Industry Group

Energy

For decades some of the world’s foremost oil, gas and coal producers, refiners and distributors have relied on Greensfelder’s industry acumen, regulatory know-how, transactional savvy and litigation prowess for their most crucial matters, and at highly competitive Midwest rates. We are now helping alternative-energy companies prosper—in fracking, ethanol, methane, other bio-fuels, wind, solar and green building.

Oil and Gas
For our oil and gas clients—including four of the nation’s largest integrated refiners—we provide a spectrum of sophisticated legal services, primarily in downstream trade channels, but increasingly upstream as well. Those services include both dispute resolution and transactional services, as we provide assistance not only in putting together a deal, but also on those occasions when the resulting relationship breaks down:

  • Litigating various cases in motor fuel distribution and marketing—PMPA, state franchise and distribution statutes, federal and state pricing-claims (including UCC § 2-305 claims), federal and state antitrust claims, and breach-of-contract and business tort claims.. 
  • Defending refiners, distributors and retailers in consumer class actions, including claims arising from motor-fuel pricing, temperature-correction issues, and discount and credit card programs.
  • Managing trademark enforcement programs, responding to claims of infringement, and handling false advertising claims.
  • Representing clients in sophisticated business transactions, including market or multi-site portfolio divestments and acquisitions; contract negotiation and implementation counseling for joint ventures, co-branding arrangements and other business combinations, and real estate portfolio management.
  • Counseling clients on complex business issues, such as (a) establishing and implementing business models for distribution and retailing, including franchise programs (also see the Firm’s Franchise and Distribution practice group), company ops, commission marketers, brand licensees, and on-franchise operating models; (b) creating and implementing template supplier and customer contracts, franchise, dealer and commission marketer programs, and commercial/bulk fuel and supply contracts; (c) counseling on price discounts, promotional campaigns and similar incentive programs; (d) obtaining permits, licenses, grants, tax credits and other incentives; (e) counseling on payment card issues (credit/debit), reward programs, weights and measures issues and other consumer posting issues; (f) developing and implementing commodity pricing programs and methods; (g) counseling on branding issues, co-branding arrangements, advertising and other intellectual-property issues (also see the Firm’s Intellectual Property practice group.)
  • Assisting our clients in understanding and successfully navigating challenging regulatory issues, such as cap and trade, RINs and other renewable fuel issues.

Alternative Energy
As with our traditional energy clients, we’ve taken alternative energy projects from planning to completion, handling a full range of corporate and business issues, including obtaining permits, licenses, grants, tax credits and other incentives. We are highly proficient and experienced in:

  • Negotiating complex construction contracts to build out new infrastructure, including for renewable fuels.
  • Handling labor issues, including project labor-agreements.
  • Dealing with wind farm and clean energy technologies.
  • Managing agricultural commodities and renewable-fuel interfaces, including downstream marketing and petroleum industry interfaces.
  • Litigating design and performance issues with manufacturers of equipment used in wind farm and clean energy technologies.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking): The process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth, layers that were once unreachable with conventional technologies, implicates unique regulatory, environmental and business issues.  We can help you navigate those issues, including the siting, permitting, real estate, environmental and contractual issues that are inherent in any fracking operation.  Moreover, the regulatory landscape for fracking in the Illinois New Albany Shale region has recently changed with the passage of the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and accompanying regulations which have been described as one of the most onerous state regulatory regimes. We also counsel clients involved in the many business activities related to hydraulic fracturing, including trucking, sand production and chemical manufacture.

Coal
We represent numerous coal companies applying the Firm’s 35 years’ experience and knowledge in mining methods and practices, underground and surface equipment, and labor issues, in a wide variety of matters, including:

  • Tort litigation.
  • Commercial disputes.
  • Labor and employment law matters, for both union and non-union operator employers.
  • Subsidence litigation and mitigation.
  • Coal bed methane gas issues.
  • Surface mine blasting.
  • Mineral conveyances.
  • Supply agreements.
  • MSHA and other federal and state regulatory issues.
  • Selling or buying former mine sites.

Environmental
Calling on attorneys who are former state and federal environmental enforcement officials, Greensfelder handles a range of environmental matters for energy companies. These matters include:

  • Defending regulatory investigations and complaints.
  • Defending claims arising out of spills and releases of contaminants including pipeline leaks, UST issues and refinery operations brought by regulators or private plaintiffs.
  • Land use related litigation arising from mining operations including remediation plans and water releases and subsidence issues.
  • Permitting related to drilling, water and air emissions associated with energy projects including refineries and drilling (fracking).
  • Defending litigation including class actions arising out of alleged contamination of water, land and air including MBTE, benzene, lead, lead paint, asbestos, and other alleged contaminants.

Personal Injury, Premises Liability and Products Liability
In personal injury and products liability, our seasoned litigators defend energy companies of all types, with skill and tenacity, in some of the nation’s toughest legal venues, such as Madison County, Illinois. Our cases have included:

  • Personal injury claims occurring throughout the distribution chain, including premises related cases at retail sites.
  • Managing dockets of alleged product defects (e.g., asbestos and benzene).
  • Worker-injury matters, products liability cases involving black-lung disease, and related health and safety issues.

Attorneys / Energy

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