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David Rutherford


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

David Rutherford is a Partner at CMS, London, with 10 years of experience working in the oil & gas, energy transition and maritime sectors, having joined the firm as a trainee in 2009.

Experience covers a range of disciplines within those sectors, including procurement, supply chain, project and infrastructure development and bespoke financing arrangements.

His clients include oil majors, state energy companies, independents, contractors and vessel owners. He has been on long-term secondments to Maersk in Copenhagen, BP in Aberdeen, BG and Shell in Thames Valley Park and GDF Suez (now Neptune) and OMV in London.  

He is very familiar with: vessel chartering, drilling contracts, wells goods and services contracts, subsea construction, EPC (and its variants), CITAs, TPAs, TPOSAs and JOAs.

With more than 450 energy and climate change lawyers, including over 100 partners, the CMS Energy and Climate Change practice is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Led from its centres of excellence such as London and Aberdeen, the practice works across 75 offices globally. Building on 40 years of experience advising on power, oil & gas and renewables through to energy disputes, emerging areas and Energy Transition, CMS is uniquely placed to ensure clients receive advice best suited to their commercial needs and to our collective future.

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Relevant experience

  • Maersk Drilling in relation to its unique funding, service and alliance arrangements with SeaPulse and related service and alliance arrangements with Halliburton and Petrofac.
  • Oilfield services provider in relation to its USD 1bn synthetic equity investment in an oil field development in Western Africa.
  • Dragon LNG in relation to various capacity, power and environmental matters associated with the LNG terminal in Wales.
  • BG/Shell: procurement support during the takeover and assisting in relation to a long term services agreement in connection with the Lake Charles LNG facilities.
  • GDF Suez (now Neptune) in relation to the development of the Cygnus Field (£1.4 billion shallow water gas field development; largest North Sea gas discovery in 30 years) and Juliet Field (sub-sea tie-back).
  • An international owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers on a conversion contract to create an FSRU to serve the south eastern European gas market.
  • NEAC Compressor Service on its global arrangements for the supply of reciprocating compressors with an oil supermajor.
  • Significant experience in drilling contracts, drilling unit sharing arrangements, vessel charters (time and voyage) and infrastructure contracts. 
  • Advising a decommissioning services contractor on the creation of a suite of decommissioning contracts.
  • Advising shippers (including department stores and supermarkets) and freight forwarders in connection with vessel charters.
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2008 – LL.M. (Dist.), University of Nottingham

2007 – LL.B. (Hons.), University of Nottingham

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Oil, gas and commodities: Supreme Court overturns Court of Appeal on force...
On 15 May 2024, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision that a ‘reasonable endeavours’ obligation in a force majeure clause could require a party to accept alternative...
Oil & Gas: English court restrains foreign JOA proceedings in breach of...
In The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited v Sunlink Energies and Resources Limited [2023] EWHC 3135 (Comm), the English Commercial Court demonstrated its willingness to ensure that...
Oil & Gas - Russian Companies and Force Ma­jeure/Sanc­tions revisited
In Litasco SA v Der Mond Oil and Gas Africa SA and Locafrique Holdings SA [2023] EWHC 2866 (Comm), the Commercial Court confirmed its approach to applying sanctions to oil and gas entities with Russian...
Oil & Gas: Drafting for parallel disputes under a PSC, JOA and settlement...
In RSM Production Corporation v Gaz du Cameroun SA [2023] EWHC 2820 (Comm), the English High Court considered the relationship between arbitration clauses in a production sharing contract (or participation...
CMS promotes key energy lawyer to partnership
International law firm CMS is pleased to announce the promotion of David Rutherford to the partnership. With over 12 years of experience working in the oil & gas, energy transition and maritime sectors...
Oil, gas and commodities: Force majeure
In MUR Shipping BV v RTI Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 1406 the Court of Appeal overturned the Commercial Court’s judgment and found that a ‘reasonable endeavours’ obligation in a force majeure clause could...
Oil & Gas: Contractual protections in scrapping decommissioned oil assets...
The reputational risks of decommissioning assets have again hit the news. It is an important reminder of the importance of having the proper contractual protections in place when preparing to scrap de­com­mis­sioned...
Oil & Gas: Oral contract – which court may hear the case? 
In Addax Energy SA v Petro Trade Inc [2022] EWHC 237 (Comm), the Commercial Court considered an application concerning whether an alleged oral contract for the supply of petroleum products contained an...
Oil & Gas withdrawals: clean break or ongoing liability?
The announcement of Shell’s withdrawal from Cambo came at the end of a turbulent year of oil prices, with Brent Crude trading in the low 50s at the beginning of 2021 and peaking in the mid 80s before...
Oil & Gas – Investing in Nigeria – Reformed Petroleum Law enters into force
With a GDP in 2020 of just over US$450bn, Nigeria is by some stretch the largest economy in Africa (with Egypt in second place with a GBP of just over US$360bn). It is one of the world’s larger oil...
Demurrage revisited: What loss does it liquidate?
In K Line PTE Ltd v Priminds Shipping (HK) Co Ltd (“Eternal Bliss”) [2021] EWCA Civ 1712, the Court of Appeal has revisited the Commercial Court decision that sought to resolve a ‘long-stand­ing...
Oil & Gas – You reject if you want to, the Product is not for rejection!
The Commercial Court has decided that a Buyer under the BP General Terms and Conditions for Sales and Purchases of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products 2015 Edition was not entitled to reject off-spec Product...