Our lawyers are leading legal advisors in energy related matters.
Over many years, we have built a substantial international practice in the energy sector.
We act for energy majors, refineries, shipowners, traders, pipeline operators and offshore companies and have broad experience in the fields of oil, gas and renewables.
Legal services for the energy sector require extensive industry knowledge, a detailed understanding of the law and relevant regulatory frameworks.
We combine market-leading legal analysis with significant in-house expertise. This allows us to apply our know-how to the law and obtain the best results for our clients.
Energy disputes are distinctive. They require profound knowledge of the industry, regulatory framework, commercial levers and market developments. Competition and antitrust law often surface in such disputes. We possess this understanding and provide such services to our clients.
This subset of disputes often arises from long-term contractual arrangements and include technically complex fact patterns. Our lawyers have the necessary experience and insights to fully grasp the complexity underlying energy disputes. We work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients, in arbitration, litigation and related negotiations.
Our broad experience ranges from Central and Eastern European gas transit, storage and supply to Caspian mining; as well as from the construction of hydroelectric power stations in Central Europe to investments and joint ventures in coal-fired power plants in Eastern Europe, a corporate dispute in a major oil and gas company in Ukraine, a vessel breakdown with major delay losses, and countless energy-related contract disputes, as discussed below.
We frequently act on price adjustment disputes or disputes based on the premature termination or amendment of long-term contracts.Back to top
We have vast experience in drafting transactions and putting projects together for our energy clients. We understand the intricacies of the sector and have the legal know-how to help our clients establish a solid legal relationship with their commercial partners. This builds on our firm’s leading Commodities and Trade practice.
A selection of energy contracts that we draft and advise on:
Our firm also advises on cargo and shipping operational issues, for example, in relation to arrival/delivery windows, shortage and quality/off-spec, laytime and demurrage, issuing guarantees and letters of credit, bills of lading and letters of indemnity.Back to top
Our LNG team, led by Damon Thompson, who worked in-house at a major energy company for eight years, has a keen focus on this specific energy product.
We are routinely instructed on both advisory and contentious work in the LNG market. Our clients include shipowners, charterers and major oil companies. We have significant experience litigating the industry standard charterparty forms, including ShellLNGTime 1 and ShellLNGTime 2.
Additionally, as the LNG market continues to grow, we regularly deliver presentations and LNG specific training to industry leaders and new market participants on these standard charterparty forms and the potential issues they present.
A major Singapore LNG trader provided this recent testimonial:
“We engage Damon Thompson regularly as our legal advisor and consultant on shipping and other commercial matters. His specialist knowledge and passion in LNG shipping is well-known, but that is only half the story. Shipping is one of the main components of a commercial transaction, and I trust in Damon’s understanding of each and every component of originating, negotiating and closing the deal. I can rely on him to properly assess the risks and address what is necessary in order to bring a deal across the line. This knowledge is acquired from his time in-house before returning the private practice, as well as his extensive networks in the shipping, LNG and insurance industries. We highly recommend him as a trusted advisor in this area of law.”Back to top
We act for market participants across the oil and gas industry, whether it is in supply, trading, refining, transport, transit, shipping, storage or construction. Our expertise covers advisory work and disputes relating to oil and gas construction projects, tanker charterparty disputes, and sale and purchase or supply agreements, gas transit agreements and gas storage agreements, among many other contracts.
The market dynamics that underpin our clients’ business practices and their motivations are critical in any dispute. In the oil and gas sector, ongoing business relationships often mean that early negotiation between parties is customary and can be the first step to a satisfactory resolution. Where that fails, we have decades of experience successfully pursuing claims in arbitration and litigation.
The monetary values involved in this trade are typically considerable. Clients come to us for our trusted reputation, close attention to detail and dedication to the matter at hand.Back to top
Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich combines intimate industry knowledge with extensive experience in handling large-scale disputes.
Our experience covers a wide range of projects. We have acted in off-shore and on-shore energy construction disputes, including hydroelectric power stations, semi-submersible drilling rigs, and disputes relating to the construction of FPSOs. Our clients include European governments, major energy companies, vessel owners and construction companies. We have worked on disputes arising under a wide range of agreements, including FIDIC-based projects, consortia and joint ventures.
Construction disputes often involve varied and novel issues. We support our clients with our thorough preparation and detailed analysis of the facts and the law. By understanding the case in detail, we can make your case clear and compelling.
Our lawyers’ work includes regularly sitting as arbitrators in construction cases, such as a recent ICC emergency arbitration.Back to top
Shipping is at the heart of the energy sector and it is at the heart of what we do.
We have decades of experience arbitrating and litigating voyage charterparties and time charterparties in the tanker market. We advise on demurrage issues, delays, cargo contamination, off-hire and speed and performance, among many others.
