Chile > Energy and natural resources: oil and gas/power generation
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Energy and natural resources: oil and gas/ power generation
The team at full-service firm Claro y Cia fields ‘the best lawyers in Chile for energy matters' and is the ‘go-to firm for natural resources and energy law'. With proficiency across the board, the team has expertise in power-purchase, gas transportation and exchange agreements, EPC contracts, project financing and arbitration proceedings. Nicolás Eyzaguirre combines his extensive knowledge of environmental law with his energy sector practice, and Rodrigo Ochagavía brings significant finance expertise and is particularly well versed in complex power-purchase agreements. Recent highlights include advising MPX and AES Gener on the development of their respective Castilla and Alto Maipo energy projects, both of which required the negotiation of EPC contracts and power purchase agreements, as well as the relevant approvals and permits. The firm also represented: AES Gener in all its regulatory conflicts before the Energy Experts Panel; Hidroeléctrica Trayenko on the sale of water rights to a number of Chilean investors; and Norgener in the negotiation and execution of power purchase agreements with Codelco for two of its operations.
Prieto y Cia is a key player in the energy industry, its strength and reputation stemming from the exceptional practitioners it fields, a total of four partners and 12 associates. Seasoned arbitrator and founding partner Claudio Undurraga has 45 years' experience encompassing power generation and distribution, power purchase and gas supply agreements, energy, gas and natural resources; he is an expert on dispute resolution in the sector. Juan Tagle focuses on financing operations and the full range of energy agreements; Fernando Bravo delivers general corporate advice to local and international energy companies; and Jaime Ríos's practice includes acting for large power generation and distribution companies within the electricity sector. E-CL provides a steady stream of work, and the team advised it on a number of non-conventional projects including the production of biofuel from micro-algae and the development of renewable energy sources such as biomass and wind power. The team also handled the preparation of an international bidding process for the design, procurement and construction of a solar power plant and the preparation of an offer for a power purchase agreement linked to a copper mining project in northern Chile. On the water law side, the team advised Aguas Andinas on its agreement with AES Gener in relation to water rights related to the development of a 531MW hydroelectric project. Other clients include Colbún, GDF Suez and Repsol YPF.
Carey is ‘very well-connected' and has ‘up to date industry knowledge'; its service is compared by one satisfied client to that of a luxury car: ‘it brings you comfort, speed when needed and quality in all things'. On the electricity side, the ‘very business-minded' team advised Andes Mainstream Renewable Power on the development of several projects in Chile, and acted for Spanish company Hidroeléctrica Río Lena on obtaining water rights for hydropower project developments. It was also busy in the hydrocarbons sector, assisting Codelco with a $48m natural gas supply agreement with GasValpo, and a $1.8bn power purchase agreement with Norgener to supply two different mining projects. In addition, the team previously handled the county's two liquefied natural gas projects, Mejillones and Quintero. Alberto Cardemil is the team's water specialist, and Juan Francisco Mackenna and María Fernanda Carvajal are held in high regard for the breadth and depth of their energy sector practices.
At Carey & Allende, ‘the quality is superb, client service top notch and commercial awareness excellent'. The firm demonstrates ‘a superior knowledge of energy and natural resources, having served the industry for so many years'. In 2011, the team acted as legal counsel to ENEL Latin America on all its energy matters, with an emphasis on hydroelectric generation and geothermal projects. It also advised Elecnor on the development of a $250m high voltage power-line project for the Central Electric System in Chile, and its subsidiary Enerfin on wind farm projects in southern Chile. On the natural resources side, the team serves as general legal counsel to prominent aqua-farming company Empresas Aqua Chile, and recently handled the restructuring of its aquaculture concessions in order to comply with the government's new regulatory framework. It also assisted with the refinancing of the company's $400m debt. Practice head Jorge Allende is ‘experienced, knowledgeable and loyal' and Luis Felipe Arze is ‘excellent in his field'; they, along with regulatory expert Pabla Gainza, all ‘go the extra mile'.
Guerrero, Olivos, Novoa y Errazuriz's ‘level of service is second to none' – the team is ‘very well rounded in its set of skills' and ‘integrates corporate, financial and regulatory expertise'. Department head Clemente Pérez is noted for his ‘excellent contract drafting and negotiation skills', and his team ‘has immense knowledge of regulations and administrative processes'. The four-partner-strong team covers all kind of projects from traditional power generation to renewable energy, and has distinct niche expertise in the latter. A case in point was its instruction on sophisticated carbon credit transfers (a highly unusual procedure in Chile), and the team is often involved in the country's most important alternative energy projects. Recent highlights include advising NSL Power on a due diligence process for the acquisition and development of the $600m Lebu Sur wind farm project (the largest in South America in terms of capacity); assisting with the project financing for the development of four hydroelectric power stations; and successfully representing HidroAngol in a case concerning its Picoiquén hydroelectric plant.
