Head of offshore energy
Max Lemanski is a partner in the marine and international trade department at Stephenson Harwood specialising in offshore energy, shipbuilding and shipping.
He is head of the firm’s offshore energy and construction group, including Stephenson Harwood’s market-leading FPSO team. Max works primarily for offshore contractors, negotiating bareboat charters and O&M agreements, and EPIC construction and conversion contracts. He has worked on dozens of floating production projects all over the world including offshore Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway and the United Kingdom. On the litigation side his cases include many complex, high-value FPSO disputes (including in the English High Court and various LMAA, ICC and LCIA arbitrations) involving, inter alia, detailed technical analysis, variations claims, delay and prolongation issues, hire adjustment clauses, production problems and termination disputes. He is an expert in the decarbonisation of the offshore energy sector, including offshore wind (both fixed and floating turbines), carbon capture and the electrification of offshore assets.
He is the co-author of the leading work on the law of floating production, Offshore Floating Production: Legal and Commercial Risk Management (2023).
Max also heads the firm's shipbuilding practice and has acted in all kinds of negotiations in relation to shipbuilding contracts and related contracts such as refund guarantees, warranty bonds, option agreements and parent company guarantees. When things go wrong Max regularly advises on all manner of related disputes including liquidated damages, termination, demands under the refund guarantees and post-delivery warranty claims.
On the shipping side, Max has many years’ experience working with owners/charterers and their P&I/FD&D clubs (representing shipping companies involved in dry bulk, containerships and all types of tankers, as well as specialist vessels such as oil spill response ships). Clients value his considerable expertise in all manner of disputes, which span the full spectrum of dry shipping.
Max Lemanski is first class. Responsive, approachable and knowledgeable. Sensible, commercial advice and a genuine desire to assist his clients.
Max has experience in drafting and litigating EPIC contracts (and all of their different permutations, depending on the nature of the project). This includes:
- major LCIA arbitration proceedings relating to substantial refit and refurbishment contract for an FPSO vessel (including issues such as termination rights, critical path delay, prolongation claims, the variations regime and scope of work).
- negotiating detailed EPIC contract terms (including advising on issues such as step-in rights, termination provisions, warranty provisions, limitations on liability and knock-for-knock clauses, design responsibility, transfer of title, subcontracting and ECAs).
Max is an expert in the FPSO field and forms part of the firm's highly specialist, market-leading team in this field. FPSO projects that Max has worked on include the Atlanta, Knarr, Kraken, Marlim and Libra projects.
Max's experience includes:
- major LCIA arbitration proceedings relating to substantial refit and refurbishment contract for an FPSO vessel (including issues such as termination rights, critical path delay, prolongation claims, the variations regime and scope of work)
- issues relating to late arrival at the field, including liquidated damages for delay and liability for spread costs
- issues relating to hook up and acceptance tests (and consequently payment of hire and at what rate)
- late delivery of a new build FPSO from a Chinese shipyard
- negotiating detailed EPIC contract terms (including advising on issues such as step-in rights, termination provisions, warranty provisions, limitations on liability and knock-for-knock clauses, design responsibility, transfer of title, subcontracting and ECAs)
- advising on contract terms with field operators (bareboat charters, operations and management agreements)
- production problems, including interpretation of bonus/malus contract provisions and impact on adjustments to daily base hire
- warranty claims
Max is the chief editor and contributor for the firm's specialist bulletin for those involved in floating production, Well Connected. He regularly gives talks and bespoke seminars in relation to FPSOs. Examples of topics covered include:
- "Legal Considerations for FPSO Projects"
- "Who bears the risk of shut in?"
- "Delays in Acceptance at Location"
- "Acceptance Tests"
- "Acceptance – Back to Back deliveries"
- "Fitness for Purpose"
Max also has expertise in the LNG field.
- Max advised a lead LNG shipowner bidding on the Yamal LNG project (advising on both the terms of their shipbuilding contracts with the proposed yard, and also the charter terms with Yamal)
- Regular ad hoc advice to leading IG Clubs and their members in relation to LNG related issues
- Advising a new start-up in relation to an LNG bunkering barge
- Max is a regular contributor to the firm's specialist newsletter, Well Heeled. He has also contributed to Trade Winds (see his article published on 14 November 2014, "Standard-form LNG voyage charters are here to stay")
Max is well known on the speaker circuit; examples of topics at recent conferences/seminars include:
- “Floating Regas & Storage Conference - Unlocking New Markets and Monetizing Small Scale LNG with FSRUs and Other Floating Import Solution”
- “Examining LNG vessel financing issues and contractual implications”
- "Legal issues arising out of LNG COAs"
Max has considerable experience working with owners of offshore support vessels as well as owners/charterers involved in the carriage of oil and gas by sea.
Clients value his considerable experience and expertise, which span the full spectrum of dry shipping, including charterparty disputes (including time, voyage and bareboat charters), shipbuilding contracts, refund guarantees and ship management agreements. Max has advised on issues such as free pratique, laytime and demurrage, off-hire, termination, available market, delivery/redelivery, crew negligence, safe-port, detention due to drugs smuggling, cargo contamination, cargo claims, equipment breakdown and consequential loss issues.
Specific examples include:
- advising an international tanker owner as to disputes arising out of previous cargo residue and their impact on subsequent cargo/voyages
- assisting owners of tanker detained by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and in particular on subsequent loss of hire claims
- various demurrage claims relating to the validity of notices of readiness given by owners of oil tankers
- acting for Korean shipowners in relation to a number of termination of charter disputes, including detailed analysis of the available market for assessment of damages
- advising on charter disputes arising out the various Supplytime forms (including purported termination disputes)
- acting on unpaid hire/expenses disputes in relation to various offshore support vessels for various owners
- acting for owners in various towage disputes
- acting in relation to various high-value cargo contamination claims
- assisting owners with lien issues arising in relation to unpaid hire
- acting for owners in relation to an offshore construction project dispute, including unpaid hire and unfinished work issues
Max regularly gives in-house talks to shipowners and their P&I/FD&D Clubs on a wide range of shipping topics.