While we know the industry standard form contracts inside out, we also recognise that the law and the market never stand still. We regularly publish articles and commentary on the legal updates, and we apply our leading industry knowledge and analysis to ensure our clients get results.Back to top
Energy markets move notoriously fast. The rate of technological development is enormous. That rate of change is being seen most clearly in renewable energy projects.
Our team is uniquely equipped to lead in renewable energy disputes. Our experience particularly covers acting on large scale disputes relating to hydro-electric power stations and off-shore wind farms.Back to top
Assisting a German energy company regarding the employment law aspects of the closure of its Austrian branch.
Advising Mexican subsidiary of a major Austrian group in the oil drilling industry in its wind up and liquidation proceedings before Mexican authorities.
Representation of a global energy major in arbitral proceedings against a Western European energy company regarding the amendment of a gas supply contract in Eastern Europe (EUR 316 million, ICC).
Assessing criminal and civil options, and coordinating an asset seizure search and attach strategy in Mexico for a major case for shipowners pursuing a Chinese mining conglomerate in Mexico. The underlying case involved allegations of cartel cooperation and fraudulent dissipation of assets (USD 2.5 million).
Representation of a Central European state owned energy companies in arbitration proceedings regarding a joint-venture for building and operation of a coal power plant (EUR 60 million, ICC).
Representation of an Eastern European energy company in court proceedings against two Central European entities regarding interim measures (EUR 16 million, Austrian state courts).
Representation of a South European plant-engineering manufacturer in proceedings on the annulment of an arbitral award (EUR 40 million, Austrian Supreme Court) – 2016.
Representation of a Southern European state in an investment arbitration against a Slovenian investor regarding the privatisation of a power plant (EUR 720 million, ICSID).
Representation of a global industrial company regarding claims in connection with the construction of a powerplant in Austria (EUR 15 million, ICC Dispute Board).
Representation of Asian governmental energy entity in Coronavirus related advice reagrding current portfolio of charter parties.
Representation of major international LNG supplier in Coronavirus related advice on Indian customs regulations regarding presence of armed guards and piracy prevention personnel, off hire and risk assessment.
Representation of major Central European Energy Company in relation to a failure to load at a North African LNG terminal. The issue was successfully resolved with the client being “kept whole” and the terms of loading and delivery of the cargo re-negotiated.
Representation of a major US oil refinery in relation to disputes under their shipping contracts during the COVID-19 crisis. The dispute related to delays under a bespoke charterparty.
Legal advice to a major petroleum product importer in a dispute relating to out of specification oil products
Legal advice to a major American oil company on disputes relating to their fleet of vessels, including queries relating to demurrage, off-hire and cargo contamination.
Pursued a large energy company for shipowner clients seeking damages arising due to delay / fire to a terminal in Brazil. We intervened into related English Court of Appeal proceedings and obtained a favourable outcome.
Providing pre-arbitral advise (ICC).
Assessing the laws on lifting the corporate veil on companies in Mexico for a major shipping demurrage case, where the underlying cargo interests were not in a position to accept delivery and the vessel carrying crude ended up waiting for months before discharge could occur (USD 3+ million).
Representation of a South-Eastern European companies in a dispute regarding the construction of a power plant against an insolvent claimant (EUR 73 million, ICC).
Supporting an Austrian integrated oil and gas company in every aspect of their employment and industrial relations issues.Representing the company in court proceedings against an employee claiming higher pension entitlements than currently paid out. The case is of utmost importance, as further employees may raise similar claims (Austrian court).
Assisting the company in the court proceedings against a former contractor regarding the existence of an employment relationship.
Advised major LNG chartering company on midterm charter parties with multinational oil trading company.
Preparation of bespoke template charterparty documents for vessel owners in the LNG industry. Advising on the terms of ShellLNGTime 1 and ShellLNGTime 2 to provide a comprehensive template/standard form document at an appropriate risk level for clients.
Representation of major international LNG supplier and charterer on their position in respect of a multi-million dollar off-hire claim. The dispute turned on bespoke off-hire wording and complex legal questions in LCIA arbitration.
Advised an Asian governmental energy entity in relation to its insurance requirements for the import, trading and transportation of LNG
Representation of major international LNG supplier and charterer in drafting and negotiating long term charters for four new-build LNG carriers.
Advised Italian shipowner on sanctions related to trade in South and Middle America.
Legal advice to a major petroleum product importer relating to out of specification oil products
Advised on and drafted protective clauses for a major US oil refinery in relation to risk under their shipping contracts during the Covid-19 crisis.
Negotiated and drafted multi-million-dollar offshore services contract on behalf of vessel-owner client.
Representation of a South European plant-engineering manufacturer in a challenge proceedings against all three arbitrators of a previous arbitration proceeding (EUR 3 million, Austrian Supreme Court).
