From policies regarding climate change and decarbonization to geopolitical upheaval and economic shockwaves, the landscape of the energy industry has undergone a paradigm shift. Any business that produces, markets, or consumes energy—nearly every business—will continue to be impacted in some fashion.
More than ever, companies should approach energy issues on a strategic level that encompasses not only maximizing their understanding of the law, but also engaging in business, economic, financial, and political strategy initiatives in a dynamic sector with shifting regulatory demands and economic challenges.
While energy policy today is directed toward reducing consumption of fossil fuels, the transition to renewable energy will take decades. In the meantime, the energy industry will require a balancing of the fuel mix which is both environmentally and economically viable.
Blank Rome’s Energy industry team is focused on how the change in the energy mix will impact other aspects of the energy industry, including producers of fossil energy, pipelines that transport oil and gas, and utilities that distribute natural gas to consumers.
We advise the full spectrum of energy-related clients, including:
- National energy companies
- Electric, gas, and water independents and public utilities
- Oil, gas, petroleum liquids, and mineral producers, and nuclear fuel disposition programs
- Liquid natural gas (“LNG”) importers, exporters, and storage operators
- Pipeline, processing, and distribution companies
- Oilfield companies
- Electric transmission companies
- Solar, wind, and hydro power developers and facility owners
- Service providers, including engineering, procurement, construction (“EPC”), and environmental firms
- Financial institutions, including private equity and infrastructure funds
- Companies engaged in large scale marketing and trading of energy commodities
What Sets Us Apart
- Our team includes a former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and former officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”).
- Several of our energy attorneys are former high-level executives in major integrated oil, chemical, and natural resources companies and one served as a general counsel of a major public utility
- Our attorneys also provide their insights in monthly articles for The Legal Intelligencer are routinely asked to be featured speakers at industry events, and often serve as educators for Continuing Legal Education seminars and webinars. One of our energy partners is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School.
- We help our clients keep current on the latest trends in the industry through our regularly updated Energy and Environmental Trends Watch blog.
- Ranked Tier 2 in U.S. News & World Report–Best Lawyers® 2022 “Best Law Firms” for Energy Law in Washington, D.C., and highly ranked nationally.
- In 2020 and 2021, Chambers USA ranked Blank Rome for Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory and Litigation) – Nationwide.
- The Legal 500 United States 2019 listed blank Rome as a Recommended Firm for Energy Regulation: Oil and Gas.
How We Can Help
Blank Rome’s Energy industry team is ideally positioned to represent clients who wish to adapt to the changing energy landscape. Our offering is truly differentiated by our deep industry experience and interdisciplinary collaboration with firm colleagues in our Corporate; Environmental; Policy & Political Law; Real Estate; Tax; Labor & Employment; Government Contracts; and Maritime practice groups.
Our energy attorneys, drawing on the firm’s deep bench of corporate finance experience, handle a wide range of energy-related corporate matters and transactions.
Our team has particular experience structuring complex financings involving multiple sources of finance, including equity investors, commercial banks, export credit agencies, multilateral agencies, vendors, bondholders, insurers, and hedge providers and end users. We also advise clients on energy and commodity transactions, including mergers and asset dispositions, anchor shipper agreements with pipelines and other infrastructure projects (e.g., terminal and storage projects), and complex secondary market agreements for commodities and capacity.
Every major transaction is supported across disciplines by our corporate, regulatory, tax, environmental, litigation, labor, employment, and benefits attorneys.
Our team can assist with a range of corporate services:
- Derivatives and commodities
- M&A (mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures)
- Structuring transactions and finance
- Negotiating and drafting letters of intent and acquisition agreements
- Joint ventures
- Tax structuring advice
- Insurance coverage advice
- Advice to boards and special committees on fiduciary duties and liabilities
- Shareholder agreements
- Debt and equity project financings
- Corporate governance strategies
- Capital markets participation (including securities ratings)
- Strategic alliances
- Regulatory compliance under federal and state laws
- Subordinate, mezzanine, and Tranche B loans
- Credit facilities
- Loan workouts and restructuring
Key Contact: Margaret Anne Hill
Blank Rome’s nationally recognized team of environmental attorneys provide energy-related counsel to companies in every major business sector: upstream, midstream, downstream, and alternative and renewable energy producers, as well as municipal and county governments and redevelopment authorities.
We bring a wealth of experience from diverse backgrounds to clients in the energy industry and government and can assist with environmental issues and disputes related to corporate transactions as well as regulatory actions and enforcement investigations.
Our environmental attorneys focus on every substantive area of environmental law relevant to the energy industry, including:
- Clean Air and Water Act permitting and enforcement
- Safe Drinking Water Act permitting and enforcement
- Civil and criminal enforcement and litigation
- Toxic tort claims, including groundwater contamination claims and claims stemming from other catastrophic events
- Compliance auditing and environmental management systems
- Insurance coverage litigation for policyholders
- Due diligence, compliance auditing, and environmental management systems
- Corporate, real estate, and lending transactions due diligence
- Construction and operating permits for project development
- Underground and aboveground storage tanks
- Natural resource damage claims
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) matters
- Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”)
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and hazardous waste management
- Superfund and voluntary remediation programs, including Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Act
- Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (“HMTA”)
We have extensive experience representing energy industry clients in regulatory matters before:
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”)
- Department of Energy (“DOE”)
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”)
- Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”)
- Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”)
- State public utility commissions
- Regional transmission organizations (“RTOs”)
- Independent system operators (“ISOs”)
Along with our government affairs team, Blank Rome assists clients in the regulatory rulemaking process, grant applications, and direct advocacy for changes in regulations, permit delays, and policy decisions. We routinely appear before the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), the U.S. Department of the Interior, and various state agencies and commissions across the United States, as well as before federal and state appeals courts, to challenge agency actions and rulings on our clients’ behalf.
