest their practice matches and exceeds a number of their London competitors."

Legal 500, 2024

"Very knowledgeable and also with offices in the right place to really assist their clients."

Legal 500, 2024
07/12/2023
COP28: how the law can unite, act and deliver the UN SDGs
The law, and the work of lawyers, should enable countries, communities and companies to deliver the changes needed to achieve the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement. As COP28 urges us to unite, act and deliver, Advocates for International Development (A
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13/06/2024
Future of Renewables seminar and drinks reception | 13 June 2024
 We are delighted to be back again in both our Edinburgh and Glasgow offices for our June Future of Renewables sessions, with speakers from CMS and Lo­co­gen look­ing as always at current hot topics affecting Energy projects across Scotland, with re­flec­tions on potential pitfalls in community benefit structures, the latest in construction contracting, dispute resolution in the energy transition sector, and technical and legal aspects of repowering projects. There will also be the opportunity for networking drinks following each session.  In particular these sessions will cover:Please register for the session using the buttons below, and we look forward to welcoming you in June.
12/06/2024
Future of Renewables seminar and drinks reception | 12 June 2024
 We are delighted to be back again in both our Edinburgh and Glasgow offices for our June Future of Renewables sessions, with speakers from CMS and Lo­co­gen look­ing as always at current hot topics affecting Energy projects across Scotland, with re­flec­tions on potential pitfalls in community benefit structures, the latest in construction contracting, dispute resolution in the energy transition sector, and technical and legal aspects of repowering projects. There will also be the opportunity for networking drinks following each session.  In particular these sessions will cover:Please register for the session using the buttons below, and we look forward to welcoming you in June.
01/03/2024
“End user” combustion emissions – an essential requirement in environmental...
End-user combustion emissions, and the extent to which these should be considered in the context of industrial developments, have been the subject of recent attention in both the oil and gas industry...
23/02/2024
Scottish wildcat group’s challenge to windfarm permission unsuccessful
Wildcat Haven, a community interest company, sought to challenge the decision of the Scottish Ministers to grant permission for construction of a new wind farm at Clashindarroch Forest in Aberdeenshire...
23/01/2024
OEUK Decommissioning Security Agreements – Default Provisions
It is crucial to the operation of the arrangements set out in decommissioning security agreements (“DSA”) that parties post the required security within the timelines set out in the DSA as well as...
15/01/2024
Energy Sector: Is this REUL-ly happening? Update on the Retained EU Law...
We reported in 2022 on the introduction to Parliament of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”). The legislation underwent some significant amendments before the ultimate enactment...
08/12/2023
Key takeaways from Energy Day at COP28
As a young professional in the legal field, attending COP28's Energy Day was an eye-opening experience that provided valuable insights into the future of environmental policies and their potential impact. Day 6 of COP28 showcased a collective determination to address the pressing challenges of our time. The discussions emphasised the urgency of transitioning to sustainable energy sources, with a focus on innovation, collaboration and policy frameworks. Supply chain planning, streamlining approvals through a clear permitting process and advocating for mandatory carbon pricing were some of the other key points discussed in the various panel sessions we attended. Another noteworthy aspect was the emphasis on international co-operation and the role of legal frameworks in facilitating cross-border partnerships. Governments were urged to think strategically beyond the present, emphasising long-term planning for renewable energy expansion.  COP28 Key Takeaway  The key takeaway for me was not just the global agreements discussed but also amplifying the voices of those on the front lines – farmers, coal workers, the youth, indigenous people and others. What set this COP apart was its focus on showcasing these voices, by, for instance, dedicating a full day to discuss the impact of climate change on health. These voices are essential in translating agreements into on-the-ground success and bridging this gap between policy decisions and the real life experiences of those directly affected by climate change is our collective responsibility, ensuring the protection of our planet for present and future generations. The Impact on Legal Practice The outcome of COP28 may lead to more stringent regulations and compliance requirements, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Legal practitioners will play a pivotal role in navigating these complexities, offering counsel to businesses and other organisations seeking to align their operations with emerging environmental standards, one way of doing this would be through using contracts as a mechanism to de-risk. As we move forward post-COP28, the legal community's commitment to guiding clients through these evolving landscapes will be instrumental in ensuring progress in the renewable energy transition. In conclusion, COP28 has been a catalyst for reflection and action. It is an exciting time to be in the legal field, with the potential to be at the forefront of shaping legal frameworks that promote a more sustainable future.
30/11/2023
Views from the Energy Leaders’ Summit
