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Portrait of Sarah Grenfell

Sarah Grenfell


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

Sarah Grenfell is a solicitor-advocate and Partner in our Infrastructure, Construction and Energy (ICE) Disputes Group. 

Sarah advises clients on disputes avoidance and all forms of dispute resolution in the infrastructure, construction and energy sectors. Specialising in high-value, complex disputes, Sarah has advised clients on projects around the globe, including the UK, Central and Eastern Europe, CIS countries, India, the Middle East, North and East Africa, Australia and Asia.

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Relevant experience

  • A Japanese EPC contractor in respect of disputes arising from a USD 7 billion refinery project in the Middle East. 
  • A middle eastern power producer in respect of issues arising from the construction of a CCGT power plant. 
  • A national oil company in a US$1.4 billion ICC arbitration against an international oil company concerning crossflows between adjacent oil blocks offshore.  
  • One of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies in relation to damage caused to subsea cables and associated repair works. 
  • A large Russian energy company in relation to an LCIA arbitration concerning disputes arising under a sale and purchase agreement.
  • An independent power producer in an LCIA arbitration concerning the pricing of natural gas in Israel. 
  • A multinational oil and gas company in arbitration proceedings against one of the largest multinational oil and gas service companies in relation to the redevelopment of an oil field in Iraq. 
  • A JV main contractor on a multi-billion dollar dispute in relation to civil works in Dubai, involving substantial delay and disruption claims.
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  • 2015 - Admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
  • 2004 - LLM University of Queensland, Australia 
  • 2003 - Admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Australia.
  • 2002 - LLB University of Queensland, Australia
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Oil and Gas Dis­putes Sur­vey: 2021-22
We are de­lighted to present this year’s CMS Oil and Gas Dis­putes Sur­vey. Once again, we have reached out to a wide cross sec­tion of seni­or leg­al man­agers and seni­or in-house coun­sel rep­res­ent­ing key play­ers to get their views on the main drivers of dis­putes and dis­pute man­age­ment with­in the glob­al oil and gas in­dustry. As part of our in-depth sur­vey, we have also fo­cused on what leg­al ex­perts are do­ing to man­age the risk of con­flicts arising with­in their op­er­a­tions and to mit­ig­ate the pro­spect of dis­putes. The sur­vey rep­res­ents the views of over 50 in­dustry pro­fes­sion­als cov­er­ing all corners of the globe: Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pa­cific, Africa, Lat­in Amer­ica, and North Amer­ica. We are grate­ful for their valu­able in­sights in­to how and where dis­putes arise and how they are man­aged in dif­fer­ent mar­kets across the in­dustry. Giv­en the mul­tiple in­ter­na­tion­al re­gions covered by our re­port, with their dif­fer­ent re­gimes and dif­fer­ing pri­or­it­ies and is­sues, it’s not sur­pris­ing to see a broad range of views be­ing con­veyed by the sur­vey par­ti­cipants. There are how­ever some com­mon areas of con­cern that re­spond­ents in all re­gions have high­lighted in terms of the im­pact they have on trig­ger­ing in­dustry dis­putes. These in­clude the po­ten­tial for sup­ply chain is­sues to lead to a dis­pute, a con­cern which will only have been heightened by Rus­sia’s in­va­sion of Ukraine.
APAC Re­gion: Man­aging Risk in a Volat­ile Mar­ket
Leg­al Is­sues to Con­sider and Man­age in 2022/2023 2022 was a chal­len­ging year for many busi­nesses, in­clud­ing for those in the en­ergy sec­tor. 2023 looks to be just as de­mand­ing. Slow glob­al growth, the war in Ukraine, con­tinu­ing sup­ply chain chal­lenges as well as the after-ef­fects of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic are some of the factors caus­ing dis­rup­tion to busi­ness.Here, we high­light some of the leg­al is­sues that a party do­ing busi­ness in the en­ergy sec­tor in a volat­ile mar­ket could ex­pect to en­counter, and how the risks may be man­aged. Sup­ply chain risk Cur­rent sup­ply chain short­ages and re­stric­tions, ex­acer­bated by la­bour and ma­ter­i­als cost in­fla­tion which con­tin­ue from the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic.Man­age risks by:Act­ively re­view­ing ro­bust­ness of sup­ply chain in a crisis (at all tiers). Ef­fect­ive force ma­jeure draft­ing and plan­ning.En­sur­ing there is suf­fi­cient se­cur­ity for de­liv­ery ob­lig­a­tions and car­ry­ing out reg­u­lar cred­it checks on sup­pli­ers.  