HOUSTON, January 12, 2017 - Energy lawyers at Baker Botts, L.L.P., deliver their personal insights on the major energy issues that shaped 2016, and discuss the outlook under the new Trump Administration, including the Secretary of Energy appointment, market trends and policy for 2017. 

Steven Miles - Energy Sector Chair and Head of the Firmwide LNG practice based in Washington, DC 

“In 2016, the natural gas ‘revolution’ and, in particular, the rapidly expanding international seaborne LNG cargo trade, brought benefits to consumers in many countries through lower energy costs, reduced carbon emissions and a cleaner environment. Emerging commercial, legal and technological developments are now enabling governments and companies to develop Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FRSU) and LNG-to-Power projects tailored to their customers’ needs.” 

“During 2017, we expect that the need to meet rising demand for natural gas will remain a compelling driver for continued investment in capital-intensive LNG projects. Investment in new and expanded U.S. LNG liquefaction projects should continue and compete favorably with investment in potential LNG liquefaction projects in East Africa, the Mediterranean, and Asia. However, we will likely also see the development of new commercial models that will tailor supply and pricing to more closely match customer demands. While Mr. Trump has yet to release specifics on his energy policy, his pro-business and reduced-regulatory stance means that exports of natural gas and LNG should receive a favorable response in Washington.” 

Elaine Walsh – Energy Lawyer and Partner based in Washington 

“2016 was marked by continued consolidation among electric and gas companies in the United States and increased participation by private equity investors. The US energy industry is going through a period of significant change, with many companies facing material capital expenditure decisions. Much of our national energy infrastructure is in need of upgrading. Federal and State energy policies and consumer preferences are driving a massive shift away from fossil fuels toward renewable resources. Despite that, renewable generation is facing serious challenges from low gas prices in many regions. In addition, new utility scale renewable generation requires substantial investments in transmission to get generation to load.” 

“In 2017, we expect consolidation to continue, with levels of activity that vary dramatically among industry sectors. Among regulated utilities, it is difficult to see how the level of activity over the past several years can continue, particularly as utilities become larger and spread across different state regulators. Increasing interest rates and higher levels of regulatory scrutiny may create at least modest headwinds.” 

Hamish McArdle - Energy Partner based in London 

“In 2016, the oil and gas sector has gone through one of its most transformative periods in history that has been marked by a period of uncertainty. Oil prices remained low, starting below $27 a barrel in June, but have surged since OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed landmark deals to collectively cut output by 1.7m barrels a day for the first half of 2017, with Saudi Arabia and Russia taking the lion’s share of these cuts. Renewable energy projects gathered pace, particularly in emerging markets, like Egypt, Mexico and Morocco, evidencing their ability to compete with other energy sources. This year also witnessed the outcome of the British referendum on the country’s membership of the EU - Brexit and the US presidential election. Both of events and their unpredictable outcome may have far-reaching implications for energy and climate policy across the EU and internationally. Whilst in the UK, fracking for shale gas looks set to move forward following clear government support and some significant court rulings in support of the activity.” 

“The oil and gas sector is highly resilient and, as we enter 2017, there is a sense of growing optimism with many oil and gas companies expected to turn cash flow positive for the first time since the downturn - having created leaner, more cost efficient and technology enabled businesses, completed non-core disposals, or diversified in response to the sustained low oil price. Goldman Sachs is predicting that the oil price will get close to $60 per barrel in 2017, although the impact on the oil price in 2017 from possible increased US production in response to a high oil price is uncertain. The UK is in the midst of development of its Brexit strategy which should become clearer by March 2017, and we expect to be very active in helping define our clients’ international strategies and advising them in respect of possible changes to EU and UK legislation and policy connected to Brexit.” 

Jason Bennett - Co-Head of the Global Projects Group and Partner based in Houston 

“2016 was a particularly big year for energy news. While many energy companies remain in difficult financial circumstances, 2016 was marked by a strengthening of the oil and gas markets as the year went on, which is a good sign for 2017. Oil and gas producers remain keenly focused on capital spend and the cost of operations, but there was additional momentum for additional drilling and investment as the year went on.” 

“In 2017, we will pay particular attention to energy policy, regulation and legislation developments, as a result of President-Elect, Donald Trump, and his cabinet coming into office on January 20. We expect the Trump administration to be strongly focused on jobs and wage growth, which is a good sign for the oil and gas business, as it is a strong creator of high wage jobs. We expect that the Trump administration will work to remove obstacles to upstream and midstream development in the U.S., which will be greeted with great enthusiasm by the oil and gas business. We expect the renewables industry to continue to expand and to benefit from any support for additional infrastructure in the U.S.” 

Bill Kroger - Co-Chair of Baker Botts’ Energy Litigation Practice and Partner based in Houston 

“The litigation issues of prior years will continue. Foremost will be local community disputes and disruptions of energy projects. What these projects are, what they do, why, how, and facts matter less; tweets and twitters matter more. The federal government is out; the local commission or state agency is in. Pipelines, windfarms, frac jobs, transmission lines, injection wells – all are fair game. These disputes will be less about damages, and more about stopping development.” 

“There will continue to be litigation arising from lower energy prices. The revenue and cost accounts will attract more scrutiny – was the best price obtained? Was a royalty paid on flared gas? Was there a deduction for transportation? These items matters less when prices are high; they count more when prices are low. And enough years have gone by – but not too many – that there is enough at issue to make a claim, without limitation problems. In other words, these claims are ripe.” 

