Crude measures

A perfect storm of low oil prices and cost pressure is keeping in-house teams in the energy sector more honest than most in 2016.

Energy and natural resources overview |

Taken in isolation – and at £35bn, one of the largest oil and gas deals on record stands pretty well on its own – the acquisition of BG Group by Shell could be seen as a bellwether for a confident oil and gas market. But headline deals aside, the freefall in oil prices has had a lasting negative effect on the sector. And while the price of crude passed the psychologically important level of $50 per barrel recently, the attritional effect of the last 18 months is there to see. [Continue Reading]

Facilitating tax evasion – how it could affect you

Nick Benwell and Tim Harris of Simmons & Simmons say the proposed corporate tax evasion facilitation offence will pose a major new financial crime risk for energy companies .

Energy and natural resources focus |

On 17 April, the government published a second consultation document on a new criminal offence that will apply to companies that fail to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion by those associated with it. The new offence is one of a number of new initiatives designed to tackle offshore tax evasion and corruption. [Continue Reading]

The oil price collapse – UK regulators to the rescue?

Anna Howell and Reza Dadbakhsh of Herbert Smith Freehills say the new Oil and Gas Authority has a key role to play in shaping the industry’s future.

Energy and natural resources focus |

The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is a mature oil and gas basin. The collapse in global oil prices from a high of $115 per barrel in June 2014 to a price below $30 a barrel earlier this year has had a severe impact on the basin. Although according to Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) UKCS production actually rose by almost 10% in 2015, revenues fell by 30%. [Continue Reading]

GCs have arrived and all we have to welcome them are platitudes

We need more sophisticated thinking on how GCs can – and should – do their job.

Comment |

Two books of note have just been published by veteran lawyers – The Inside Counsel Revolution: Resolving the Partner-Guardian Tension by former GE legal head Ben Heineman and The Future of the In-House Lawyer: The General Counsel Revolution, a collection of essays edited by Carillion’s Richard Tapp. The common ground is obvious in charting the wresting of power and resource over the last 25 years from law firm to corporate legal teams. [Continue Reading]

Perspectives: Philip Bramwell, BAE Systems

Perspectives |

I’m of an age where I form part of a group of lawyers who elected to pursue careers in-house from the outside. I had failed to complete a chemical engineering course so I had a very clear purpose in studying law: I wanted to work in-house. I identified a couple of industries I thought should grow so I might surf that wave.

I started out in pharma in the late ‘70s, which was immensely enjoyable. I grew a love of complex businesses – global, multinational businesses. They provide rich opportunities for lawyers in a variety of areas – commercial, corporate, M&A. That is the theme I followed throughout my career. [Continue Reading]

Profile: Tom Melbye Eide, Royal Dutch Shell

The energy group’s upstream legal chief discusses the general counsel’s role as a risk partner and that £47bn deal.

Profile |

As BG Group general counsel, and now executive vice president and GC for Royal Dutch Shell’s upstream business, Tom Melbye Eide has an enviable addition to his CV, considering his lead role in BG’s £47bn acquisition by Shell, the world’s second-biggest energy deal on record, which completed last month. [Continue Reading]

The best seat in the house: the unique role of the modern GC

The Inside View |

Richard Tapp argues that GCs can define their companies like never before.

‘So, what do you do?’ A straightforward question – in my case asked by a new chairman, clearly expecting a simple answer. But, for any in-house lawyer, where to start? Do you talk about your legal specialism? About the business risks that you identify and manage? About the way you provide and source legal advice? Or that you keep your chairman out of jail? [Continue Reading]


  • Richard Tapp, General Counsel, Carillion, The In-House Lawyer

    General Counsel, Carillion

Profile: John Tribolati, JPMorgan Chase

Profile |

The investment bank’s EMEA GC on tackling the growth of global regulation and avoiding potholes along the way.

There’s a school of thought that says ‘never go back’ to a former lover or job. But having spent eight years at JPMorgan Chase & Co in the 1990s, a phone call from the investment bank’s ‘very persuasive’ general counsel Stacey Friedman in 2015 made John Tribolati’s decision to return to his old shop very easy. ‘It was an opportunity to have my own gig,’ he says. [Continue Reading]

Just remember, GCs, Enron thought it was all perfectly legal

Comment |

Stefan Stern argues these days a legal defence alone can prove no defence.

Last month the 67th annual oil and gas conference was held by the Center for American and International Law in Houston. Lucky delegates got to hear from a special guest speaker – CFO magazine’s chief financial officer of the year, 2000. The speaker displayed the trophy he had received for his work, and then held up another item – a red prison ID card. He had been given both these things, he remarked, for the same activity – doing deals for Enron, the collapsed energy company. [Continue Reading]


  • Stefan Stern, The Financial Times / Cass Business School, The In-House Lawyer

    The Financial Times / Cass Business School

GCs have scraped a seat at the table but too many are wasting the opportunity

Comment |

Paul Gilbert argues too many corporate counsel fail to seize the risk agenda.

Barclays, Volkswagen and Tesco are three massive businesses in three significant, sophisticated and important business sectors. Each one of these successful and long-lived businesses has access to significant in-house legal expertise, each is capable of paying for the best legal advice money can buy, each has invested heavily in risk management. And all of them are now paying the price for poor decisions made by some senior people behaving badly, very badly. [Continue Reading]