The active practice at Larrain y Asociados covers the range of hydroelectric and thermoelectric projects, operational agreements, sale and purchase transactions within the power generation-transmission sector and gas distribution. Representative matters included advising South Korean company LG International on its investment in an oil block in Chile. The firm's incorporation of Ricardo Peña, who brings vast experience in the energy business, as of counsel in 2010, was a considerable boost to its energy practice. Key contact Jorge Granic is a finance specialist with considerable knowledge across the energy sector.
Philippi, Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner wins a flow of instructions from local and international energy companies, which department head Juan Paulo Bambach handles in conjunction with the firm's environmental expert Juan José Eyzaguirre. Highlights included acting for Spanish energy company Norvento on a joint venture agreement in connection with an wind-power generation project; advising Genera4 on the possible creation of the first non-conventional renewable energy fund in Chile; and acting for Patagonia Icefields on the development of a mineral water project in southern Chile. Other clients include Geotérminca del Norte, Posco E&C and South American Iron Steel.
Arteaga Gorziglia & Cia Abogados' environmental and regulatory strength ensures a good flow of energy mandates. Ignacio Arteaga heads the group, which specialises in representing energy companies in environmental and regulatory litigation proceedings and assisting them with investment projects in the hydrocarbons and alternative energy sectors. Clients include Minera Gaby and ENEL.
Energy is a core practice at boutique firm Bahamondez, Alvarez & Zegers Ltda, where partner-in-charge Felipe Bahamondez, one of the country's experts in oil and gas matters, regularly counsels TransCanada and Total. The team is very active in all energy matters, from conventional to renewable energy and water projects, and has a notable footprint in the electricity industry with key clients including Eléctricas AG, the country's trade association that represents electric power distribution and transmission companies. Recent highlights include acting for NLG Quintero on a back-up power plant for a regasification facility and assisting with the drafting of the legislation regulating the natural gas market in southern Chile.
Baker & McKenzie attracts praise for ‘its proficient knowledge of the Chilean legal system and the electricity industry and its players'. Antonio Ortúzar's ‘extremely committed' team advised Origin Energy on the acquisition of a 40% stake in geothermal exploration company Energia Andina, as well as on the bid documents and concession agreement for a large geothermal energy-concession project. It also assisted Empresa Eléctrica Caren with the swiftly completed sale of 66% of its shares to Latin America Power, an investment towards the development of two hydroelectric power plants. The firm bolstered its team's profile in July 2011 with the promotion of Diego Ferrada to the partnership; he is applauded for his legal talent and his technical and commercial skills.
Gonzalo Cubillos, Fernando Molina and Claudio Campos scored a coup in 2012 with their creation of the energy and real estate-focused Cubillos, Campos y Molina Abogados. On the energy side, the firm benefits from the fantastic reputation Cubillos has in the sector as well as the high-profile clients he has brought with him, such as HidroAysén and electricity giant Colbún.
Grasty Quintana Majlis & Cia. has strong electricity credentials, with notable work including advising venture capital firm Integrity Partners on its investment in the development of a hydroelectricity generation project. The team, led by managing partner Francisco Sánchez, handles legal, commercial and financial matters arising from multimillion-dollar projects for major companies in the energy industry. Founding partner Michael Grasty is also recommended.
At Morales & Besa, Alejandro Huneeus and Pedro García are highly regarded for their energy and natural resources expertise, closely linked to their respective corporate and banking practices. Recent highlights include advising Danish company Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine producer, on its business implementation in Chile.
Noguera, Larrain & Dulanto’s, José Pablo Dulanto has a strong reputation representing energy sector clients such as Norwegian power company SN Power, which he advised on the sale of a stake in a hydroelectric energy project to Centinela. Clients include Madeco, Admiralty Minerals and Metrogas.
Sergio Orrego leads the practice at Urenda, Rencoret, Orrego y Dörr, which provides advice on complex energy projects and has a strong emphasis on alternative renewable energies including wind farms and run-of-the-river power plants. Orrego assisted Emprea Eléctrica Florín on the purchase of water resources for a hydroelectric project, and advised Global Energy Services Siemsa on the development of a wind farm in northern Chile. Another key instruction included representing Cemento Polpaico, ENAP and Petroquímica Dow on an administrative sanction procedure brought by Chile's office of electricity and fuels superintendence over their alleged liability for a black-out that affected much of the country in March 2010.
Vergara y Cia boosted its energy and natural resources capability with the recent hire of six associates. The team is highly regarded for electricity, gas, geothermal and non-conventional power generation, an area of specialisation it combines with the firm's strength in regulatory, economic and administrative law. Founding partner Alejandro Vergara served as a member of the experts' panel on the Electric Services Act and is also noted for his knowledge of water law. Clients include BHP Billiton, Grupo Agbar and Holcim.