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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Project finance: advice to lender
  2. Project finance: advice to sponsor
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Renewable and alternative energy specialist Edward Zaelke heads Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s practice, which welcomed John Marciano to its Washington DC office in May 2016, offsetting the loss of tax expert David Burton to Mayer Brown in May 2016. The department, which is particularly strong in the renewable energy space, frequently handles tax equity investments: Zaelke, who is based in Los Angeles, advised Sustainable Power Group on the construction financing and tax equity financing of the 60MW Latigo wind farm in San Juan County, Utah, and on the tax equity financing of the 80MW Pioneer wind farm in Wyoming. On the equity investment side, Zaelke acted for Northleaf Capital on its $85m investment in a portfolio of solar and wind projects being developed by APEX Energy in Texas. He also assisted Edison Energy and SoCore Energy with their acquisition of a portfolio of solar projects in Minnesota from SunEdison, which was complicated by SunEdison’s bankruptcy. The firm is also active in conventional power: the Los Angeles-based Dino Barajas acted for Diamond Generating on its $780m purchase of a 50% stake in a 925MW power project in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Other clients include AES Wind, PFMG Solar and Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘very quick’ team attracts praise for its ‘good business sense’ and ability to ‘adhere to tight deadlines’ on large-scale projects while ‘maintaining excellent, personalised service’. The team is active across a wide range of projects, including oil and gas, conventional power, renewable, transport and infrastructure projects. ‘Top negotiator’ David Slade, who is based in Washington DC, is noted for his ‘ability to manage large client groups’; he heads the practice with the New York-based Kent Rowey. On the lender side, Rowey advised Export-Import Bank of the United States on the $471m financing of Kingsbridge’s procurement, construction, launch and operation of three new satellites. Sami Mir is ‘an industrious, talented negotiator’ and ‘excellent draftsman’ who ‘understands what drives lenders’ and can ‘negotiate complex issues’; he advised a group of lenders including OPIC and Standard Chartered Bank on the financing of Oma Power Generation’s 500MW power plant in Nigeria. On the sponsor side, the New York-based Dorina Yessios, who has particular experience in projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, advised Shikun & Binui on the financing, construction and operation of the $500m Perimetral de Cundinamarca 4G road concession in Colombia.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is strong on both the lender and the sponsor side, with an emphasis on conventional power and renewable energy. The team, which is headed by Timothy Unger, prides itself on its lender-side work in Latin America: Vera Rechsteiner acted for a syndicate of Panamanian, Guatemalan and Belizean banks on their $95m loan to Grupo Santander in Guatemala, part of which was for the design, building, maintenance and operation of its 16MW sugar cane cogeneration facility. The practice is also active on the sponsor side, and advised Bordas Renewable Energy on the development of various Texas wind farms; Stephanie Kroger also acted for Apex Clean Energy on the financing and development of a wind project and a solar project both based in Texas. The firm was joined in Houston by Charlie Ofner and Christopher Richardson, from in-house at Oasis Petroleum and Mubadala Petroleum, respectively, while George Pavlenishvili joined in New York from Reed Smith LLP. Peter del Vecchio left to join Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in April 2016. Since publication, Todd Culwell has joined Reed Smith LLP in Houston.

Ashurst LLP’s New York-based team is led by Andrew Fraiser, an infrastructure expert who joined in August 2016 from Allen & Overy LLP. Transport and infrastructure are particular strengths of the firm; Fraiser advised the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion Board of Authority on a PPP project with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to establish permanent flood protection measures for the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area, a mandate that constituted the first flood-diversion channel in North America to be procured as a PPP. The practice regularly handles sponsor-side matters – Radford and Doug Bird advised Balfour Beatty Investments and Skanska Infrastructure Development on its bid for the $725m I-285/SR 400 reconstruction project in Atlanta, Georgia – and is growing its footprint on the lender side. Lender-side highlights for Radford and Bird included advising Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the financing of the $66m State Street redevelopment project in Indiana. Other lender clients include Wells Fargo Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. PPP specialist Vincent Casey joined the New York office from Nixon Peabody LLP in October 2016, while Charles Williams left to establish a boutique firm in September 2016. Jason Radford relocated to the London office.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s project finance group acts for a predominantly sponsor-side client base and is especially strong in the renewable energy space. The Chicago-based José Morán heads the practice, which was strengthened by the arrivals of renewables specialists Evelyn Kim and senior associate Jennifer Layfield, who joined the San Francisco office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in March 2016. The New York-based Mark Tibberts acted for Greenleaf Energy Holding on its sale of subsidiaries that owned two Northern California gas-fired power plants, to an affiliate of Starwood Energy. Other renewable energy clients include Solar Reserve. Conventional power is another area of strength for the firm: James O’Brien, who is based in Chicago, advised J-POWER USA on its acquisition from Dyson of the remaining interests in the 1.35GW Elwood power project, making J-POWER the project’s sole owner. Tibberts acted for Ohio Valley Electric Corporation on the refinancing of $100m-worth of bonds that had been issued by the Indiana Finance Authority and the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority to finance flue-gas desulphurisation facilities at OVEC’s power plants. Other clients include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and farmer-owned cooperative CHS. Clyde Rankin in New York, Mona Dajani in Chicago and Natalie Regoli in Houston are also recommended.