Representation of a Central Asian state in an investment arbitration against a foreign investor active in the mining industry (Moscow Chamber of Commerce, USD 118 million).
Representation of a major global oil & gas company in arbitral and court proceedings against a Western European gas pipeline operator regarding European competition law matters (EUR 70 million, ICC, Austrian energy regulator, Austrian Administrative Court).
Acted for an oil and gas company on proceedings in the High Court against its COO and his related companies for receipt of alleged secret commissions. Worldwide freezing orders were obtained to the value of approx US$25m.
Representation of an Austrian subsidiary of a major European construction company in arbitral proceedings against an Eastern European energy company regarding penalty and warranty claims arising from the construction of a hydroelectric power plant (EUR 3 million, VIAC).
Representation of a Turkish construction company in the enforcement of a European arbitral award (EUR 2 million, Austrian court).
Acted for client on a multi-million dollar dispute relating to an FPSO vessel re-fit. The case involved a detailed and technical review of claims arising out of a series of variation orders, and a detailed legal analysis of the overarching nature of the contract.
Defended oil spill indemnification claims against client time charterer following oil spill event on Mississippi.
Obtained dismissals based on U.S. maritime law defenses resulting in reduction of client’s damages from multimillion-dollar jury verdict to less than $300,000.00 in a lawsuit by former Jones Act employee and family.
Representation of a Southern European gas trader in arbitral proceedings against a Central European multinational regarding the revision of gas storage contracts (EUR 15 million, ad hoc arbitration/Leipzig, Germany).
Representation of a German energy major in contract adjustment proceedings against a Western European incumbent regarding gas transit agreements and related competition law questions (EUR 120 million, VIAC).
Representation of a Southern European state in an investment arbitration against EGS regarding the privatisation of a power plant (EUR 72 million, ICSID).
Acted for a major off-shore oil drilling company in relation to a contractual dispute in the Gulf. The case involved questions of repudiatory breach and late delivery of equipment.
Advised on the commissioning and commercial start-up of a Floating Liquefaction Unit and Floating Storage Unit in West Africa for the sole off-taker trader. Various operational issues arose with significant commercial impact. Required regular advice and draft messages to protect contractual positions and resolve the issues.
Drafted and negotiated a 20-year Sale and Purchase Agreement and associated logistics agreements for a leading trading company for volumes of liquefied helium produced in the Siberian region of Russia which involved containerised carriage by road and sea.
Representation of major LNG supplier on a 15-year Gas Sales Agreement and Terminal Use Agreement for supply of LNG/natural gas in West Africa The project involved intense time pressure; technical and contractual complexity with a Floating Storage Unit and a Floating Regasification Unit and the trader client retaining title to the LNG/gas during the regasification process; local legal requirements; and inherent political and regulatory risk.
Obtained dismissal of employee’s workers’ compensation claim for Longshore Act employer client at trial level, resulting in settlement for amounts previously paid following appeal of court’s dismissal.
Representation of a Singaporean shipping company with its main seat of business in London in enforcement and recognition of foreign award proceedings (USD 5.7 million, Mexican courts).
Drafted a Construction Contract for a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit together with the associated Technical Services Agreement, the Ship Management Agreement and Charterparty on behalf of a trading company for an important strategic project in Russian territorial waters.
Representation of an European oil&gas incumbent in a post-M&A dispute regarding the sale of a network of petrol stations against a Central European energy incumbent (EUR 4 million, ICC).
Representation of a Western European industrial gas company in the court proceedings regarding damages caused by a defective CO² distribution system (Austrian state courts).
Cheyne & Thomspon (lecturers), “The LNG Industry and Evolution of LNG Charters from Tanker Charters”, FZ Presentation, 27.02.2020
Thompson (lecturer), “The LNG Industry an Overview”, FZ Presentation, 12.12.2019
Zeiler, “Protection of Investments in Alternative Energy Projects in Romania”, Romanian Wind Energy Association, Bucharest (Romania), June 2013
Beisteiner & Zeiler (authors), “Expert view: European Gas Pricing Disputes”, Corporate Dispute Resolution, May 2012
Zeiler, Price Review Arbitrations in the European Gas Industry – A Surge Still on the Rise?, May 2012
Zeiler, “The Energy Charter Treaty and the EC”, Vienna Arbitration Days 2008, Vienna (Austria), February 2008
A four-month delay in bringing an anti-suit injunction was held to prevent its issue in Enka v Chubb Insurance  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 71. PJSC was the contractor for the construction of a power plant.
This note reports on an interesting and important US federal court decision concerning sanctions enforcement and, significantly, a rare instance of a business challenging OFAC’s interpretation of a US sanctions regime. Exxon was successful in voiding a US$2 million sanctions penalty. However, for the rest of us this case demonstrates why caution around sanctions remains of paramount importance.