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Energy, Natural Resources and Utilities

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Expertise

Matheson’s Energy, Natural Resources and Utilities Group is the largest dedicated energy practice in the Irish market.  The Group contains specialists in energy and utilities regulation, project finance, real estate, planning, energy and natural resources M&A and construction in order to provide a full service offering. The Group has the track record, experience and depth of resources to support its clients on the most complex and innovative transactions in this sector.

At Matheson we ensure that our clients are kept up-to-date on market developments in this highly regulated sector so they can adapt to regulatory changes as well as take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

We regularly advise developers, funders, utilities, purchasers and sellers across all aspects of this sector including:

  • Energy and Natural Resources M&A.
  • Energy Project Development (Conventional, Wind (both offshore and onshore), Solar, Battery Storage, CHP, Biomass).
  • Irish and EU Energy Regulation (including REMIT and all other financial regulations).
  • Energy Contracts (Corporate/Subsidised/Merchant PPAs, CfDs, Gas Supply and Trading, Tolling Contracts).
  • Energy Project Finance.
  • Energy Efficiency.
  • Upstream, Midstream and Downstream Oil and Gas.
  • Liquefied Natural Gas.
  • Electricity Connection and Licensing.
  • Gas Connection, Supply and Transportation.
  • Mining, Mineral, Quarrying and Fossil Fuel Exploration.
  • Planning, Environmental and Real Estate Matters.
  • Interconnectors (electricity and gas) Development, Regulation and Financing.

See below for selected recent experience highlights that demonstrate our expertise.

Our Team

Experience Highlights

Our recent experience includes advising:

  • Sponsors and Lenders on over 2.5GW renewable and conventional power plant developments. This includes over 1.3GW of onshore wind farm developments.
  • EirGrid and SONI on all aspects of the I-SEM project which is the new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Matheson’s role involved drafting and advising on the new trading rules, the new capacity market code, the new grid code, the new trading rules for the day ahead and intraday markets in I-SEM as well as drafting amendments to EirGrid’s operational agreements necessitated by I-SEM.
  • Advising the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the drafting of the RESS Terms & Conditions (providing a unique legal adviser insight into the fundamental design and operation of RESS, Ireland’s renewable electricity subsidy scheme).
  • Sellers and Purchasers on the sale and / or acquisition of major energy and infrastructure assets in recent years, including Ireland’s only oil refinery at Whitegate and Ireland’s largest oil storage terminal at Bantry Bay in County Cork.
  • Vermilion Energy Inc.’s acquisition (valued at over €1 billion) together with a Canadian pension fund of Shell’s interest in the Corrib gas project. We have advised Vermilion Energy Inc. since 2008 when they first invested in the Corrib gas project. We are also retained by major international players in the market such as ExxonMobil, CNOOC and Woodside Energy.
  • A large international conglomerate and its local Irish partner on the development of a 200MW Battery Energy Storage System project in the mid-west region of Ireland (this is the one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe).
  • A large international utility on a range of electricity market contracts – including supply agreements and power purchase agreements (including corporate PPAs).
  • Statkraft on its acquisition of a battery storage project in the south-west of Ireland.
  • A large international energy developer on its acquisition of a large solar development portfolio.
  • A number of large multinational technology companies and renewable energy developers in relation to the drafting and negotiation of corporate power purchase agreements (including the first to be announced in the Irish market) and on renewable energy procurement strategies, trading structures and related agreements.
  • Advising a number of offtakers on their entry to the gas and power markets as well as all of their electricity and gas trading and sale contracts
  • A large multinational company on the sale of an energy supply company in respect of a 37MW Irish wind farm to a large international technology company, including the negotiation of a REFIT-subsidised corporate PPA (the first in the Irish market).
  • Partners Group (UK) Limited, a global private equity firm, on its acquisition of an interest in the Greenlink Interconnector, a project to construct a 500MW subsea electricity interconnector between Ireland and Great Britain.
  • Irving Oil on the acquisition of Tedcastles Oil Products Unlimited Company and its associated subsidiaries.
  • One of the largest Irish wind farm portfolio managers on various matters in connection with the introduction of the new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland (I-SEM), including the re-drafting and negotiation of all of its existing PPAs for its 18 wind farm portfolio and the structuring, development and drafting of a complex trade facilitation agreement in the context of I-SEM.
  • A number of Irish electricity suppliers on the re-drafting and negotiation of their existing PPAs in the context of changes to the wholesale electricity market.
  • One of the largest thermal generators in Ireland on a wide variety of matters, including interface with its lenders, trading agreements and a complex outsourcing agreement in respect of gas trading services.
  • A number of the largest global mining companies on their Irish assets. 
Accolades
"Knowledgeable in their practice area and provide pragmatic and timely advice. When working with Garret and his team we know we are in safe hands receiving quality advice whereas our experience with other practices has not been as positive."
The Legal 500 2021