Bracewell LLP’s practice is led out of New York and Houston and is particularly active on the sponsor side. Oil and gas has traditionally been a specialism of the firm: Robin Miles and Thomas Tomlinson advised Yuhuang Chemical on the financing and development of a $1.85bn methanol project in Louisiana, and on the lender side, the New York-based Ron Erlichman acted for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on the multimillion-dollar financing of a methanol facility to be disassembled overseas and reconstructed in the US. In the midstream space, Tomlinson and Alan Rafte assisted ArcLight Capital Partners with the financing of the Trans-Union Pipeline and advised the company on acquiring the pipeline from Entegra Power Group. In addition to its oil and gas credentials, the practice is also active in conventional power and renewables. Jessica Adkins, who is based in Houston, assisted First Reserve with a 20-year hedge arrangement with Morgan Stanley to help acquire and finance the 298MW Kingfisher wind farm in Oklahoma, while Tomlinson advised Rockland Capital on the $263m term and project financing of the 125MW Michigan Power project. Other clients include South Field Energy, Arroyo Energy Investment Partners, Noble Energy and Great Plains Energy. Oil and gas specialist Stuart Zisman is also recommended.

Particularly strong on the sponsor side, the New York-based department at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advises clients on various kinds of projects, including oil and gas, conventional power, renewable and transport. In an illustration of its strength in Latin America practice, Richard Cooper and Adam Brenneman assisted Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority with the financing and development of a $500m offshore LNG port, while Jorge Juantorena advised Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares and the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation on a $2bn bond offering to finance the construction and development of the new Mexico City international airport, which is set to replace Benito Juárez International Airport. The ‘extremely reliable’ Jeffrey Lewis advised Pluspetrol on the development and downstream financing elements of the Camisea gas fields project in Peru. On the lender and investor side, Chantal Kordula acted for First Reserve Corporation on its acquisition and $215m financing of the 130MW La Bufa wind farm in Zacatecas, Mexico. Other clients include Oaktree Capital Management, Comisión Federal de Electricidad and the Brazilian Development Bank. Richard Lincer is also recommended.

Clifford Chance’s ‘fantastic’ department is commended for its ‘impressive industry knowledge’ and for its ‘unparalleled levels of commitment and responsiveness’. Projects based in Latin America and Africa are a particular strength, and the firm’s lender-side practice is formidable. Gianluca Bacchiocchi and senior associate Guido Liniado (who are noted for their ‘perfect combination of knowledge, work ethic and commerciality’ and for their ‘incredibly good understanding of counterparty’s concerns’) advised Goldman Sachs as arranger, and a group of senior lenders including Bancolombia, on the debt financing of three toll road projects in Colombia, together worth $965m. Lori Bean has been very active on Africa-based projects: she assisted OPIC, Standard Bank and Nedbank with the $500m financing of a 192MW power plant in Ghana, advised OPIC on $400m-worth of financings pertaining to wind projects in Kenya, and acted for the same client again on the $857m financing of a solar project in South Africa. In an illustration of the practice’s work for sponsors, David Evans assisted Matelec Group with the financing of the $134m Tobene power project in Senegal, and Fabricio Longhin advised Graña y Montero on the $200m part-financing of the Gasoducto Sur Peruano project. Closer to home, Evans acted for Samchully Asset Management on its $609m equity investment in an Ohio gas-gathering system.

DLA Piper LLP (US) significantly expanded its project finance practice in 2016 with the recruitment of Timothy Moran, Philip Corsello and Vanessa Wilson from Sidley Austin LLP; Gregory Smith from Allen & Overy LLP; and Charles Carroll, who joined from Terra-Gen Power. The ‘highly experienced’, New York-based Joseph Tato leads the ‘excellent’ team, which is active on the lender and the sponsor side and has been especially busy with conventional power, renewables and water projects. Developing countries in Africa and Latin America are a specialism of the practice: Smith, an expert in emerging markets, acted for the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration on their financing of Energía Eólica de Honduras’ Cerro de Hula wind project in Honduras. On the sponsor side, the Miami-based John Murphy advised Concesionaria Vial del Pacifico as concessionaire, and Corficolombiana and Iridium as sponsors, on the financing of Colombia’s $1.2bn, 50km Conexión Pacifico 1 highway PPP project. Ghana and Argentina are other active jurisdictions for the team, which has also handled domestic mandates including Moran’s advice to Exelon Generation on the $250m tax equity financing of Oklahoma’s 198MW Bluestem wind project.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s New York-based practice is particularly strong in infrastructure and PPP matters. Ivan Mattei and senior counsel Douglas Buchanan head the practice with strong support from counsel Armando Rivera Jacobo. On the equity investment side, Maurizio Levi-Minzi acted for Brookfield Business Partners on its $768m purchase of a 70% stake in Odebrecht Ambiental, Brazil’s largest private water distribution and treatment company. Other clients include Meridiam Infrastructure, Footprint Power, Mitsui and the US Department of Energy. Corporate energy partner Sarah Fitts is also recommended, as is counsel Michael McGuigan.

