On February 17 and 18, 2022, energy attorneys, in house counsel, consultants, scholars, advocates, and legal publishers nationwide gathered together in Houston, Texas for IEL’s 73rd Annual Energy Law Conference, sponsored by Foley. The conference resourcefully brought together experts across the industry to arm attendees with precise and timely insights into energy industry’s next steps. The hybrid virtual and in-person conference included 24 sessions with approximately 50 speakers, providing frequent breaks to network with fellow energy professionals.
Sessions honed in on the industry’s decarbonization transition and examined financial and technological mechanisms paving the way. Presenters reviewed recent legislation and case law impacting international trade and the production of oil and gas. A highlight of the conference was the in house panel made up of legal counsel at Shell, Baker Hughes, and TotalEnergies, who each shared their insights into recent oil and gas litigation trends and diversity and inclusion methodology.
Following the SEC’s announcement of the ESG Taskforce, critical and frequent investigations of ESG violations are anticipated. Panelists discussed how to identify each ESG component, shared best practices in disclosing ESG activities, and explained why the social and governance pillars are often overlooked. Presenters also emphasized increased greenwashing litigation in response to companies’ that misleadingly marketing themselves as environmentally friendly.
For international energy companies, diversity efforts are not one-size-fits-all. Each country has its own history, nuanced culture, and laws that govern human rights, thus requiring a tailored approach reaching equitable goals. Panelists shared how diversity strategies must consider how the important it is to take on local concerns. For example, workplace policies that champion a safe, inclusive environment may give rise to legal claims that employees do not otherwise have in their country. Finally, presenters shared about the power of allyship, pointing out that often the most influential figures do not come from the same backgrounds.
As renewables financing continues booming, presenters discussed novel financing structures and tax incentives, such as the ITC, enabling industry expansion into clean energy. Session speakers gave a detailed presentation of the underutilized divisive merger statutes, as a mechanism of splitting entities and protecting assets while disposing of mass liabilities. Speakers also discussed sustainably-linked financing and the magnitude of benefits it may impart to the growth of renewable energy firms.
The Energy industry is undergoing a substantial evolution, bringing with it new legislation and regulations, creating opportunities for renewable investors, and expanding the market for traditional energy powerhouses. Foley is committed to helping our clients in the Energy sector in markets nationwide, and has a deep presence and expertise in Texas. For more information, please contact one of your Foley attorneys including: Becca Jordan, Katie Harrington, Taylor Appling, Jenny Gardner, Audrey Momanaee, Felisa Sanchez, Scott Ellis, and Craig Dillard.