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North Sea

Vinson & Elkins’ lawyers have been advising clients, including oil and gas majors, independent operators and non-operators, service companies, and financial institutions, for more than 40 years on transactions and disputes in the North Sea.

In particular, our North Sea work encompasses asset and share sales and purchases, advising on all contracts required for exploration appraisal and development, regulatory and tax advice, and resolving oil and gas disputes. The V&E North Sea team includes tax lawyers who are highly familiar with North Sea tax matters. The team has assisted the UK Oil Industry Tax Committee (UKOITC) and Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) in their representations to, and discussions with, government on new legislative changes to the UK’s oil tax regime, including, in recent years, in relation to decommissioning relief deeds, shale gas-inspired changes, the bareboat chartering rules, and the capital/revenue expenditure divide as it affects the availability of the brown field allowance.

Since 2010, our UK team advised on more than $3.5 billion of completed sales and acquisitions, and has perfected the art of structuring tax efficient hive-down and sale deals for North Sea oil and gas fields.

Such experience allows our clients to benefit from greater efficiency and more focused advice than most other firms would be in a position to provide. It also means V&E would not incur a costly learning curve to get up to speed on issues relating to the transactions and disputes in the region.

Experience Highlights

  • SSP and Oaktree on the acquisition of Iona Energy, out of an administration and CVA, and related financing, co-investment and management incentive arrangements

  • Several major U.S. energy groups in relation to the disposals and acquisitions of UK North Sea licences and related reorganisations

  • A European Energy Company with a bid for the $800 million acquisition of certain gas fields in the UK North Sea and on many UK/European asset acquisitions, disposals and commercial contract negotiations

  • An international oil and gas company in the signed acquisition of producing North Sea assets with a value in excess of $400 million