Particularly active in the renewable energy space, Foley & Lardner LLP’s department is headed by energy experts Jason Allen, Jeffery Atkin and tax expert John Eliason, who are based in Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Washington DC respectively. The team acts for lenders, investors and sponsors on a range of projects, though it is especially experienced in tax equity financings for renewable energy projects involving production tax credits, investment tax credits and US Treasury grant programs. Atkin and David Markey assisted NRG Energy with the tax equity and debt financing of a large portfolio of commercial and industrial solar projects, and, along with Allen, advised GCL Solar Energy on the acquisition, financing and development of 90MW-worth of solar projects in North Carolina. The practice also assists clients with financing power plants for municipal utilities, handles bond financings and negotiates power purchase agreements. Lender clients include U.S. Bank, PNC and M&T Bank; Canadian Solar and Exelon Generation are sponsor clients.

Melissa Raciti-Knapp and Lisa O’Brien lead Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s New York-based practice, which acts for lenders and sponsors on a wide range of energy and infrastructure projects. Raciti-Knapp, who advises on projects in various jurisdictions with an emphasis on Latin America, was notably active in the telecoms and transport infrastructure space: she assisted Overseas Private Investment Corporation with its $253m financing of Avantel’s deployment of a 4G LTE network in six Colombian cities, and advised the same client on its $336m financing of a network of cell-phone towers and associated infrastructure across Myanmar, with Apollo Towers Myanmar as sponsor. On the sponsor side, Raciti-Knapp assisted Abertis Infraestructuras with transport infrastructure financing, and advised Ferroviaria Oriental on the development of a port in Rosario, Argentina. The practice frequently handles large US projects: O’Brien acted for the Colorado Department of Transportation on the bid and selection process for the $1.1bn I-70 East PPP project, and Raciti-Knapp continued to advise KfW IPEX-Bank on the $400m development financing of the Mississippi Silicon smelter plant. Other lender clients include ArcLight Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and RBS.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s project finance practice is especially active in the energy space, within which conventional power and oil and gas are areas of particular activity. The Miami-based Miguel Zaldivar heads the department, which is especially busy on the sponsor side: José Luis Vittor, who is based in Houston, advised PetroAmazonas on a contract with Schlumberger that will see the latter invest $4.9bn in production-enhancing measures at an upstream facility in Ecuador; and Keith Larson in Washington DC advised Venture Global LNG on the development and financing of two $4.5bn LNG export projects. The practice also has a burgeoning multilateral lender workload, particularly in the Washington DC office: Larson advised lenders including BDO Unibank, China Banking Corporation and Development Bank of the Philippines on the financing of the $1.1bn, 668MW Luzon Island power project in the Philippines, and acted for lenders including Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Bank of the Philippine Islands and Security Bank Corporation on the financing of the $1.1bn, 554MW Mindinao Island power project. The Washington DC team is also advising lenders across several European jurisdictions on the privatisation of an Armenian power project. Mike Matheou, Brian Chappell and David Locascio are also recommended, and are based in New York, Baltimore and Houston, respectively.

Jeffrey Schroeder heads Hunton & Williams LLP’s department, which predominantly acts for lenders and investors. Ryan Ketchum (who is based in London), John Beardsworth and Ellis Butler advised Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, a Nigerian state-owned energy purchasing company, on a $1.8bn power purchase agreement with 14 contractors of solar projects that have an aggregate capacity of 1,125MW; this constitutes the largest procurement of photovoltaic energy in Africa to date. In an illustration of the firm’s capital markets capability, the New York-based Michael Fitzpatrick acted for Barclays Capital and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith as bookrunning managers on Oncor Electric Delivery’s $175m bond offering. Fitzpatrick was assisted by energy capital markets specialist Adam O’Brian, who made counsel at the New York office in November 2016. On the equity side, New York-based partners Bud Ellis and Steven Friend advised the underwriters on The Southern Company’s offering of nearly 33 million shares, a capital raise intended to partially finance its 50% acquisition of Southern Natural Gas. Eric Pogue is also recommended. February 2016 saw PPP expert David Horner join from Allen & Overy LLP. Project finance expert Michael Klaus was promoted to counsel. All lawyers mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Philip Weems and Ken Culotta are the Houston-based heads of King & Spalding LLP’s department, which has a strong oil and gas focus and is particularly adept at handling LNG projects. Daniel Rogers acted for SeaOne Caribbean on the $3bn development and associated financing of a facility in Mississippi for the production and delivery of compressed gas liquids to the Caribbean. Culotta advised Quebec LNG on the development and financing of a multibillion-dollar LNG export project in Canada, and acted for Floridian Gas Storage on financing an LNG storage facility to serve southern Florida. Other clients include Magnum Energy, Mountaineer NGLs, NextDecade Pipeline and Haddington Energy Partners IV. In an illustration of the practice’s workload outside of the oil and gas space, the Charlotte-based Todd Holleman assisted Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company with financing the construction and operation of an $850m football stadium to replace the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Atlanta-based Hector Llorens acted for the lead arranger on the financing of a sugar refinery. The New York office was bolstered in November 2016 by the arrival of Brian Betancourt from Alston & Bird LLP and counsel Brandon Dalling from Latham & Watkins LLP. In February 2017, project finance expert David Runnels joined the Houston office from Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP.

