Texas legal news in 2021 not only reflected the debates and court disputes being heard all across the country, but also frequently led those conversations. Each day through the end of the year, Androvett Legal Media & Marketing takes a look at the Top 10 Texas Legal Stories that shaped 2021.
Oil Rebounds While Investors Increasingly Eye Sustainable Deals
Energy dealmakers were back in 2021.Rebounding from a pandemic year that saw the price of West Texas Intermediate plummet below zero, oil producers ramped up drilling and production again.
A suddenly booming economy needed more oil. That led to a raft of merger and acquisition work, keeping M&A lawyers busy and taking pressure off energy bankruptcy groups that saw a booming business in 2020. One example: Royal Dutch Shell sold off its Permian Basin holdings to Houston-based ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion.
At the same time, another kind of dealmaking was ramping up as investors turned their interest to renewable energy technologies. The appetite for conventional oil and gas isn’t what it used to be. Shareholders burned by past boom-and-bust cycles in the oil patch and increasingly worried about climate change are demanding a dramatic transformation in the energy industry. It’s not just the energy sector; the trend is playing out across industries as law firms and investor groups are aggressively advising clients across industries how to meet new goals set by environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, said Sidley Austin partner Kevin Lewis. The aviation sector led the pack with large investments in carbon capture, experimental electric and supersonic aircraft, and sustainable fuel.
“It’s really the environmental and climate-related initiatives under ESG that are driving deal-making, so in boardrooms, private equity offices, banking … there’s a large and growing appetite for ESG investing,” said Mr. Lewis, co-leader of Sidley’s Aviation and Airlines practice.
Looming ahead are tougher new government regulations on ESG disclosures. So while Texas producers are still pumping to provide a return for investors, many energy companies and private equity groups are pursuing technologies like wind power and carbon capture, or they’re buying up businesses that already have renewable tech capabilities. The oil patch of the future may look different.
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