Energy Law & Policy

The power to illuminate the world. The management of hazardous waste. The interrelationships of both. We evaluate risks and rewards.

Our Approach

Arent Fox attorneys and other professionals have extensive experience assisting clients in the domestic and international energy industries, including general legal work, transactions, regulations, and policy. From individual companies to prominent trade associations, Arent Fox provides sophisticated and creative legal services as well as strategic guidance and advocacy designed to advance our clients' interests in the United States and abroad. In recent years, our work has included a wide range of energy industry sectors, including oil and gas exploration and production, liquefied natural gas, electric power generation (including wind, solar, and waste-to-energy), biofuels (including ethanol and algae), and alternative fuel vehicles.

    Our Work

    Examples of activities of Arent Fox Energy Law and Policy practice members include:

    Energy Transactions

    Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG):

    • Since 1976, Arent Fox has represented Japan Indonesia LNG., Ltd. in the negotiation of multiple international energy purchasing contracts for liquefied natural gas projects. The projects range in value from $10 billion to $100 billion and representation is ongoing.
    • Advising a national power generation company in India on LNG procurement and preparing an LNG sales contract for an international tender.
    • Assisting a consortium of Japanese LNG suppliers in extending existing LNG sales contracts.
    • Advising on ship construction contracts for a 9-ship El Paso LNG tanker fleet for Algeria-United States trade.
    • Negotiating the financing for six LNG tankers using US government-guaranteed financing.

    Waste-to-Energy:

    • Working on several series of tax-exempt bonds involving Ogden Martin for mass burn solid waste disposal, resource recovery, and electric generation facilities. The initial transaction was one of the first of this type of financing in the nation.
    • Completing the original issuance of bonds for a local industrial development agency for a resource recovery facility and the subsequent conversion of these bonds from a floating to a fixed interest rate.

    Renewable Energy:

    • Representing an energy company in its financing of a $500 million solar energy farm in the Pacific Northwest.
    • Assisting a company with the financing and power purchase agreement negotiation relating to the generation of wind power along an interstate highway in the Midwest.

    Energy Regulatory and Litigation

    • Represented a municipal utility in numerous related FERC adjudications and investigations and federal court reviews of FERC decisions on wholesale energy market dysfunction and manipulation during the Western Energy Crisis of 2000-2001.
    • Participated in regulatory commission proceedings involving electric utility requests for rate increases and proposed “rate design-related” rate increases.
    • Represented Northeast Biofuels (NEB), the owner/operator of a large ethanol plant located in upstate New York, which was designed to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year. Arent Fox counseled NEB in its dispute with the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor concerning defective work, additional costs, and delays on the project.
    • We work with clients at every stage of biofuel production, including algae, cellulosic ethanol, biomass remediation and transesterification technologies. Our regulatory attorneys make sure that transgenic plants and genetically engineered microorganisms produced for these uses are developed in compliance with U.S. laws, regulations and import/export requirements.
    • Arent Fox secured a summary judgment victory in April 2010 for an independent California-based oil and gas production company in a case involving damages claims brought by an international oil and gas company that had alleged approximately $30 million in damages arising out of an alleged breach of an indemnity agreement.
    • Defeated, on very short notice, a temporary restraining order sought by a County District Attorney who sought to shut down the operations of an independent oil company by filing a 102 count complaint alleging environmental and safety violations. The civil suit was favorably settled after intensive depositions of regulators and a disgruntled former employee undermined the action.

    Public Policy

    • In its work on tax incentives for wind energy, Arent Fox helped a company stimulate additional production of wind power through tax legislation ultimately enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
    • Arent Fox works on solar power credits, ensuring existing contracts for a group of retail energy providers are grandfathered into legislation, so that there is no need to negotiate contracts all over again.
    • Worked with a major publicly traded automotive supplier on a conditional loan commitment from the US Department of Energy to develop vehicle components for fuel efficiency and alternative fuel vehicles.
    • Participates in town hall meetings and other forums, for public and media awareness, on issues like Marcellus Shale that get citizens nonpartisan answers and sound science so they can make up their own minds about energy, environmental, and economic issues in their communities.
    • Enlists support of state and local regulatory bodies for a leading provider of transmission for the renewable energy industry and clean energy solutions.
    • In an example of the importance of defeating onerous restrictions, Arent Fox obtained a deferral of substantial and accelerated licensing restrictions from the Federal Communications Commission for an international coalition of mining companies, saving those companies millions of dollars.
    • We have provided regulatory counseling for several small company clients in the algae/biofuels space, helping these companies to obtain the appropriate environmental permits and clear environmental hurdles.

    OSHA

    • Arent Fox attorneys counsel and represent numerous oil and gas companies regarding federal OSHA regulations, particularly pertaining to refineries.

    Corporate and Tax

    • Represented ICON Oil & Gas Fund in filing for an IPO with the SEC for an offering of up to $200 million in limited partnership interests. The IPO is expected to go effective in the second quarter of 2012.
    • Advised Osage Bio Energy in the acquisition of a site in Hopewell, Virginia for the development of a fuel-grade ethanol plant with a capacity of 65 million gallons per year. Other services Arent Fox provided the client include settling pending litigation, negotiating a development agreement with the City of Hopewell, and obtaining an equity commitment from First Reserve Corporation.
    • Advised a start-up company in the Southeastern United States, which is working on making algae a renewable energy and food source, on the tax issues arising in connection with its capital raise and joint venture with a third-party petroleum company.
    • Advised a lender in the structuring of a program to finance the upfront costs made by private entities for retrofitting U.S. Government facilities to achieve energy efficiencies. Security for the financing is periodic payments made to the private entity through energy savings performance contracts with the U.S. Government. The energy savings performance contracts require the private entity to guarantee a certain amount of energy savings to the U.S. Government, and, depending on the contract, the private entity gets all the energy savings above this guaranteed amount or shares the energy savings above this guaranteed amount with the U.S. Government.

    Intellectual Property Protection

    • Arent Fox attorneys have successfully defended energy company patents and trademarks and advised energy companies and organizations on intellectual property issues.
    • Arent Fox attorneys collaborated to assist a renewable energy industry company in the launch of its new product line, including developing a global trademark and patent strategy, coordinating with public relations/advertising professionals, filing applications for patent and trademark protection, and overseeing numerous foreign counsel as they filed applications in critical export markets.
    • Our patent lawyers have specialized experience in protecting biofuel technology in all phases of the development and commercialization timeline and our finance experts counsel clients regarding obtaining funding, both private and public, for pilot and commercial size biofuel processing plants and related distribution and licensing agreements.

    Corporate Compliance

    • Designing comprehensive Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance education programs for clients operating in the oil industry throughout the world.
    • Conducting pre-closing merger and acquisition due diligence to discover and resolve FCPA problems for various energy companies operating in China, Russia, and the MENA region.
    • Assisting clients to vet international consultants for FCPA concerns in countries around the world
    • Conducting internal investigations involving actual or potential FCPA violations for companies operating in the energy industry in the MENA region and Latin America.

    Key Contacts