The ‘very constructive and professional’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP is strong on both the lender and the sponsor side, with work for the former set of clients on power and renewables sector financings a particular highlight in 2016. Jeffrey Greenberg (‘a superstar’) assisted Morgan Stanley Senior Funding with the $1.2bn debt refinancing of the Linden cogeneration project, while the ‘proactive and problem-solvingAmy Maloney, who is praised for her ‘in-depth knowledge of the renewable energy financing market’, advised a group of senior lenders on the financings of two wind farms in Texas and New Mexico. Other lender clients include BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Mizuho Bank. On the sponsor side, practice head Jonathan Rod acted for five sponsors, including Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Partners, on the $2.5bn financing of the 749-mile Bakken pipeline project. He also assisted Cheniere Energy with its $2.8bn project debt refinancing of the Creole Trail pipeline. The department regularly handles projects in Mexico; sponsor clients in this space include D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments and First Reserve Corporation. Eli Katz, a project finance expert with particular experience in the renewables space, joined in September 2016 from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and oil and gas expert Eugene Elrod joined the Washington DC office from Sidley Austin LLP in January 2017. Veronica Relea and Omar Nazif made partner at the New York and San Diego offices, respectively, while Suzanne Logan and Kelly Thomason Self made counsel in Washington DC and Chicago.

Historically strong in the LNG space but increasingly active in renewable energy projects, Linklaters LLP’ New York-based department is noted for its sponsor-side work and cross-border capabilities. Practice head Vijaya Palaniswamy acted for Highland Pellets on a $145m loan from GIP CAPS Pine to finance the construction of a pellet-fuelled power plant in Arkansas. He also acted for Macquarie México Infrastructure Management on its $41m purchase of Parque Solar Coahuila, which owns the development rights to a 20MW power project in Coahuila, Mexico. On the LNG side, Michael Bassett advised Gas Sayago on negotiating an agreement with a charterparty regarding the latter’s 20-year use of a floating storage regasification unit, part of an LNG regasification terminal in Uruguay. Infrastructure is also an area of activity for the firm: Palaniswamy assisted a consortium of sponsors including Aéroport de Paris and VINCI Airports with financing the $900m renovation and expansion of the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez Airport in Santiago, Chile. Other clients include the Export-Import Bank of Korea. Counsel Andrew Compton, a project finance specialist who had been spending half his time in the firm’s Hong Kong office, is now fully based in New York. Cross-border finance expert Matthew Poulter is also recommended.

Mayer Brown’s ‘excellent, client-oriented’ and ‘proactive’ department is headed by ‘responsive, skilful negotiatorBarry Machlin in Chicago, who is praised by clients for his ‘breadth of experience, ability to manage large client groups, and expertise in project finance’. The team handles a wide variety of projects, including conventional power, oil and gas, renewable, nuclear and infrastructure projects; although lender-side work is its chief strength, its work for sponsors is also highly rated. Machlin advised the Panama Canal Authority on the $5.25bn financial restructuring of the Panama Canal locks expansion project. George Baptista, who is based in New York, advised Grupo Odinsa as sponsor on a $54m financing from Deutsche Bank to fund the DCMO aspects of the $140m Aruba Green Corridor project. On the lender side, Christopher Erckert acted for Corporación Andina de Fomento on its $254m part-financing of Peru’s largest wind project – the Marcona and Tres Hermanas twin wind farms. The practice is also active in tax equity investments: Jeffrey Davis, Robert Goldberg, Nadav Klugman and Andrew Young advised GE Energy Financial Services on $254m-worth of investments in two California solar projects. ‘Outstanding’ senior associate Juan Pablo Moreno has ‘great project finance knowledge, international experience and lots of patience’.

