What do you see as the key challenges facing the industry in the region over the coming 5 years and how is Bennett Jones positioned to help their clients overcome these challenges?
The technological and regulatory environment in the North American oil & gas industry is increasingly fluid. In both the United States and Canada, governments are working to balance climate and environmental objectives with the need for the resource development critical to economic sustainability. One of our core functions at Bennett Jones is helping clients navigate this regulatory labyrinth so they can execute on their strategic objectives. Similarly, the pace of technological change in the industry has also altered legislative frameworks and market metrics. Our fundamental commitment to our client is to remain on top of these trends and provide creative solutions to help their businesses flourish.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth within the industry in the next 5 years and how are you positioned to support this?
The growth profile of the industry is in many ways centred on the revolutionary emergence of prolific shale plays in the North American market. The intensification of development in our home region is the catalyst of the transformative change in our own business. Understanding and embracing the technological advances driving this transformation is critical to our growth as a law firm. Being agile and responsive to our client’s needs is an intrinsic part of our culture. Our platform is designed to embrace the changes our clients are facing and to position them to confront and address the challenges that these revolutionary changes to the global oil and gas market can represent.
What key insights are you looking forward to hearing about at the 10th North America Assembly?
I am personally excited to hear how the extraordinary technological change in our North American industry is manifesting itself in all aspects of the oil and gas business. The implementation of emerging technologies has the potential to massively decrease the industry’s environmental footprint, drive greater efficiency through automation and turn what were once considered waste products into valuable commodities. We’re seeing technology-driven change across the board, from financing to exploration, extraction, development and bringing product to market.
For those that may be less familiar with Bennett Jones, can you tell us a little bit about what Bennett Jones does and the company’s history on the North American continent?
Bennett Jones was founded nearly a century ago in Calgary, Alberta, the heartland of the Canadian oil and gas industry. We have been intimately involved in the development and evolution of the energy sector in Canada since its very inception. Our firm takes its name from R.B. Bennett, a former Prime Minister of Canada and Maclean (Mac) Jones, a pioneer in Canadian energy law. Mac drafted the original oil contracts on the discovery of the famed Leduc oil field in 1947. The strike marked the start of Alberta’s prodigious oil and gas industry.
Today we have internationally recognized expertise in energy and oil and gas matters. The firm has 400 lawyers and business advisors across Canada and internationally—Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Doha, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. We take a great deal of pride at having partnered with the North American oil and gas industry to support the successive waves of technical, regulatory and commercial innovation as the sector has emerged as the most sustainable and prolific in the world. Over the years we have helped lead the way in the integration of the North American petroleum industry, having cultivated a particular expertise in cross-border energy transactions and projects. Within the last few years, we have supported investors deploying over C$30 billion into the Canadian oil patch.
Can you tell us a little bit about Bennett Jones’ strategic goals and focus for the next 12 months?
A few years ago we created a strategy and innovation committee to answer, “What will our law firm look like in 2030?” The result is a new, more disciplined approach to practice and business development to position ourselves for the future. We have developed a long-term, market-based strategy that embraces new methodologies and technologies to deliver outstanding, value-added service to our oil and gas clients going forward.
The biggest emphasis of our new strategy is a renewed focus on industries we serve. The oil and gas sector and the broader energy industry are particular areas of focus. We are investing in our IT infrastructure and knowledge management resources, and are using or piloting innovative new technologies to improve process and efficiency for our clients. Most importantly, we will continue to develop our already sophisticated understanding of the evolving commercial drivers for our upstream, midstream and downstream clients. This will result in advice that continues to marry creative and discerning legal analysis with a comprehensive grasp of the business context. This has been and will always remain a hallmark of Bennett Jones.