Thomas D.  Gelbman

Thomas D. Gelbman, Partner, Litigation

Contact Information

  • tel: 403.260.7073
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Bar Admission

Alberta, 2007


  • University of Ottawa, LL.L. (summa cum laude)
  • University of Ottawa, LL.B.
  • Trinity College, Dublin, M. Phil.
  • University of Western Ontario, B.A., Dean’s List






Tommy practices corporate and commercial litigation, including complex contractual disputes, tort claims, regulatory disputes and Aboriginal matters. Tommy's practice relates primarily to the following industries: oil and gas, petrochemicals, midstream operations, pipelines, LNG, oil sands and hydro-electric power generation and distribution. A significant portion of Tommy's practice includes administrative law, judicial review applications, regulatory appeals, and the defence of Aboriginal and environmental claims in the Federal Court of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada, and Provincial Courts. Tommy completed his articles with the firm in 2006-2007 and returned as an associate in 2007.

Notable Matters

  • Successfully represented Nalcor Energy before the Federal Court of Canada in response to a judicial review application commenced by an Aboriginal group alleging a failure to consult and breaches of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Conseil des innus de Ekuanitshit c. Canada (Procureur general), 2013 FC 418.
  • Represented Nalcor Energy before the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, successfully resisting an injunction brought by an Aboriginal group alleging breach of the Crown's duty to consult in relation to Lower Churchill River Hydroelectric Project: Nunatukavut Community Council Inc. v. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro-Electric Corporation (Nalcor Energy), 2011 NLTD (G) 44.
  • Representing a privately-held oil and gas exploration and development company in a Ministerial Review under the Indian Oil and Gas Act.
  • Successfully represented Nalcor Energy before the Federal Court of Canada in the judicial review of the report of a Joint Review Panel in relation to a major hydro-electric project at Churchill Falls, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Grand Riverkeeper, Labrador Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 FC 1520.
  • Successfully represented Shell Canada Limited before the Alberta Court of Appeal in the successful defence of two applications for leave to appeal a decision by the Federal-Provincial Joint Review Panel reviewing Shell's Jackpine Mine Expansion Project not to consider the adequacy of Aboriginal consultation in respect of this project. The Applicants also sought to stay the regulatory hearing pending the proposed appeal. One of the Applicants sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which was dismissed, with costs. Métis Nation of Alberta Region 1 v. Joint Review Panel, 2012 ABCA 352.
  • Representing Nalcor Energy before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and Court of Appeal in its injunction motion to enjoin protestors from their illegal blockade of a work site and interference with Nalcor's lawfully permitted work in relation to its Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project. Nalcor Energy v. NunatuKavut Community Council Inc., 2012 NLTD (G) 175.
  • Representing Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. in a judicial review application commenced in the Federal Court of Canada by an Aboriginal group in respect of a pipeline right of way issue.
  • Ernst v. Encana, Energy Resources Conservation Board, and the Province of Alberta: Defending Encana in an action by a landowner for alleged damages sustained due to "fracking" in oil and gas operations.
  • Crew Energy v. Cenovus: Defending Cenovus in a commercial dispute pertaining to a farmout agreement and the expiry of oil and gas leases.
  • PetroKazakhstan in a long running dispute with Russian energy giant, Lukoil, concerning their joint ownership of JSC Turgai Petroleum, which holds significant energy assets in Kazakhstan. Osler also advised in the recently announced settlement of the Turgai ownership dispute.
  • Niska Gas Storage US, LLC, a natural gas storage operator owned by Riverstone Holdings, LLC, in successfully defending an application for leave to appeal or set aside an arbitral award arising following a $1.5 billion purchase and sale transaction. Alenco Inc. v. Niska Gas Storage US, LLC, 2009 ABQB 192.
  • A large, U.S.-based privately held exploration and production company in an arbitration proceeding against a major Canadian oil and gas producer arising from a $1 billion purchase and sale transaction.
  • NOVA Chemicals Corporation in defending and counterclaiming a complex commercial dispute with Dow Chemical Company concerning the operation of a petrochemical facility in Alberta.
  • Total E&P on the formation of a strategic oil sands alliance between Total E&P Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. encompassing the Fort Hills mining project, the Joslyn mining project and the Voyageur upgrader project.
  • Talisman, Shell Canada, TAQA North, Mancal, ConocoPhillips, and Encana in a dispute with the Sunchild First Nation over duties of consultation and the cumulative effects of energy developments.
  • Encana Corporation in preliminary inquiry and scheduled seven week trial re: charges pursuant to the Canada Wildlife Act in relation to commercial activities in the Suffield National Wildlife Area.
  • SemCAMS ULC, a midstream operator, in its insolvency proceedings, successfully disputing two significant set-off disputes. SemCanada Crude Company (Re), 2009 ABQB 252; Nexen Marketing v. SemCAMS ULC, 2009 ABCA 237; SemCanada Crude Company (Re) 2009 ABQB 397; Trilogy Energy LP v. SemCAMS ULC, 2008 ABCA 275.
  • SemCanada Crude Company, a Canadian crude oil gathering, storage and marketing company, in its insolvency proceedings, successfully disputing a set-off dispute against an oil trading counterparty. SemCanada Crude Company (Re), 2009 ABQB 715.
  • Two major Canadian corporations in relation to investigations by securities regulators.
  • NOVA Chemicals Corporation in its business combination with International Petroleum Investment Company through a court-approved plan of arrangement.
  • EcoWater Canada Ltd., a Marmon Water/Berkshire Hathaway company, in a contract dispute arising from customs services provided by its customs broker relating to goods imported from the United States.


  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Alberta Arbitration & Mediation Society
  • Calgary Bar Association

Industry Recognition

  • Benchmark Litigation Canada 2015: Future Star 


Pro Bono/Community Work

  • Editorial Board member of the Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal.
  • Civil Claims Duty Counsel, volunteer.
  • Representing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as an intervenor in the appeal of Pridgen v. University of Calgary. Pridgen v. University of Calgary, 2012 ABCA 139.
  • Represented an individual in his capacity as Administrator Ad Litem of his deceased daughter’s estate in a Leave to Appeal Application to the Supreme Court of Canada arising from a breach of fiduciary duty claim.