UH Law Center symposium examined state of worldwide energy tax and investment

Law Foundation Professor Bret Wells, left, with Professor of Practice Denney Wright LL.M. ’93, at the University of Houston Law Center’s 1st Annual Denney L. Wright International Energy Tax Conference

Law Foundation Professor Bret Wells, left, with Professor of Practice Denney Wright LL.M. ’93, at the University of Houston Law Center’s 1st Annual Denney L. Wright International Energy Tax Conference

March 13, 2019 - Experts in energy taxation and investment shared the latest developments on issues affecting North America and beyond recently at the University of Houston Law Center's 1st Annual Denney L. Wright International Energy Tax Conference held at the Greater Houston Partnership in downtown Houston.

The conference, “Exploring the International Energy Investment Climate,” was held in joint session with the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal's 19th Annual Symposium. Wright, a professor of practice at the Law Center, is a retired ExxonMobil executive. The journal is a student-edited publication at the Law Center.

"We had an amazing group of speakers," Wright said. "I thank the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal for their help and support putting this program together. It was an incredible joint effort. This will be the first of many. We plan to host this symposium the first Friday of every March."

The opening speaker was Professor Bret Wells who provided an overview on U.S. and international tax law. Michael Colborne, a partner at Thorsteinssons LLP in Toronto, discussed energy and investment tax issues in Canada. Mario Barrera, a partner in tax practice at Thompson & Knight LLP in Mexico City, concluded the morning sessions with a presentation on Mexico's energy and investment tax issues.

Two Law Center students, Kristin Kluding and Kevin Locke, presented their winning papers from the 2018-2019 Association of International Petroleum Negotiators International Writing Competition during lunch. Kluding's topic was, "Oil-Rich and Out of Options: Venezuela's International Arbitration Saga of Expropriation, Enforcement and Settlement.” Locke's presentation was titled, "Indian LNG Demand and the Global LNG Market."

Austin Elam and Chad Mills, both partners at Haynes and Boone, began the afternoon session with an Overview of Energy Investment in the U.S.

The following panel centered on energy investment in Latin America with Assistant Research Professor Julian Cárdenas Garcia, Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy and lecturer in energy economics at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, and Norman Jacob Nardoff, special counsel in the Rio de Janeiro office of Tauil & Chequer in association with Mayer Brown.

The third panel focused on regulatory challenges to energy investment around the world. Speakers included adjunct professor Samir Foteh, Luis Miranda of the Mirando Alliance/Miranda & Associados, and Vivek Warrier, partner and co-lead of the national energy industry team at Bennet Jones in Calgary.

The final panel, "Energy Investment Funds and MLP Investment Structures," included Alison Chen, a partner at Akin Gump, Kraig Grahmann, a partner at Haynes and Boone and Robert McNamara, a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Event sponsors included Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, ExxonMobil, Fryar Law Firm P.C., Haynes and Boone LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, Mayer Brown, Thompson & Knight LLP, and Vorys.

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