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Energy and Natural Resources

Many barristers in chambers have expertise in energy and natural resources litigation, with a number being recognised as leading lawyers in this field.

Members accept instructions to act across the full spectrum of energy disputes, including oil and gas, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and mining litigation.  For example they have been involved in: exploration and exploitation disputes, production sharing contracts, joint venture agreements, the design, construction and upgrade of oil and gas installations (on and off shore), drilling contracts, transportation of nuclear materials, mining, and litigation relating to pipelines, solar farms, and energy taxation.  Our barristers also bring a wealth of experience to disputes concerning oil, gas and coal sale contracts and the shipment and carriage of such cargoes.

In addition to offering substantial industry-specific experience, the breadth of members’ commercial expertise means they are uniquely well placed to advise across the wide range of legal issues raised by energy disputes.  These include difficult questions of contractual interpretation and damages, tort, conflicts of law, piercing the corporate veil, fraud and relief from sanctions.

As much of chambers’ work involves complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation, both in court and arbitration, barristers at 20 Essex Street are routinely sought after to act in energy disputes with an international dimension.  They also have extensive experience of working with experts in foreign laws, in addition to detailed technical and financial expert evidence.

Recent energy and natural resources work involving members of chambers includes:

OMV Petrom v Glencore [2015] EWHC 666 (Comm) – Commercial Court fraud claim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation/conspiracy against Glencore in relation to cargoes of crude oil sold into Romania as recognised grades but which were in fact blends of cheaper oils. 

The Prestige [2015] EWCA Civ 333 – Attempts by Spain and France to recover €4.5bn in compensation for pollution damage suffered as a result of one of the largest oil spills in history.

Petromec Inc v Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras and Others [2013] EWCA Civ 150: Complex litigation arising out of the upgrade and then sinking of the oil rig, "Petrobras-36" off the coast of Brazil.

Pedro Emiro Florez Arroyo v Equion Energia Ltd – Group action concerning environmental damage to land of Colombian farmers caused by a pipeline.  Largest environmental litigation to date in the UK.

Assuranceforeningen Gard v The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (Nissos Amorgos) – Novel claim against the IOPC Fund for breach of agreement to reimburse P&I Club in respect of oil pollution damage arising out of the grounding of the oil tanker Nissos Amorgos in Venezuela.

Dana Petroleum v Woodside Energy - US$200 million off-shore oil drilling dispute as to whether the defendant was contractually bound to undertake particular exploration, raising novel issues of how to assess damages for any lost chance of discovering oil.

Various international arbitrations relating to imposition of, and exemption from, foreign state taxes on oil production and importation.

Members practising within this area: