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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
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Stuart Barrymore - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Meredith Campion - Allen & Overy
    • Louis Chiam - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Simon Currie - Norton Rose Fulbright
    • 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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Allens is ‘at the forefront of market developments’, and regularly acts for both government and major corporations. Recent government work includes advising the New South Wales (NSW) Treasury on the long-term partial 99-year leases of the state’s electricity transmission and distribution network businesses TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, which have a total value of A$23bn. AGL Energy instructed the team on the establishment of its A$2-3bn Powering Australian Renewables Fund to develop, own and manage approximately 1,000MW of large-scale renewable energy infrastructure assets and projects. Goldwind received advice on its successful A$110m bid to purchase the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm Project in Victoria. The team includes Tracey Greenaway, John Greig and practice head Anna Collyer.

Ashurst remains ‘best in class’, rendering ‘very high-quality, considered advice; its team works ‘tirelessly around the clock to provide thorough and comprehensive counsel’. Murray Wheater, who ‘completes enormous amounts of top-notch work in a very short space of time’, advised IFM Investors and AustralianSuper on their A$16.2bn acquisition of a 50.4% interest in a 99-year lease of Ausgrid, the largest distribution network in Australia’s national electricity market. In the renewables space, the team advised buyer Alinta Energy on a long-term power purchase agreement, which will underpin the construction of the 130MW Badgingarra Wind Farm. The practice is headed by utilities expert Paul Newman and ‘exceptional’ global co-head of oil and gas Peter Vaughan, who ‘consistently provides very pragmatic, thorough and targeted advice that covers all key commercial and legal aspects’. Michael Harrison, Tanya Denning and Richard Guit are also recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ ‘market-leading’ practice has ‘strong depth of resources’, delivers an ‘attentive, commercially focused service’ and ‘sets the pace, particularly in the renewables space’. In an innovative matter, the team acted for IFM Investors and AustralianSuper in submitting an unsolicited proposal for the A$16.2bn acquisition of Ausgrid to the New South Wales government, the largest M&A transaction in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016. It also assisted Origin Energy with its asset divestment program, and in the renewables space advised APA Group on its successful bid to acquire the 110MW Darling Downs solar farm. Robert Merrick, Stuart Barrymore, Robert Nicholson and Toby Anderson all come in for praise. David Ryan is a ‘tireless worker who always delivers with a calm and positive attitude’.

King & Wood Mallesons retains its strong regional, particularly Chinese, client base and has attracted a number of high-value matters, particularly in the renewables space; the team advised a consortium comprising Cheung Kong Property Holdings, Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings and Power Assets Holdings on its proposed A$7.3bn acquisition of ASX-listed energy company DUET Group. It advised QIC on the establishment of the Powering Australia Renewables Fund, which will be a A$2-3bn owner of more than 1,000MW of large-scale renewable energy projects, making it the largest owner of renewable energy capacity in Australia. On the regulatory side, it advises the Western Australia Department of Finance on the Western Australia Electricity Market Review. Alan Murray, Louis Chiam and Craig Rogers are the names to note. The team also regularly acts for APA Group, Mitsui, Quadrant Energy and Origin.

Clients of Clayton Utz are ‘very pleased with the level of service and in-depth industry knowledge’, and find its advice to be ‘timely and useful’. In the renewables arena, the practice has been advising international infrastructure investor John Laing Group across all three stages of its investment in the Hornsdale wind farm. Regulatory work included advising Australia Pacific LNG on its long-term gas transportation agreements with Origin Energy on the Darling Downs and Spring Gully pipelines. The team continues to advise Hydro Tasmania on contractual claims related to the Basslink outage, which severed the state of Tasmania from power import from and export to mainland Australia in 2015-16 for several months. Emma Covacevich renders ‘thorough advice with commercial focus’, and ‘provides a seamless interface between client and firm’. Faith Taylor, Simon Truskett and practice head Stuart MacGregor are also singled out. Peter Wiese left to take up an in-house role.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has handled a number of high-value transactions, among them acting for Macquarie in the acquisition of a 50% interest in the Mereenie oil and gas field project in the Northern Territory, and advising Woodside Energy on the $400m acquisition of half of BHP Billiton’s Scarborough assets, located off the shore of Western Australia. Incitec Pivot, the largest supplier of fertilisers in Australia, received advice on its long-term gas supply agreement, with Power and Water Corporation, for Incitec’s Phosphate Hill fertiliser manufacturing plant. Michael MacGinley in Brisbane heads the team, which includes Peter Jarosek. Papua New Guinea (PNG) expert Vaughan Mills joined from Allens, adding significant depth to the firm’s PNG offering.

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s team features Peter Rose, who is ‘excellent, without any doubt’, and Martin Kudnig, Amanda Seaton and Jee-Seon Lee. The team advised Cooper Energy on its agreements to acquire Santos’ gas assets in Victoria, and on an entitlement offer to raise A$62m. On the regulatory side, the practice acted for United Energy Distribution on its Victorian Electricity Distribution Determination by the regulator for the 2016-2020 period. Renewables work included advising Infrastructure Capital Group on pre-emption rights, and on the acquisition of 50% interest in Mumbida wind farm from Synergy. Michael Dulaney has transitioned into a consultant role.

Minter Ellison’s key clients include AGL Energy, Beach Energy and Energy Queensland. The State of Queensland and Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) received advice on the A$24 billion merger of two distribution companies, Ergon Energy and Energex. The practice also acted for ATCO Australia as buyer and Canadian Utilities as guarantor on a competitive A$392m bid to acquire shares in the Darling Downs gas pipeline network from Origin Energy Power and Origin Energy Resources. Brendan Clark, Mark Carkeet and the ‘excellent’ Allison Warburton are singled out. Simon Scott heads the team, which has been bolstered by Paul Shillington arriving from Oryx Petroleum and Anthony Portas joining from Anglo American.

Allen & Overy frequently draws on its international offering and regional network. A team across the Singapore, London, Sydney and Perth offices advised GLX on the establishment of a unique online trading platform for liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot cargoes. Chow Tai Fook Enterprises instructed the team on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Alinta Energy valued at A$4.1bn; the practice also advised Total on Oil Search’s $2.2bn bid for InterOil, including the acquisition of assets in Papua New Guinea. Meredith Campion, practice head Geoff Simpson and Angus Jones are singled out.

Baker McKenzie has been busy advising on a growing number of renewables matters, such as acting for both Neoen Australia and Megawatt Capital Investments on the disposal of a 20% minority interest in each of the 100MW and 109MW Hornsdale wind farm projects to John Laing Investments. DP Energy instructed the team on the proposed sale of its combined wind and solar project in South Australia. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec received advice on the partial sell-down of its 25% interest in TransGrid, New South Wales’ electricity transmission network, to Hastings Funds Management. Christopher Saxon and Paul Curnow jointly head the team, which also includes Sean Duffy.

Clifford Chance Australia’s team provides ‘commercially appropriate, well-considered advice that assists with closing complex transactions on an accelerated schedule’. It advised Royal Dutch Shell on an agreement with Viva Energy for the $250m sale of Shell Aviation Australia. On the regulatory side, the team provided strategic advice to Western Power on the transfer of its statutory functions to the Australian Energy Market Operator, and the subsequent delegation of these functions back to Western Power. Key partner Paul Lingard has a ‘strong understanding of commercial drivers’ and ‘can propose effective solutions to bring about a satisfactory outcome, often for both parties’. Tracey Renshaw is also recommended. Jon Carson retired from the partnership.

Gilbert + Tobin advised the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Kumul Petroleum, PNG’s national oil company, on the comprehensive regulatory overhaul of PNG’s oil and gas sector, including implementing a third-party access regime and national content requirement. On the transactional side, the team acted as Australian counsel to CVC/Carlyle and Neptune Oil & Gas in their acquisition of Engie’s global upstream oil and gas business. AusNet Services, KKR and Total are also clients. Chris Flynn and Justin Little are recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright has set its eyes on the Papua New Guinea market, opening an office in Port Moresby in November 2016. Renewables is another area of growth for the practice, which recently advised Enel Green Power and Dutch Infrastructure Fund on the purchase of the largest ready-to-build solar project in Australia – the 275MW Bungala Solar project. BP International instructed the team on its acquisition of Woolworths’ retail fuel distribution business, comprising a network of 527 retail petrol stations. Tamarind Classic Resources received advice on its multi-jurisdictional $6m acquisition of the Tui offshore petroleum project in New Zealand. Global head of energy Simon Currie is highly recommended. Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York have announced their intention to merge in late 2017.

DLA Piper’s ‘level of service is exceptional’; the team ‘maintains strong industry contacts and understands its clients’ businesses’. It regularly handles cross-border matters, among them acting as international and Australian counsel for Shanghai-listed ENN Ecological Holdings, the largest private natural gas company in China, on its recent $750m acquisition of Hony Capital’s approximately 11% stake in Santos. ActewAGL, which owns and operates the Australian Capital Territory’s electricity distribution network, received comprehensive advice on regulatory matters, including representation in litigation. The ‘very commercially drivenDan Brown is ‘willing to go the extra mile to get the job done’, and ‘fits into and extends clients’ core transaction teams’. Kate Papailiou is a ‘sharp, pragmatic lawyer’, who is ‘efficient and commercially focused’. Head of energy Stephen Webbensures the best service is provided to clients’, has ‘excellent leadership skills’ and ‘runs a good ship’. Rhys Davis has been promoted to the partnership.

Jones Day frequently handles large-scale transactions and acts for a wide range of clients, including governments, national oil companies, developers, electricity and gas trading companies, and financial institutions. It advised Australian Coalbed Methane on issues arising from its Gunnedah coal seam gas joint venture arrangements with Santos, and acted for Slipstream Resources on the sale of its lithium assets in Portugal and on its investment in US resources assets. On the regulatory side, the team represented seven energy network companies as interveners in a limited merits review challenge before the Australian Competition Tribunal. Energy regulatory expert Nick Taylor and Tony Wassaf are singled out. Andrew Smith joined the team in Brisbane from Clayton Utz.

HFW has a busy utilities practice, regularly acting for Synergy, the largest utility in Western Australia. It is also a key adviser to Horizon Power, most recently on electricity tariff restructuring matters, and recently added the Australian Energy Market Operator to its list of clients. On the contentious side, the practice represented Vinalco in relation to its prosecution before the Western Australian Energy Review Board by the Independent Market Operator. Advice on transactional matters completes the offering. Simon Adams and Robert Desmond are recommended.

Hive Legal has a particular focus on electricity and gas market regulation, renewable energy, new energy technologies and climate change-related matters. The team advised Jacana Energy on the procurement aspects of its acquisition of renewable electricity and large-scale generation certificates, and assists a number of clients regarding the National Electricity Market’s reviews and reforms; it also represented Origin Energy in regulatory disputes. Hydro Tasmania and Palisade Asset Management are new client wins, and the team regularly acts for AGL Energy and QIC. Mitzi Gilligan and Andrew Brookes are the names to note.

Squire Patton Boggs’ growing practice includes Clare Pope, John Poulsen and Simon Rear. It has been involved in a number of cross-border matters for several overseas clients. Domestic matters include advising clients on competitive bids for wind farms, and Elixir Petroleum on its A$5m unsolicited offer for Australian Worldwide Exploration (AWE)’s interest in the Cliff Head oilfield off the coast of Western Australia.

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