McGuireWoods LLP is commended for its ‘responsiveness, broad industry knowledge, strength in depth and value for money’. Joanne Katsantonis (Richmond), recently promoted partner Matthew Kapinos (Houston) and Marvin Rogers lead the ‘positive, co-operative, dedicated’ practice, which is particularly strong in the renewable space, though it also handles conventional power financings and PPP work. The Charlotte-based Rogers assisted a renewable energy investment fund as sponsor with financing several wind projects in Texas, while the ‘quick, knowledgeable’ Adam Greene, who ‘articulates issues effectively and eases the negotiation process’, advised Fifth Third Bank on several North Carolina solar project financings, worth over $80m in total. He also acted for Entropy Solar Integrators on the development, purchase and sale of 350MW-worth of utility-scale solar projects in the south-eastern US. Kapinos and the Baltimore-based Brian Kelly advised Tokyo Gas America on the financing for and acquisition of a 25% stake in one of Empire Generating’s power plants. Debt finance expert Peter Butcher joined the Pittsburgh office from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in February 2016; he regularly assists lenders and energy trading companies with credit facilities. Lender-side specialist Mark Spitzer joined the Los Angeles office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in January 2016, and ‘responsive, business-oriented’ renewable specialist Timothy Callahan, who ‘quickly distils issues and provides practical, commercially balanced solutions’, joined the Chicago office from Paul Hastings LLP in March 2017.

Notably strong on the lender and the sponsor side, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s US offices handle the gamut of project advice in North America as well as project financings across Latin America. New York-based department head Daniel Bartfeld advised a syndicate of lenders, including Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, on the $850m financing of the construction and operation of two projects in Chile. Daniel Michalchuk, who is based in New York, acted for a group of lenders and investors including MUFG Union Bank, Prudential and Korean fund Hana Financial Investment on a $1bn loan to Invenergy for the construction and development of its 1,480MW Lackawanna energy center. On the capital markets side, Jonathan Green advised various institutional investors on a private placement to partially finance the Phase II expansion of the Virginia International Gateway container terminal; he also advised MUFG Union Bank as administrative agent on a revolving loan for the same project. Carolina Walther-Meade, Phillip Fletcher and Allan Marks were active on the sponsor and developer side for clients including Mexico Power Group, Neoen International, MHC Ingeniería y Construcción de Obras Civiles and Construcciones El Cóndor. Conventional power expert William Bice is also recommended, as is Timothy Wendling, who is active in renewable and alternative energy mandates.

The ‘top-notch’ project finance team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, is particularly active in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. The team advised National Grid on the development of an $180m LNG liquefaction facility in Providence, Rhode Island, and acted for NextEra Energy on shipping and supply arrangements regarding the delivery of LNG to Hawaii; this included advice on financing the LNG vessels. On the renewables side, Wayne Song and Kenneth Kulak, based in Los Angeles and Philadelphia respectively, acted for Exelon Generating on the $150m debt financing of 85MW-worth of solar projects across North America; and the New York-based James Tynion acted for D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments on the debt and tax equity financing of five wind turbines in Oregon. ‘Experienced, responsive, business-minded and strategic’ of counsel Neeraj Arora joined the Los Angeles office from Latham & Watkins LLP in February 2016; he advised Diamond Generating on its purchase of a 50% stake in Boston-based solar developer Nexamp. Boston-based ‘superstarRichard Filosacalmly addresses the key issues and closes deals quickly’; he specializes in power project financing and development. Since publication, former practice head David Asmus and fellow Houston-based partnerBrian Bradshaw have joined Sidley Austin LLP.

