Practice Areas & Industries: Duane Morris LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

A complex host of legal challenges confronts businesses and governments in their efforts to meet the world's demand for oil.

Duane Morris has long served clients in the oil industry. Our attorneys draw upon a combination of legal and industry experience to represent clients in regulatory proceedings before state and federal agencies and international forums. With the resources of a global firm, our Energy Practice can help clients in a variety of corporate acquisitions, including the leasing, purchase and sale of undeveloped and producing properties, gathering and processing systems, pipelines and other significant assets as well as due diligence, bids and related financing issues. Throughout the entire business cycle, Duane Morris attorneys have extensive experience in assisting clients with matters concerning oil exploration, facility construction, distribution, refining, import/export, financing and related transactions.

Our practice is both national and international in scope. Duane Morris Energy attorneys have worked with clients in the drafting and negotiation of study, bidding and operating groups, and other forms of association for the conduct of international oil and gas operations. Our Energy attorneys also represent clients before foreign governmental entities within host countries during the bidding, negotiation and performance of exploration and production contracts.

Representative Matters


  • Advising a multinational oil and gas company in an arbitration under UNCITRAL rules concerning the design and construction of a semi-submersible drilling rig.
  • Advising a MNC oil and gas company in a dispute with a Singapore shipowner in relation to a dispute concerning a failed joint venture agreement in Latin America.
  • Acted for the receivers of assets of a multi-national petroleum group in relation to a claim made by the group against its former management for misappropriating the said assets.
  • Obtained on behalf of a global oil and gas services company a favorable confidential settlement following mediation of its breach of contract, breach of warranty, and fraud claims against a contractor who provided damaged equipment and faulty repair services.
  • Represented a major oil and gas engineering and construction company in the 61st Judicial District, Harris County, Texas, in the prosecution of theft of trade secret, breach of contract, and fiduciary duty claims against a former joint venture partner regarding offshore drilling technologies.
  • Advising a major middle-eastern oil company in relation to an adverse judgment on liability (Masri v. Consolidated Contractors International UK Ltd and others (No 2)[2007] EWHC 3010 (Comm)).
  • Counsel to CEO of oil and gas company in investigations by U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division and various State Attorney Generals regarding the acquisition of oil and gas leases.
  • Represented a Vietnamese maritime industrial group in mediation / arbitration proceedings pertaining to a dispute with a multinational "Big Oil" company.
  • Sunoco (R & M), Inc. v. Seneca Petroleum Company. Achieved a favorable resolution of a AAA case bought behalf of a gasoline refining company based on the contract for the sale of steam.
  • Represent company that designed new offshore floating structure for gas and oil exploration in theft of trade secrets litigation involving new spar design.
  • Defense of a multi-national company that designs, engineers and builds offshore oil drilling structures in trade secrets and copyright litigation.
  • Assisted in the defense of an international engineering firm against allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement concerning technologies related to the design and construction of deep-water oil and gas production platforms.
  • Represented major downstream oil and gas companies in multiple litigation matters throughout the state of Texas, which included breach of franchise agreement, breach of fuel supply agreement, breach of marketing agreement, breach of area development agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, embezzlement, and tortious interference claims. Successfully led efforts to enforce franchise agreement provisions and regulate trademark use by franchisees.
  • Defending a major oil and gas engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company in a misappropriation of trade secret matter before the Harris County District Court of Texas.
  • Sarria Holdings, Inc. v. Motiva Enterprises LLC, No. 05-08587 CA (Miami-Dade Co. Cir. Ct. 2012). Defended Motiva Enterprises, LLC and Shell Oil Company in a lawsuit brought by a commercial property owner which sought damages for breach of a written lease arising from loss of rental income due to contamination of a former gas station site. The plaintiff sought in excess of $4.3 million. After a non-jury trial the court found that the plaintiff failed to prove its case and ruled that Motiva and Shell could not be held liable. The court also found the defense was entitled to recover attorney's fees and costs from the plaintiff.
  • Won a trial in San Francisco state court with approximately $3.4 billion of coverage at issue; the question presented was whether a buy-back agreement included a subsidiary of the oil company counterparty to the agreement.
  • Defense of a foreign oil-drilling company in intellectual property/trade secrets dispute.
  • Represented an "at risk" construction manager regarding the administration of two multibillion-dollar construction contracts involving an oil distribution system and pump stations.
  • Tried an eminent domain valuation case on behalf of a major oil company, securing a jury verdict of $75,000, which represented the additional costs the tenant had to incur in obtaining new development approvals as a result of partial taking and reduction in access (i.e., the cost to cure). NJDOT presented testimony that the cost to cure was only $10,000.
  • Defending a major oil and gas company in a theft of trade secrets case.
  • Represented oil refinery in regard to federal toxics reporting obligations that had been overlooked. We self-reported the violations to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, and no penalties were incurred.
  • On behalf of Swiss financial institutions, defended securities violation suit in federal court involving alleged corporate takeover of oil well company in Canada.


