The commodity 'super cycle' is set to continue, driven by market instability and volatility, and rising demand for energy and natural resources. Non-OECD countries are expected to account for more than 90 percent of primary energy demand, reflecting faster rates of economic and population growth, as well as industrial production and urbanization.
An Acknowledged Global Leader in Commodities Law
Reed Smith has long been regarded as a market leader in trade and commodities law and is one of the world's largest law firms focusing in this area.
Our global footprint and expertise embraces the entire spectrum of the commodities market:
- Hard commodities - minerals, ores and precious metals
- Soft commodities - grains, oil seeds, sugar, rice, vegetable oils, bio fuels, coffee and cocoa
- Energy - oil and oil products, natural gas (including the rapidly growing market for liquid natural gas ‘LNG'), electricity (including nuclear and renewable energy, such as wind and solar), clean tech and emissions
With more than 30 years' experience serving clients of all types and sizes, we advise on both contentious issues and commodity trading transactions, providing corporate and project support for physical and paper trades, derivatives, finance, regulation, shipping and insurance. We also serve a wide range of producers, including mining companies, oil and energy majors, pure traders, end-users (distributors, processors and utilities), banks and funds managers.
"Sources widely agree that Reed Smith undoubtedly belongs at the head of the pack for commodities. The team's size, breadth and global reach have impressed its commodity-related clients immensely... As such, the firm now leads in both soft and hard commodity concerns."
Chambers and Partners
Unparalleled Transactional Expertise
Reed Smith is a world leader in non-contentious commodities-based advice.
We constantly strive to innovate as our clients diversify into new assets and geographies, and can handle everything from drafting "tailor-made" term or off-take contracts, general terms and conditions for commodities and related carriage and finance documentation, to negotiating and drafting joint ventures. We also handle asset purchases of commodity books of business, derivatives, and the wide range of regulatory matters governing the way energy and natural resources commodities are bought and sold.
Examples of projects undertaken by Reed Smith include:
- Worked on behalf of a major international commodities company across various types of master agreements (GTMA, NBP, ISDA) for the trading of wholesale electricity, natural gas and emission allowances in Europe
- Counsel to the European Federation of Energy Traders, negotiated and developed standard contracts for the buying and selling of commodities such as power, gas and emissions
"[Reed Smith's corporate] lawyers are considered to be 'professional and easy to deal with,' with 'good response times.' The group is particularly rated for its commodities-related work, while it also draws on the firm's expertise in sectors such as energy and mining..."
Chambers and Partners
Offering Clear Commercial Solutions for Disputes
Reed Smith handles complex and high-value litigation and international arbitrations.
We have acted in a number of major disputes where commodity deals give rise to conflicts, multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration. Together with our banking, insolvency and commercial disputes groups, we advise clients such as banks, producers, trading houses and end-users on all contentious aspects of transactions.
We have a large team, including qualified mediators, representing clients in LCIA, ICC, CIETAC and UNCITRAL arbitrations. We also have extensive experience handling arbitrations before Commodity Trade Tribunals including the IPE and LME, GAFTA, FOSFA, the Sugar Associations and the Liverpool Cotton Association.
Examples of contentious matters handled by Reed Smith include:
- Advising various major players in complex disputes arising out of the contamination of Ukrainian sunflower oil with mineral oil, involving a number of FOSFA arbitrations. In total, claims were valued in excess of $100 million.
- Representing a major international commodities company in a complex LCIA arbitration dispute concerning deliveries of a biofuels cargo
The Swiss Connection
Switzerland has become an increasingly important base for energy traders and commodity houses, and in recognition of our clients' need for us to be nearby, we have developed a very close association with Chabrier & Partners, a Swiss law firm based in Geneva. Our lawyers regularly work from Geneva to provide an efficient service in this region.