Overview

Vorys has a long history in energy development and its regulation in Ohio and the broader Appalachian Basin.  We have counseled—and continue to counsel—clients in all types of energy related matters, including conventional and unconventional oil and gas development, renewable energy generation, traditional electric generation, biomass generation and public utility proceedings.  That experience, coupled with our ability to call on firm attorneys across the spectrum of law, enables us to advise clients on all types of regulatory and transactional work related to the energy space, from simple leasing and well-field service contracts to sophisticated financing and purchase sale agreements and the permitting of electric generation facilities.

We are also well versed when it comes to helping our energy clients navigate the dispute resolution processes involved when disagreements arise or litigation is necessary to protect our clients’ interests.  Our energy attorneys routinely appear before state and federal courts, administrative agencies and arbitration panels on significant oil and gas matters (including class action royalty litigation and lease disputes) and electric and renewable energy matters (including utility rate litigation and utility-scale solar and wind farm permit hearings).

Recognitions

We are proud to have been recognized for our efforts in external publications, including as a “Leading Law Firm” in Ohio for Natural Resources & Environment in the 2022 edition of Chambers USA, as well as receiving top honors as a Tier 1 firm in Central Ohio for “Energy Law,” “Natural Resources Law” and “Oil and Gas Law” in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” report.

Organizational Involvement

Vorys attorneys have long been leaders in professional organizations in the energy field.  Our firm is a charter member of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF) and a long-standing member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.  Our lawyers have held executive positions with the leading trade organizations in the oil and gas industry both nationally and in the Appalachian Basin, including the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), the Ohio Oil and Gas Association and the EMLF.

For years, Vorys attorneys have actively participated in the Ohio State Bar Association Natural Resource Committee, including serving as chair on five different occasions.  In Pennsylvania, our attorneys have been active in the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Michael Late Benedum Chapter of the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) and the Northern Appalachian Landman's Association Chapter of the AAPL.

Experience

Utilities

Our firm has broad experience in all areas of public utility law and regulation, including electricity, natural gas, steam, telephone, cable, water, sewer and transportation.  Our clients include small public utilities, competitive retail electric and natural gas providers, commercial and industrial consumers, telephone companies and cable television providers. 

Our attorneys have also been active with respect to public utility-related issues in the Ohio General Assembly and at the local government level throughout Ohio.  We have represented our clients’ interests before regulatory agencies such as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Communications Commission, and we have defended and prosecuted their interests in lawsuits in federal and state courts.

Competitive Marketing

Our lawyers have considerable experience in advising clients on competitive electric and natural gas marketing issues in Ohio.  For example, we regularly represent gas marketers in matters before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and counsel large industrial and commercial clients on the challenges and opportunities presented by the natural gas market.  This includes advising clients on negotiating North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) agreements for the physical purchase of natural gas and International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) agreements for the financial hedging of natural gas.  We also actively monitor natural gas proceedings before administrative agencies in Ohio, including the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. 

We regularly counsel clients on matters pertaining to the electric energy market as well.  Our attorneys assist clients such as competitive retail electric service suppliers, large industrial and commercial customers and developers in negotiating power supply and electric service agreements and master power purchase and sale agreements.  In addition, we are frequently asked to represent clients in connection with legislative and rulemaking proceedings and to assist them in undertaking industrial and commercial development projects, including transactions with local utilities to obtain long-term sources of supply.  We also have extensive experience representing energy companies and end users in bankruptcy proceedings.

Electricity and Natural Gas

Vorys has a team of attorneys, including former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio administrative law judges, who regularly assist clients on electric and natural gas rate and tariff issues.  We analyze applications and proposed tariffs and participate in rate cases and rulemaking proceedings.  Our lawyers also advise competitive retail and wholesale suppliers on applicable rules, tariffs and bidding procedures.

We also assist generators (both renewable and conventional fuel designs) with acquiring siting permits, rights of way and environmental permits to construct and operate.  Our engagements in this area include generation based on utility-scale solar, wind, landfill gas, industrial gas, waste industrial heat and bio-mass, as well as conventionally fueled generation.  Our attorneys draw upon a wealth of practical experience in addressing these matters, which allows them to effectively support our clients’ business objectives and project schedules.  That same practical experience is used to help midstream natural gas companies and pipeline operators address regulatory issues including pipeline safety matters.  We also have significant experience in the development of large natural gas pipeline systems, including assisting in obtaining right-of-ways, negotiating gas transportation agreements and permitting of pipelines.

Our attorneys are also proficient at helping generators and those who market power (load serving entities) to obtain market-based rate authority.  We are also experienced in the multi-stage review process needed for the interconnection of new generation to the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) grid, as well as experience with issues concerning use of RTO markets, conservation programs including demand response, and firm transmission rights.


Oil and Gas

Vorys represents a full spectrum of clients in the oil and gas industry, and has done so for decades – from leading conventional and unconventional producers, to pipeline companies, drilling and service providers, injection well operators and financial institutions.  Our energy attorneys have advised clients on all types of transactional work in the oil field, from simple leasing and joint operating agreements to complex financing and asset acquisition agreements.  Among other matters, Vorys has helped clients to undertake geophysical surveys, develop master drilling programs, acquire and sell oil and gas and pipeline assets, negotiate gas purchase and sales contracts, prepare securities offerings and to develop one of the largest independent gathering systems in the Appalachian Basin.

Energy production in the Appalachian Basin, like elsewhere, presents a myriad of challenges, and Vorys attorneys have been on the forefront of addressing many of them.  We represented, for example, the first applicant for a unit order under Ohio’s statutory unitization process needed to drill a horizontal well in the Utica Shale when there were unleased interests in the proposed unit.  We have also been involved in virtually every major change in Ohio law advancing the energy industry’s interests in the modern era, including major revisions to Ohio’s statutory and regulatory oil and gas law.

And when those challenges have involved legal disputes, Vorys attorneys have stood as both a sword and a shield.  Among other things, we have successfully defended our clients against natural gas royalty class action claims, represented major creditor groups in the Enron and Columbia Transmission bankruptcies, challenged obstacles to energy development caused by local regulation, and defended against lease termination and subsurface trespass actions.  As a consequence, our energy attorneys frequently appear before state and federal courts and arbitration panels, as well as state regulatory agencies and public utilities commissions.

Utica/Marcellus Shales

Given the firm’s rich history in the oil and gas space, and with offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vorys energy attorneys are located in the heart of the Utica and Marcellus shales, and well positioned to assist clients in their development.

Renewable and Alternative Energy

We are privileged to work for clients at the forefront of the renewable energy industry.  Our team has extensive experience assisting with the development of utility scale solar projects, wind farms, waste energy (including scrap tires and bio-mass), ethanol plants, fuel cells, landfill and industrial gas, industrial co-generation and coke oven gas.

We frequently provide counsel on regulatory and business matters involving power siting and local zoning issues, environmental permitting, power grid interconnections transmission and distribution, as well as commercial contracting issues and renewable energy credits.  Our team assists developers from the initial phases of a project through project financing, construction and commercial operation.

Our highly skilled team consists of attorneys from various backgrounds and practice groups. Their collective experience includes but is not limited to:

  • Energy and environmental matters
  • Multiple appearances before the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB)
  • Site procurement and leasing
  • Siting and local zoning issues
  • Tax and economic development incentives
  • Environmental permitting
  • Asset and membership interest sale agreements
  • Project financing and construction

News & Insights

News

Events

Publications

Jump to Page