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  1. Projects and energy – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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In a recent highlight for Allen & Overy Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho, an ECA and a group of lenders appointed its projects and energy team to advise on the development and financing of a major FLNG project in Africa. Meanwhile, practice co-head Matthias Voss has been handling the BOT scheme for the expansion of an ultra-supercritical power plant in Central Jawa, Indonesia. Voss spearheads the team with Scott Neilson, who collaborated with senior associate Akira Takahashi and the firm's Hong Kong office to assist a group of commercial lenders with a loan to a private corporation and leading concessionaire in the Philippines water sector. Key clients include JBIC, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and the EBRD. Counsel Kristian Bradshaw has left the firm to take up an in-house position at INPEX.

The projects and energy offering at Herbert Smith Freehills fields corporate, dispute resolution, financing and construction specialists to provide a full-service practice to an enviable client roster. Andrew Blacoe and senior associate James Hearne advised Mitsui on its acquisition of a 15% interest in the Moatize coal mine and a 50% interest in the Nacala corridor rail and port infrastructure project from Vale. Meanwhile, Asia corporate head Lewis McDonald is representing a major Japanese conglomerate in the designing, procurement and operation of an LNG terminal in Northern America. In other highlights, Damien Roberts is advising a Japanese-led consortium in its bid for a high-speed railway project in South East Asia, and Christopher Hunt acted for a number of blue-chip clients across a range of disputes. Also of note are senior associate William Lapthorn, who has substantial experience in the oil and gas and LNG space, and senior associate Glen McAskill recently joined the firm from King & Spalding.

The projects team at King & Spalding represents a client roster filled with heavyweight names, such as Mitsui, Marubeni, Mitsubishi and JBIC, in conventional and renewable power mandates. Recently joined by senior advisor Ryuichi Kaga from the Asian Development Bank, the group is overseeing the development and project financing of an FPSO vessel in offshore Brazil and the charter of the vessel to Petrobras under a long-term contract. John McClenahan and senior associate Daisuke Shimodaira – who arrived from EY Law Co. – led the advice to Posco-Daewoo on the negotiation of FEED and construction contracts for the procurement of a sub-sea expansion project for the Shwe Gas project in Myanmar. Elsewhere in the team, Mark Davies assisted the Tokyu Land Corporation and Japan Wind Development with the development of several wind power projects.

The Asian Development Bank, JBIC, Marubeni and SMBC regularly instruct Latham & Watkins Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise's project finance and development team, led by Joseph Bevash. Michael Yoshii was part of the team which assisted the lenders with a $3.35bn financing of a coal-fired power project expansion in Indonesia, while counsel Richard Fleming advised Meralco Powergen as sponsor in the financing of a 1,200MW coal-fired power project in the Philippines. Also notable is Hiroki Kobayashi, who represented JERA's acquisition of a 50% interest in Linden Cogen, the owner and operator of a natural gas-fired thermal power plant in the US. On the infrastructure side, associate Tom Wilson acted for JBIC in the $2.73bn financing for the Nacala Railway Corridor project between Mozambique and Malawi.

The 'excellent' project and energy offering at Linklaters is noted for its 'ability to supply the full range of services' and its 'deep bench'. Jointly led by John Maxwell and counsel Zenya Onishi, the team has a strong track record in the renewable energy space and represents clients such as MUFG Bank, Mizuho, SMBC and Nomura in the financing of large-scale solar and wind projects. The group has acted for Mitsui and Tokyo Gas with regards to the development of LNG assets and the negotiation of commercial contracts. Other key contacts include corporate expert Hiroya Yamazaki and Hirofumi Taba who recently assisted JBIC and NEXI with the financing of the Nacala rail and port project in Africa and the Yamal LNG project.

Aled Davies sits at the helm of Milbank's projects and energy team with the support of special counsel Justen Fleming. The pair recently acted for a consortium in its bid for an LNG-related infrastructure project, which included a carrier, a floating regasification unit, feeder barges and a pipeline. Davies is also part of a multi-jurisdictional team currently advising a project company with the financing for a constellation of satellites designed to provide global broadband service. Further names to note include senior associate Andrew Pendleton, who counselled infrastructure investors in their involvement in a high-speed rail project in the US, and associate Anthony Scott, who assisted JBIC and a number of commercial banks with their financing of a methanol and dimethyl ether production plant in Trinidad and Tobago. Daniel Lin left the firm to join Sidley Austin Nishikawa Foreign Law Joint Enterprise.

