Oil & Gas
Shale development presents exciting new opportunities and unique challenges for the oil and gas industry. Barclay Damon has the knowledge and experience to assist our clients in meeting these diverse and complex challenges. Our multi-disciplinary team understands the interrelationship of legal, regulatory, business, technical, political and stakeholder issues industry faces and the implementation of strategies essential in addressing these challenges and achieving our client’s goals. We advise our clients at every stage of the oil and gas business, from upstream activities including exploration and production, to midstream pipelines and gathering and processing activities and to downstream elements including interstate pipelines, local distribution, marketing, and Federal and State utility regulation. By leveraging our industry knowledge and experience within the regional marketplace, our energy/oil and gas team is prepared to provide superior services to our clients in every phase of the shale resource development process.
Specialized Services for the Oil and Gas Industry
Well Permitting and Compulsory Integration
We advise clients on and assist in the preparation and review of applications for a variety of federal and state permits, including stormwater permits, air quality permits, water discharge permits, underground injection control permits, applications for permits to drill and water withdrawal approvals. For New York, we are available to advise clients on compliance with the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, once finalized, to avoid or minimize to the maximum extent practicable any further environmental review necessary for permit issuance. We also are available to assist and review proposed well spacing units under New York law in order to ensure compliance with statewide spacing and avoid the need to undergo additional regulatory review for non-conforming units.
Our attorneys are also well-versed in New York’s statutorily required process to compulsorily integrate uncontrolled owners into a well spacing unit. We advise and assist clients on all aspects of New York’s compulsory integration process regularly appear at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) monthly compulsory integration hearings and, when necessary, represent our clients in further administrative proceedings when disputes arise.
Pipelines and Compressor Stations
Our attorneys have significant regulatory experience at both the state and federal level for siting and permitting interstate and intrastate pipelines as well as gathering lines and compressor stations. We are well-versed in all applicable environmental reviews and required permitting, including direct experience with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Section 7 review process, Army Corps of Engineers’ delineations and permitting, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and New York Public Service Commission's (PSC) Article VII environmental review process as well as 401 Water Quality Certifications, the Endangered Species Act and Coastal Zone Management consistency determinations. We have successfully advised clients on addressing various stakeholder interests to achieve project completion. We have significant experience on right-of-way acquisitions including, when necessary, the use of eminent domain proceedings.
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)
Barclay Damon’s diverse Energy practice is comprised of lawyers and professionals experienced and familiar with LNG development and transactions. In the domestic and international LNG industry, our attorneys advise clients on all aspects of the development and financing of LNG facilities, including LNG permitting and regulatory compliance, development structures and agreements, transaction risk analysis and allocation, joint venture structures and agreements, LNG sale and purchase transactions, LNG transportation and related port usage and services agreements, financing and transportation agreements, market access and related issues and LNG for power producers, utilities and industrial users. We also have significant experience with other agreements typically present in LNG projects, such as facilities and equipment engineering and construction contracts, operation and maintenance agreements and power and utilities services contracts.
Environmental and Regulatory Litigation
Our litigators are comprised of a cross-disciplinary team drawn from the Firm’s Environmental, Energy, Regulatory and Litigation Areas. We have the ability to blend our technical industry and regulatory knowledge with our litigation experience to provide a comprehensive and complete service to our clients. We represent clients in a full range of litigation before administrative agencies and state and federal courts in civil and criminal matters arising under federal, state and local environmental statutes and the common law. Our attorneys have an excellent track record when challenging agency decisions or defending them when they are challenged by other parties. We also litigate landowner disputes as well as complex class action tort suits and represent clients in all phases of government investigations.
Government, Regulatory and Local Affairs
We can assist our oil and gas clients by actively engaging elected and appointed leaders in the New York State Executive and Legislative branches as well as at the local municipal level. We have cultivated extensive experience in New York on a wide range of issues important to the oil and gas industry and regularly represent clients before pertinent federal and state agencies as well as local municipalities across the areas prospective for shale development. We also provide assistance to energy clients new to New York State in establishing a political relationship-building program. Our affiliate, Empire Advocates, provides clients with non-legal consulting and lobbying services involving government, public and landowner relations.
Our attorneys also advise clients on all facets of local municipal issues. We have significant experience working in hundreds of municipalities on a broad range of issues and are uniquely positioned to understand local issues impacting our oil and gas clients. We advise our clients on a multitude of issues at the local level, including Home Rule and local preemption, land use and zoning, environmental, tax, and road use maintenance agreements. We also have extensive experience in public relations and are available to assist our clients with navigating public concerns and opposition.
Governed by a wide body of state statutes and common law, many real estate transactions require a sophisticated knowledge of real estate law. Our extensive experience and strong reputation in this field has earned us the opportunity to represent a wide range of clients as we address the spectrum of real estate matters. We assist clients in the negotiation and drafting of all the complex documentation that typically accompanies the acquisition, financing, development, sale and leasing of real property interests, and to ensure that they comply with all of the laws that affect them throughout the transactional process. We provided real estate counsel in the largest acquisition of oil and gas rights ever in New York, which involved the sale of thousands of acres of various oil and gas-related property interests including fee interests, leasehold interests, rights-of-way, easements, mineral interests and overriding royalty interests, as well as agreements regarding areas of mutual interest, reciprocal drilling rights, reciprocal pipeline and gathering system use and reciprocal rights of way.
Real Property Tax
We are aware that real property taxes represent some of the most significant operating costs facing our business clients today and that their competitive environment is directly affected by such local development issues as property valuation and condemnation. Because we are problem solvers with an understanding of business concerns and an interest in the economic development of our region, our dynamic team focuses its efforts on real property tax, condemnation and valuation litigation. Our attorneys are also experienced and knowledgeable relative to New York’s ad valorem tax and well-versed in the State’s expected push for a severance tax.
Leasing and Land Administration
Our team has significant experience working with and advising clients on land issues, including landowner communications and leasing disputes. We are available to counsel our client’s land professionals in a variety of lease issues, including but not limited to lease extension, force majeure, shut-in and payment disputes. We also have experience representing several natural gas developers in connection with the acquisition of lease rights as well as the development of leases that comply with New York law and protect operators to the maximum extent allowable.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Our team has handled a number of stock and asset purchase transactions involving the acquisition and sale of large acreage shale leasehold interests, pipelines, gathering systems, and other oil and gas-related infrastructure. We have handled a wide array of issues in the M&A arena including due diligence, negotiation of relevant transactional documents, environmental, real property/leasehold transfers, tax and regulatory approvals.
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