Ter­min­a­tion risk Volat­ile mar­kets tend to res­ult in ad­di­tion­al ter­min­a­tion risks:Man­age risks by:Re­view port­fo­lio of key con­tracts for con­tracts at risk. Act­ively en­gage with coun­ter­parties to mit­ig­ate risk of ter­min­a­tion for es­sen­tial con­tracts.Util­ise ter­min­a­tion rights to es­cape oner­ous con­tracts. Coun­ter­party risk In­creased coun­ter­party in­solv­ency risk caused by mar­ket volat­il­ity.Man­age risks by:Con­duct­ing ef­fect­ive due di­li­gence.Car­ry­ing out de­tailed as­sess­ments on cred­it­wor­thi­ness.En­sur­ing fin­an­cial se­cur­ity in the event of in­solv­ency (on-de­mand bonds, let­ters of cred­it etc.). Gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion The in­creas­ing ex­port or im­port-re­lated re­stric­tions im­posed by Gov­ern­ments.Man­age risks by:Con­sid­er­ing ful­fil­ment of con­trac­tu­al ob­lig­a­tions.Re­view­ing con­trac­tu­al rights and abil­ity to use al­tern­at­ive sources of sup­ply.Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of trade port­fo­lio. EPC ‘Hot mar­ket’ A per­fect storm of un­der sup­ply, over de­mand, in­fla­tion pres­sures, and leg­acy of the Cov­id-19 pan­dem­ic for the en­gin­eer­ing pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion mar­ket will re­quire ef­fect­ive man­age­ment of:Prop­er as­sess­ment of abil­ity to de­liv­er at tender stage.Con­trac­tu­al dam­ages and in­cent­ives for ‘on time’ de­liv­ery.Man­aging pro­ject change. Sanc­tions Sweep­ing fin­an­cial glob­al sanc­tions as a res­ult of Rus­sia’s War on Ukraine may im­pact your busi­ness.Man­age risks by:Re­view­ing nex­uses to Rus­sia.Identi­fy­ing sanc­tions which ap­ply.Man­aging any busi­ness from a repu­ta­tion­al and ESG-based per­spect­ive, and con­sider al­tern­at­ive op­tions. Price volat­il­ity LNG spot price is at an all-time high, with po­ten­tial volat­il­ity in all com­mod­ity mar­kets.Man­age risks by:Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of counter-party non-de­liv­ery, force ma­jeure/ter­min­a­tion.Pre­par­ing for cir­cum­stances of an in­ab­il­ity to de­liv­er / ac­cept de­liv­ery and wheth­er any force ma­jeure clause ex­cuses per­form­ance.Check price re­view / re­open­er clauses in long-term agree­ments.Care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of any im­pact on cost base and mar­gin calls. ESG trans­form­a­tion The drive to­wards net zero and ESG ex­pect­a­tions.Man­age risks by:Re­view­ing con­trac­tu­al ar­range­ments for car­bon neut­ral trad­ing and con­tract­ing.Con­sid­er­ing wheth­er counter-party net zero and / or ESG com­mit­ments have ad­equate rem­ed­ies in the event of breach.Man­aging reg­u­lat­ory changes and com­pany policies.
Bi­furc­a­tion in in­ter­na­tion­al ar­bit­ra­tion and the scope of the func­tus of­fi­cio...
A re­cent de­cision of the Su­preme Court of West­ern Aus­tralia has set aside an in­ter­im ar­bit­ral award on the basis that the three mem­ber tribunal was func­tus of­fi­cio. The func­tus of­fi­cio doc­trine in ar­bit­ra­tion...
No coun­ter­claim or Part 20 claim avail­able in pro­ceed­ings to en­force an...
The Com­mer­cial Court in Lon­don has ruled that a re­spond­ent in pro­ceed­ings to en­force an ar­bit­ra­tion award can­not bring a coun­ter­claim against the ap­plic­ant in the same pro­ceed­ings. The re­spond­ent’s...
Ad­miss­ib­il­ity versus jur­is­dic­tion: pre-con­di­tions in ar­bit­ra­tion agree­ments
In NWA and oth­ers v NVF and oth­ers [2021] EWHC 2666 (Comm), the Com­mer­cial Court dis­missed an ap­plic­a­tion un­der sec­tion 67(1)(a) of the Ar­bit­ra­tion Act 1996 to set aside an award on the basis that non-com­pli­ance...
Build­ing Voices
Wel­come to the ICE Dis­putes pod­cast series, 'Build­ing Voices'. The CMS ICE Dis­putes team has launched a new pod­cast series, Build­ing Voices.Build­ing Voices is a new pod­cast series that fo­cuses on the...
Law and reg­u­la­tion of con­sequen­tial dam­ages clauses in the en­ergy sec­tor...
1. Do the words “con­sequen­tial loss” have a giv­en mean­ing in law? Yes. Aus­trali­an law fol­lows the ap­proach taken by the Eng­lish courts to the as­sess­ment of dam­ages set out in the case of Had­ley...
CMS Oil & Gas Dis­putes Sur­vey: Man­aging dis­putes risk – the in-house per­spect­ive
We are de­lighted to launch the res­ults from this year’s CMS Oil & Gas Dis­putes Sur­vey. Based on re­sponses from seni­or in-house coun­sel, the CMS Oil & Gas Dis­putes Sur­vey ex­am­ines the key drivers of...
King­dom of Saudi Ar­a­bia: The re­cent Su­preme Court De­cision on con­tracts...
The Gen­er­al As­sembly of the Su­preme Court of Saudi Ar­a­bia, the highest ap­peal court in the King­dom, re­cently pub­lished a de­cision (No. M/45/M dated 08/05/1442AH) set­ting out ju­di­cial prin­ciples to be...
CMS Oil and Gas 2020 An­nu­al Re­view Pod­cast
Wel­come to the CMS Oil and Gas 2020 An­nu­al Re­view pod­cast and video series. In this series we dis­cuss the latest de­vel­op­ments in Eng­lish Oil and Gas law and what it means for the in­dustry. Top­ics in­clude:Joint...
Con­tract as­sess­ment – Risks and op­por­tun­it­ies
Over the past 6 months, many busi­nesses have been forced to as­sess their con­trac­tu­al rights, ob­lig­a­tions, and as­so­ci­ated risks as a res­ult of COV­ID-19. Some of these risks are ob­vi­ous, for ex­ample, the...
Treaty claims for can­celled or mod­i­fied in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects in the...
A re­cent IC­SID tribunal has denied an in­vestor’s claim con­cern­ing the de­vel­op­ment of an air­port pro­ject in Latvia. The in­vestor was un­able to pro­ceed with the con­struc­tion of its pro­ject due to nu­mer­ous...