Friday, March 02, 2012

An apt legal book for a complex LNG business!

The LNG business has evolved more over the last ten years than it ever did over the preceding five decades. From a point in time in history when energy majors considered finding gas a disappointment during exploration and production drives to the present multijurisdictional nature of the LNG business; the transformation has been truly unique. All the while, challenges posed by the low price of natural gas, gas-oil price differential, overcapacity in some markets and the perceived US shale gas bonanza lurk in the backdrop. Inevitably, disputes arise and many end up in court.

Currently, in its second edition, the book Liquefied Natural Gas: The Law and Business of LNG, a compendium of thoughts from authors with a legal background, attempts to address the information appetite for legal, regulatory, political and practical elements of the LNG chain. This edition of just fewer than 300 pages split by fourteen chapters – each of which has been authored by a legal industry expert – is a handy reference guide.

Structuring and financing of LNG projects, LNG trading, sale and purchase agreements, shipping, FLNG, import terminals have all been examined and in some detail. Two brilliant chapters specifically dwell on the natural gas price reopeners vis-à-vis English law and Shale gas. Content of this book should sit happily on any legal expert’s bookshelf, especially those involved in the due diligence for LNG projects and allied infrastructure including import and export terminals.

It would be unfair to pick a few favourites as the whole volume is a thoroughly good read, but if asked which ones the Oilholic particularly liked, then they would be Matthew Griffiths’ chapter on Floating LNG, David Gardner’s on LNG Shipping and Paul Griffin’s introduction to the whole volume. The latter beautifully sums up the evolving nature of the LNG business (and indeed the publisher’s commercial reason for bringing out a second edition).

As a regional business has slowly evolved or quickly morphed – depending on your point of view – into a truly global one, it is also perceived as a minefield for disputes, more so in an era of resource nationalism. In such a setting, this book more than fulfils its pragmatic purpose for legal professionals whether you are a private practitioner or one attached to a commercial establishment ranging from utilities to banking.

As with a specialist title of this nature, you will need a mid to high level of industry knowledge to fully appreciate the book, should you have a non-legal remit within the energy business. While envisaged as a written work aimed at legal professionals and industry experts, it is the Oilholic's considered viewpoint that it would be well worth the while of law and energy business students and academics to glance at this title too.

© Gaurav Sharma 2012. Photo: Front Cover (Second Edition) – Liquefied Natural Gas: The Law and Business of LNG © Globe Law and Business.

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