"The team had great experience overall for what we needed. The  experience we had was of a very approachable team and always ready to assist with the most urgent query on a particular day."
The Legal 500 2021

"The Matheson team demonstrate the professional standards expected from a top tier firm. What makes the team unique is their deep technical understanding of the electricity market earned through extensive experience working with the national system operators. They also bring a wealth of experience from private sector delivery of electricity projects which greatly benefited the development our project."
The Legal 500 2021

"I have used Matheson’s services for nearly 17 years now. I always find their level of knowledge and expertise to be excellent, their advice to be very professional and practical and their commitment and level of service to be second to none. I have used other firms and have found that none have provided the same high quality of service or commitment. In particular, I have found that Matheson follow through on all tasks required post completion of transactions (eg to complete companies office filings, provide bibles of documentation etc where other firms sometimes don’t)."
The Legal 500 2021

"They have demonstrated a depth of knowledge in this field as well as a flexible and client-focused approach."
Chambers Europe 2021

They are "a dedicated team and a wide range of expertise in energy law."
Chambers Europe 2021

"Very proactive and practical advice.”
Energy and Natural Resources: European Legal 500 2020

“Good diversified team with deep knowledge of the relevant markets. Sub-teams for the sub-segments leads to very good results in time and in line with the agreed scope of work. Strong focus on client’s need and very good availability of all team members in charge. Key contact was Owen Collins, accompanied by Garret Farrelly as the partner in charge. Both did an excellent job and were always available (ie for calls) if needed. Very good in sparring with the counterparties’ lawyers.”
Energy and Natural Resources: European Legal 500 2020

“We use Matheson for the vast majority of our legal work. They are always available and have acted on our behalf for lots of transactions. They have a team of lawyers who have all got to know our business which means that our position is protected and there is always continuity. We rely heavily on their advice and guidance and they always ensure we are protecting our position and not just trying to get the deal done as quickly as possible. Also they helped us in several legal disputes which due to their guidance we got the desired outcome.  I trust the individuals in the firm 100% especially Garret Farrelly and Owen Collins who we have used a lot over the last two years. We used to use another firm and Matheson were our back up but over the last two years we have used them for all our legal work. They have really got to know our business and always ensure we are protecting our position whilst ensuring we achieve the desired commercial result. Also we had several disputes with counter-parties in the market which could have got very messy and straight away we enlisted the services of Matheson to help us and we were delighted with their representation. With continued growth of our business we have become more dependent on their expertise.”
Energy and Natural Resources: European Legal 500 2020

“Isla Stewart and Garret Farrelly: personalised service, very good understanding of clients’ needs and expectations. Very knowledgeable and sound advice. They actually care. They are confident without being overly exertive.”
Energy and Natural Resources: European Legal 500 2020

Matheson provide "very quick and excellent services”
IFLR1000  2020

Garret Farrelly is described as “always approachable, contactable and prioritised helping and supporting our company”.
Chambers Europe 2019

Matheson’s Energy and Natural Resources team is “approachable” and “available at any time”.
European Legal 500 2019