“Quasi-bankruptcies will continue. Debt forbearance is getting old, and days of reckoning are here. The increasing costs and delays of protracted bankruptcies will cause parties to seek other solutions.” 

“Litigation from operations will continue to fall. Fewer rigs mean fewer claims of injuries, spills and exposures. On the other hand, labor and employment claims will continue, although the bulk of the major layoffs are in the past.” 

“In sum, with litigation, the new boss will be the old one, albeit with less federal interference.” 

Baker Botts has played a significant role in the evolution of the energy industry from its earliest days.


Baker Botts Announces the Promotion of New Counsel

HOUSTON, January 18, 2017 - Baker Botts, L.L.P., a leading international law firm, announced today the promotion of two new Counsel.

“David and Kathryn are outstanding lawyers who are focused on meeting the needs of our global clients on a daily basis and really represent our Firm’s dedication to providing the best in client service,” said Andrew M. Baker, Managing Partner of Baker Botts.

David Cardwell, Counsel

Mr. Cardwell is an Antitrust and Competition lawyer based in the firm’s Brussels office. His practice focuses on EU competition law, including a particular concentration on EU and international merger control laws. Mr. Cardwell has represented clients in significant mergers and acquisitions across many industry areas, including the technology, pharmaceutical, media, automotive and heavy industry sectors. He has counseled clients in merger reviews before both the European Commission and national competition authorities, including cases involving advice on media plurality, regulated water industries and defense-related mergers.

Katie Juffa, Special Counsel

Ms. Juffa is an Intellectual Property lawyer based in Dallas. Her practice focuses on a range of intellectual property matters, including patent prosecution, intellectual property counseling, technology transfers and patent litigation. Ms. Juffa prepares and prosecutes patent applications relating to telecommunications, software, financial services and other technologies. She also drafts claim charts and prepares arguments for reexamination and inter partes review before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Baker Botts Secures Top Energy Rankings and Gains Prestigious Awards in 2016

HOUSTON, January 5, 2017 - Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, announced today that its Energy Practice has secured seventeen top-tier energy rankings Firmwide and gained fifteen individual top-tier recognition awards from major independent law firm publications during 2016.

Baker Botts’ Energy Practice earned the top ‘Band 1’ ranking in the Chambers Global Category: Global-wide: Projects and Energy: Oil and Gas for the ninth year running. The firm also achieved Band 1 status in the following Chambers Global categories:  USA - Projects: Oil & Gas,  Russia - Energy & Natural Resources, UK - Energy & Natural Resources  (Oil and Gas) and USA - Projects: LNG. 

In Chambers USA, Baker Botts received the highest rankings for Projects: Oil and Gas (Band 1), LNG (Band 1) and Texas - Energy & Natural Resources (Band 1).

“In 2016, we increased the number of rankings by individual lawyers with Chambers ‘Band 1’ and Legal 500 ‘Leading Individual’ designations by 33%. This further highlights our firm’s leadership in the Energy sector and the expertise and experience of our lawyers,” said Andrew M. Baker, Managing Partner of Baker Botts.

Chambers Global ranked four firm partners Band 1 in their energy practice categories: USA - Projects: LNG, Steven Miles; USA - Projects: Oil and Gas (Regulatory and Litigation), Thomas Eastment; USA – Energy: Electricity (Transactional), William Lamb; and China - Energy & Natural Resources, Michael Arruda.

In June, two of the firm’s energy partners, Jason Newman and James Barkley, were named “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers” by the National Law Journal. They were chosen for continuing “to make their mark in the energy and environmental legal sector, showing deep passion and perseverance in pursuit of their mission and achieving remarkable success along the way”.

Baker Botts’ Brooke McNabb, an energy litigation partner, was recognized in October as one of Texas Lawyer’s 2016 Women in Energy - an award honoring outstanding female attorneys in the Lone Star State who practice in the ever-changing area of energy law.

In November, the firm was awarded “Energy Law Firm of the Year” in Best Lawyers in America 2017.

The firm also continued to consolidate its position internationally as one of the leading law firms in the energy industry by winning a tier 1 ranking in Russia: Energy and Natural Resources in the 2016 edition of the Legal 500 EMEA. Jason Bennett was recognized as a “Leader” for his work in the Energy and Natural Resources sector. Legal 500 editors noted that “Baker Botts is a go-to firm for LNG as well as Arctic drilling projects and has very solid industry knowledge and a proactive approach.”

In Legal 500 USA, the firm garnered two prestigious Tier 1 rankings in Energy: Transactional and Energy: Litigation. Three partners, Steven Miles, Hugh Tucker, and Joshua Davidson, were named as “Leaders” for their work in the legal energy space amongst only ten people on the Leaders list.


Trump Administration Analysis and Priorities

With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Baker Botts lawyers have examined many of the major legal and regulatory issues facing the new President.

We have provided their individual perspectives on how President-elect Trump’s Administration might proceed over the next four years.

This includes analysis, video presentations, seminars and news coverage featuring Baker Botts lawyers.

Media Releases:


Bennett Election Video 
Steve Leifer Election Video 


News Coverage:


Should you be looking for more information on any of these issues, please contact:


Baker Botts’ Energy Lawyers Review 2016 and Comment on Outlook for 2017