Raymond A. Hafner IV, counsel for Linn Energy, sat down with Energy Litigation newsletter editor Will Taylor to discuss his career path, his role as an in-house attorney, and the challenges facing the industry.
How would you describe the day-to-day business of Linn Energy?
We are an upstream oil and gas company with a focus on North American long-life, low-decline assets, where we can make improvements and achieve better long-term results than companies that are looking to make money more quickly. Our operations and assets are located in the contiguous 48 states. If everything is going according to plan, it should be a very boring business, but because our assets are numerous and geographically diverse, there are a lot of stakeholders with a day-to-day interest in our operations.
What changes have you seen in your business over the past few years?
The biggest change is obviously the drop in oil prices. At $100 a barrel, there are not many projects that do not make sense and it is easier to grow and keep stakeholders happy. But the drop in oil prices has also coincided with increased regulatory scrutiny, and together those two factors do not leave much room for error. The good thing about being on the legal side of the business is that lawyers are able to add a lot more value during difficult times or when the company is facing challenges