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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: energy
  2. Other recommended firms

Allen & Overy LLP is ‘the go-to-firm’ for power and energy projects in Africa. The 17-lawyer team advises international lenders and sponsors on the financing of large-scale power, hydro and renewable energy projects. It is also involved in high-profile work in France, further afield in Europe and Western Asia. The firm is notably assisting the lenders with the financing of a 108MW wind farm project in Romania. The practice also handles regulatory, finance and corporate work in France. It recently advised Royal Dutch Shell on the disposal of Butagaz. The practice is jointly headed by Alexandre Ancel and Tim Scales, who is ‘a big name in African project finance and knows the market inside out’. Other key figures are Rod Cork, Adrian Mellor and Christine Poyer-Rufenacht.

Clifford Chance’s impressive energy projects practice often advises lenders and is involved in numerous large hydropower, conventional and renewable energy project financings in Africa, as well as high-profile renewable energy projects in France. The practice is assisting the lenders with the financing of the 450MW Azura gas turbine power project in Nigeria and has been advising Eolien Maritime France on three major offshore wind farm projects. The firm also handles oil and gas and mining work, as well as some energy M&A. Key figures in the practice include co-head of the firm’s Africa practice Anthony Giustini, co-head of the North Africa practice Delphine Siino Courtin, Nikolaï Eatwell and David Préat, who is a reference in public law. Laurent Schoenstein is also involved in some M&A-related work; Richard Tomlinson was promoted to partner.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. is often involved in international power and energy projects in Africa, Brazil and the UK; it also has strong oil and gas and natural resources experience in Africa and Mongolia. The firm is also a key player for regulatory and litigation work and renewable energy projects in France, and is advising the winning consortium on Cestas’ 300MW photovoltaic solar project. EDF, Areva and Engie are also clients. John Crothers, François Krotoff and Stéphane Vernay are the key contacts for international projects, with Michel Guénaire and Thomas Courtel being recommended for domestic work.

Linklaters LLP has an impressive project finance practice in France and Africa, typically advising lenders and sponsors on large power and renewable energy projects. Notably it advised the lenders on the $1.4bn multi-currency project financing of the Jorf Lasfar IPP expansion in Morocco. The firm also handles high-profile project and M&A work in France and across Europe. It recently advised Société Générale on the financing of Cestas’ 300MW project. The practice also handles work in the mining and oil and gas fields. Glencore and GDF Suez E&P are other clients. Bertrand Andriani and François April are key names in the practice. Public law expert Paul Lignières, M&A partners Bruno Derieux and Marc Petitier, and counsel Mark Barges are other names to note.

BCTG Avocats is ‘one of the very best names in France in the energy sector’. The 12-lawyer team has ‘deep industry knowledge’ and stands out for its ability to provide ‘a comprehensive view on issues’. The practice has leading regulatory expertise and gives very solid M&A advice. It acts for leading renewable energy operators, including EDF Energies Nouvelles, and is involved in the largest offshore and onshore wind projects in France. The practice is jointly led by Paul Elfassi, who is praised for ‘his skills and strong knowledge’; Catherine Dupuy-Burin des Roziers, who has a strong aptitude ‘for assessing and solving complex situations’; and Diane Mouratoglou, whose pragmatism and experience are key.

CGR Legal is highly regarded for its leading regulatory expertise in renewable energy in France, where it is handling some of the key offshore wind farm projects. It advises many energy operators and investors including La Compagnie du Vent. The practice recently assisted Eco Delta with the sale of its solar and maintenance businesses. Fabrice Cassin is a key name in France for regulatory and public law issues, and Hélène Gelas is also recommended. Also noteworthy are corporate and M&A partners Philippe Raybaud, who has ‘strong negotiating skills’, and Florence Trognon-Dumain, as well as tax expert Bertrand Galvez and Gilles Gassenbach, who handles litigation.

