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Robert Desbarats - Energy Lawyer

Robert Desbarats Q.C.

Partner, Energy

Key Contact: Energy (Electrical Power)

Key Contact: Energy (Oil and Gas)

Contact Information

tel: 403.260.7015



Bar Admission

Alberta, 1976

Ontario, 1976

  • University of Ottawa, LL.B.
  • University of Ottawa, B.Sc.

Rob has represented Canadian, U.S.-based and international clients in complex domestic and cross-border energy transactions. He has extensive experience in transactions related to the oil and gas and power generation industries, including in the acquisition and disposition of energy assets and energy corporations. Rob has advised clients on joint ventures and corporate finance matters in relation to crude oil, natural gas and LNG transportation and marketing. He also has extensive experience advising energy corporations in their participation in oil sands projects in northern Alberta and is recognized both in Canada and internationally as a leading energy lawyer.

    • Veresen Inc. in the formation of a new entity, Veresen Midstream Limited Partnership, equally owned by Veresen and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP, which will acquire certain natural gas assets from Encana Corporation and the Cutbank Ridge Partnership. Osler also represented the partnership in respect of related financing arragements.
    • Devon Canada in the disposition of some of its Canadian conventional assets to Canadian Natural Resources Limited for $3.125 billion.
    • Talisman Energy Inc. and its affiliates in the disposition of their 12% equity interest in the Oleoducto Central SA (Ocensa) crude oil pipeline in Colombia for approximately $595 million.
    • PetroChina Company Ltd., a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), on its acquisition of a 20% interest in Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Groundbirch shale gas project in north-eastern British Columbia.
    • Nexen Inc. in its sale of a 40% working interest in shale gas assets in northern British Columbia to Inpex Corporation and in the creation of a strategic partnership with a consortium led by Inpex Corporation to develop shale gas assets in the Horn River, Cordova and Liard basins in northeast B.C.[November, 2011].
    • Talisman Energy Inc., in the sale of a 50% working interest in its Cypress A shale gas project to Sasol Limited for a total consideration of $1,050 million. [June, 2011].
    • Talisman Energy Inc. in the formation of a strategic partnership with Sasol Limited of South Africa to develop shale gas properties in British Columbia and assess the feasibility of establishing a facility to convert natural gas to petroleum liquids (GTL) in Canada, including the sale of a 50% working interest in its Farrell Creek shale gas project to Sasol.
    • PetroChina Company Limited in respect of its negotiation with Encana Corporation respecting its proposed but aborted purchase of an undivided interest in shale gas properties in western Canada for an aggregate purchase price of $5.4 billion. [Winter and spring, 2011].
    • Talisman Energy Inc.  in respect of certain aspects of the joint purchase by it and Ecopetrol S.A. (the national oil company of Colombia) of BP Exploration Company (Colombia) for a purchase price of $US 1.75 billion [January, 2011].
    • Canadian Natural Resources Limited in respect of its participation with North West Upgrading Inc. in the construction and ownership of a multi-billion dollar bitumen upgrader to be constructed in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta [February, 2011].
    • Talisman Energy Inc. in respect of its joint venture with Statoil for the exploration and development of shale gas properties in Texas [October, 2010].
    • Northern Blizzard Resources Inc. with respect to its acquisition of heavy oil properties in northeaster Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan from Nexen Inc. for approximately $975 million [June, 2010.]
    • China Investment Corporation in respect of its multi-billion dollar partnership arrangement with Penn West Petroleum Ltd. for the exploration and development of oil sands deposits in the Peace River area of Alberta [May, 2010].
    • Talisman Energy Inc. in respect of the sale of its Bakken oil and gas interest located in SE Saskatchewan, SW Manitoba and Montana to Crescent Point Resources LP and Tristar Oil and Gas Ltd. for a purchase price in excess of $700 million [March, 2009].
    • ConocoPhillips in its $ 1.0375 billion sale of four subsidiary corporations to Pengrowth Energy Trust.
    • BG Group plc in the recognition of certain Canadian assets and the sale of the shares of BG Canada Exploration and Production Inc. to Progress Energy Limited for cash proceeds of $526 million.
    • The sale of Pioneer Natural Resources Company’s common stock in its Canadian subsidiary, Pioneer Natural Resources Canada Inc., to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC for cash proceeds of $540 million.
    • NAL OIL & Gas Trust in its acquisition of Seneca Energy Canada Inc. for $245.1 million and public financing of $225 million.
    • Anderson Energy Ltd. in its acquisition of oil and gas assets in its core area of greater Sylvan Lake for total cash consideration of $116.1 million.
    • Delphi Energy Corp. in connection with the exchange of its 50% working interest in the Jean Marie Natural gas assets in the Bigfoot area located in northeast British Columbia for certain conventional multi-zone natural gas assets in the Hythe area located in northwest Alberta.
    • Dana Gas PJSC in its acquisition of Centurion Energy International Inc. for an aggregate cash consideration of $1.14 billion.
    • Pristine Power Inc. in its $55 million initial public offering.
    • East Windsor Cogeneration LP, a limited partnership formed between Pristine Asset LP and Fort Chicago Canadian Power Ventures Limited Partnership, in connection with a private placement of $179 million secured debentures with certain institutional investors to fund the design, engineering, procurement and construction of a 84 MW cogeneration project to be located in Windsor, Ontario.
    • Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. in its US $4.1 billion acquisition of Anadarko Canada Corporation.

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Business Lawyers, 2016, recognized in the area of Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), Band 1.
  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Business Lawyers, 2016, recognized in the area of Corporate/Commerical law.
  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Business Lawyers, 2013-2015, recognized in the area of  Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional), Band 1.
  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Business Lawyers, 2013-2015, recognized in the area of Corporate/M&A.
  • The Legal 500, 2015-2016, recognized in the area of Energy: Oil & Gas.
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada, 2006-2016, recognized in the area of Corporate Law;
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada, 2006-2016, recognized in the area of Natural Resources Law
  • Lexpert Special Edition: Canada's Leading Corporate Lawyers 2014
  • Lexpert Special Edition: Canada’s Leading Energy Lawyers 2013
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2013 “Lawyer of the Year”  for Calgary Natural Resources Law
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014: Corporate Commercial Law (most frequently recommended); Energy (Oil & Gas) (most frequently recommended)
  • Who's Who of Legal 2013: The International Who's Who of Energy Lawyers
  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2014: Energy (Oil & Gas); Corporate Commercial Law
  • Lexpert's 2013 Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Corporate Lawyers in Canada: Energy: OIl & Gas

  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Alberta Law Society
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Past President of the Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation [now known as The Canadian Energy Law Foundation]