Industry Shakers: Ex-Oil & Gas Exec Talks Deepwater Regulation Rollback

James “Jim” Noe foresees a Trump administration rollback on Obama-era energy regulations that were implemented after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The disaster killed 11 people and resulted in the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history.

“After the BP oil spill, we saw regulations that were perhaps reactionary,” Noe told Bloomberg Environment. “When you write laws after one incident, it doesn’t address other risks that are relevant in day-to-day operations.”

“The Trump administration is looking at all those regulations to ensure they’re appropriate,” Noe told Bloomberg Environment.

Noe recently joined Jones Walker LLP as special counsel on the Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources team in the Houston office.

He was previously senior vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer of Hercules Offshore Inc., the largest shallow-water drilling company in the Gulf of Mexico. He is somewhat of a spokesman for the shallow-water drilling industry, citing the struggle companies deal with when exploiting the nation’s natural resources.

Noe said he believes the oil and gas space is “at a renaissance, particularly with extraction on the Permian Basin in Texas.”

“The federal government acceptance of [liquefied natural gas] export terminals that are slated for construction in Louisiana—where we have vast amounts of natural gas that’s often flared, which has negative impact on the environment—if that gas can be put into a pipeline, then put into LNG terminal, at the end of the day its good for the environment.”

Most recently, China set a tariff on American liquefied natural gas that looms over plans for new export terminals that were expected to turn the U.S. into the world’s second-largest LNG seller.

He said the terminals are a “positive step toward ensuring the domestic wealth and well being of the environment.”

In other moves:

Ann D. Navaro has joined Bracewell LLP‘s Washington office as a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group. Navaro has more than 25 years of experience working as an attorney and adviser at federal agencies on environmental and natural resources policies and programs. For the past two years, she has held senior positions at the Department of the Interior, including most recently as counselor to the solicitor.

Navaro also held senior positions at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She spent 14 years handling litigation in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Justice Department, as well as 10 years litigating and overseeing civil works litigation for the Army Corps.

“Ann brings a wealth of unique litigation and policy experience from her 25 years in government, which will deepen our offering in the natural resources arena,” said Bracewell Managing Partner Gregory M. Bopp.

“We’re excited to welcome her to the firm as we continue to grow Bracewell’s D.C. office to best serve the government-facing needs of our energy, infrastructure and project development clients.”

Mike Thackray, Q.C., has joined Dentons as a partner in the firm’s energy group in Vancouver, focusing on energy law, regulatory matters, and litigation.

With more than 30 years of experience as an energy lawyer, Thackray advises clients on regulatory applications, litigation, arbitration, government relations, and public policy.

“With an esteemed legal career combined with his involvement with various boards of several private and public oil and gas companies in North America and internationally, Mike is certainly a welcomed addition to our team,” said John Sandrelli, managing partner of Dentons’ Vancouver office.

Thackray previously worked at McMillan LLP through their offices in Calgary and Vancouver.

Alejandra Garcia Earley joined Greenberg Traurig LLP in the firm’s institutional private placement finance team in Chicago. Garcia comes from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York, where she was a senior associate.

At Greenberg Traurig, Early is of counsel in the firm’s corporate practice, where she will focus on securities transactions involving both energy and infrastructure.

“Alejandra’s experience and synergy with our existing client offerings is a value-add for Greenberg Traurig clients in the region and globally,” Peter H. Lieberman, co-chair of the law firm’s Global Corporate Practice, said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome her to the firm.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Fatima Hussein in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at