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Energy and resources law

Kensington Swan has New Zealand’s leading oil and natural gas exploration lawyers. We are experts in the law relating to mining and all forms of electricity generation, retail, and distribution.

We help investors and exploration companies looking to capitalise on the New Zealand government’s objective to maximise the benefits from the development of oil, gas, and mineral resources.

Integrated legal advice

Our integrated approach brings together our mining and energy law teams with our experts in corporate, regulatory, construction, and resource management law.

We have extensive experience in advising on all aspects of the law relating to:

  • oil exploration and petroleum retail markets
  • gas exploration, transmission, distribution, and wholesale markets
  • electricity generation, transmission, and distribution
  • geothermal energy
  • alternative energy, including wind power
  • coal, gold, and other hard rock mining.

Kensington Swan has acted for the New Zealand government, state-owned enterprises, and international private sector companies.

Contracts and agreements

Our lawyers have a long history of specialist experience in contract preparation and negotiation for energy and natural resource projects. Their advice covers:

  • joint venture, and farm-in and farm-out agreements
  • project contracts, including construction, rig procurement, drilling, and associated services contracts
  • access arrangements
  • supply and procurement contracts.

Our team also provide advice on legislative regimes, project entities and structures, project financing, acquisitions, and divestments.

Energy lines businesses are subject to price and quality regulation. We have particular expertise in these regulatory regimes through our experience working with energy clients. We can assist by developing technical and strategic advice while maintaining good relationships with both regulators and major electricity users.

Recent experience

Energy state-owned enterprise

Our lawyers advised on new petroleum exploration permits, acquiring interests in existing permits, drilling rig procurement, drilling services, and other matters required to develop a successful oil and gas exploration programme.

L&M Energy Limited (LME)

We advised LME on the successful acquisition of L&M Coal Seam Gas Limited, including a subsequent capital raising through a private placement and share purchase scheme. This created the largest coal seam gas company in New Zealand. As the company was listed on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges, we worked closely with Australian legal advisors, negotiating an exemption under the Takeovers Code.

Coal Corporation Establishment Unit

We advised the Government on the successful establishment of the state-owned Coal Corporation, set up to promote competition. This required extensive review of current law and advice on changes to legislation and regulation, particularly changes to the Coal Mining Act 1937.

EnerNOC New Zealand Limited (Formerly Energy Response Pty Limited)

EnerNOC New Zealand Limited (formerly Energy Response Pty Limited) contracts major electricity consumers to reduce their demand, and sells the resulting capacity into a reserves market run by Transpower. We developed the contracts required for consumers, metering companies, and an energy state owned enterprise. This required an in-depth understanding of regulations and the market, and unique and complex contract provisions. This was the first business of its kind in New Zealand and in most parts of the world.

Electricity distribution network company

We advised on the successful implementation of Part 4 of the Commerce Act, including input methodologies for regulation of prices and quality of electricity distribution services. This determined the company’s revenue, and was therefore of profound significance to our client.

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