Energy Litigation

Our trial lawyers have preeminent energy and oil & gas industry experience.  Our experience includes disputes and arbitrations involving domestic and international issues.  Be it contract, fraud, or construction disputes; False Claims Act (FCA) suits; defense of class actions; or royalty matters, we routinely work on industry-leading cases for a broad base of energy clients. 

Gibbs & Bruns has been ranked a “Top Tier” “powerhouse” energy litigation firm by Legal 500 each year since 2007, 17 consecutive years and counting alongside numerous international and AmLaw 100 firms. 

Gibbs & Bruns is simply the best litigation boutique in the country.  There is no case they can’t handle. 
Richard Sanders – Kinder Morgan

Gibbs & Bruns is big enough to handle any litigation, yet small enough to remain very focused and personal. Their partners have a variety of expertise, thus allowing them to cover most any venue. They respond very quickly with answers, with suggestions prepared. They are very well-respected and have a knack for getting along with the other side. I would use them for any litigation. 
Edger Dunne – Exponential Resource, LLC

The firm’s energy docket is as robust as ever with a sweeping range of matters for energy industry giants and tech startups alike. 

Take-Nothing Defense Victory for Anadarko in $1 Billion+ Arbitration
We represented Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiary, Anadarko Energy Services Corporation, as Respondents in a successful take-nothing arbitration defense. Claimant DCP NGL Services, LLC (a subsidiary of DCP Midstream) alleged that our client had breached an acreage dedication agreement and sought more than $1 billion in damages.  Following a ten-day final evidentiary hearing before a tribunal of three distinguished oil-and-gas arbitrators, the tribunal issued a unanimous take-nothing judgment in favor of our client.

$115 Million Settlement for Enterprise Following 3-Month Bench Trial
We represented Enterprise in a breach of contract and fraudulent inducement lawsuit in Texas state court against Enterprise’s former general contractor, Amec Foster Wheeler USA Corp., and its British parent company, Amec Foster Wheeler plc, concerning a multi-billion dollar petrochemical refinery constructed in Mont Belvieu, Texas from 2013-2017.  The project, which involved a multi-office execution approach, including high-value engineering centers overseas, hundreds of engineers, and thousands of construction personnel, experienced hundreds of millions of dollars in cost increases and exceeded planned completion targets by over a year. Over the course of six years of litigation, Enterprise overcame a special appearance by the British parent company, which was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, multiple summary judgment motions, and four motions to exclude Enterprise’s experts. Following the conclusion of a three-month bench trial that occurred from April through July 2022, the defendants paid Enterprise $115 million to settle the case before the court issued its judgment.

Plaintiffs’ Contingency Case for E&P Company Involving $100 Million+ In Damages
We represented plaintiff client Lone Star in $100 million damage matter involving breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims.  After extensive fact and expert discovery, the case was resolved via a confidential settlement.

Successful Breach of Fiduciary Duty Defense for Private Client
We represented David Dunwoody, former co-founder and President of EnVen, in a case brought in Delaware Chancery Court by his former company alleging that Dunwoody breached his fiduciary duties.  After a week-long trial in July 2023, the Chancellor announced her impressions, all in favor of Mr. Dunwoody.  After receiving the Chancellor’s remarks, EnVen dismissed its claims against Dunwoody with prejudice for zero dollars.

$12.4 Million Judgement for Private Client
We represented David Dunwoody, co-founder and former president of EnVen, after the company squeezed him out and refused to pay his Severance benefits.  After a three-week trial in Harris County, the jury found that Mr. Dunwoody had multiple, independent grounds for contractual Good Reason entitling him to Severance.  The court awarded our client over $12 million.  EnVen appealed the case.  In April 2023, a three-judge panel from the Fourteenth Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s verdict and unanimously “overruled all of the issues raised by EnVen in this appeal.”  In its 29-page opinion, the Court of Appeals explained that the summary judgment and directed verdict rulings in Mr. Dunwoody’s favor, his damages model, and his legal and factual arguments before and during trial gave rise to no error.  Accordingly, it affirmed the trial court’s judgment in full.   

