David has wide-ranging experience of dispute resolution in oil & gas, international trading, shipping, construction and general commercial litigation. His clients include major oil & gas companies, rig, FPSO and vessel owners, offshore service contractors, oil, gas, products, chemicals, coal, metals, paper, and commodity traders, and Clubs.
As well as High Court/Commercial Court/Appellate Court litigation, David has significant arbitration experience particularly in large value cross-border arbitrations. David is available to accept appointments as arbitrator or mediator in oil & gas, shipping and trading matters. David also has extensive experience in matters ancillary to arbitration, including obtaining freezing injunctions in support of arbitration, enforcing Awards, obtaining and defending security for costs orders, obtaining final interim awards on an expedited basis, and challenging enforcement of defective awards.
In light of obtaining over 5 significant victories in Court or Arbitration in the year David was shortlisted for Litigation Team of the Year 2017 by each of Legal 500 and Legal Business.
David is Chair of the firm's Energy Practice Group, co-head of Oil & Gas, and has previously sat on the Marine and International Trade Executive. He has sponsored a number of partners, including Eleanor Coates, Rebecca Armstrong, Mark Walsh and Andrew Rourke, through to partnership and often works as lead in a team of partners when bench-strength is required for purposes of expedition or to ensure victory at Trial. David has served on the firm's Management Board, and had supervision of the HR function during the significant and successful merger with Barlow's. He served for several years as a Board Director of the Aden Container Terminal. David was awarded a scholarship in law and university prize at Cambridge and has been named one of the top 10 lawyers in the Lloyd's List.
David is ranked as a Leading Individual by Legal 500 for Shipping.
He is very responsive, very creative, he turns things quickly, he pays quick media attention to our needs, and he comes up with solutions to our problems that are quite novel.
Nominated by Anthony Lannie, Apache Corporation, for Thomson Reuters' Stand-out Lawyers list 2018
He is the best litigator that I have ever worked with. He is willing to think outside the box and come up with imaginative solutions for problems I have. He is scary smart in the facts in complicated cases as well as the legal principles that apply.
Nominated by David Bernal, Apache Corporation, for Thomson Reuters’ Stand-out Lawyers list 2021
- Advising Apache UK Investments Limited in Apache UK Investments Limited v Esso E&P UK Limited in a significant test of whether the Secretary of State has power under the Petroleum Act 1998 to impose an obligation to decommission on a party in regard to installations neither built nor intended during the time it had an interest in the Licence.
- Advising client in claims arising from collapse of Zenrock Commodities Trading Pte Limited including in regard to defending against assertion of pledge rights, claims under assignments and defending bank’s challenge of a set-off agreement. Advising in regard to two banks claiming an assignment on the same chose in action.
- Advising client in regard to proper allocation of gas and expenditure in a Gas Processing and Transportation Agreement.
- Advising client in regard to the consequences, including closure of several refineries in Germany and Poland resulting from Russian (Urals) Export Blend Crude Oil being contaminated with extreme levels of organic chloride and the difficulties of dealing with both pipeline and seaborne cargoes resulting. Quantifying refinery claims, and defending PERN claims relating to unexpected storage and blending costs.
- Advising Apache North Sea Limited in case against INEOS FPS in High Court in regard to the imposition of increased tariff in a request for the use of uncommitted capacity in the Forties Pipeline System beyond 2020. Successful application for Preliminary Issue and (as required) expedition for a full trial and judgement within the year. Obtaining successful Judgment in favour of client establishing that need for consent did not entitle consenting party to rewrite contractual terms.
- Ongoing issues arising out of USD300 million secured claim against PDVSA in an UNCITRAL arbitration requiring determination of over 50 separate claims for day-rate and performance breaches in regard to virtually every key system on the rig. Obtaining a favourable result in all claims in an overwhelmingly successful Final Award.
- Advising client whose Chinese counterpart declared FM as a result of Covid and its consequences in China, whilst still being able to take delivery under the DES sale.
- Advising client successfully to prevent counterparty from breaching contract for supply of feedstock products into Mexico.
- Advising supermajor in attempted termination of an LNG project involving a FSRU.
- Advising a supermajor in regard to crude/product sales in which contractual price mechanism provided a negative figure for price.
- Advising drilling contractor whose floating rig was terminated for late arrival.
- Advising operator in North Sea in regard to Farm-In party paying full contribution to actual drilling costs incurred rather than seeking JOA restrictions on contributions. Obtained favourable costs award for client.
- Advising impact of Covid under the force majeure provisions in a Drilling Contract in Africa.