The team at Morrison & Foerster LLP is particularly strong in the renewable space, where it regularly advises investors and project owners. Los Angeles-based practice head Jeffrey Chester advised Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital as lessor in the lease financing of a 1,000MW transmission line and sub-station infrastructure for a 230MW wind-powered electrical generating facility in Texas. On the equity investment side, San Francisco-based partners Susan Mac Cormac and Jeffrey Kayes advised EDF Renewable Energy on its $16m purchase of the 500MW Palen project in California from Abengoa Solar; Kayes also acted alongside the New York-based Jonathan Melmed for D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments on the purchase of a Mississippi solar project from Origis Energy, as well as assisting the client with tax equity financing and project financing. On the sponsor side Chester assisted Apex Clean Energy with obtaining a construction loan from BayernLB to finance its $258m Grant Wind project and acted for the same client on a construction loan and mezzanine debt financing to fund its 300MW Kay Wind project in Oklahoma. Project finance specialist Adam Griffin joined the New York office as of counsel from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Washington DC-based Jeremy Hushon and New York-based Michael Pikiel (‘a strong negotiator’) led the ‘high-quality, cost-effective and very professional’ practice at Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, before the firm’s high-profile combination with legacy firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP. The ‘first-rate’ practice arriving from Chadbourne, which ‘masters details without losing sight of practicalities’, was headed by the ‘very strongRohit Chaudhry and the ‘awesomeKeith Martin. The newly formed practice is strong across the board, advising sponsors and lenders on infrastructure, mining, conventional power, oil and gas, nuclear and renewable energy projects. From the legacy Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP team, the Washington DC-based Sarah Devine advised International Finance Corporation and Bank Audi on their $225m Islamic financing facility to Mass Global Energy to finance a 1,500MW power plant in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Pikiel, who is ‘very strong all-round on PPP issues’, acted for Citigroup Global Markets and Barclays Capital as underwriters of Blueridge Transportation Group’s $300m bond issue, which is intended to finance the design, construction, maintenance and operation of toll lanes and related facilities to be constructed along part of Highway 288 in Harris County, Texas. On the equity investment side, Pikiel assisted Aldridge Electric and Alridge Freeway Lighting on their $50m investment in freeway improvements in the Metro Detroit area, as part of a PPP with Michigan State. The legacy Chadbourne group, in an illustration of its cross-border capabilities, advised the lenders to AES Corporation on the $1bn construction financing of an LNG-to-power project in Panama. Chaudhry and Noam Ayali (who are ‘very good at marshalling large bank groups for complex project financings’) acted for the lenders to Cheniere Energy Partners on €2.8bn-worth of credit facilities for the development of natural gas liquefaction facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal, while Chaudhry acted for a syndicate of lenders on the $250m financing of Sunrun’s expansion into the solar sector. The New York office saw some changes in 2016: real estate specialist Jeffrey Escobar joined as counsel from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P., while project finance specialists Brian Greene and Michael Masri were made up to partner. The New York-based Benjamin Koenigsberg is also recommended.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s department, which is particularly active in transport infrastructure and renewable energy projects, is led by the Los Angeles-based Gregory Thorpe. Also in the Los Angeles office are Eric Richards, Denise Raytis and Jeff Hoffner; Richards and Raytis assisted LaGuardia Gateway Partners with its successful bid for the $4bn redevelopment and operation of the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport, and advised the same client on the associated development financing. Thorpe is noted for his expertise in oil and gas and PPP work and advised Protea Waterfront Development on its bid for the $1bn redevelopment of a portion of the Port of San Diego – he also has experience in renewable projects. On the lender and investor side, the team was particularly busy in the renewables space; Hoffner and New York-based partners Junaid Chida and Arthur Hazlitt assisted Forum Equity Partners with its agreement to provide $1bn-worth of funding for wind projects developed by United Wind, and advised Citicorp North America and Berkshire Hathaway Energy on their purchase of a significant stake in SunEdison’s $433m, 300MW South Plains Wind Energy II project. The practice frequently acts for airline companies and airports such as American Airlines and Denver International Airport.

In addition to being ‘highly knowledgeable in renewable energy’, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP regularly assists clients with financing infrastructure and conventional power projects. The team is led by Blake Winburne in Houston, Mark Weitzel in San Francisco, and New York-based partners Tara Higgins and Daniel Mathews. Matthews, who is praised for his ‘market knowledge’ and ‘ability to facilitate agreements on disputed issues’, advised Meridiam Infrastructure, Fluor Enterprises and Star America Fund as sponsors on the financing of the Purple Line light rail transit project, comprising an $875m federal loan and $313m-worth of private bonds. The New York-based Christopher Moore (who is noted for this strength in asset-backed finance and production tax credit-driven equity investments) acted alongside Weitzel, Thomas Glascock and John Cook (also based in San Francisco) for Recurrent Energy on the debt and equity financing of over $3bn-worth of solar projects in California and Texas. The practice also acts for investors: Weitzel and Higgins advised Ares EIF on its $386m debt finance contribution to the development of Indiana’s St. Joseph Energy Center, and Bradford Gathright in Houston acted for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power on its acquisition of the Apple Blossom wind project in Michigan from Geronimo Energy. Other key figures in Houston include Dahl Thompson, who is an ‘excellent negotiator’ who ‘explains complex issues in a coherent, comprehensible way’; he advises sponsors, utilities and investors.

