In a strategic move, Venezuela has registered part of its legal team at Hogan Lovells as lobbyists in its international dispute with a U.S. oil company that could land before the Supreme Court. This move will enable them to “sit down with Justice Department lawyers as the legal fight intensifies,” reports to The Hill. The firm “will seek to meet with the Justice Department’s solicitor general, according to forms filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act signed by counsel Bruce Oakley, the managing partner of the firm’s Houston office.” In 2015 Hogan Lovells brought in $12.6 million in lobbying revenue according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Oil rigging company Helmerich & Payne brought a legal challenge against Venezuela following a drilling dispute in 2010. The Hill reports, “Helmerich & Payne’s local subsidiary — H&P-V — had been operating in the country for decades. But in 2010, following a contract dispute with the state-owned oil company, Helmerich & Payne said its subsidiary would stop drilling in the country. The country’s National Guard then blocked off 11 rigs with its boats, and Venezuela seized the subsidiary’s oil rigs and other equipment. The confiscation was part of then- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s move to nationalize his country’s oil industry.” According to the suit the confiscation of the oil rigs and equipment breached a contract, hurting the Oklahoma-based parent company and violating international law.
As the case progresses Venezuela’s lobbyists will likely urge the administration to ask the Supreme Court to take up the case after filing documents with the court encouraging action.