James W. Noe is a government attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., and Houston offices who co-chairs the firm's Oil and Gas Practice. Mr. Noe provides legislative and regulatory advocacy to energy, oil and gas, maritime, construction and other industry clients in a broad range of transactions and disputes. Mr. Noe also has a long history of representing buyers and sellers in complex merger, acquisition and disposition transactions.

Mr. Noe helps businesses and trade groups address a broad range of energy issues, both from a governmental relations perspective as well as confronting regulatory hurdles, disputes and investigations, especially in the context of energy development on federal lands and waters. Mr. Noe represents companies in investigations conducted by Congress or federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), relating to alleged regulatory violations that could lead to civil or criminal enforcement action. He regularly challenges federal agency action in administrative and court actions, and Mr. Noe has a substantial practice before the Department of Interior's Board of Land Appeals challenging federal energy policies and actions. He provides effective government relations and lobbying counsel to clients by drawing upon his comprehensive skill set, global business relationships, familiarity with the legislative and regulatory corridors of Washington, D.C., and other national capitals, as well as his work in major commercial and financial centers across Europe, Asia and Africa.

In addition, Mr. Noe has experience acting as lead negotiator and senior attorney in numerous transactions, including multibillion-dollar sales, acquisitions and mergers. He routinely conducts internal investigations and represents clients facing agency inquiries and law enforcement investigations involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) securities law and other regulatory compliance matters. Mr. Noe also provides effective crisis and media management counsel.

Over the course of his lengthy career, Mr. Noe has personally led and managed hundreds of multinational business formations, corporate launches, investment deals, commercial transactions and infrastructure projects around the world. Among his numerous high-profile engagements was his appointment as primary advocate and spokesman for energy-industry participants following the Macondo (Deepwater Horizon) oil spill. As executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, he testified regularly before U.S. Senate and House committees and held numerous meetings with congressional leaders, White House officials and agency leadership on issues facing exploration and development companies, drilling contractors and oilfield service companies. One of his many accomplishments while serving in this role was to persuade the federal government to end the impasse that had delayed the issuance of new shallow-water drilling permits and had threatened the financial viability of businesses across this vital sector.

Early in his career as a litigator in the oil and gas drilling rig and vessel space, Mr. Noe successfully argued and won numerous cases before state and federal courts, including high-profile shipbuilding disputes heard in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. After time in private practice, Mr. Noe was named merger and acquisition (M&A) counsel of a French-Dutch offshore oil and gas maritime and technology company based in Monaco, for which he led numerous cross-border business initiatives and acquisitions and dispositions often involving assets, operations and investments on multiple continents. Subsequently, he joined a leading global provider of oil and gas well services, where he served as chief corporate counsel and became a member of the executive management team overseeing matters in more than 140 countries, including significant operations in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.  

Mr. Noe was one of the original members of the management team of Hercules Offshore Inc., joining as senior vice president, general counsel, chief compliance officer and secretary. In that role, he managed Hercules' initial public offering (IPO) and numerous follow-on offerings and built the public-company regulatory and compliance infrastructure. He was the lead negotiator on numerous acquisitions, divestitures and mergers worth billions of dollars cumulatively, including the company's $2.3 billion merger with TODCO. In his role as general counsel, he ensured compliance with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations and was responsible for all regulatory affairs, public relations and risk management.

Mr. Noe was also CEO and executive director for CH Offshore Ltd. in Singapore. In that capacity, he managed the company and its fleet of offshore supply and support vessels operating in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Mexico. On behalf of CH's affiliate companies, he oversaw the construction of a fleet of high-specification offshore drilling rigs in Singapore and China, advised and represented large Chinese companies in cross-border transactions, and managed the legal and technical aspects of rig construction disputes.

Representative Experience

  • Represents a large independent exploration and production (E&P) company in a large divestiture of oil and gas properties
  • Represented a national oil company in the purchase of working interest of offshore blocks in Ghana in West Africa
  • Represented a Singapore company in the acquisition of offshore oil and gas properties in Australia
  • Represented a large independent offshore E&P company as regulatory counsel before the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, which involved various disposition and merger transactions
  • Represents a group of oil and gas companies seeking constructive amendments to financial assurance regulations and bonding requirements to cover decommissioning liability
  • Represented an international oil and gas company in the acquisition of deep-water offshore oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Represented a large independent E&P company in the acquisition of a wireline company and marine assets
  • Represented a large independent E&P company in a large divestiture and related Israeli high-yield bond transaction
  • Represented a U.S. oilfield services company in the purchase of a manufacturing facility and business in India
  • Represented a U.S. maritime company in the disposition of a fleet of drilling rigs and associated maritime assets to a Nigerian E&P company
  • Represents Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan administrator for a former offshore exploration company in various wind-down dispositions
  • Represents U.S. hedge fund evaluating renewable and next-generation energy projects, including clean hydrogen projects and emerging nuclear fusion technologies

  • Represents an independent exploration and production (E&P) company in criminal defense action before the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Represents an independent exploration and production (E&P) company in criminal defense action in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Represents a large independent E&P company in appealing numerous Incidents of Non-Compliance (INCs) issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
  • Represents a trade association made up of independent oil and gas companies seeking access to federal offshore leases and sensible oil and gas regulations
  • Represents a group of oil and gas companies advocating for the expansion of the Rigs-to-Reef (RTR) program, which allows oil and gas companies to donate retired platforms and offshore infrastructure to coastal states for use as marine habitats 
  • Represented an independent E&P company in the reefing of one of the largest structures installed in federal waters as a part of the RTR program
  • Advises the executive leadership of a large private equity firm on energy policy issues and political developments
  • Represented a major oil and gas company regarding potential civil and criminal liability related to potential violation of Department of Interior regulations
  • Provided crisis management and media advice to a large independent E&P company related to an oil spill
  • Represented a large E&P company in advocating and obtaining Suspension of Production (SOP) from the BSEE
  • Represented a large E&P company before the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Interior following the client's discovery of World War II-era unexploded munitions on an offshore oil and gas property


  • Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, J.D.
  • The University of Alabama, B.A., Criminal Justice and Sociology, with honors
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • Kato Energy Pty Ltd., Director, 2018-Present
  • Louisiana State University, John P. Laborde Energy Law Center Advisory Council, 2012-Present
  • University of Alabama, College of Arts and Sciences, Leadership Board of Directors, 2012-Present
  • International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), Ethics and Compliance Committee, 2006-2014
Honors & Awards
  • Up and Comer, Houston Business Journal, Best Corporate Counsel, 2007


Speaking Engagements