Commended for its ‘drafting skills, responsiveness and depth of project finance knowledge’, Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘excellent, efficient’ department is headed by the New York-based Robert Kartheiser, who regularly handles Latin American infrastructure project finance. The team acted for Acciona Energy North America on the purchase and sale of various US wind farms; the Washington DC-based William DeGrandis acted for Yahoo! Energy on a wind hedging agreement with Own Energy for Yahoo!’s data centre in Kansas, and advised it on the purchase of solar generation assets for its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. On the lender side, the practice assisted KeyBank National Association with various construction financings and term loan financings relating to solar power projects throughout the US. The department is also active on the oil and gas side: John Cobb and Sanjay Thapar advised Morgan Stanley Senior Funding and BMO Capital Markets as lead arrangers and bookrunners on the $1.1bn financing of ArcLight Energy Partners’ acquisition of Gulf Oil from Cumberland Farms. On the cross-border front, the practice advised York Capital Management on a construction loan for a solar power facility being developed in the Caribbean by one of the fund’s subsidiaries.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s practice is headed by Nicolai Sarad and Michael Reese in the New York office, and by Robert James in San Francisco. Transport infrastructure PPPs are a cornerstone of the practice: on the lender side, Sarad and Fernando Rodriguez Marin advised the lenders and underwriters on Front Range Mobility Group’s bid for the Central 70 project being procured by the Colorado Department of Transportation; further afield, Rodriguez Marin and New York-based Latin America expert Peter Baumgaertner acted for Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as administrative agent for the lenders on the financing of the Metro de Lima Linea 2 project in Peru. On the sponsor side, Baumgaertner and the Washington DC-based Jeffrey Gans acted for the University of Kansas on its issuance of $327m-worth of bonds to finance the Central District redevelopment project. Renewable energy is also an area of activity for the firm: Sarad and Rodriguez-Marin advised Tozzi Renewable Energy and Ergon Peru on $150m-worth of loan facilities for the construction, financing, maintenance and operation of various solar power installations in Peru. Real estate specialist David Miller is recommended at the Northern Virginia office for his PPP experience.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice is headed by Gregory Tan in New York and is balanced on the lender and sponsor sides, with the former being a key driver of activity in 2016. Cynthia Urda Kassis and counsel Paul Epstein, both of whom are based in New York, advised the US Department of Transportation on its $875m loan to Purple Line Transit Partners to finance the Purple Line light rail transit project. Patricia Hammes advised lenders such as Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada on Helix Generation’s $2.2bn purchase of 3,950MW-worth of power assets from TransCanada Corporation. On the cross-border front, Urda Kassis and Denise Grant advised a syndicate of 19 banks on the $4.1bn financing of the 1,000km Gasoducto Sur Peruano project. The department is also noted for its sponsor-side capabilities: Urda Kassis acted for Transmisora Eléctrica del Norte on the $822m construction financing of its 600km transmission line in Chile, and Tan and Alexandro Padrés assisted Carso Energy with its $240m bridge financing of the development of a 610km pipeline in Mexico. Other sponsor clients include ENGIE, AES Corporation and Castle Energy. New York-based counsels Donna Bobbish and Christian Rudloff are also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘delightful, responsive, dedicated’ practice is jointly headed by the Houston-based Glenn Pinkerton and the ‘very commercial’ Nicholas Grambas, who is based in New York. The firm, which acts for a variety of prominent lenders and multi-jurisdictional sponsors, handles a wide variety of projects, including oil and gas, transportation and satellites, though midstream oil and gas and commodities transactions are a particular strength. On the investor side, Grambas acted for Aboitiz Power Corporation on the financing and subsequent $1.2bn purchase of a 66% stake in a 604MW power plant and a 40% stake in a 1,336MW power plant, both situated in the Philippines. Robert Stephens advised Citigroup Energy on a hedge transaction related to the $280m financing of the 204MW Shannon wind project in Texas. Sponsor clients include Facebook, which instructed the firm on the procurement, construction, development and financing of several satellite projects; and the Mongolian Ministry of Transportation and Mongolian Railway, which the Washington DC-based Ayaz Shaikh advised on the financing, construction and development of a $7bn, 1,800km freight rail network. In the oil and gas space, Stephens assisted U.S. Oil & Refining with a supply and financing facility for its Tacoma Washington refinery. Timothy Chandler made partner in the Houston office in January 2017. Since publication David Asmus and Brian Bradshaw have joined in Houston from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Commended for its ‘significant sector experience, knowledge, solid service and good value’, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s practice has ‘the depth of resources to complete time-sensitive transactions expeditiously’ and is especially strong on the lender and investor side: clients praise its ability to ‘co-ordinate large lender and investor groups to complete complex transactions’. Nonetheless, it does handle sponsor-side work for clients such as WindMW. The team assists clients with a wide variety of projects, though is traditionally strong in the conventional power space; Talen Energy Corporation is a key client. Wind and solar projects kept the department busy in 2016: New York-based practice head David Lieberman, who is ‘adept at resolving complex issues and successfully completing difficult transactions’, advised the lead arrangers, including KeyBank, MUFG, Crédit Agricole and Santander, on NextEra Energy’s $242m financing of Tsuga Pine Wind’s 520MW portfolio. Kenneth Wyman assisted clients with a variety of solar projects: he advised two bank syndicates on $224m-worth of financing to develop SunPower’s 54MW solar power plant in Kern County, California; he also acted for Morgan Stanley Senior Funding on the $155m debt financing of Exelon Generation Company’s 256MW portfolio of wind and solar plants in California, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Oregon.

