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Energy – Upstream Oil & Gas

Since Vinson & Elkins was founded nearly a century ago, oil and gas clients have looked to us to handle their most complex transactions, projects, litigation, and regulatory inquiries. We provide our clients with extensive domestic and international oil and gas experience across all of the firm’s practice areas.

V&E has an impressive track record in oil and gas mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, investments, and other strategic transactions. We rank number one for the highest volume (in quantity and in value) of energy M&A deals since 2005, according to Mergermarket. Astute in advising on all types of matters involving conventional and unconventional assets and drilling operations, our Oil and Gas team is well regarded for its technical prowess and understanding of the many effects market conditions have on our clients’ bottom line. We have extensive experience in assisting upstream clients with their initial public offerings and follow-on debt and equity offerings, in addition to providing corporate governance advice to both public and private exploration and production companies. Further, our Real Estate, Finance, and Tax teams assist clients in efficiently structuring new developments and refinancing existing properties.

Should oil and gas clients become involved in a dispute, appeal arbitration, or regulatory inquiry, V&E lawyers have a wealth of experience navigating these proceedings with an eye towards resolving the legal issue with minimal impact to business operations. In addition, we offer pre-litigation advice and counseling in relation to agreements, contracts, and pending or current investments, and counsel on compliance obligations under federal and state air, water, waste, and land use programs.

With an international network of offices, our team serves every major oil and gas hub throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America.

Additional Information

Practice Highlights


  • Berry Petroleum Corporation in its $183 million initial public offering of common stock 
  • Memorial Resource Development in its $4.4 billion merger with Range Resources
  • Vantage Energy in its $2.7 billion sale to Rice Energy 
  • Double Eagle Energy Permian in its $2.8 billion sale of certain undeveloped acreage and producing oil and gas properties in the core of the Midland Basin to Parsley Energy
  • Brigham Resources in the $2.55 billion cash and stock sale of all of its leasehold interests and related assets to Diamondback Energy
  • Devon Energy in the $2 billion sale of certain non-core upstream assets to multiple buyers in east Texas, the Anadarko Basin, the northern and central Midland Basin, and northern Oklahoma
  • Concho Resources in its $1.625 billion acquisition of oil and gas assets from Reliance Energy
  • QStar, an EnCap portfolio company, in the $1.6 billion multi-seller divestiture of oil and gas assets in Texas to SM Energy Company
  • Sentinel Peak Resources California, LLC, a portfolio company of Quantum Energy Partners, in the $592 million acquisition (with potential additional consideration of $150 million) of certain oil and gas leases, wells and related assets in California from Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas
  • Jagged Peak Energy Inc. in its $474 million initial public offering of common stock
  • WildHorse Resource Development Corporation in its $447 million initial public offering of common stock
  • Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. in its $728 million initial public offering of common stock
  • Black Stone Minerals, L.P. in its $428 million initial public offering of common units
  • Viper Energy Partners LP in its $150 million initial public offering of common units

Litigation & Regulatory

  • (Allegheny County, PA) – Representing upstream operator in defending and prosecuting breach of contract claims related to drilling operations in the Marcellus Shale
  • Representing consortia of international and domestic companies in two arbitrations arising out of a hugely successful oil field offshore India in connection with a series of profit sharing disputes with the Government of India; these are collectively valued at just short of $1 billion, and have spawned significant satellite litigation in the courts of both India and Malaysia
  • (Tex.) — Secured a complete victory in the Texas Supreme Court in a jurisprudentially significant royalty underpayment case on behalf of a leading oil and gas producer
  • Represented a major oil company in connection with an SEC inquiry concerning the company’s analysis of the requirements for establishing reserves and disclosures of its contingent liabilities arising out of a major oil spill; succeeded in convincing the SEC to conclude its inquiry without any enforcement action