An eight-year dispute between subsidiaries of Sinopec and Repsol S.A. over North Sea oil and gas assets has been settled through a US$2.1 billion transaction whereby Repsol will acquire Sinopec's 49% share in Repsol Sinopec Resources UK, as announced to the Madrid Stock Exchange on 28 April 2023.
Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Sinopec throughout the dispute and on this settlement and sale transaction.
Disputes partner Tomas Furlong said:
"We are delighted to have helped our client Sinopec meet its objectives for its North Sea business."
"We've advised Sinopec on this matter for over nine years in total, a period that spans some of the most disruptive periods on record for the oil & gas industry, and global business in general."
Global head of energy Lewis McDonald said:
"By combining the strength of our global arbitration and energy practices, we fielded the right team at every stage to adjust for commercial considerations and the client's strategy."
"This collaboration meant we could act swiftly to negotiate and close the final settlement and sale transaction in just under four weeks."
Herbert Smith Freehills fielded a large and bilingual team across a number of offices to advise Sinopec.
- The firm's international arbitration team received a successful award for the client after two lengthy SIAC arbitration hearings – an award that the team later successfully defended in the Singapore International Commercial Court. The team was led by May Tai and Simon Chapman KC in Hong Kong, Tomas Furlong in Singapore, and Tom Leech KC and Paula Hodges KC in London, with senior support from Celine Wang, Aaron McDonald and Marco de Sousa. James Gilbey of Mazars testified on valuation issues.
- The corporate team advising the client on the commercial aspects and the final settlement and sale transaction was led by global energy head Lewis McDonald in London, supported by associate Sara Midori Martinez and a team of specialists including partners Aurell Taussig and Thomas Bethel.
Repsol was advised on the settlement and sale transaction by Slaughter & May partner Hywel Davies and associate Valerie Kemp.
Note: Completion of the share transfer and the settlement of the arbitration is expected to occur before the end of 2023.