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Eric B. Fjelstad

PHONE: 907.263.6973
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Oil & Gas

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Overview

Perkins Coie provides a full range of legal services to the oil and gas industry. Our clients include leading oil and gas producers, pipeline and storage companies, refiners, service companies, Alaska Native Corporations and institutional advisors and lenders. Our substantial experience in industry-related areas includes:

  • Project development
  • Commercial transactions
  • Finance issues, mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and taxes
  • Litigation and disputes
  • Environmental permitting and regulation
  • Federal and state regulatory matters

Our lawyers have worked in most of the major oil and gas states and Canadian provinces and have also worked on significant international projects and disputes. In the western United States and Alaska, we have significant experience handling the unique issues arising from oil and gas development on federal, state and tribal lands. In Alaska, our lawyers have long represented leading oil and gas companies on the North Slope and the Cook Inlet and are increasingly engaged in the emerging offshore Alaska oil and gas industry.

Perkins Coie's oil, gas and environmental expertise come from a single team: the firm’s Environment, Energy & Resources national practice. Several of the firm’s environmental lawyers have a deep understanding of oil and gas issues and provide an integrated industry and environmental approach to oil and gas issues.

Oil, Gas & LNG Project Development

We regularly advise clients on complex issues related to upstream, midstream and downstream project development including the siting of production, storage, processing and transfer facilities.

We draft, and review issues arising from, agreements common to industry-related project development, including joint ventures, joint operating contracts, alignment agreements and area of mutual interest agreements; facility access and sharing agreements; transportation and interconnection agreements; throughput and deficiency agreements; capacity lease agreements; and payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements. We have substantial experience dealing with initial land, lease and right-of-way acquisitions and in achieving project permitting and regulatory approvals. Offshore and on federal and state lands in the western United States, we work on federal and state leases, pipeline rights-of-way and unit agreements. Internationally, we work on production sharing, service, benefit sharing, local impact, consultation and other forms of host government and project development agreements.

Perkins Coie lawyers have been involved with projects that relate to the full oil and gas value chain. We have worked on the development of new upstream projects (onshore and offshore); the development and construction of new pipeline and storage projects; the expansion and operation of refineries; as well as other types of industry-related infrastructure projects, such as new Liquefied Natural Gas import and take-away facilities.

In Alaska, our lawyers have long represented the operator of Prudhoe Bay, the largest oil and gas field in the United States. We are extensively involved in efforts to develop the Point Thomson field and commercialize Alaska's natural gas resources with a pipeline to Lower 48 markets. In Alaska's Cook Inlet basin, we represent one of the largest operators of onshore and offshore oil and gas production facilities, and work closely with the operator's field development and facilities and pipeline and storage infrastructure projects.

Perkins Coie focuses on proactive strategic planning regarding requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and in the case of offshore development, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and other requirements affecting wildlife and fisheries. In exploration projects in Alaska's Chukchi Sea and the gas fields in western Colorado, Perkins Coie has the resources and expertise to move the complex projects through the maze of requirements under local, state, federal and tribal laws. And, if project permits are challenged, we vigorously represent our clients' interests before local, state and federal administrative tribunals and the courts.

Perkins Coie also has an active construction and procurement group that assists clients with legal issues associated with the construction of major facilities and infrastructure, including the negotiation and preparation of agreements for front-end engineering and design; engineer, procure and construct agreements; rig, platform and pipeline construction, modification and maintenance agreements; and drilling and other service agreements.

Commercial Transactions

Our firm lawyers have substantial experience drafting and revising industry-related commercial agreements and provisions including joint bidding agreements; lease agreements; overriding royalty agreements; joint operating and unit agreements; facility access and sharing agreements; master and individually tailored natural gas, crude oil and product sales and purchase agreements; oil, gas and product exchange agreements; interconnection and transportation agreements; natural gas and crude oil off-take and balancing agreements; crude oil, product and natural gas storage and terminal agreements; and asset management agreements.

Financing, Mergers, Acquisitions, Divestitures and Tax

We regularly assist oil and gas companies, Alaska Native Corporations and tribes, institutional advisors and financial institutions with industry-related agreements, due diligence, land, title and other work related to corporate formation; financing; mergers, acquisition, and divestitures; and tax issues.

Our lawyers have developed agreements associated with industry-related corporate formation and financing, including shareholder agreements, limited liability corporations and partnerships, royalty trusts, net profits interests and production payment arrangements. We also represent borrowers and lenders on term loans, leveraged lease transactions and revolving credit and project financings secured by oil and gas assets. We assist oil and gas companies with tax structuring and energy tax credit acquisitions; emission reduction credit purchase and sale agreements; and credit support, financial derivative and financing documents. We further assist oil and gas producers with net profit-based and other severance and production tax issues, as well as ad valorem and other tax matters.

Oil & Gas Litigation and Disputes

We represent clients in complex litigation arising out of oil and gas projects, commercial transactions and financings, including disputes related to joint bidding, joint venture, alignment and joint operating agreements. We address contractor and other disputes arising out of surface development construction and operations of oil and gas facilities and infrastructure. Lastly, we represent owners, operators, and other parties with respect to royalty, term and other provisions of oil and gas leases. Our lawyers represent oil and gas clients in commercial transaction disputes arising out of natural gas, crude oil and product purchase and sales agreements, product and other exchange agreements; interconnection and transportation agreements; and off-take, gas balancing and storage agreements.

We also handle significant administrative litigation and other disputes before major oil and gas regulatory bodies, including state oil and gas conservation agencies; state public utility commissions in the course of their regulation of intrastate oil and gas pipelines and gas utilities; the Interior Board of Land Appeals in connection with disputes with federal agencies such as the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Minerals Management Service; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in connection with oil and gas pipeline and gas storage facility certificate, rate and tariff regulation. Our lawyers currently are involved in major Alaskan administrative and appellate litigation arising from state efforts to terminate a major North Slope oil and gas unit and its underlying leases; and in another part of Alaska, to establish the terms and conditions applicable to important in-state gas pipelines. Lawyers from the firm have represented clients both before FERC and in appellate matters in connection with significant oil and gas pipeline disputes and on matters arising out of LNG import projects.

Environmental Permitting & Regulation

We have extensive experience handling environmental assessments and environmental impact statements prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act and similar state statutes. We help clients obtain licenses and permits from FERC and state siting authorities, as well as federal and state permits governing air emissions, water discharges and wetlands disturbance. We also advise clients regarding compliance with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and a variety of other resource protection statutes. The firm routinely represents clients on a wide variety of other industry-related regulatory matters, including environmental, health and safety issues before EPA, OSHA, and state agencies; as well as issues and proceedings before the pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration and other federal and state bodies responsible for overseeing and administering industry-related safety and compliance matters, environmental regulation, permitting and compliance.

Federal and State Regulatory Matters

In addition to its experience with significant administrative litigation and disputes before oil and gas regulatory bodies (see “Oil and Gas Litigation and Disputes” above), the firm also counsels, advises and represents clients on various regulatory matters. These include leasing, royalty, unitization, participating area, drilling and spacing unit and compliance issues subject to the jurisdiction of various federal and state land management and conservation agencies; industry-related certificate, tariff and rate issues subject to the jurisdiction of FERC; and at the state level, various state public service commissions. The firm also has experience establishing compliance programs and defending compliance issues arising out of FERC’s standards of conduct and market manipulation rules. Finally, at the end of a project's life, Perkins Coie has experience handling issues arising from abandonment, dismantlement, remediation and restoration requirements.