Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Energy, Projects, Environmental & Aboriginal Law Department

Canada
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What the team is known for Strong firm with national reach and particular strength in the energy and natural resources sector, advising clients on a variety of environmental matters including project development, environmental assessment reviews, contaminated land and general compliance issues. Has a strong project finance offering and a notable reputation for representing lenders, developers and equity sponsors in infrastructure developments. Plays a leading role in oil and gas and LNG project development in Canada. Also advises on the procurement, financing, construction and development of major power projects, and provides assistance to a number of large energy and oil companies in connection with Aboriginal, environmental and regulatory matters.

Strengths"They are extremely knowledgeable about the energy sector and energy law in particular," reported one highly impressed interviewee. The source concluded: "They are by far the best in the energy Bar."

A client reported: "The team are pragmatic, effective and intelligent," continuing: "They are excellent communicators and provide a very high level of service."

"This is the pre-eminent and go-to team in town for navigating through a very difficult and challenging regulatory and adversarial environment," effuses one source.

Work highlights Acted for Hydro One in connection with a number of transactional matters, including its CAD105 million purchase of the business and distribution assets of Peterborough Distribution from the City of Peterborough, and its aborted USD6.7 billion purchase of Avista, a deal blocked by US regulators.

Represented Teck Resources before the Alberta Energy Regulator in its application to conduct an oil sands exploration programme to support its Frontier Oil Sands project.

Advised EPCOR on its duty to consult obligations ancillary to the build-out of Ontario's natural gas distribution system to the Saugeen Ojibway Nations and Saugeen Métis traditional territory.

Notable practitioners

Chris Bennett is said by sources to "know the law and the Canadian PPP market exceptionally well." He has developed a market-leading wealth of experience acting on PPPs and infrastructure matters in a variety of asset classes, including electricity, renewables and transportation. One client said: "He is probably the top lawyer in the space."

Interviewees commend Craig Spurn for his handling of the full range of transactional and project development matters. He offers experience of all aspects of upstream and midstream oil and gas. "He is one of the best lawyers I have ever worked with," said one impressed source.

Jacob Sadikman is "able to take business decisions and document them in legal terms that all parties can agree upon, leaving less risk for future disagreements." He is a respected transactional attorney whose experience spans project finance, solar project sales and asset acquisitions, among other matters.

Janice Buckingham is an "exceptionally capable transactional lawyer" who offers a wealth of experience in commercial oil and gas mandates, including acquisitions and divestitures and project development, among other matters. She chairs the firm's oil and gas practice.

Jennifer Fairfax is "very knowledgeable, very responsive and very solutions-focused." She offers considerable experience across a wide range of environmental disputes, frequently appearing before various courts and tribunals in Ontario. One source said: "She is incredibly competent, well versed and thoughtful."

Martin Ignasiak is a highly respected regulatory lawyer who is noted for his representation of clients in connection with a wide range of industrial projects, including oil sands facilities and pipelines. He is an experienced advocate before administrative bodies, federal and appeals courts, and has argued before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Richard King spearheads the firm's Ontario energy regulatory offering. He advises on regulatory matters pertaining to power project development, power trading and utility regulation, and is also noted for his expertise in Aboriginal matters. Sources refer to his "deep expertise" in the regulatory sphere.

The "extremely knowledgeable" Rocco Sebastiano chairs the firm's power group and is its leading light in the transactional space, advising in connection with project development matters, joint venture agreements and commercial contracts, among other matters. He continues to win widespread plaudits, with one recent client noting his mastery of the intricacies of a transaction: "He is a great drafter and had an incredible command of the ins and outs and provisions of the agreement."

The "very solutions-oriented" Shawn Denstedt QC garners praise for his provision of "really high-quality work" in the oil and gas transportation space, advising clients on a range of regulatory issues. "He sets legal advice in a business context, which is the most important thing for good counsel," said one source.

Simon Baines is highlighted for his expertise in the full range of transactional oil and gas matters, including the acquisition, divestiture and development of upstream, downstream and transportation projects. He receives impressive praise from the market, with one interviewee relating: "When we were looking for advice on our larger work, pretty much anyone we talked with said, 'You've got to talk with Simon.' He has the experience of handling some of the most complicated matters out there, and has been instrumental in what we've done."

Tobor Emakpor advises on PPP and AFP projects across Canada, West Africa and the UK, focusing primarily on the education, transportation and healthcare industries. He is described as "a superior lawyer from a technical perspective" who is "very thoughtful."