In this project, our long-standing experience in the international gas industry and our in-depth knowledge in arbitration proceedings played a crucial role.
Our client, a globally operating gas company, contracted transport capacities with a transporter on a long-term basis. The transporter sued our client for an increase of the transport charge and an adjustment of the contractual conditions before an arbitral tribunal. Basically, the claim would have meant a complete rewriting of the contract and it was justified with the characteristics of transport agreements which were concluded under different circumstances and at a different point in time.
Our task was to counter the claimant’s demands with practice-oriented gas industry knowledge and economic arguments, and to rebut the alleged claim during the multiannual proceedings.
It was a major challenge that the contract was designed with regard to a very specific market environment and that the claimant changed its line of argumentation several times. In addition, the proceedings were strongly influenced by the national regulation process in the market of the transporter.
During the entire proceedings, it was of great importance to check the counterparty’s line of argumentation, which was theory-driven and based on an international comparative approach, for plausibility and to challenge it by referring to the agreed gas industry terms of the contract.
The starting point was an analysis of the contractual conditions and consequences which the parties – also considering the historic collaboration of the parties – agreed upon when entering into the contract. By this, it could be demonstrated that the parties placed great value on an individual and situation-specific contract design.
In the next step, it had to be proven that the alleged claim could not be applied to the contract at issue. For this, an analysis was carried out focussing on the development of transport charges in different market areas. A further in-depth analysis was provided concentrating on contract relevant issues like foreseeability of the consequences of regulated market conditions or the validity of specific contract terms in relation to European, regulated energy markets. In the analysis regarding the development of transport charges in different market areas, it could be confirmed that the prevailing charge of the contract at issue was at a competitive level.
With our diversified expert team, which has profound process experience and market knowledge, the proceedings could be closed after about two years and to the full satisfaction of our client.