Head of the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources Commodities and Trading Subsector, Paul is an experienced corporate attorney serving clients in the energy sector. He has been named Lawyer of the Year: Futures and Derivatives Law in Houston by Best Lawyers in America (published by BL Rankings) in 2012, 2016 and 2018 and has been included in the Houston Business Journal’s Who’s Who in Energy Guide in 2016-2017 and 2014-2015. He was also selected to the BTI Client Service All Star List in 2016. Paul focuses his practice on the fast-changing and evolving energy and commodity markets—principally related to the business of the physical and financial trading of energy commodities. He has been involved in the regulatory and commercial structuring and restructuring of transactions in the energy industry, including the implications of ongoing regulatory changes to the physical, futures and derivatives markets.
Paul brings an industry knowledge and practical approach to advise a variety of client types in the industry – major oil companies, hedge funds, independent trading and marketing companies, retail energy providers, and banking clients – on structuring and documenting structured commodity transactions, industry contracts (e.g. EEI, ISDA, NAESB, LEAP), negotiating commodity tolling agreements (e.g. involving power, crude, and NGLs), negotiating commodity storage and marketing arrangements, advising on M&A transactions, and setting up client regulatory and trading compliance programs, as well as assisting trading companies on regulatory investigations (including by the CFTC, Exchanges, and FERC). Recently, he has been primary outside counsel to several clients as they entered the US trading markets for energy commodities.
In addition, Paul regularly advises energy clients on credit and restructuring issues related to forward and financial contracts. He has represented numerous clients in some of the largest energy and commodity company bankruptcies, including the bankruptcies of Lehman, The SemGroup, Enron, Mirant and NEGT Energy Trading (formally PG&E Energy Trading). He has advised energy companies on a myriad of transactional issues and has worked on the sale of a number of retail electric providers throughout the United States.
Civic and Professional Activities
- Member, Board of Trustees, Houston Grand Opera
- Member, Board of Directors, Skills 4 Living
- Former member, Board of Directors, Lupus Foundation of America, Inc., Texas Gulf Coast Chapter
- Former Vice Chairman, Committee on Gas and Electric Marketing, American Bar Association
- Former Vice Chair, Committee on Power Generation and Marketing, Energy Bar Association
- Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
Publications and Presentations
- “Lehman Brothers case protects ipso facto clauses in swap agreements against potential clawbacks from debtors post-bankruptcy,” Client Alert, March 20, 2018.
- “Midstream at Issue in Bankruptcy: Sabine is Upheld in the District Court,” Client Alert, March 14, 2017.
- “Recent Development in Retail Power and Contracting with Texas Governmental Entities.” Client Alert, November 9, 2016.
- “IECA Releases New Master Netting Agreement,” Client Alert, October 10, 2016.
- “Troubled Waters: The Raging Storm Over Safe Harbors,” Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law, October 2016.
- “Albany County Supreme Court Vacates New York PSC Reset Order Related to Retail Electric Supply Companies,” Client Alert. August 4, 2016.
- “FERC Civil Penalties May Be Subject to Full Judicial Review,” Client Alert, July 29, 2016.
- Commercial Restructuring & Bankruptcy Alert, May 9, 2016.
- “CFTC Approves Amendment to Trade Options Exemption,” Client Alert, March 18, 2016.
- “Decisions in Sabine Oil & Gas and Quicksilver Resources Inc. Bankruptcy Cases Will Have Broad Impact on Midstream and Exploration & Production Companies in the Oil & Gas Industry,” Client Alert, March 9, 2016.
- “CFTC Enforces Insider Trading Rules and Aggressively Pursues Its New Enforcement Authority under the Dodd-Frank Act,” Client Alert, December 22, 2015.
- “Hudson Energy Denied Administrative Priority for Electricity Sold Pre-Bankruptcy,” Client Alert, October 2, 2015.
- “District Court Confirms Netting/Setoff Practices,” Client Alert, September 15, 2015.
- “Swap agreement safe harbors at risk in latest Lehman dispute,” Journal of Investment Compliance, July 7, 2015.
- “Pencils Up: Industry Has Opportunity to Make Its Voice Heard on New Biofuel Targets,” Client Alert, June 16, 2015.
- “CFTC Revises Seven-Part Test for Forward Contracts with Embedded Volumetric Optionality,” Client Alert, May 21, 2015.