Wednesday 6 December saw CMS host the Energy Leaders’ Summit on behalf of the Global Success Partnership at CMS Dubai. The event welcomed Edward Hobart, British Ambassador to the UAE, and Andrew Bowie MP, UK Minister for Nuclear and Net Zero, who shared their perspectives of the UK’s role as a global leader in climate action and energy transition, and the opportunities for collaboration with the UAE and other countries in the region. The panel discussion covered a wide range of topics on the various aspects of the energy transition - the role of innovation, finance, policy, and partnerships in achieving net zero emissions, and the challenges and opportunities for industrial decarbonisation and reskilling.  Thank you to the panellists:Munir Hassan, Head of Energy & Climate Change, CMSAnnika Ramsköld, Chief Sustainability Officer, VattenfallAngela Churie Kallhauge, Executive Vice President and Head of the COP28 Delegation, Environmental Defence FundJan Spin, President of Americas, Blue Green Water TechnologiesAnna Hancock, Executive Director, Pollination Group, AustraliaLeon Kamhi, Executive Director, Head of Responsibility, Federated Hermes Limited A huge step forward in the reduction of methane The Global Methane Pledge made at COP28 has been joined by over 100 countries and aims to accelerate the implementation of existing and new measures to reduce methane emissions, such as capturing and using methane from landfills and oil and gas operations, improving waste management, and promoting low-emission agriculture. The World Bank is set to roll out a minimum of 15 country-led programs within the next 18 months to slash up to 10 million tons of methane (over investment lifespans). So, lots of positive messages about reducing methane. The sense on the panel was that it was a huge step forward that methane was discussed to such an extent and the commitment that some of the largest oil companies have made to reduce methane could be a game changer. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have an important role in monitoring and verifying the methane reductions using satellite data and we heard about the need for more funding and innovation to support methane abatement in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the oil and gas sector.  Reskilling is a huge opportunity  The panel discussed the social and economic impacts of the energy transition, and the need for a just and inclusive approach that considers the needs and aspirations of the citizens and the workers. We heard about the importance of reskilling and upskilling the workforce, sharing best practices and lessons learned from different countries and regions. Where the infrastructure can be easily transformed to support clean energy, this reskilling presents an opportunity to both businesses and local communities. However, panellists reflected that this was not always possible, so some communities may struggle to thrive if their current livelihoods cannot be transitioned to clean energy. The role of investors and financial institutions There was considerable discussion about the role of investors and financial institutions in supporting the transition, and the need for consistent and credible disclosure and reporting stand­ards. There are challenges and opportunities for creating new revenue streams and business models, and the role of carbon markets and social bonds in financing the transition. For the investment infrastructure to be created so that investors can support governments in delivering their programmes, it needs to be easier for private investment to entertain the risk. Blue Green Water Technologies remove harmful alga blooms from lakes and oceans. These projects are often financed by companies using carbon credits and this source of funding has enabled local communities to benefit from cleaned bodies of water. Biodiversity has dramatically increased, as has the value of land. Creative funding solutions can benefit many different stakeholders by enabling projects such as these. Climate risk is an accelerating risk, and this should be considered by financial institutions. As they calculate the value of climate risk and its impact on their capital allocation, remuneration and expenses, the valuations must adjust. The view on disclosures and standards was that their have a role, but any investment should lead to a change in behaviour, not just to be disclosed as part of disclosure requirements. Making disclosures is a huge investment for a business and so the sense was that businesses should avoid measuring in a certain way purely for disclosures instead of really delivering change and solutions. The role of governments Finally, we heard about the role of governments in facilitating and enabling the transition, and the need for collaboration and cooperation at all levels. We learned about the importance of setting clear and ambitious targets and policies and aligning them with the global goals and commitments. We also heard about the importance of engaging and empowering the stakeholders, especially the non-state actors, and creating trust and confidence in the transition. COP28 has a role as a platform for showcasing solutions and forging partnerships. The Leadership Group for Industry Transition is one example of how governments can be brought together with companies and civil society to support and accelerate the transition to net zero emissions in industry and create new markets and jobs. Communities will make the difference The discussion closed with some reflections on the importance of different communities in making the energy transition happen. Communities of all types, such as those who attended the Energy Leaders’ Summit, will come together to use the technology available to translate the deals and agreements into action. We need government support to remove the brakes, and we need actors of all types to come together. We need people to question, to demand more and to change behaviour.  
30/11/2023
Newcomer Injunctions: new Supreme Court decision
This recent decision gives comfort to a number of companies and other entities, particularly in the Energy sector, who have obtained similar injunctions: Wolverhampton City Council and others v London...
07/11/2023
COP28 - Climate finance and the launch of Climate Investment Funds (CIF)...
Climate finance took centre stage on the fourth day of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. Building on the obligations of The Paris Agreement, banks, regulators and top officials at the COP28 climate summate committed to progressing the mobilization of climate finance from a variety of sources, including public, private and alternative sources of financing.  
07/11/2023
Funding + reskilling + data + consumer engagement = energy transition...
 
06/11/2023
“Debt-for-nature” swaps: a huge potential boost for the debt capital markets?