John Thomas is a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department and Co-Chair of the Energy & Commodities Practice Group. He focuses on physical commodity and commodity derivative trading matters, commodity-linked financing transactions, and commercial transactions involving the purchase, sale, transportation, and storage of commodities across multiple jurisdictions. John’s transactional experience in the commodities markets includes M&A transactions, intermediation transactions, and secured and structured finance transactions, as well as related corporate governance, regulatory and compliance matters. Prior to joining Willkie, he was a managing director and head internal counsel for the commodity trading unit of a global investment bank.


Prior to joining Willkie in 2021, John served as Managing Director and Senior Counsel for Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and J. Aron & Company LLC. In his role at Goldman Sachs, he acted as functional general counsel for the Goldman Sachs global commodities business, providing legal and strategic advice for all aspects of the business. He managed not only trading and other transactional matters, but also oversaw corporate governance, litigation, regulatory and compliance matters, bankruptcy matters, employee issues, and real property matters.

John also previously served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer for an investment company focusing on acquiring North American energy infrastructure assets, and was counsel at Shearman and Sterling LLP.

Commodities Merger and Acquisition Transactions

  • Buyer in acquisition of Nexen Marketing’s North American Natural Gas US Trading Business
  • Seller in the sale of Syntech Coal Mines in Australia
  • Seller in the sale of hydroelectric power generation facilities in Turkey
  • Seller in the sale of the Metro International Metals Warehouse System
  • Buyer and then seller in the purchase and subsequent sale of two Colombian Coals mines
  • Seller in the sale of material portion of Cogentrix Energy to Carlyle Energy Fund
  • Seller in sale of certain solar electric generating assets of Cogentrix Energy to First Solar

Physical Commodities Transactions

  • Inventory Intermediation Agreements / Supply & Offtake Agreements between J. Aron & Company and
    • Par Petroleum (Hawaii Pacific Energy)
    • Lion Oil, Alon Krotz Springs, Alon USA refineries
    • Limetree Bay Refining Company
    • PBF Energy Inc.
    • Several other privately held refineries (names confidential)
  • Inventory Management Agreement (Coal and Diesel fuel) with Northeastern Independent Power Producer
  • Inventory Intermediation Agreement (Iron Ore) with Stelco Holdings Inc.
  • Inventory Supply Agreement (Aluminum) with major domestic producer of aluminum products
  • Inventory Financing Agreement with major international aluminum producer
  • Multiple long-term purchase and sale agreements for coal and associated transportation and storage arrangements (vessels, barges, ports, railways)
  • Multiple agreements relating to transportation / transmission / storage / terminalling of oil, refined products, natural gas, LNG, uranium, coal, metals, power
  • Multiple long-term secured renewable power offtake agreements / power purchase agreements

Financial Commodities Transactions

  • Multiple book-buy transactions transferring trading books by novation and through total return swaps
  • Oversee legal aspects of J. Aron & Company financial trading books (ISDAs, other master trading agreements) for crude and refined products, natural gas and LNG, power, coal, and base and precious metals.
  • Municipal Bond Commodity Prepay Transactions and Restructurings with these issuers:
    • Tennessee Energy Acquisition Corp.
    • Central Plains Energy Project
    • Black Belt Energy Gas District
    • Lower Alabama Gas District
    • Northern California Energy Authority
    • SA Energy Acquisition Public Facilities Corporation
    • Southern California Public Power Authority
    • PEFA, Inc.
*Experience includes representations as internal counsel 



Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1997 Washington and Lee University, B.A., 1992

Bar Admissions

New York