Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been a vital element of the global energy economy for decades. However, recent increases in global oil and gas development coupled with the environmental advantages associated with use of natural gas as a feedstock and fuel have propelled LNG to the status of a global commodity.
LNG now commands the attention of investors, infrastructure developers, commodity traders, policy makers, and elected officials. Technological advances have led to the exploration and production of vast quantities of unconventional natural gas deposits in the United States and all over the world – fundamentally reshaping the global natural gas industry as the United States is poised to become one of the world’s largest exporters of LNG. Similar unconventional natural gas discoveries in Australia have led to massive investment in exploration and production and to the development of multiple LNG export projects that will compete with the United States to serve the Asian and European markets. New discoveries and projects in regions like East Africa are poised to challenge the dominance of traditional LNG exporters and the new market position of the United States and Australia.
K&L Gates advises participants around the globe on the full spectrum of legal services related to the exploration, production, liquefaction, storage, transportation, regasification, sale, and purchase of natural gas and LNG. Our deep experience encompasses the project financing, development, construction, and operation of LNG liquefaction and regasification terminals; sale and purchase agreements for both LNG and natural gas; maritime port and rail construction, development, and agreements; marine operations; ship financings; policy, compliance, and regulatory matters, including import and export licensing, pipeline permitting and construction, environmental, safety and security issues; and contract disputes. We have significant experience drafting and negotiating natural gas supply agreements and structuring alternative transportation agreements including the use of Asset Management Arrangements (AMAs); agreements for upstream natural gas pipeline capacity; LNG terminal capacity agreements, on both the import and export side; multiple shipper operations coordination agreements; and marine services agreements, such as tug services contracts and marine terminal manuals.
Lawyers from our energy, maritime, regulatory, environmental, project finance, construction, public-private partnerships, public policy, and corporate practices work seamlessly across the firm’s global platform to provide services from project concept to completion and throughout the operational life span of LNG facilities.
Global Client BaseOur clients include international oil companies (IOCs), national oil companies (NOCs), trading houses, LNG exporters and importers, cooperatives, utilities, pipeline companies, investors, lenders and host governments, upstream and downstream project developers, terminal operators, and capacity holders, as well as contractors and suppliers to the global LNG industry. Our team has worked on LNG matters spanning the globe, with involvement in a range of matters in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
Industry DepthOur years of experience in the LNG field provide unique insight to the economic underpinnings of transactions and to the contractual, regulatory, financial, and risk framework at issue in the permitting and operation of LNG projects. For decades, the lawyers at K&L Gates have been at the forefront of global LNG issues, regularly writing and speaking on LNG issues for legal and business audiences. We offer deep experience in all facets of the LNG industry:
Combined with our substantial experience in upstream unconventional development, midstream gas gathering, pipelines, and storage, our team offers unparalleled depth in the industry.
K&L Gates lawyers possess substantial regulatory and policy experience on natural gas and LNG, applying our robust understanding of the industry and our clients’ specific business ventures to the development, execution and compliance with sound regulation and legislative policy. We have counseled major LNG importers and exporters, producers, marketers, traders, and nation states and government bodies on matters including project siting and permitting, terminal and pipeline safety, interstate transportation, maritime issues, and regulatory compliance of storage and supply agreements. Our environmental team has extensive experience in all aspects of project permitting, including environmental impact studies and other procedural matters in greenfield and brownfield project siting and permitting.
We offer a full spectrum of regulatory and permitting services in the United States, with lawyers regularly appearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and a host of other federal and state agencies, including in Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas. K&L Gates lawyers bring a wealth of experience on issues related to FERC’s regulation of upstream interstate natural gas pipeline capacity, FERC’s regulation of LNG terminal construction and operation, and natural gas quality and interchangeability.
Our attorneys are deeply connected in Washington, D.C. on legislative and policy issues affecting LNG, including DOE LNG export licensing, efforts on Capitol Hill to promote additional LNG exports, and the use of LNG as a transportation fuel. Previously, when the United States was considering importing LNG, K&L Gates’ lawyers advocated for and were instrumental in the successful enactment of the “Hackberry” legislation that allowed for the development of non-open access, proprietary LNG terminals.
The success of global LNG projects depends upon cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships with state actors, whether host governments, concessionaires, finance participants, or national oil companies. Our global experience in major natural resource development and infrastructure projects provides deep understanding of and close working relationships with many of the state actors in the world’s major LNG regions.