Morrison & Foerster LLP's projects and energy offering fields a team of project finance experts and experienced bengoshi capable of covering the full spectrum of projects work including development and M&A. On the conventional power front, Michael Graffagna teamed up with the corporate team to represent JERA as the lead investor in a 1,100MW natural gas-fired thermal power generation project in New York, as well as in the sale of a minority shareholding in Cricket Valley to existing investor DBJ. Dale Caldwell acted for a bidder in its proposed acquisition of a portfolio of Latin America-based IPP projects, gas compression stations and a gas pipeline, while finance specialist Masahiro Shiga advised on a number of solar power project developments. Another key name to note is Joshua Isenberg, who specialises in financing mandates in the renewables sector.

White & Case LLP - White & Case Law Offices (Registered Association) 'knows the projects industry inside out' and holds 'excellent expertise in the LNG business' where the 'well-experienced' Alexander Woody is known for his 'insightful advice'. Team leader Paul Harrison recently advised Saudi Aramco on the development and financing of an integrated refined petrochemical complex in Malaysia, and also collaborated with the London team to represent the lenders in the high-value financing of a gas liquefaction facility in Africa. Micah Sadoyama acted for JERA in the acquisition of its wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Trading's coal and freight business. Also notable is Karl Pires, who comes highly recommended by clients, and Toshio Dokei, who assisted Vale and Mitsui with the development of its landmark Nacala Corridor railways and port project, and also handled the financing, EPC contracts and services agreements in relation to the Ikitelli health campus PPP project in Turkey. Keisuke Imon was promoted to partner and associate Joey Chan arrived from Ashurst.

Ashurst's Matthew Rickards recently advised Sojitz on its investment in the Turkish health campus PPP project in Turkey with the support of recently promoted partner Anna Hermelin, who is also advising the governments of Malaysia and Singapore on the troubled high-speed railway project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Senior associate David McCormick was part of the team which assisted lenders with the $622m financing of a gas-fired combined cycle power project in Thailand, and finance specialist Dominic Gregory led the advice to Caribbean Gas Chemical on the financing and development of a methanol plant and associated dimethyl ether production facility in Trinidad and Tobago. Matthew Bubb relocated to the firm's Melbourne office, while Rupert Burrows departed to join Mayer Brown.

Under the leadership of Anne Hung, Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) fields a dedicated team focusing on energy, mining and infrastructure mandates from a wide range of Japanese clients. Naoaki Eguchi and Tsutomu Kobayashi recently led the advice to Fukushima Gas Power and its sponsors on the development and financing of a natural gas-fired power project, while Pierre Chiasson teamed up with Gavin Raftery to assist Pacifico Energy with the development, construction, financing and sale of a solar power project in Okayama. Other key contacts include of counsel Samir Desai, who acted in a corporate transaction pertaining to the operation and maintenance of submarine power transmission assets in Germany, and Ean Mac Pherson, who along with counsel Toshio Sasaki handled Conergy's purchase, development and sale of a solar project.

The international law expertise of Ross Howard and Yusuke Abe 's knowledge of Japanese law enables Clifford Chance Law Office to advise on both inbound and outbound mandates in the projects space. The pair recently collaborated with Akihiko Takamatsu to represent VINCI in its bid with ORIX and Kansai Airports for a 42-year concession connected to the privatisation of Kobe airport. In other highlights, Eiichi Kanda acted for a Japanese investment firm in its disposal of a stake in Japan Renewable Energy to entities by GIC, while recently made up Hans Menski and senior associate Dan Park (who recently transferred from the Seoul office) advised lenders on the financing for the development of a large-scale coal-fired IPP in South East Asia.

Joseph Kim heads the project and energy team at Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo which was recently instructed by a group of Philippine banks to oversee the financing of the second 668MW unit of GNPower Dinginin's supercritical coal-fired power plant in the Bataan Province. Kim also led the advice to Exelon on its joint venture with JAPC to advance nuclear operations around the world. Senior associate Ryan Russell is also a key contact and supported a team, which included corporate partner Lisa Yano, in assisting a major international energy company with the financing, acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of several large-scale offshore wind farms. Project financing specialist Sean Conaty has been promoted to partner and the client-recommended senior associate Michael Lynch has returned from secondment.

