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Baker Botts adds CCUS to its Global Hydrogen Practice Group

Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international technology and energy law firm, has launched a dedicated Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Practice Group within the firm’s Energy sector. Today’s launch comes on the heels of the firm’s Global Hydrogen Practice Group launch in June this year, which has seen significant interest from clients and the energy markets, even during the difficult COVID working environment.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage, or CCUS, projects and technologies will play a critical role in the energy transition by ensuring that the world’s growing energy demand continues to be met whilst at the same time working towards achieving ever more aggressive global climate and emissions targets. CCUS will also be essential in the development of the global hydrogen economy, as “blue” hydrogen production (hydrogen produced from natural gas combined with CCUS to capture the CO2 produced) will be critical to the widespread availability of low-carbon hydrogen supplies that can be combined with virtually no-carbon “green” hydrogen production (hydrogen produced by electrolysis using renewable power) to fuel a global shift towards hydrogen. Baker Botts’ CCUS and Hydrogen offering ensures that the firm’s energy transition practices continue to keep pace with the changing global economy.

“With our market-leading energy practice and proven experience in the technology sector, the formation of this new multidisciplinary practice group is a natural step for the firm to be at the forefront of supporting the development of CCUS and hydrogen projects and technologies that will support both energy transition goals and traditional oil & gas businesses,” said Jason Bennett, Firmwide chair of Baker Botts’ Global Projects department.

As the global economy searches for ways to decarbonize sectors of the economy beyond what renewable energy alone can accomplish, low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia produced from such hydrogen, have emerged as promising sources and carriers of energy that will support that decarbonization. The strong interest in developing a ‘hydrogen economy’ is being driven by demand initiatives and targets set by the European Union and by countries such as the U.K., Japan, and South Korea, where national programs have been developed as part of an overall decarbonization plan.

“With heightened interest in reducing the carbon intensity of energy supplies, hydrogen and CCUS have emerged as critical contributors for providing that low-carbon energy to power industries and sectors that would otherwise be impractical to decarbonize,” added Bennett.

Co-headed by Washington, D.C.-based Global Projects partner Tom Holmberg and London-based Global Projects partner, Rob Butler, the CCUS and Hydrogen practices are full-service offerings for clients that build on the work already done by Baker Botts lawyers in this area.

“Hydrogen end-use markets are set to expand rapidly, and that growth will require swift development of large-scale hydrogen, renewable energy, and CCUS projects, equipment, facilities, and related technology, all of which are within the firm’s Energy Sector core practices,” commented partner Tom Holmberg.

Baker Botts has broad experience on both CCUS and hydrogen matters, having advised on both pre- and post-combustion CCUS projects, and the firm is currently advising on the proposed development and financing of a multibillion-dollar green hydrogen project in the Middle East. Baker Botts has advised on the negotiation and drafting of contracts for Toyota Motor North America to facilitate development of hydrogen fueling stations, and the firm is currently advising AME E-nnovations, a subsidiary of Andes Mining and Energy, on fuel offtake arrangements for their Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) hydrogen projects. Each HIF project will use renewable power to create green hydrogen, which will be combined with carbon dioxide to produce e-fuels like e-gasoline.

“We have been moving quickly to engage with clients via a collaboration program that will provide for ongoing association in developing their hydrogen businesses. Clients have been receptive to our approach, as they also see the opportunities for hydrogen and carbon capture storage in the evolving energy market,” Holmberg added.

“Close collaboration with the firm’s producer, consumer, and technology clients will drive the firm to a leadership position among law firms in the energy transition industry, similar to the position we hold in LNG, and will ensure that clients and potential clients consider Baker Botts to be the default choice for the industry,” said partner Rob Butler.

The CCUS and Hydrogen practices include lawyers from the firm’s project development and finance, environmental, corporate, capital markets, private equity, tax, IP, technology and disputes practices. They include lawyers from the London, Brussels and U.S. offices, and the overall offering will be expanded to cover the firm’s entire footprint.

 


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