CMS has leading energy regulatory expertise in France. The firm advises power producers and operators and is involved in high-stakes litigation in the gas sector, where it is representing Engie in a landmark case questioning the legality of France’s regulated gas tariffs. The practice is also acting for Ailes Marines on the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm project. Christophe Barthélemy is highly recommended. Jean-Jacques Lecat handles oil and gas work in Africa.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has notable mandates acting for sponsors in large hydropower and mining projects in Africa. The firm is assisting the Government of Cameroon, EDF International, Rio Tinto Alcan and the International Finance Corporation in connection with the financing and development of the 420MW Nachtigal hydroelectric power project in Cameroon, and acting for Vale and VBG on the $10bn Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. The firm is also active in oil and gas and energy-related strategic M&A. Senior counsel Jean-Pierre Vignaud, Andrew Bernstein and Barthélemy Faye are the key contacts.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has leading regulatory expertise and also provides ‘high-quality advice and creative deal solutions’. The firm is able to work for all sides: leading energy producers and operators, investors and lenders. It handles strategic corporate transactions, litigation and development work, such as assisting Neoen with Cestas’ 300 MW photovoltaic solar project. The practice is led by Jean-Renaud Cazali, who focuses on the finance side, and the ‘very professional and pragmaticChristine Le Bihan-Graf. Corporate partners Patrick Jaïs and Thomas Bréart de Boisanger are also highly involved.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has ‘extensive knowledge of the oil and gas industry, and thorough knowledge of local legal subtleties’. The firm is regularly praised for its deep knowledge of Africa, where it is highly involved in the oil and gas and mining areas on behalf of sponsors. The sizeable team also handles work in France, particularly involving renewable energy. The range of expertise spans contracts, M&A and financing, where it produces ‘an excellent quality of work’. Recent highlights include assisting Mitsui with its investments in the Moatize coal mine project and Nacala corridor rail and port infrastructure project in Mozambique, and advising Tullow Oil on exploration opportunities in French Guiana. Bertrand Montembault heads the Paris energy and infrastructure group. Other key figures are Stéphane Brabant, who chairs the firm’s global African practice, the ‘tenacious’ Nina Bowyer, Leïla Hubeaut and Rebecca Major.

Holman Fenwick Willan France LLP has leading oil and gas expertise, encompassing upstream, midstream and downstream matters in France (and its overseas territories) and Africa. The practice advises some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. It recently handled strategic work regarding the sale of fuel stations in France. The team is also assisting Esso Guyane Française Exploration and Production with the negotiation of an exclusive hydrocarbons exploration licence. Robert Follie is in charge of the firm’s worldwide oil and gas practice. Franck Bernauer, who joined from Fidal, and Hugues de La Forge, who arrived from Jeantet AARPI have substantial experience in project work relating to Africa.

King & Spalding LLP has ‘a high-quality team, is dedicated and used to handling complex deals’. Headed by Mehdi Haroun, the practice has ‘excellent knowledge of North Africa’, where it is top-notch for oil and gas work. The firm is involved in leading Algerian projects, such as assisting Dragon Oil regarding its upstream gas interests in Algeria. The practice is also handling high-profile work in renewable energy, where it is advising DONG Energy on a 1,500MW offshore wind project in France. Arbitration partner Ken Fleuriet and counsel and public law expert Ruxandra Lazar are other names to note.

Norton Rose Fulbright runs a ‘very good renewables project financing practice in France advising lenders’ and has ‘very deep and vast knowledge of regulatory developments concerning renewables in France’. The firm is also highly involved in representing energy sponsors in M&A, financing and project development in France and Africa. The team has been assisting the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy with the development and financing of the 200MW NOORo II and 150MW NOORo III solar projects. Engie and Total are also clients. Anne Lapierre heads the firm’s EMEA energy practice. Also recommended are: Arnaud Bélisaire, who is ‘insightful and risk oriented’, and of counsel Véronique Bruel, who is ‘extremely sharp and quick’. The firm also handles mining-related work in Africa – Poupak Bahamin heads the mining and natural resources practice.

Orrick Rambaud Martel ranks among the leading players for large energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa, where it assists states and sponsors. It is handling instructions in some of Africa’s largest hydro, biomass and LNG projects, notably including advising the Ministry of Energy of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the 4,800MW Inga 3 hydropower project. It is also active in oil and gas, including assisting Etablissements Maurel & Prom with projects in Gabon and France, and also handles energy projects in France and its overseas territories. Key figures in the practice include Yves Lepage, who is deputy head of the firm’s global energy and infrastructure practice, and Pascal Agboyibor, who heads the Africa practice. Jean-Luc Champy and of counsel Olivier Mélédo are also names to note.

Shearman & Sterling LLP represents sponsors in the development of some of Africa’s largest mining projects and has strong expertise in oil and gas, areas in which Christophe Asselineau leads the team. Guinea Alumina Corporation, Sundance Resources and Marathon Oil Corporation are clients. The firm is also developing its presence in renewable energy projects in Europe through Pierre-Nicolas Ferrand. It recently represented GDF Suez, CDC and NGE in a large-scale geothermal power plant project designed to provide electricity to the Dominican Republic.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP is ‘highly competent and very knowledgeable’ in the renewable energy sector, where it has strong experience of advising international investors and lenders on the financing and M&A aspects of French renewable projects. It notably assisted EFG Hermes’ private equity arm on the €160m acquisition of a 49% stake in EDP Renewables France. Practice head Vincent Trévisani has ‘good industry knowledge’ and is ‘very good at seeing the full picture’. Finance expert Laurence Martinez-Bellet is ‘most experienced in negotiating facility agreements’, and the ‘extremely responsive’ Laurent Battoue is recommended for public law aspects. Guillaume Ansaloni recently joined from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés.

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