Five-Week Trial for Occidental Energy Marketing
We represented Occidental Energy Marketing, Inc. and Oxy Ingleside LPG Pipeline, LLC against NuStar Logistics, LP in a dispute involving four contracts under which NuStar promised to refurbish and reverse flow on an existing pipeline so it could be used to transport liquified propane gas to a new export facility Oxy was building at Ingleside, Texas in exchange for a long-term “ship or pay” commitment from Oxy. NuStar’s pipeline ruptured during the commissioning phase and was unable to transport propane in the required contract volumes as of the mandatory start-up deadline, so Oxy terminated the contracts and filed a declaratory judgment action seeking judicial confirmation that its termination was lawful, as well as damages for Oxy’s propane that was lost as a result of the ruptures. NuStar countersued to enforce the contracts, seeking more than $150 million in damages. After the conclusion of a 5-week bench trial, the parties entered into a confidential settlement.

$4.58 Million Jury Verdict for Plaintiff Client SourceGas Distribution LLC
Following a complex five-week trial, a Houston jury returned a verdict for client SourceGas Distribution LLC (SourceGas) against Noble Energy, Inc (Noble).  The jury determined that Noble breached its Gas Purchase Agreement (GPA) with SourceGas by selling SourceGas natural gas at above-market prices that SourceGas was not obligated to purchase under the GPA.  The Honorable Patricia J. Kerrigan submitted the question of contract interpretation to the jury.  In addition to a claim for damages, the contract dispute involved tens of millions of dollars worth of impact on future performance under the contract.  On November 17, 2011, the jury determined that SourceGas’s contract interpretation was correct, found that Noble breached the GPA, and awarded damages of approximately $4.58 million.  The jury also rejected Noble’s counterclaims for breach of contract against SourceGas, under which Noble sought approximately $1.5 million in damages.  On April 24, 2012, the court entered final judgment in favor of SourceGas for over $6 million, including attorneys’ fees.

$100 Million Value Arbitration Award for Venoco against Denbury Onshore
We represented Venoco, Inc., a mid-size oil and gas company based in Colorado, in a contract dispute with Denbury Onshore, LLC, a subsidiary of Denbury Resources, Inc., regarding Venoco’s reversionary interest in a Texas oilfield, wherein the parties disputed the meaning of several terms that affected when “payout” would occur.  After a week-long arbitration hearing before a three-member panel, we obtained a unanimous award in favor of Venoco with respect to all three contractual interpretation declarations sought.  Venoco was also awarded most of its attorneys’ fees, costs, and expert fees in a discretionary decision by the panel.  The present-day value of the award to the client is estimated to be in the $100 million range.  Denbury moved to vacate the award in Harris County District Court.  On February 11, 2015, the court denied Denbury’s motion to vacate and confirmed the award. 

Breach of Contract Case Involving $110 Million in Oil and Gas Lease and Pipeline Interests
We represented SM Energy Company, Potato Creek LLC, Open Flow Gas Supply Corporation, and SJ Exploration LLC in an action against Endeavour Operating Corporation.  The case arose from Endeavour Operating Corporation’s breach of two purchase and sale agreements to purchase our clients’ interests in oil and gas leases, a pipeline, and related facilities in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania for a total purchase price of $110 million.  After winning a significant partial summary judgment, the case settled shortly before trial for a total value of $19.25M to our clients.

Nevada Congeneration Associates #2 (Chevron/Dynegy)
We represented Nevada Congeneration Associates #2 (NCA #2), a joint venture co-owned by Chevron and Dynegy, in defense of an arbitration brought by Nevada Power Company (NPC).  NCA #2 developed a qualified facility to produce power for the Las Vegas area, which NPC purchased under the terms of a 30-year power purchase agreement.  The dispute involved the proper interpretation of certain provisions of the agreement, including a rebate forecast by NPC to be approximately $320 million. The arbitrator ruled in favor of our client, rejecting entirely NPC’s claim.

Arbitration Win for Frontera Resources
We represented Defendants Frontera Resources Georgia Corporation and Frontera Resources Corporation in an international arbitration involving a significant oil and gas exploration lease in the Republic of Georgia.  Claimants were GAC Energy Corporation and GAC International.  The arbitrator ruled in Frontera’s favor, rejecting GAC’s claims for $19 million in restitution.

$800 Million Breach of Contract Defense for ConocoPhillips
We achieved a summary judgment win for ConocoPhillips in defense of an $800 million breach of contract and fraud matter brought by West Texas Gas involving the sale of gas processing facilities and pipelines.

Plaintiff’s Representation of Unocal Corporation
We successfully resolved a breach of contract and fraud case for Unocal involving nine oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.  Damage counterclaims were in excess of $350 million.  Gibbs & Bruns took over representation of Unocal a few months before trial and conducted the majority of discovery and all expert discovery during that time.  We obtained dismissal of all of Defendant’s claims against Unocal on summary judgment a few weeks before trial.