BP is forbidding the firms vying for places on its upcoming panel from working with other oil companies, with its final roster expected to be in place by the end of this month.
Firms believed to be in contention include BP’s current line-up of UK advisers – CMS Cameron McKenna, Field Fisher Waterhouse, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Linklaters, McGrigors and Wragge & Co – plus Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Eversheds, Kirkland & Ellis and Sullivan & Cromwell.
According to a source, BP has stipulated that successful firms should forego any other oil-related panel work, meaning the firms selected will be keen to pick up a significant slice of BP work.
The petroleum giant is at the interview stage and is expected to embark on pricing discussions this week before announcing the successful firms within weeks.
While BP has been flexible in instructing external advisers in the past, sources said this review will set out three panels covering global, national and niche projects, which will be in place for three years.
BP has historically farmed out much of its external legal work to Linklaters, but last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico saw a partial changing of the guard, with Freshfields, Kirkland and Sullivan all winning major instructions in the wake of the disaster.