CC scoops first major deal for Shell since panel review

Clifford Chance

has received a vote of confidence from Royal Dutch/Shell on its first major deal since the oil company’s law firm panel review last year.

Shell is in talks with US buyout companies about the sale of its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business and Clifford Chance has used its new place on the panel to secure instructions on the deal.

Shell’s usual corporate adviser is Slaughter and May, while Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Denton Wilde Sapte and Simmons & Simmons also won places among the oil giant’s selection of international firms in November last year.

The instruction is a coup for Clifford Chance partner Geraint Hughes, who has fostered the Shell relationship with a string of deals during the past 18 months, culminating in this transaction, which could be worth up to $3bn (£1.6bn). Hughes and Clifford Chance declined the opportunity to comment.

A Slaughters partner said: “Following Shell’s panel review we wouldn’t expect to be instructed
on every transaction.”

In a separate development, Shell is looking to beef up its in-house team in the Hague, with the addition of a senior US securities attorney.

Shell’s UK general counsel Richard Wiseman told The Lawyer: “That is a direct response to the events of last year. There was a recognition that we needed to build up the in-house expertise in that area.”

The oil company was plunged into controversy last year after it overstated its oil reserves. A High Court case is pending.