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Oil and gas: Upstream


Meet the team

Norton Rose Fulbright’s US energy practice assists oil and gas exploration and production clients in completing complex transactions, navigating regulations and resolving high-profile disputes. 

Our team understands the unique set of issues facing companies in the upstream sector. Our experience in the US and globally in emerging regions matches the diverse geographic footprint of oil and gas exploration and development. We recognize the balance companies in this sector must strike with all stakeholders from host governments and joint venture partners to suppliers, customers and investors. We have advised on negotiations and disputes with all of these parties. Whether conventional or unconventional, onshore or offshore, transaction or dispute, we have the experience to find solutions to the business issues facing upstream companies.

The areas in which we provide support include

  • Energy transactions: We advise on acquisitions, divestitures and joint development agreements related to conventional, offshore, and shale exploration and production assets. We also advise on cross-border transactions, unitizations, profit/production sharing contracts and negotiations with host governments.
  • Energy disputes: We represent clients in the upstream sector in litigation and disputes spanning all areas including: commercial, construction, class action, royalties, toxic tort, labor, catastrophic events, securities litigation and international arbitration.
  • Environmental: Our environmental law practice addresses the needs of upstream clients. Our environmental lawyers counsel and represent upstream clients with respect to auditing and compliance programs; permitting matters; civil, criminal and enforcement actions; regulatory interpretations; environmental litigation; and administrative, civil and criminal proceedings before various regulating agencies.
  • Shale and hydraulic fracturing: Our team has unique experience advising clients on transactions, environmental matters and disputes related to shale development and hydraulic fracturing.

Our recent work

  • Represented an offshore oil and gas producer in a suit against the US Department of Interior regarding application of the Deepwater Royalty Relief Act.
  • Represented a global oil and gas company in connection with its US $2.3 billion purchase of an undivided 25% interest in, and the joint development of, over 600,000 net mineral acres of oil and gas properties located in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.
  • Represented a US independent E&P company in defense of a lawsuit alleging methane contamination of water wells as a result of nearby drilling activities in Western Pennsylvania.
  • Advised a US independent oil and gas company in its US $2.6 billion sale of an interest in a field offshore in Mozambique.

Awards and accolades

  • Best Law Firms, Tier 1 national rankings for energy law, natural resources law and oil & gas law, US News & World Report and Best Lawyers, 2017
  • Chambers Global, USA: Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), Chambers & Partners, 2017
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide: Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), Chambers & Partners, 2017
  • IFLR 1000, leading North American law firm for energy and oil and gas, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, 2018
  • Legal 500 US, Nationwide Energy: Transactions, The Legal 500, 2017