- “Safe Harbors and Securitizations: Loan Payments in Connection with a Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securitization Protected from Clawback under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code Safe Harbors,” Client Alert, May 14, 2015.
- ‘Dodd-Frank Update: CFTC Proposes to Reduce Trade Option Obligations for End Users,” Client Alert, May 1, 2015.
- “Bankruptcy "Essentials" in a Low-Price Environment,” Client Alert, April 14, 2015.
- “Swap Agreement Safe Harbors at Risk in Latest Lehman Dispute,” Client Alert, March 17, 2015.
- “SEC Proposes New Rules on Hedging Disclosures,” Client Alert, February 17, 2015.
- “The Fall in Crude Oil Prices: Headline Issues to Watch,” Client Alert, January 26, 2015.
- “CFTC Penalizes Energy Company for Failing to Register as a CTA,” Client Alert, January 22, 2015.
- “Dodd Frank's Impact on Producers,” Oil and Gas Financial Journal, May 7, 2014.
- “The Top Five Surprises for Producers Under Dodd-Frank,” Oil and Gas Monitor, April 2, 2014.
- “Liquidated Damages Provision in Texas Power Contract Found Void as Unenforceable Penalty,” Client Alert, March 26, 2014.
- Presenter, “Bankruptcy & Restructuring in the Oil & Gas Industries in 2016 & Beyond,” The Knowledge Group Webcast Series, June, 22, 2016.
- Presenter, “Measuring and Monitoring Risk of Counterparty Bankruptcy,” Committee of Chief Risk Officers General Meeting, March 31, 2016.
- Presenter, “Counterparty Bankruptcy Risk in a Low Price Commodity Environment,” 67th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference. February 18-19, 2016.
- Presenter, U.S. Energy and Commodities Conference, September 17, 2015.
- Presenter, 2015 IECA Spring Education Conference, March 22-24, 2015.
- Presenter, IECA Spring Education Conference, April 6, 2014.
- Presenter, “Master Agreements for Liquid Hydrocarbons,” 2nd Midstream Oil & Gas Law Conference, November 22, 2013.
- “Troubled Waters: The Raging Storm over Safe Harbors,” Global Restructuring Watch, August 3, 2016.
- “Hudson Energy Denied Administrative Priority for Electricity Sold Pre-Bankruptcy,” Global Restructuring Watch, October 5, 2015.
- “District Court Confirms Netting/Setoff Practices,” Global Restructuring Watch, September 21, 2015.
- “Bankruptcy ‘Essentials’ in a Low-Price Environment,” Global Restructuring Watch, April 14, 2015.
Honors and Awards
- Named to Who's Who in Energy Guide by the Houston Business Journal, 2016 – 2017 and 2014 – 2015
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings), Derivatives and Futures Law, 2007 – Present
- Received the Best Lawyers™ Derivatives and Futures Law "Lawyer of the Year” award in Houston, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2021
- Selected to the BTI Client Service All-Star list, 2016
- Named among the “Top Lawyers in Houston” by H Magazine, 2010 – 2016
- Recognized by The Legal 500 – U.S. for Energy: Regulatory, 2015
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
- Regularly serve as counsel to energy companies in counterparty bankruptcies involving safe harbor contracts.
- Serving as lead counsel to clients in numerous commodity supply/finance transactions.
- Serving as lead counsel on NGL tolling agreement.
- Served as lead counsel on various supply and offtake agreements.Serving as lead lawyer in bankruptcies involving liquidation and valuation of derivatives and forward transactions, including those of Age Refining, Alpha Coal, ATP Oil & Gas, Energy Futures Holdings, Enron Corporation, James River Coal, Lehman Brothers, La Poloma, Longview Power, Lyondell, MF Global, Mirent, National Energy & Gas Transmission (formerly PG&E Energy Trading), Power Company of America, Sem Crude, Sun Edison, and Vera Sun Energy.
- Serving as lead counsel advising a client on CFTC inquiries relating to futures/swaps trading activities.
- Advising energy clients on contract documentation (including ISDA Master Agreements, EEI Power Purchase and Sale Agreements, Master Netting Agreements, and NAESB Master Agreements) for transactions involving physical power, crude oil, and natural gas, as well as energy-related swaps and derivatives.
- Regularly assists an energy company in gas and oil structuring transactions with uncreditworthy counterparties.
- Negotiated settlements involving hundreds of millions of dollars related to contracts for physical power, natural gas, coal, swaps and derivatives as part of a multi-billing dollar trading book liquidation.