The Washington DC-based Lance Brasher leads the team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, which is noted for its cross-border experience and particular strength in PPP work. Washington DC-based (AS CHECK) counsel Joshua Nickerson advised the US Department of Transportation on numerous infrastructure financings through the Department’s TIFIA credit program, including a $211m loan to the Delaware Transportation Authority for the development of a greenfield toll road project in Delaware; a $209m loan to Portsmouth Gateway Group for the development of Ohio’s 16-mile, four-lane Portsmouth Bypass; and a $339m loan to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel District for the development of the Thimble Shoals submerged tunnel project in Virginia. Klepper also acted for the US Department of Energy (DoE) on its $2.2bn loan to Clean Energy Resources to finance its Lake Charles Methanol project, which was the largest petrochemical project financed by the DoE to date. The practice also acts for private sector clients: Nickerson and Klepper advised Goldman Sachs Lending Partners on a loan to the majority owner of a US sports team, for the development of a new stadium and the acquisition of an interest from a minority shareholder. Other clients include Empire State Development and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Martin Klepper left the firm for an in-house position.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘very intuitive’ team of ‘truly outstanding’ ‘industry leaders’ attracts praise for its ‘very high level of service’ and for its ‘professionalism and expertise, which are second to none’. It is particularly strong on the sponsor side; highlights included assisting Cheniere Energy with a $1.25bn bond offering to help repay debts incurred by the financing of a Texas LNG facility and pipeline, and acting for Minera Centinela on the development and financing of a $2.3bn copper, gold and silver project in Chile. Christopher Mann (‘a world-class partner who can communicate effectively on all levels’) has experience in projects in Latin America and Africa; he acted alongside John Estes and the ‘constructive, professionalInosi Nyatta for Minera Escondida on various financings and refinancings in connection with the Escondida copper project in Chile. In addition to its sponsor-side credentials, the department also acts for lenders and investors; highlights for Mann and Neal McKnight included advising Borealis Infrastructure Management, CPPIB and OTTP on their $2.8bn acquisition of Skyway Concession Company, operator of the Chicago Skyway toll road, from affiliates of Cintra and Macquarie. Sergio Galvis advised Sumitomo Metal Mining on its $1bn acquisition of a 13% stake in Arizona’s Morenci copper mine from Freeport Morenci.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s energy project finance work largely involves renewable projects, though the team also handles infrastructure finance. Washington DC-based practice head Elias Hinckley advised Rocky Mountain Institute on the financing of various corporate renewable energy initiatives, and assisted Sunvestment Group, a crowdfunding investment platform, with several solar project financings. Of counsel Merrill Kramer, who is also based in Washington DC, advised PP Asset Management as sponsor on 500MW-worth of solar projects; this involved tax equity structuring and negotiations with lenders. Kramer also advised One Roof Energy on the financing of photovoltaic rooftops leased to residential homeowners. Other renewable energy clients include sPower and investment firm CCM Energy. The New York-based Hayden Baker is also recommended.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s ‘very responsive, professional and experienced’ practice assists clients with a range of project types, including conventional power, renewable and alternative energy, and oil and gas. ‘Very involved’ practice heads John Connally and James Cuclis, who are based in Houston, are supported by ‘confident, capable associates’. On the sponsor side, the Washington DC-based Katy Gottsponer advised Gas Natural Atlantico on the $535m financing of its Colón LNG-to-power project in Panama, which involved a loan from a syndicate including Bancolombia and International Finance Corporation. The pair also acted for Brookfield Renewable Energy on its $500m bond offering to refinance its 610MW Bear Swamp hydroelectric facility in Massachusetts. The Washington DC-based John Decker assisted a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Energy with financing its acquisition of two Pennsylvania hydroelectric power projects. On the lender side, New York-based partners Karen Smith and Todd Triller advised Ares Capital Corporation on a mezzanine loan to Panda Power Fund to finance a $100m Virginia power facility. Other key figures in Houston include Kaam Sahely and senior associate Alan Alexander. Mark Spivak left to join Baker Botts L.L.P..

The New York-based Arthur Scavone heads the team at White & Case LLP, which acts for lenders and sponsors on a wide variety of projects, including renewable and infrastructure projects, though oil and gas and conventional power are particular strengths. New York-based oil and gas specialist Jason Webber advised the lenders to Magnolia LNG on the financing of the development of the Magnolia LNG Project, a liquefaction and export terminal in Louisiana. On the sponsor side, Webber and the Washington DC-based Sean Johnson advised FLNG Liquefaction 2 on its issuance of $1.25bn-worth of senior notes to help repay the $4bn debt incurred by the financing of Freeport LNG’s multi-train natural gas liquefactions and export facility. Conventional power expert Elena Millerman, who is based in New York, advised Beal Bank USA and Jefferies on their $360m loan to Panda Sherman Power to refinance the Panda Sherman Energy Center in Texas. In January 2017, Raymond Azar and Jane Rueger made partner in New York and Washington DC, respectively; Azar acted alongside Nandan Nelivigi for a group of borrowers including Calpine Corporation on the refinancing of two cogeneration facilities in Texas and Alabama. Marius Griskonis is also recommended.

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