‘Confidence’ in energy market

THE resurgent North Sea oil industry and the need to update Britain’s power infrastructure should keep deal activity in the energy market buoyant this year following a recent surge in transactions.

Corporate lawyers at the Scottish offices of Pinsent Masons completed deals worth more than £400 million across the oil, gas and renewables sectors in the first six weeks of this year. They say activity is evidence of confidence in the energy market and there is no sign of it slowing down.

Bob Ruddiman, head of energy and natural resources at Pinsent Masons, said: “In the UK, the focus on continuity and security of supply, combined with the requirement to meet clean energy targets, underlies a great deal of activity.

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“Investors looking for ret­urns in a challenging market continue to show appetite for these types of investments.”

He added that shale gas could be the next big story, but “questions remain” over its roll-out in the UK.

The firm has also been involved in deal-making overseas, part of a Scottish export boom in knowledge and services gained in the North Sea and, increasingly, in renewable energy.

Ruddiman said: “This is a global industry but Scotland has a strong legacy of oil and gas expertise and a growing reputation for renewable work. The export of that knowledge into global markets is a major prospect for us and an element of the job that our lawyers in Scotland relish.”

Pinsent Masons recently announced plans to establish a presence in Turkey focusing on the infrastructure sector.

To comply with local regulations, it is setting up a joint venture with a domestic lawyer. It plans to grow the operation to 20 lawyers over the next three years.