Hunton scoops the mandate for Gazprom’s push into UK energy

Hunton & Williams has vindicated its approach to domestic energy work with its role advising Gazprom on the Russian gas giant’s move into the UK market.

Hunton advised Gazprom’s UK subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GMT), on its tie-up with Pennine Natural Gas, a small independent gas supplier with around 600 commercial customers, for an undisclosed sum.

Hunton also advised GMT on its purchase of a stake in and a management deal with Natural Gas Shipping Services (NGSS), which will administer the newly acquired supply business. The deal includes an option to purchase NGSS.

Halliwells corporate partner Charles Glaskie and associate Christian Doyle advised NGSS.

Hunton is understood to have drafted all the transactional documents, which is unusual for the acquirer’s counsel. Hunton, through energy partner Matthew Williams and associate Steven Banks, has had a longstanding relationship with GMT on its trading work.

The firm, which doubled its London turnover in a year to $10.35m (£5.96m) for 2005-06, scored Gazprom as a client when Williams joined from Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft last July.

Hunton won the mandate for the deal by winning a beauty parade against City rivals.

The deal is significant for the firm’s domestic energy offering, marking the first time Williams has turned energy trading work into a high-profile corporate mandate.

In The Lawyer (31 October 2005), Williams said the firm would look to secure “pure energy” work for clients, then translate that across the firm into corporate mandates.

“We’re well placed to handle more of this type of work. Our aim is to be [GMT’s] first port of call for this type of work,” said Williams. Hunton is also handling trading work for various clients.

“The deal size is irrelevant,” said Williams. “It’s the strategic and political importance of it that matters.”