Matheson provides “sound advice”.
European Legal 500 2019

Matheson’s diverse practice takes in electricity and gas regulatory matters, oil and gas M&A transactions and regulatory matters, as well as project finance and M&A for renewables projects.
European Legal 500 2018

"Matheson is our go-to firm for advice in Ireland – whether on complicated energy matters or contentious planning permission issues. The lawyers are incredibly bright, experienced and responsive. Their advice is always practical."
Chambers Europe 2018

Other Services
Renewables

Our team has advised on the vast majority of Ireland’s onshore wind farm, representing sponsors and lenders on over 1.3GW of onshore wind developments.  The team helps connect renewable electricity generators to multinational technology companies seeking green power.  Our colleagues are also at the forefront of the new wave of renewable supports and technologies, including battery storage and innovative subsidies.

Experience Highlights

  • Advising a large international conglomerate and its local Irish partner on the development of a 200MW Battery Energy Storage System project in the mid-west region of Ireland (this is the one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe).
  • Advising ING Bank, Hamburg Commercial Bank, Rabobank, Aviva Investors and other domestic and international lenders / investors on their due diligence and financing of over 1GW of onshore wind farms.
  • Advising the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the drafting of the RESS Terms & Conditions (providing a unique legal adviser insight into the fundamental design and operation of RESS, Ireland’s renewable electricity subsidy scheme).
  • Advising a number of large multinational technology companies in relation to the drafting and negotiation of corporate power purchase agreements (the first to be announced in the Irish market) and on renewable energy procurement strategies. trading structures and agreements .
  • Advised GE in relation to its pre-construction purchase, development and sale of all of its Irish wind farms.      
  • Advising a large international energy developer on its acquisition of a large solar development portfolio.
Offshore

Ireland’s Government has targeted 5MW of offshore renewable electricity generating capacity by 2030.  Our team is already leveraging its significant experience in offshore energy developments and its deep knowledge of the upcoming Irish offshore renewable energy consenting regime to help major developers and lenders to prepare for the imminent wave of offshore energy development underpinned by explicit policy support and RESS subsidy auctions.

 Selected Recent Experience Highlight

  • Advising Energia on various aspects of the Irish Government’s new offshore renewable energy permitting regime.
  • Advising a financial investor in relation to its investment in a portfolio  of offshore wind farm development projects
  • In a previous role, Garret Farrelly advised on the acquisition of a 25% interest in Orsted’s 367MW Walney offshore wind farm, as well as the sale of Butendiek offshore wind farm in Germany and offshore wind farm development portfolio in Germany.
  • In a previous role, a partner in our EU Competition and Regulatory team advised Centrica PLC on a joint venture with Orsted (formerly DONG Energy) to develop offshore wind farms in the Round 3 Irish Sea Zone.
  • Partners Group (UK) Limited, a global private equity firm, on its acquisition of an interest in the Greenlink Interconnector, a project to construct a 500MW subsea electricity interconnector between Ireland and Great Britain.
  • Advising a multinational energy developer in relation to one of the largest offshore development wind parks in Ireland (including the foreshore lease and maritime permitting for the project)
  • Advising an Irish developer in relation to the development of the offshore wind farm development (Dublin Array) and subsequent sale of its interest in the project
  • Advised on the majority of foreshore leases for offshore development projects in Ireland
  • Vermilion Energy Inc.’s acquisition (valued at over €1 billion) together with a Canadian pension fund of Shell’s interest in the Corrib offshore gas project. We have advised Vermilion Energy Inc. since 2008 when they first invested in the Corrib gas project and have advised upon all aspects of its offshore development and permitting, including Foreshore regulation and the construction of offshore pipeline infrastructure.
  • Advising major international players in the offshore hydrocarbon exploration market such as ExxonMobil, CNOOC and Woodside Energy.
  • Advised Shannon LNG on all aspects of the permitting (including offshore and foreshore) of its proposed LNG regasification terminal
  • Advised a number of telecoms companies and technology companies on the construction and permitting (including foreshore) for their international fibre optic cables into Ireland.
Battery Storage

Ireland’s high renewable electricity generating targets require a strong and stable grid infrastructure.  We see battery storage playing an essential role in Ireland’s renewable energy future, and our team is already advising on Ireland’s most significant battery storage projects as detailed below.

