Oil & Gas: Upstream

Market forces are driving oil and gas industry transformation — spurring innovation as companies prioritize operational efficiency and better extraction methods. This environment is infusing entrepreneurial energy at a critical time and driving an increase in R&D and collaboration.

Key Contacts

Ryan P. Steen Partner Seattle, WA
Eric L. Martin Partner Portland, OR
Michael N. Mills Partner Sacramento, CA
Ramona L. Monroe Partner Anchorage, AK
See all contacts
Overview

We work with leading oil and gas exploration companies and industry associations in support of expanding oil and gas exploration, production and leasing operations. Our work ranges from mergers, acquisitions, sales, leasing and drilling agreements to the wide range of environmental counsel required when developing and extracting energy resources.

Our Services

  • M&A
  • Purchase and disposition
  • Environmental compliance and due diligence
  • Asset acquisition due diligence
  • Critical habitat designation challenges
  • Title review, examination and opinions
  • ESA, MMPA, NPDES negotiation, permitting and litigation
  • Permitting approvals and appeals
  • Indian law and transactions with tribal governments
  • Litigation, arbitration and mediation
  • Transaction tax counsel
  • General corporate counsel and advice

Environmental and Permitting Counsel

With one of the largest and most respected environmental law and entitlements practices in the nation, we offer deep upstream energy industry knowledge and a proactive mindset when it comes to environmental compliance. Our focus is on preventive measures and strategies to maintain compliance and keep operations and transactions moving forward.

As exploration businesses plan and launch new enterprises, we provide counsel on land use, water rights and other permitting and approval issues. Our experience spans oil and gas drilling on land and offshore hydraulic fracturing and sand and shale extraction operations. Often, upstream energy projects intersect with significant protected species issues springing from ESA regulations and critical habitat designations.  We have a national reputation for helping oil and gas businesses, and their trade associations,  navigate the complexities of the Endangered Species and Marine Mammals Protection Acts. We are skillful negotiators of take agreements and experienced with drafting protection and conservation plans that satisfy regulators while achieving your business objectives.

Oil and Gas Transactions and Corporate Counsel

We’ve led transactions for the purchase and sale of oil and gas fields throughout the western U.S. and Canada. In addition to standard due diligence for oil and gas-related transactions, we are vigilant about examining the myriad land use, permitting and environmental issues—both actual and potential—that arise when effecting exploration agreements, contracts, leases or financing. In addition to documenting and negotiating transaction details, we collaborate with tax attorneys experienced with special state and federal tax concerns that apply to businesses engaged in oil and gas exploration and development. On an ongoing basis, we provide to energy companies counsel on operational issues such as securities compliance, corporate finance, intellectual property protection, workforce management, employee benefits planning, and real estate and construction matters.

Litigation

Our team includes litigators equally experienced with administrative and judicial proceedings. We vigorously defend you against regulatory compliance challenges, enforcement actions and citizen suits and represent your interests in administrative reviews pertaining to permitting. With regard to endangered species and mammal act litigation, we’ve successfully fought off antagonists trying to prevent development through species and habitat listings and defended against suits claiming lack of compliance with existing regulations.

Matters

Representative Engagements

  • Assisted with deal structure, negotiations and due diligence resulting in an agreement with Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to invest $250 million to drill new gas wells over a five-year period in the Jonah Gas Field, Sublette County, Wyoming. We advised on federal and state tax, environmental, and oil and gas law and assisted with the drafting and negotiation of all transaction documents.
  • Serve as outside counsel to California Resources Corporation in matters covering mineral title examination and preparation of drilling and division order title opinions, various exploration and production matters, unitization and pooling issues, asset acquisitions, oil and gas-related litigation matters, environmental permitting advice and assistance, eminent domain defense, surface use disputes and related negotiations, SB 4 compliance, and defense of environmental litigation matters.
  • Serve as counsel to Furie Operating Alaska, LLC, regarding Alaska oil and gas production taxes and property taxes in connection with oil and gas exploration and development activities in Cook Inlet. Also represented Furie in a $160 million financing transaction to fund the installation of an offshore natural gas production platform, marine pipeline and onshore production facilities to bring natural gas to market from Furie's Kitchen Lights Unit in the Cook Inlet. 
  • Represented an underground natural gas storage developer on $125 million expansion project, including negotiation and drafting of development agreements and property acquisition agreements.
  • Counsel to Shell Oil Company in successful litigation seeking preliminary injunctive relief enjoining environmental activists from interfering with Arctic exploration vessels and activities (Shell Oil Company v. Greenpeace, USA).
Team
Insights & Presentations
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