The projects and energy practice at Norton Rose Fulbright is primarily focused on offshore and shipping projects in the energy sector. Head of the Tokyo office George Gibson and Paul Coggins recently acted as part of a cross-office, multi-disciplinary team representing Mitsui in its acquisition of a participation in the Maersk fleet of refined oil tankers. Elsewhere, senior associate Andrew Clarke teamed up with Gibson to assist a leading corporate entity and a South American contractor with their bid for the procurement of a large-scale desalination plant. In another highlight, project finance specialist Julien Bocobza led the advice to the utility provider of a petrochemical complex, and its sponsors, regarding the expansion of its water steam and power plant in the Middle East. Bocobza, who recently relocated to Tokyo from London, is currently on secondment with JBIC. Jeremy Gibb retired from the partnership and moved into a consultant role within the practice.

In April 2018 Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP welcomed James Atkin as the new global co-head of its oil and gas practice. The former managing partner of Vinson & Elkins LLP now heads the Tokyo projects and energy group with renewable energy specialist Yoichi Katayama and cross-border projects expert Minako Wakabayashi. Pattern Development and Green Power Investments appointed the group to handle the sale of 206MW of owned capacity in Japanese wind and solar projects to Pattern Energy, and to advise on the financing of a number of large-scale wind power projects across the country. On the solar side, senior associate Reiko Saito and managing associate Kentaro Shoji were part of the team that advised Invenergy Japan GK on its partnership with SB Energy for the joint development, financing, construction and operation of two new solar projects in Japan. Yuko Inui and Jae-Hyon Ahn were promoted to of counsel and are key names to note.

One client describes working with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP's projects practitioners as 'having an extension of your own arm: they know what clients expect, they virtually operate as in-house counsel and have a deep understanding of their clients' business cultures'; managing partner Anthony Raven and 'diligent and timely' financing specialist Olivia Matsushita 'are the best of representation of this'. Raven co-heads the team with head of financing Simon Barrett, who is 'highly reliable, precise and always punctual'. The pair recently defended Mitsubishi and several of its US subsidiaries in ICC arbitration proceedings which sought in excess of $7bn arising from the alleged failure of components manufactured and supplied to the San Onofre nuclear station. On the LNG front, the team was instructed in the negotiation of purchasing agreements, project financing issues and assisted a major Asian contractor with sanction issues surrounding petrochemical and power project in Iran. In other highlights, SoftBank appointed the group to oversee a strategic investment in the mining sector through the purchase of shares in a Toronto lithium mining company, and the team also acted for a Japanese utility in its acquisition of interests in a US interconnector and battery storage complex as well as its takeover of a power station in Michigan.

Shearman & Sterling's George Borovas holds considerable expertise in the nuclear sector and recently advised the government of Egypt on the development of the El Dabaa nuclear project; he was supported by Etienne Gelencsér who specialises in finance transactions and corporate mandates. Japan Nuclear Fuel appointed the team to oversee its undertaking to subscribe to a share capital increase of €250m in New Areva Holdings, which consolidates all of Areva's nuclear fuel cycle assets, while JBIC, NEXI and Mizuho engaged the practice to advise on the development and financing of the 350MW solar project in Andhra Pradesh, India. Other key clients include Marubeni, DBJ and Itochu.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acts both for Japanese clients involved in projects work abroad and international clients with interests in the Japanese project market. In recent highlights, Edward Cole and counsel Tomoko Nakajima represented Spanish solar developer and operator X-ELIO Energy in the development and financing of three separate solar IPP projects in Japan, while senior legal consultant Kentaro Tsuboi advised JBIC on its loan to the government of Ecuador for the development of several energy-efficient projects as part of Japan's GREEN initiative. Also notable are counsel Lukas Kratochvil who – as part of a cross-office team – assisted Rosneft with its joint venture with Pertamina for the construction of an oil refinery in Indonesia, and Takeshi Nakao, who handled a Japanese utility's investment in a South East Asian offshore gas field.

Jones Day's projects and energy offering has a strong track record in the domestic renewable energy market, especially in the solar sector where Katsumi Shirai 's team is regularly instructed by international investors and developers to advise on projects in Japan. Of counsel Hirokazu Ina is currently advising Gunkul on a proposed investment in a 66.78MW solar project in Utsunomiya, while Shirai and of counsel Makiko Ushijima are assisting Fujisaki with the development of a bamboo biomass project and the related financing transactions. Other key clients include Ambit Energy, Bangkok Solar Power and Idemitsu Kosan.

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