Experience Highlights

  • Advising a large international conglomerate and its local Irish partner on the development of a 200MW Battery Energy Storage System project in the mid-west region of Ireland (this is the one of the largest projects of its kind in Europe).
  • Advised Statkraft on its acquisition of a large battery energy storage project.
  • Advised RES on the sale of the 50MW Gorman Energy Storage Station in County Meath, Ireland to Scottish Power Renewables (UK) Limited.
  • Advising a large UK battery storage developer (who is developing a number of projects in the Irish market).  In particular, we have advised on DS3 auctions, ECP and advised on the DS3 form of contract (volume uncapped arrangments) which will be entered into with EirGrid.
  • Our extensive experience advising EirGrid and SONI on the new Trading and Settlement Code for I-SEM provides us with a genuinely unparalleled knowledge of the Trading and Settlement Code and, in particular, specific rules for battery storage units trading in the market.
Grid and Interconnectors

Our team advised EirGrid on Ireland’s I-SEM electricity market re-design (which helped to integrate the Irish electricity market with the wider European electricity markets) and the team continues to lead the market on grid and interconnection projects, which are essential to Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions and sustainability targets.

Experience Highlights

  • Advised Partners Group (UK) Limited, a global private equity firm, on its acquisition of an interest in, and regulatory matters in relation to, the Greenlink Interconnector, a project to construct a 500MW subsea electricity interconnector between Ireland and Great Britain.
  • Advising EirGrid and SONI on all aspects of the introduction of the new integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) including drafting market rules. This was the largest and most complex energy regulatory project in Ireland for the past 10 years. 
  • Advised EirGrid Interconnector DAC Interconnector DAC in relation to regulatory aspects for the East West Interconnector, including the Harmonised Allocation Rules and amendments to its licences required for I-SEM.
  • Advised EirGrid on the implementation of the EU Network Codes, and on a number of disputes under the Trading and Settlement Code in relation to a pricing event in January 2019.
Energy Regulatory

Our team is one of the most experience energy regulatory teams in the Irish market. As well as having advised a broad range of suppliers, developers, traders, customers and other energy market participants, we have unique experience advising public bodies on the drafting of the electricity market codes as well as the terms and conditions in respect of the RESS auctions.

Experience Highlights

  • EirGrid and SONI on all aspects of the I-SEM project which is the new wholesale electricity market arrangement for Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Matheson’s role involved drafting and advising on the new trading rules, the new capacity market code, the new grid code, the new trading rules for the day ahead and intraday markets in I-SEM as well as drafting amendments to EirGrid’s operational agreements necessitated by I-SEM.  

  • Advising the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on the drafting of the RESS Terms & Conditions (providing a unique legal adviser insight into the fundamental design and operation of RESS, Ireland’s renewable electricity subsidy scheme).  

  • Advised a wide range of suppliers, developers, traders, customers and other energy market participants on all forms of energy market contracts, including power purchase agreements (including corporate PPAs), electricity trading agreements and electricity supply agreements. Our highly specialised lawyers have an exceptional understanding of energy regulatory matters as a result of this experience.

Utilities

Ireland’s baseload power and heating demand is underpinned by natural gas and our team has decades of experience advising gas generating stations and the gas transmission system owner / operator on complex Irish law matters.

