Meet Our Project Legal Partner from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
Over the past few months, Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels has been introducing critical Team Members and Partners and discussing the roles they play in our Project Development efforts. We introduced Black & Veatch, the EPC; Delta Air Lines, the Fuel Buyer; Life Cycle Associates, our Life Cycle Analysis experts; Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, our Construction Equity Investor, and our Partner Team of Subject Matter Professionals for the Project’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel production.
We would like to introduce you to another Partner company, one of the most critical components of our Team’s chances for success. That would be our Legal Point of Contact and his Supporting staff of Energy and Business-related law experts. As we get closer to beginning the FEL2 and FEL3 to complete the Front-end Engineering and Design Study, (FEED), we will need their expertise more than ever.
We also wanted to share our insight about how important this relationship has been for a small, up-and-coming independent business (aka a few key entrepreneurs) with designs to become a leader in the SAF development world. We endeavored to seek out and engage the best available legal firm and a lead lawyer in our industry. And we did. Having a great lawyer and law firm like we do is a huge asset.
In today’s post, we are introducing you to a very important team member who has provided help and guidance along the way in dealing with strategies, contracts, and all types of various industry-related issues and agreements. This Team member has been paramount to our past, current, and future success.
The Point Man of this Team is our lawyer Mark Riedy of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. Kilpatrick happens to be the world’s #1 construction and intellectual property law firm that also happens to represent a lot of our giant corporate partners.
Mark has tremendous experience in our industry, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). He has represented clients in renewable and conventional energy, clean technology, environmental and infrastructure clients. His clients principally represent developers, lenders, EPCs, O&Ms, equipment providers, private equity, venture capital, and infrastructure funds. Having a lawyer like Mark representing our interests is a huge benefit to our future success.
Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels is constructing a $multi-billion SAF facility in the state of WA. This is one of the largest known projects under development in the country for SAF. We are working with some of the largest construction, technology, and engineering firms in the world. These sophisticated technologies from world-class companies. These companies have world-class lawyers on their own payrolls! They will protect their client. Their license agreements alone can cost you a fortune if not negotiated properly. So having the world’s #1 Construction and Technology law firm in the world is very appropriate.
We have a wide variety of areas that our Partner needs to provide clarity and counsel for, like the following:
– Sophisticated technology licenses and performance guarantees.
– Technical support agreements
– Long-term land leases
– Environmental issues and politics dealing with the land and Project
– A multi-faceted multi-phased approach to the complex EPC agreement
– Engineering support and service agreements with O&M’s and Owner’s Engineers
– Access to national and international finance capabilities and expertise, as we may fund some of our Project with international money
– And more
It’s unlikely we would be where we are today without the support of the entire Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton Energy Legal Team that Mark has built within KTS. Mark has a large support staff who are critical subject-matter experts. He’s introduced us to a couple of our own Critical Subject-Matter Experts, like Life Cycle Associates. Mark knows influential people in our field of SAF, and he opens those doors for us.
When to Bring in the Legal Team
We’re a young company with a huge and very bright future. Lawyers like KTS are terribly expensive and we complain about the legal fees all the time. But you can’t do a Project this size without the clout of a firm like KTS and the knowledge of Mark and his Team.
Our CFO is very skilled and adept at negotiating complex contract terms and that helps us control legal costs, by negotiating as much of the business terms we can in-house, before we turn the Agreements over to Mark and his Team. We do this to try to control costs. Everything we do seems to be based on complex “contracts”. When we finally need to get it done, Mark and his team get it done.
So, basically, you could say they pay for themselves in the long run, but you better have a budget for these costs from these firms. They are “very proud” of their work and charge for it. It was sticker shock to us for sure. But we have to have our legal Team members. They are like our “Guardians”.
We are beginning to plan for more Projects soon after this first one. Therefore, since there is so much at stake, how can we afford to select anything but the best legal counsel with the required expertise to advise us? We cannot. Nor should you.
Properly structured, well-negotiated, and worded contracts or agreements are what will make or break your company and Project in the end. Your own legal representatives must be able to help you make good decisions and document those decisions in a way that will protect you long-term, reduce liability and help close a Transaction, not kill it. That is their role. A great law firm will help to ensure your future success!
David P. Smoot
David Smoot has an extensive background in Project Development, including the Financing and Technology Integration for those Projects. Mr. Smoot also held positions of upper management with leading companies in the Computer Software and Hardware industries, including the Financing and Leasing industries specifically related to those industries prior to moving into the renewable energy industry which morphed into renewable fuels. Smoot has created a turnkey solution model not yet seen in the industry.