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Lawson Lundell's energy practice is one of the largest in Western Canada.  Our short video highlights the range of our energy experience.

Energy

Western and northern Canada are endowed with abundant energy resources. From the oil sands in Alberta to the rivers of British Columbia, to the non-conventional oil and gas deposits being developed in the MacKenzie Delta and the tight formations of British Columbia, the region is playing an increasingly important role in supplying energy to itself, the rest of North America and now, the world. With a significant presence in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Lawson Lundell has helped conventional oil gas producers, oil sands and non-conventional oil and gas developers, refiners, retailers, local distribution companies, governments, independent power producers, electric utilities and regulators pursue their interests in finding, developing, producing, transporting, exporting and selling energy resources. We have provided advice relating to such matters as corporate structure, joint venture agreements, asset acquisitions, share offerings, construction contracts and activities, permitting, aboriginal consultation and economic regulation.

Specific areas of our expertise that have and continue to prove important to our energy sector clients include:

Project Development

Acquisitions & Divestitures

Environmental

Regulatory

Electricity

Climate Change/Emissions Tracking

Aboriginal

Project Development

We have assisted clients in acquiring interests in, structuring and obtaining approvals for major energy projects throughout western and northern Canada. We are deeply familiar with the distinct requirements in each of the western provinces and northern territories and can advise with respect to tax, corporate structure, construction and permitting of green and brown field projects in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon.

Acquisitions & Divestitures

We have represented energy companies, institutional investors and others in acquiring and disposing of a range of conventional oil and gas and oil sands assets, providing advice on relevant matters from transaction structuring through negotiation and completion.

Environmental

The firm has a large and active environmental practice that has assisted clients in the development of major resource sector projects in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We are able to advise with respect to local requirements in each of these jurisdictions, including, where applicable, the requirements under final land claims agreements with aboriginal groups, and federal requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the National Energy Board Act, and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. We are also very experienced in anticipating, avoiding and, where necessary, conducting judicial review and appeal proceedings arising from the permitting process.

Regulatory

Many aspects of the energy sector are regulated by specialized tribunals created for that purpose. We have worked for governments, regulators, applicants and intervenors in these specialized forums and are intimately familiar with the staff and perceptions of provincial and federal regulators including the National Energy Board, British Columbia Utilities Commission, the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission and various boards established under the northern land claims agreements including MacKenzie Valley Resource Management Act. We have represented clients in many of the most significant energy regulatory hearings and related Court proceedings that have arisen in western and northern Canada in recent years.

Electricity

Our long involvement with electric utilities and hydroelectric energy power producers has required us to understand all aspects of the industry from the acquisition of generator rights, through transmission to the end use in western Canada and the United States. We have been at the heart of the restructuring of B.C.’s electric industry and played a prominent role in the most significant developments in that area over the past 20 years. We have worked extensively in Alberta’s energy market structures as well as jurisdictions that employ the FERC model of regulation. We have an intimate understanding of the issues for Canadian companies wishing to participate in or transact with US markets.

Climate Change/Emissions Tracking

Recent policy pronouncements and legislative changes, at both the federal and provincial levels, involve regulation of both reporting and actual emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). These measures will significantly affect the energy sector, including generation of electricity and production, processing and transportation of oil and gas. Our Climate Change Group, comprised of a number of our energy and environmental specialists, is knowledgeable about recent legislative and policy changes in Canada, as well as key international initiatives such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), now joined by British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. We have experience in Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) trading and can advise clients on the WCI-wide “cap and trade” system to be adopted under British Columbia’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act.

We have advised energy sector clients in western and northern Canada on a number of legal requirements affecting their businesses resulting from climate change regulation. Further detail of our experience can be found under links to “climate change law”.