Experience Highlights

  • Advising Energia on various matters related to the operation and maintenance of the 744MW Huntstown CCGT generating station.
  • Advising the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) on the legal aspects of its regulation of Irish Water (Ireland’s national water utility).
  • Advised Gas Networks Ireland on the Third Energy Package.
  • Advising Tynagh Energy on all aspects of the construction and operation of its 440MW CCGT generating station (Ireland’s largest independent generating station) including I-SEM matters, a bespoke, highly complex and first of its kind for the Irish market gas and power management outsourcing agreement and legal matters relating to its credit agreements.  
  • Advised Endesa in relation to all aspects of its trading arrangements and regulatory licences for its 2 thermal power plants (prior to their sale to SSE Generation).
  • Advised Ervia on regulatory matters in the gas sector.
  • Advised a number of large multinational technology companies on their water connections (and charges) and the development and construction of their water related infrastructure at their sites (including with Irish Water).
  • Advising in relation to the development of LNG Regasification Terminal at Ballylongford, Co Kerry. This is the first LNG facility to be developed in Ireland and is a large, complex project, requiring significant regulatory input across a range of regulatory authorities and permits including at a European Commission level.
Hydrocarbon Storage and Distribution

Ireland’s strategic energy policy requires a robust energy storage capacity and our team has advised on all of Ireland’s major oil storage facilities (along with the complex regulatory and environmental considerations associated with these assets).  Our team also advises clients on fuel storage and distribution in an industrial context.

Experience Highlights

  • Advised Warburg Pincus and Zenith Energy on the acquisition in 2015 from Phillips 66 of the Bantry Bay oil storage terminal (Ireland’s largest and most strategic oil storage terminal).
  • Advising a European hydrocarbon transportation and storage multinational on all Irish aspects of its bid for a portfolio of hydrocarbon storage terminals across Europe.
  • Advising CLH Aviación on all legal aspects of its services concession to design, build and operate fuel storage and distribution infrastructure at Dublin Airport, from concession negotiation through construction and operations.
  • Advised Irving Oil on the acquisition of Tedcastles Oil Products Unlimited Company and its associated subsidiaries (including fuel storage capacity).
  • Advising a sponsor and contractor on the development of Ireland’s first aviation fuel pipeline from Dublin Port to Dublin Airport.
Natural Resources (including Mining and Quarrying)

For decades, our team has advised mining companies and major hydrocarbon prospectors / developers on their activities in Ireland.  Our team leads the market with practical advice on the legal complexities associated with developing, owning and operating businesses that rely upon the exploitation of valuable natural resources.

Experience Highlights

  • Advising on the permitting and regulatory regime applicable to the Corrib offshore gas field including complex disputes / contentious planning matters and stringent environmental regulations.
  • Advising one of the largest global mining companies on their Irish assets and companies managed from Ireland which cover a number of significant mining sites across Africa and Latin America.
  • Advising oil and gas clients in relation to the Irish Licensing Terms issued by the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
  • Advising oil and gas exploration companies, including Woodside Energy, ExxonMobil and CNOOC in relation to their exploration projects in Ireland.
  • Advising an international independent oil and gas company in relation to its farm-in arrangements for Irish offshore licences.
  • Advised on the applicable mining legislation and licence terms in connection with a potential transaction by GFL International Co., Ltd.,  a subsidiary of Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. The transaction concerned 8 Mineral Prospecting Licences in Ireland.
  • Advising the holders of 2 Prospecting Licences over sites in Co Galway, Ireland, in relation to all aspects of the exploration, development and mining of mineral deposits located at those sites.
  • Advised in relation to the proposed acquisition of an Irish lead and zinc mine and related assets by Nystar
  • Advised Perilya Limited, an Australian base metals mining and exploration company,  in relation to its bid for a global portfolio of zinc mining assets including assets in Ireland.
  • Advised the Irish listed mining and exploration company, Arcon International Resources plc, in relation to the EUR93 million recommended takeover by Lundin Mining Corporation (Arcon owned and operated the Galmoy Zinc Mine, County Kilkenny).
  • Advised Australian resources company, Meridian Minerals Limited, in relation to its purchase of the Galmoy zinc-lead mineral processing plant.
  • Conducted a review of the title to minerals and the registration of the ownership of those minerals with the Land Registry on behalf of several clients.