- Advising oil company in North Africa in regard to unauthorised settlements in regard to cost recoveries entered into by Operator with NOC of which client's share was in excess of USD15 million.
- Advising clients in regards to misappropriation of USD16 million cargo of products transhipped into UAE.
- Advising Jordanian refining Company in demurrage claim brought by a supermajor.
- Advising Norwegian client in regard to demurrage arising under two heavy lift voyages carrying rigs.
- Advising in regard to recovery of overpayment under a gas supply agreement.
- Advising on detail of gross negligence and wilful misconduct carve-outs and exclusion clause regime in drilling contracts.
- Advising on recoveries under offshore services contract
- Representing CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA ("PACIFIC VOYAGER") in a landmark charterparty case before the High Court. This case dealt with the nature of a shipowner's obligation to proceed to the loadport with utmost despatch.
- Expediting trial (major proceedings commenced in mid-May being brought to final Trial by mid-October 2017) of whether consent had been reasonably withheld in North Sea sale to private equity backed entrant, of midstream assets and transfer of operatorship (Apache Beryl v Marathon Oil UK LCC and others 16/08/2017). Case settled in light of deadline and transaction proceeded
- Multi-jurisdictional proceedings, including obtaining four Partial Awards and 38 interlocutory orders in Paris-seated UNCITRAL Arbitration, French Commercial Court Injunction overturned, English High Court and Court of Appeal Judgments (PetroSaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd 25/01/2017), so as successfully to obtain over $250 million in payments from PDVSA for a Drilling Contractor, whilst successfully defending claims over £½ billion. The Court of Appeal proceedings were expedited so as to be brought on and decided within 4 months of the first instance Judgment, and serve as authority for letter of credit issues.
- Successfully obtaining Partial Award for $15 million and additional Final Award for $40 million for Drilling Contractor against Indian agent in LCIA arbitration
- Instructed to commence Bilateral Investment Treaty arbitration for oil company against Haiti, having previously recovered 100% of claim for client against Guinea
- Advising in defending $6 billion of claims arising from major gas explosion off Western Australia which cut off electricity supply in Western Australia. Successfully settled in mediation after proceedings which went to the highest appellate court in Australia
- Advising in Oswal litigation, reputed as largest case before the Australian Courts
- Successfully obtaining Arbitration Award for offshore vessel owner against agent in Ghana, overcoming jurisdiction challenge in the process
- Acting in major LCIA arbitration (set down for 6 weeks) involving a rig supplied with significant defects in virtually every system, in which the drilling contract was terminated, and where we successfully obtained offer of settlement at several times the contractual limit
- Advising in relation to a platform management agreement and proposed work project in North Sea in light of a revised Safety Case; issues arising included liability for costs, access to third party infrastructure, and the exposure to claims following a shut-in of a major pipeline with many third party shippers
- Acting for rig owners and their insurers, or at times oil companies, in over 20 significant rig cases over the past 5 years
- Acting for an oil company in an expedited ICC arbitration involving the rights of a participant in a JOA to obtain information confidential to the Kurdish Government and protected under the PSC wording
- Acting for a non-operating party to a JOA in Cameroon in successfully overturning an injunction preventing participation in meeting with SNH, and other disputes in relation to the JOA non-conflict provisions
- Acting for a client making the second ever access to infrastructure (pipeline and processing facilities) application to DECC in relation to North Sea assets
- Acting as litigation consultant for an oil company defending extensive economic loss claims following a gas explosion off Western Australia, which matter is shortly to be heard by the highest Appellate Court in Australia
- Obtaining a USD 45 million ICC Arbitration Award plus 100 percent costs in an iron ore trading matter
- Drafting for a super-major, and advising other clients on their FOB/CIF/DES (including hybrid) terms and conditions for sales of crude oil and products, and handling day to day trading, chartering and shipping issues and disputes, including recently advising on right to reject and rescind, Exxon quantity clause, late and short delivery, quality disputes, failure to provide necessary documents, and certificate final clauses
- Advising World Food Programme on trading and shipping issues including successfully recovering a sizeable relief cargo held ransom on an arrested ship in Istanbul
- Advising clients in drafting clauses in spot, time, supplytime and heavycon charters
- Numerous voyage and time charter disputes, recently including issues such as failure to commence approach voyage on time, whether laycan cancellation timely, authority of brokers, accuracy in Q88s, unsafe port, freight payable as overage, whether LPG tanker should be capable of loading isobutane in low sea water temperatures