Aboriginal

Establishing, maintaining and managing the relationship with aboriginal people is an essential element of the successful development of energy or power projects, pipelines, transmission lines or other energy infrastructure. We have extensive experience assisting project proponents to design and implement consultation programs and negotiating impact-benefit agreements with aboriginal groups. While early attention to these issues can avert or avoid most legal challenges, we also have extensive experience in defending judicial review and appeal proceedings arising from the Crown’s failure to discharge its legal duties to aboriginal people.

Key Contacts

Our experience includes:

Oil and Gas Sector

  • Representing a developer in the sale of an oil sands project to a sovereign oil company
  • Representing an oil sands developer in its strategic acquisition of a significant portfolio of oil sands and petroleum and natural gas assets
  • Assisting a major oil sands developer and refiner with all aspects of the development of its co-generation facilities
  • Providing regulatory, environmental and aboriginal advice to the proponent of a heavy oil project in the Cold Lake region of Alberta
  • Providing regulatory, environmental and aboriginal advice to proponents of in-situ oil sands developments in Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands region
  • Advising on regulatory and aboriginal issues associated with a natural gas gathering pipeline application under National Energy Board jurisdiction
  • Advising oil and gas producers with respect to environmental permits, oil and gas approvals and aboriginal issues in northeastern British Columbia, Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Quebec
  • Advising major oil and gas producers with respect to the development and disposition of natural gas storage facilities in British Columbia
  • Representing an international mining company in the spin-off by initial public offering of its Canadian oil and gas assets
  • Representing a territorial government in connection with the regulatory aspects of natural gas transportation including active participation in the National Energy Board hearings concerning the Mackenzie Gas Project and the application to have the National Energy Board assume jurisdiction over the Alberta system of Nova Gas Transmission Limited
  • Representing Canada’s major producers association in connection with a broad range of issues before the National Energy Board and before the Federal Courts in connection with aboriginal consultation issues
  • Acting for a major oil refinery in connection with all aspects of its downstream activities and before the National Energy Board and British Columbia Utilities Commission in connection with its crude oil and petroleum products transportation issues
  • Representing the developer in respect of all aspects of its efforts to develop a LNG facility in northwestern British Columbia
  • Representing aboriginal development corporations, local governments and oil and gas producers in connection with diverse commercial, regulatory and permitting matters in the Northwest Territories

Electricity Sector

  • Acting for the largest electric utility in British Columbia in connection with all aspects of the regulation of its system planning, rates, project development, contracting out agreements and power acquisition
  • Acting for the largest electric utility in British Columbia in connection with its international treaty obligations, acquisitions of the assets of other utilities, disposition of operating control of all of its transmission assets and numerous ongoing operational issues
  • Acting for the largest electric utility in British Columbia in connection with corporate governance, comprehensive restructuring of its pension plans and development and execution of consultation programs with First Nations including negotiating and drafting numerous benefit agreements
  • Representing a western North American energy marketer in negotiating and drafting numerous US and Canadian energy contracts, including wholesale and retail power sale agreements, ISDA, EEI and WSPP agreements, CFDs, transmission agreements, financing agreements
  • Representing energy marketers in negotiating and drafting agreements to purchase and sell “green attributes”, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and GHG credits from renewable generation to meet voluntary and mandatory requirements in the emerging climate change sector
  • Advising wind generators in respect of all aspects of their developments in Alberta including negotiating with the Alberta Electric System Operator in connection with transmission interconnections and regulated rates
  • Providing ongoing advice with respect to the implications of litigation and regulatory proceedings arising from the California energy crisis on a major Canadian electricity exporter
  • Obtaining NEB export permits in connection with electricity exports from Canada
  • Providing transactional advice to a major lender to developers of independent power projects in British Columbia

The expertise of Lawson Lundell lawyers in related areas is more fully set out in the links relating to aboriginal, environmental, tax, public utility and regulatory law and mergers and acquisitions. This expertise, combined with Lawson Lundell's overall experience as a leading business law firm in western and northern Canada, allows us to bring a focused economical approach to any energy-related transaction, regulatory proceeding or litigation that will maximize the prospects for the success of our clients.

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