Practice/Industry Group Overview
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 60 lawyers assisted clients through the boom in domestic 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 Dodd-Frank derivatives regulations.
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 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. 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.
Strong industry background. Clients hire us because we understand their business. Whether in the business of oil, gas, power, LNG, renewables, cooperatives, nuclear or soft 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 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.
Dodd-Frank Act. 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 Act (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.
- 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.
Sutherland’s Energy and Commodities Practice Group represents every major sector of the energy industry. 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.
Sutherland represents an international client in potential export capacity acquisition at an existing U.S. LNG terminal.
We represent an international client in commercial and regulatory matters related to possible acquisition of LNG export capacity from a terminal in Maryland.
Sutherland counsels a major energy transportation and distribution company in its acquisition of a solar energy project.
Sutherland attorneys helped draft the project’s EPC and O&M agreements and advised on potential tax and regulatory issues.
Sutherland counsels a major energy trader in multitiered deal.
We represent a client as a refined products offtaker, in restructuring offtake arrangements with two refining companies, each a subsidiary of PBF Holding Company LLC, at their respective refineries located in New Jersey and Delaware.
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
CFTC Issues No-Action Relief and Interpretive Guidance Related to SEFs
, October 03, 2013
As the date for compliance with swap execution facility (SEF) registration requirements approached, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the CFTC or Commission) issued a number of no-action letters and interpretive guidance regarding the obligations of market participants, intermediaries,...
IRS Updates Renewable Energy Tax Credit Beginning of Construction Guidance
, September 26, 2013
On September 20, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2013-60, which provides additional guidance that will help developers and purchasers of renewable energy facilities meet the beginning of construction requirement for the renewable energy section 45 production tax credit (PTC)...
Out With the Old, in With the New - CIP Version 5 on the Horizon
, April 25, 2013
Electric utilities and other generation and transmission companies will be subject to new cybersecurity standards under a proposed rule issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). FERC proposed to approve the long-awaited Version 5 of the North American Electric Reliability...
Sequestration to Cause CREB Payments to Be Reduced by 8.7%
, March 08, 2013
The Office of Management and Budget has issued its Report to the Congress on the budget sequestration for federal fiscal year 2013 required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Interest subsidy payments for New Clean...
New Regulation under Cybersecurity Executive Order
, February 15, 2013
President Obama yesterday issued an Executive Order to address the growing cyber threat to the Nation’s “critical infrastructure,” a term broadly defined to potentially cover natural gas and oil pipelines, storage sites and refineries as well as electric generation, transmission...
EPA Issues Amendments to the Renewable Fuel Standard to Address RIN Fraud
Susan G. Lafferty,David M. McCullough,Peter H. Rodgers, February 04, 2013
Earlier today and in the wake of the fraudulent renewable fuel credit (known as “RINs”) scandal that has shaken both the renewable fuel and petroleum industries, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a number of amendments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS...
New Reliability Compliance Opportunities in 2013
Daniel E. Frank,Alison C. Graab,Meghan R. Gruebner,Jennifer J.K. Herbert,Alexandra D. Konieczny, January 05, 2013
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) closed out 2012 with several orders affecting reliability compliance. FERC adopted a revised definition of the “bulk electric system,” authorized FERC access to e-Tags used to schedule power transmission, and affirmed the authority of the...