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Australia > Energy (transactions and regulatory) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Energy (transactions and regulatory)
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Stuart Barrymore - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Meredith Campion - Allen & Overy
    • Jon Carson - Clifford Chance Australia
    • Louis Chiam - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Simon Currie - Norton Rose Fulbright
    • Michael Dulaney - Johnson Winter & Slattery
    • Darren Fooks - Baker McKenzie LLP
    • Tracey Greenaway - Allens
    • Michael Harrison - Ashurst
    • Peter Jarosek - Corrs Chambers Westgarth
    • Robert Merrick - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Alan Murray - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Paul Newman - Ashurst
    • Robert Nicholson - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Peter Rose - Johnson Winter & Slattery
    • Geoff Simpson - Allen & Overy
    • Peter Wiese - Clayton Utz

Who Represents Who

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Allens displays ‘much greater depth than others’ and has strong ties to both government and major energy sector corporates. It recently advised the NSW government on the privatisation of 49% of its electricity networks, and AGL Energy on a long-term gas sales agreement with the Gladstone LNG project participants, potentially amounting to A$1bn in revenue. Notable practitioners are Tracey Greenaway, ‘good project manager’ John Greig, and Anna Collyer, who is ‘highly recommended for electricity work’.

Ashurstdelivers good value for money’ and ‘commercially savvy advice that is not too long-winded’. The team comprehensively covers the sector, including the renewables space, where it advised Japanese Eurus Energy on its acquisition of interests in two separate energy projects. It also advised Santos on the sale of its Victorian assets. On the regulatory side, the team advised the WA government on the state’s energy reform. The ‘conscientious’ Tanya Denning has ‘excellent attention to detail’ and Paul Newman is a ‘subject matter expert, who delivers very commercial advice’. Peter Vaughan is also recommended. Michael Harrison and Richard Guit joined from Minter Ellison, and Martin Kudnig moved to Johnson Winter & Slattery.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ ‘top-notch’ practice is ‘focused on solutions and outcomes’, and ‘instils confidence’. The established client base includes major names such as InterOil and Santos. The team advised the NSW Electricity Networks consortium on its A$10.2bn TransGrid acquisition, and acted for Woodside in its proposed acquisition of Oil Search. A number of partners from the large team are praised, among them Robert Merrick (whose ‘advice is always tailored and reflects a solid understanding of commercial drivers’), David Ryan (who has ‘in-depth knowledge of the Australian energy markets’), and the ‘strategic and creative’ Robert Nicholson. Toby Anderson is also recommended.

King & Wood Mallesons has leveraged its international network in a host of interesting cross-border matters. The team acted for BG Group in the off-market £36bn takeover of BG Group by Royal Dutch Shell, and assisted China’s State Power Investment Corporation with its acquisition of Pacific Hydro, one of the largest acquisitions by a Chinese bidder in Australia. On the regulatory side, the team advised WA’s Public Utilities Office on the local electricity market reform. Louis Chiam, Alan Murray and Craig Rogers are the names to note.

Clayton Utz has handled a significant amount of renewables-related work, including advising the ACT government on its entire renewables programme. The firm also advised Origin Energy on the sale of oil and gas assets to Armour Energy. Faith Taylor ‘takes ownership of the firm’s input into transactions’, Emma Covacevich is rated for her ‘good negotiating skills’, and the ‘strategic’ Simon Truskett is ‘completely committed to the client’; Stuart MacGregor heads the team.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s team is headed by Michael MacGinley and includes the ‘respected’, ‘excellent drafterPeter Jarosek. Successes included growing its relationship with a major energy industry player, and acting for a Macquarie Capital and Brookfield Asset Management consortium in its $2.1bn acquisition of Apache’s Australian oil and gas portfolio.

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s skilled group was further bolstered by the addition of Martin Kudnig from Ashurst. The team has in-depth gas and electricity regulatory expertise, and recently acted for Australian Gas Networks in relation to the regulator’s gas access arrangement review. Western Power is another regulatory client. Recommended lawyers include Amanda Seaton; the ‘pragmatic, thorough and responsive’ Peter Rose, who has ‘excellent industry knowledge’; and Jee-Seon Lee, who demonstrates ‘tremendous energy in dealing with lengthy commercial negotiations with multiple counterparties’.

