Practice/Industry Group Overview
For decades, Sutherland has helped clients anticipate and manage the unique legal challenges associated with energy trading and marketing.
Few industries have recently experienced more dramatic change than the energy trading business. Since the 1970s, Sutherland has represented traders, marketers, utilities and financial institutions in trading, marketing and purchasing physical and financial energy commodities, and in dealing with related transportation and storage infrastructure.
Partnering with our clients, whether in responding to Dodd-Frank regulation or managing the challenges of bringing unconventional oil and gas to the market, we respond effectively and creatively to the legal and business issues associated with the entire spectrum of the energy trading and marketing industry.
Our legal work encompasses every aspect of the energy trading and marketing business, including crude oil and refined products, wholesale and retail power and natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading and operations, derivatives and financial products, emissions and renewable energy. We cover federal and state regulatory, compliance, government enforcement, environmental matters, litigation and dispute resolution, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, trade sanctions and transactional tax.
Experience. Sutherland has 40 years of business and legal experience representing companies in the energy trading and marketing business. Our unique knowledge and experience in this area is why energy clients continue to hire us deal after deal.
Physical commodities background. Our experience with physical commodities includes crude oil and refined products, wholesale and retail power and gas and LNG. Our familiarity with the physical side of trading allows us to better understand our clients’ business objectives and perspectives.
Dodd-Frank Act. Sutherland’s Energy & Commodities Derivatives team is at the forefront of the energy trading industry’s analysis and response to recently implemented Dodd-Frank Act measures.
Regulatory and compliance strength. We advise clients on complex regulatory and compliance matters, including full scale compliance audits, FERC’s trading practice requirements, the CFTC’s trading practices and market manipulation prohibitions and U.S. competition and antitrust laws, anti-money laundering regulations, restrictions on international trade, sanctions and anti-boycott regulations.
Ongoing education. We offer our clients free, CLE-accredited training programs on more than 50 topics around energy regulatory, compliance, enforcement, commercial, transactional, finance and tax matters, among many others. Our Lunch & Learn list is easily available from one our energy lawyers.
Nuts and Bolts
Sutherland attorneys advise on the full spectrum of energy product services.
- Crude oil and refined products
- Sutherland advises oil traders in commercial, regulatory and credit issues arising from the purchase, sale, storage, exchange, financing, marine transportation and processing of oil commodities.
- We advise oil traders on commercial agreements including oil processing and products off-take agreements, crude oil forward sale agreements, inventory financing and consignment arrangements, terminaling and throughput agreements and marketing and distribution contracts.
- Retail power and gas
- Our transactional lawyers structure and document large, complex physical and financial energy commodity-based transactions.
- Purchase and sale agreements that accommodate multiple retail markets.
- We advise clients of potential bankruptcy or credit constraint scenarios.
- Our team handles corporate and M&A needs, such as acquiring or divesting regional electricity providers or retail books of business.
- Wholesale power and gas trading
- Sutherland conducts complex, structured transactions for the wholesale purchase and sale of electric capacity and energy, natural gas, tolling of gas and power, financial hedging, gas storage, electricity transmission and natural gas transportation.
- We provide model documentation for energy trading and marketing companies, including: ISDA Master Agreements, the EEI Master Power Purchase and Sale Agreement, the Western Systems Power Pool Agreement, Master Netting Agreements and NAESB Gas Master Agreements.
- We represent companies in operational, transactional and regulatory matters affecting clients in regasification projects, LNG export projects, transportation, and contracting in the long-term, short-term and spot markets, including master purchase and sale agreements.
- Our team serves the unique interests of new market entrants: commodity traders, financial institutions and various niche market participants.
- We counsel on the commoditization of LNG, including futures, swaps and hedging.
- Derivatives and financial products
- Contracting, documentation, regulatory, tax consequences and conflict resolution on energy and commodity derivative matters
- Dodd-Frank compliance and implementation
- Analyzing and negotiating derivatives documentation (ISDA Master Agreements, credit support documentation, and cross-product and cross-affiliate Master Netting Agreements)
- Advising on tax and disclosure implications of derivative transactions
- Litigation involving the analysis and proper valuation of terminated derivative transactions
- Renewable and alternative energy
- We help clients navigate the changing energy markets and the legislative and regulatory framework driving renewable and low-emissions energy sources.
- Sutherland represents energy traders and investors in matters relating to biofuels, biomass, solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear sources.
- Regulatory, compliance and enforcement
- FERC’s trading practice requirements
- CFTC’s trading practices and market manipulation prohibitions
- U.S. competition and antitrust laws
- Anti-money laundering regulations
- Restrictions on international trade
- Sanctions and anti-boycott regulations
- We represent energy traders as they address the array of federal, state and international environmental laws and regulations that govern their transactions and investments.
- Litigation and dispute resolution
- Our energy litigation team tackles the broad range of disputes facing energy companies today. We have tried cases and argued before both federal and state courts—trial and appellate—as well as before regulatory agencies and arbitration panels.
- Restructuring and bankruptcy
- We have been actively involved in the most significant recent bankruptcies of energy trading and marketing companies.
- We represent debtors, providing specialized advice regarding energy contracts, trading, forward contracts, swaps, netting agreements, futures contracts, tolling agreements and regulatory matters.
Energy traders and marketers choose Sutherland because our attorneys have a deep understanding of energy business fundamentals. It is this understanding that helps us guide clients to practical solutions for their legal challenges.
Sutherland represents physical traders in crude oil supply and refined products offtake arrangements.
Our oil trading team represented a merchant bank in three offtake and supply arrangements with refineries in three states.
Sutherland represents a leading investment bank in large scale bond-financed prepaid natural gas transactions.
Our attorneys structured and documented long-term natural gas supply agreements, price swaps and related arrangements for large municipal gas buyers.