Our team includes two former U.S. Senators; a former U.S. Secretary of Energy; and several former high-level staff to congressional representatives, congressional committees, and executive branch agencies. As a result of our extended history working in government, we maintain close working relationships with key policymakers at the state and federal levels.
At the state level, we represent our clients’ interests in natural gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing, and the resolution of related regulatory issues. At the federal level, we have particular strength on issues surrounding renewable energy, offshore wind, and transportation (including LNG). We have represented major renewable energy firms; numerous transportation companies; and shale oil and gas exploration, production, and mid-stream companies.
Our team can assist with a range of matters at the intersection of government and law, including:
- Congressional relations
- Executive branch liaison
- Public policy, legislation, and regulation
- Federal funding strategies
- Strategic communications
- Relationships and coalition building
- Oversight and investigations
- Political action committee (“PAC”) formation and management
- Regulation of political contributions
- State-level lobbying
Blank Rome’s energy and real estate attorneys work together to assist clients with the purchase, sale, development, and leasing of real estate, guiding clients through every phase of the process. Our firm also handles judicial and administrative challenges to real estate determinations.
We work with our energy clients on:
- Zoning and land use due diligence
- Zoning approvals
- Land development and subdivision approvals
- Building and related permits
- Land acquisition (including by eminent domain)
- Real estate tax analysis and due diligence
- Real estate tax assessment and valuation appeals
- Real estate tax exemptions and abatements
Key Contact: Cynthia Langelier Paine
Blank Rome’s tax attorneys represent energy companies in sophisticated transactions, complex tax controversies, and other matters having federal, state and local, and foreign tax implications.
We assist energy companies, public utilities, and independent power producers with their most significant tax planning concerns, in particular those related to navigating the state and federal regulatory issues impacting the tax aspects of energy transactions. Our combination of government, finance, and legal experience allows us to provide innovative and proactive tax advice to keep our clients ahead of the shifting tax environment.
Our tax attorneys help energy clients with:
- Advising on tax controversies and litigation, principally involving disputes with the Internal Revenue Service
- Evaluating current tax posture and quantifying the impact of potential investments, acquisitions, divestitures, and other corporate structural changes
- Preparing merger and acquisition tax due diligence reports developing and implementing strategic planning to achieve tax-efficient ongoing legal structures and exit alternatives
- Negotiating tax incentives and credits with state and local taxing authorities
- Spearheading and assessing loss contingencies in connection with FIN 48 compliance
- Preparing legal opinions
- Preparing and requesting letter rulings from federal, state, and local government authorities
- Complying with U.S. laws affecting foreign investors (e.g., FIRPTA and CFIUS processes)
Blank Rome’s nationally recognized Labor & Employment attorneys represent clients in a wide array of issues faced by the energy sector with concentration in:
- Strategic counseling
- Transactional advice
- HR compliance and policy design
- Management training
- Internal investigations
- Employment litigation
- Class action defense
- Wage and hour advice and litigation
- Handling whistleblower complaints
- Protection of trade secrets and competitive hiring
- Labor law
- Collective bargaining
- Management/union relations
- Benefits advice and counseling
- Executive Compensation
- ERISA litigation
Blank Rome’s preeminent Government Contracts practice brings a singular focus on providing the highest level of service to help clients in the energy industry. Our team is the foundation of our success, with more than 20 attorneys focused exclusively on government contracts law and litigation, including:
- Maintaining one of the leading bid protest practices, representing both protestors and intervenors in bid protest matters in federal procurements;
- Maximizing recoveries on contractor claims involving some of the largest contractors and government programs, as well as successfully defending against government claims (including terminations for default and convenience); and
- Guiding companies and individuals through high-stakes suspension and debarment matters, helping to preserve continued eligibility for federal programs and benefits.
Our Government Contracts team also has industry-leading experience handling a variety of matters for clients across the Department of Energy complex, and a deep understanding of the work ongoing at Hanford, Oak Ridge, Savannah River, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (“WIPP”), and other DOE sites.
Our maritime and surface transportation practice is widely recognized as a titan of maritime law. Clients include major ocean and inland marine transporters; major cruise operators; port facility operators; national railroads; and both national and regional oil, gas, and liquids pipeline companies. Our practice runs the full gamut of issues for this industry and focuses significantly on maritime and surface transportation of energy as well as energy issues impacting the industry (such as regulation of permissible clean vessel fuels).
Our maritime attorneys assist energy clients with:
- Compliance with state, federal, and international regulatory requirements
- Commercial, corporate, and general litigation
- Insurance and reinsurance
- Defending against enforcement actions and criminal prosecutions
- Vessel casualties
- Pollution incidents
Compliance with the Jones Act