  • Represented an American petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer in obtaining land rights to implement a $4 billion natural gas liquids pipeline project in Pennsylvania.
  • Negotiated a US$25 million 2+1 diving and offshore construction vessel support contract for inspection, repair, and maintenance including diving support services with an Indonesian oil and gas company.
  • Negotiated and secured several contract awards with an international upstream oil and gas company to provide drilling and related services using the tender drilling rig for the offshore oil and gas fields in Indonesia.
  • Represented POSC Holdings, LLC, a subsidiary of Argosy Private Equity, in its acquisition of Eagle Automation Limited, a leading oilfield automation company offering services complimentary to Panhandle Oilfield Services Company, Inc., an integrated oilfield services company and portfolio company of Argosy Private Equity.
  • Serve as U.S. outside general counsel to an oil services company with operations in Latin America. Also represented the client and led cross-border legal teams in its Preferred Stock financings from Latin American and North American investment/private equity funds, as well as its acquisition transactions within the U.S. and Latin America.
  • Represented an Indian conglomerate in relation to structuring and negotiating the acquisition of two targets in Europe in the oil engine space.
  • Represented Argosy Partners and Capital Solutions, Inc. in their acquisition of an international industrial lubricant reprocessing division of a multi-national oil company for consideration totaling $24 million.
  • Represented Petroleum Development Corporation (now known as PDC Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: PDCE) in a $48 million common stock offering.
  • Represented an American petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer in the transfer of an industrial complex to subsidiaries for $60 million.
  • Represented Equus Total Return, Inc., a private equity business development company, in its $6.6 million acquisition of oil and gas royalty interests from Warren American Oil Company.
  • Represented Ridgewood Energy Corporation in connection with launch of series of US-based funds to invest in oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represented Indonesian oil and gas company on a complex "farm-in" deal.
  • Assisting U.S. clients with joint ventures in Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, involving projects for oil and gas technologies, medical research and treatment, franchising of retail products, and construction.
  • Acted as Singapore counsel for a U.K.-based subsea oil and gas services group in its acquisition of a well intervention services provider.
  • Acted for a Singapore-listed company in the sale and lease back of an oil tanker valued at US$18 million.
  • Represented PT Supraco Lines in the purchase of a mobile offshore oil production unit for US$35 million; advised on the terms of the memorandum of agreement and other sale documents entered into by the parties.
  • Represented an undisclosed international purchaser in connection with its $800 million acquisition of petroleum and refining assets from a Fortune 100 company.
  • Advising Keppel FELS Energy and Infrastructure Ltd on the takeover offer to acquire all the issued ordinary shares in the capital of Singapore Petroleum Company Ltd.
  • Represented The Park Agency in its divestiture of its oil and gas investments.
  • Represented Petroleum Development Corp. in a series of publicly registered and privately placed syndication of oil and gas limited partnerships agreements in excess of $1 billion over several years.

Additional Representative Matters

  • Pursuant to World Bank project, developed the oil and gas code and accompanying model contracts in a three year project for the government of Ethiopia.
  • International Oil Pipeline Project - Counsel to Bechtel, the Program Manager (engineering management, procurement and construction management) for TransCanada, on matters related to the Keystone Pipeline XL Project.

Group Presentations
  Energy, Environment and Resources Update, July 15, 2016
Energy, Environment and Resources Update, July 14, 2016
New York Public Service Commission Energy Market Restructuring May Be Framework for Changes Nationwide, June 3, 2016
Energy, Environment and Resources Update, May 13, 2016
Energy, Environment and Resources Update, April 12, 2016