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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Industry focus: energy
  2. Other recommended firms

Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP ranks among the market’s top firms for large international power projects in Africa. Current mandates include assisting the government of Benin with a power purchase and concession agreement for a combined 1,200MW gas-fired power project, as well as acting for the lenders on the €4.2bn financing of three natural gas power plants in Egypt. The practice also advises major energy producers on M&A. Alexandre Ancel, Rod Cork, Christine Poyer-Rufenacht and Adrian Mellor are the key names in the practice. Tim Scales relocated to London.

Clifford Chance has ‘excellent’ expertise and is particularly recommended for high-profile projects. The firm often advises export credit agencies and commercial lenders on the financing of large African power projects – such as the financing of the 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project in Nigeria – and also routinely assists state entities. It is handling energy projects in France and Europe, and is particularly active in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. Highlights included advising the Maltese government on the development and financing of a 215MW gas-fired power plant and an LNG storage and degasification facility. Anthony Giustini, the ‘very responsive and highly knowledgeable’ Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib and public law expert David Préat are leading market figures. Delphine Siino Courtin, ‘dealmaker’ Benjamin de Blegiers and Richard Tomlinson are also recommended.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. is particularly active in Africa where the firm advises on conventional electricity and renewable energy – notably including hydropower projects – for energy producers and project sponsors. The team is assisting EGL and the three contracting states in the African Great Lakes region with the 147MW Ruzizi III hydropower plant. John Crothers, François Krotoff and Stéphane Vernay are strongly recommended. Michel Guénaire is a reference for regulatory work in France, where he is representing several electricity distributors including Enedis, URM, RMMS de la Réole in a mass litigation involving a large number of photovoltaic energy producers. Meridiam, EDF and Areva are also clients.

Linklaters ranks among the market’s leading practices for energy projects in France and Africa. The department is involved in greenfield and brownfield renewable energy projects in France – often for the sponsors – and is also advising on major electricity interconnection projects. Engie turns to the practice for sensitive regulatory issues. In Africa, the team is advising on major renewable energy and conventional power projects. It is assisting Platinum Power with five hydroelectric projects in Ivory Coast and Cameroon. Glencore and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are also clients. Bertrand Andriani, François April and public law expert Paul Lignières are the key figures, with counsel Mark Barges being another name to note.

The ‘excellentOrrick Rambaud Martel has ‘high-level expertise’, shows ‘a complete sector understanding’ and ‘listens to its clients and puts itself in theirs shoes’. The firm is involved in some of the largest hydropower projects in Africa and is representing Golar in one of the first floating LNG facility developments in Africa (located off the coast of Cameroon). Beyond hydropower, other renewable energy work includes assisting the Malian government with the development of two photovoltaic plants. The practice is jointly headed by Yves Lepage and Pascal Agboyibor, who has ‘extensive experience and shows a fine understanding of international and local issues at stake for his clients’. Simon Ratledge, who joined from Simmons & Simmons LLP, has ‘great experience of African projects’. The firm also handles high-profile regulatory and energy project work in France through senior counsel Noël Chahid-Nouraï and Jean-Luc Champy.

BCTG Avocats is a key player in French renewable energy. The firm has top regulatory and litigation expertise and is involved in some of the country’s largest wind farm projects; it also handles sector M&A. EDF Energies Nouvelles is a cornerstone client, with other clients including Verdesis and Eren. The practice is led by Catherine Dupuy-Burin des Roziers, Diane Mouratoglou and Paul Elfassi, who ranks among the best in his field.

CMS has ‘top-level regulatory expertise’ and produces ‘excellent work’. The practice advises many electricity and gas producers and operators on strategic matters, including disputes before the energy authority (CRE) and in administrative courts. It is representing Engie before the European Court of Justice regarding France’s natural gas tariffs. Renewable energy is another area of expertise. GRTgaz and Ailes Marines are clients. The ‘brilliant’ Christophe Barthélemy delivers ‘in-depth, quality work’. Jean-Jacques Lecat handles some Africa-related mandates.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei has been advising Areva NP during its sale to EDF. The firm also advises banks and developers on the regulatory, financing and M&A aspects of renewable energy projects in France. Christine Le Bihan-Graf is a ‘very good’ regulatory expert. Finance expert Jean-Renaud Cazali is also recommended along with corporate partner Patrick Jaïs.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has ‘a very experienced team, with an international mindset that provides very solid work and constructive advice’. The practice has ‘in-depth knowledge of the renewables sector’, where it advises lenders and sponsors on hydroelectric and other projects in France and Africa. It notably assisted EDF, the IFC and the government of Cameroon with Nachtigal’s 420MW hydroelectric power plant. Mining is another key area of strength, in which the practice recently advised China Molybdenum with the $2.65bn acquisition of Freeport’s indirect 56% interest in Tenke Fungurume in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Christophe Lefort now heads the practice, following the relocation of Bertrand Montembault to Johannesburg. Stéphane Brabant co-chairs the firm’s Africa practice; Leïla Hubeaut and Rebecca Major are other names to note.

King & Spalding LLP is highly recommended for oil and gas topics in North Africa and Francophone Africa. The ‘highly professional’ practice has ‘excellent knowledge of the Algerian energy industry and is well connected within the country’. It acts for oil and gas companies in Algeria’s key matters, such as representing Dea Erdoel with upstream developments in the Reggane gas field. In France, the practice is handling litigation relating to mining and oil and gas, as well as handling an offshore wind project for DONG Energy. Practice head Mehdi Haroun ‘provides very practical advice, and knows the legal and professional environment in Algeria well’. Also recommended are French public law counsel Ruxandra Lazar, whose ‘mining permit experience is a major asset’, and associate Nora Djeraba.

LPA-CGR has leading renewable energy regulatory expertise. The firm is involved in several of France’s largest offshore wind farms, including assisting Iberdrola, Eole Res and Areva with Saint-Brieuc’s offshore wind project call for tender. The practice also has financing and corporate expertise. Compagnie du Vent is another client. Fabrice Cassin ranks among the top experts in his field. Hélène Gelas is another key contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright is a leading player in the renewable energy field, where the firm advises sponsors and banks on the largest projects in France and Africa. Recent work includes acting for Impax on the sale of 11 French wind farms. The practice is also increasingly involved in large power projects in Africa, such as advising ContourGlobal on the two-stage financing of a combined cycle power plant in Cap des Biches, Senegal. BNP Paribas, the IFC and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy are also clients. Anne Lapierre heads the firm’s EMEA-wide practice, with Arnaud Bélisaire being co-head of the Paris team. Of counsels Véronique Bruel and Thomas Rabain are also key contributors. The firm recently hired Christophe Asselineau from Shearman & Sterling LLP; he has great experience across Africa, energy and mining matters.

Ravetto Associés shows ‘real expertise and great knowledge of the market’s different stakeholders’. The ‘highly available and efficient’ team ‘masters specific or complex litigations before the regulatory authorities and the judicial and administrative courts’. The practice assists a broad range of electricity, nuclear, renewable energy, and oil and gas players. It assisted Solaire Prime with purchasing a majority stake in the 300MW Cestas solar plant and assisted Bpifrance following its investment in Neoen. The practice is led by Paul Ravetto, whose ‘expertise is highly valuable’, Patrick Labayle-Pabet and Guillaume de Rubercy. Anne-Laure Proisy was promoted to partner.

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