Minter Ellison’s Brendan Clark advised Tri-Resources Investments on the Australian law aspects of its $73m acquisition of BHP Petroleum (Pakistan), in what was a notable cross-border matter for the firm. A significant domestic matter saw Mark Carkeet advising Queensland Treasury Corporation on the government’s proposal to aggregate five state-owned energy companies into two companies. Allison Warburton is also recommended. Michael Harrison and Richard Guit joined Ashurst.

Allen & Overy frequently acts on multi-jurisdictional matters, such as advising Brunei LNG on off-take arrangements and sale and purchase agreements. Significant domestic transactions included acting for Palisade Investment in its A$282m acquisition of the North Queensland Gas Pipeline. Meredith Campion, the ‘very experienced, good communicator’ Geoff Simpson, and Angus Jones, who is ‘well respected and very much across the industry’, are all recommended.

Baker McKenzie’s growing team is headed by the ‘calm, wise and insightful’ Christopher Saxon. Renewables transactions included advising Palisade Investment and Northleaf Capital on their acquisition of EnergyAustralia’s remaining 25% equity interest in Waterloo Wind Farm, a matter handled by Sean Duffy. Martin Irwin acted for Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec on its bid for the 99-year lease of TransGrid, valued at A$10.2bn.

Clifford Chance Australia added three partners and one counsel to the team and in a major transaction acted for Apache in the $2.1bn sale of its Australian oil and gas business. The same client instructed the team on the sale of its interests in the Wheatstone and Kitimat LNG projects to Woodside. Tracey Renshaw is ‘extremely thorough’, and Jon Carson and Paul Lingard ‘turn their legal knowledge and acumen into commercial advice, taking business drivers into account’.

Gilbert + Tobin’s notable transactions included advising Wesfarmers on its $100m acquisition of a 13.7% interest in Quadrant Energy, its first investment in the upstream oil and gas sector. On the renewables side, the firm acted for Fotowatio Renewable Ventures in the Royalla Solar Farm sale to DIF Infrastructure, and for HRL Morrison in acquiring a 50% interest in the Macarthur Wind Farm joint venture. Chris Flynn, Justin Little and Ben Malone are the names to note.

Norton Rose Fulbright is hailed for providing ‘workable, innovative ideas’, and ‘idea generatorSimon Currie, the global head of energy, is ‘great in the renewables space’. In a major transaction, the team advised both Wren House Infrastructure and Spark Infrastructure on the NSW government’s A$10.2bn TransGrid sale. It also acted for Wind Energy in its acquisition of CWP Renewables.

DLA Piper has strong renewables credentials and has also recently won seats on the JKC and Queensland Investment Corporation panels. Stephen Webb, David Harley and Dan Brown are singled out.

HWL Ebsworth’s team won a seat on the Shell development panel and, in a cross-border matter, acted for Hibiscus Petroleum on its proposed acquisition of Hydra Energy. Andrew Bruton and Michael Durrant jointly lead the team. Sarah Harrison joined in Perth from King & Wood Mallesons.

Jones Day handled a range of significant and high-value regulatory matters, with Nick Taylor the name to note. Taylor advised Jemena Gas Networks, CitiPower and Powercor, United Energy, and AusNet on their regulatory proposals. Tony Wassaf focuses on large-scale transactions.

Gadens Lawyers’ Papua New Guinea office plays an important role in this space, as it regularly acts for Kumul Petroleum (formerly National Petroleum Company PNG). Lionel Hogg, David Perks and global head of energy and resources Kym Livesley are the key figures. *Since publication, Gadens' Sydney and Perth offices have merged with Dentons.

Hive Legal’s ‘very accessible’ team ‘provides the right level of service at a competitive price’. Led by Mitzi Gilligan, it has a strong focus on gas and electricity market regulation issues and frequently handles renewables matters. AGL Energy and Origin Energy are clients.

Holman Fenwick Willan has a busy utilities practice, with the ‘commercial’ Simon Adams the name to note. Robert Desmond focuses on energy sector transactions. The team displays ‘incredible industry knowledge’ and ‘understands intimately the legislative and commercial framework’. It regularly handles a range of matters for both Synergy and Horizon Power.

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