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Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work +1 202 639 6500
Fax +1 202 639 6604
Austin, Beijing, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston and 10 more

John Decker

Work +1 202 639 6599
Vinson & Elkins LLP

Work Department

Energy Regulatory


John represents companies in the energy industry in transactional and regulatory matters. John has worked on numerous domestic and international transactions involving the production and transportation of natural gas and liquefied natural gas, the development of gas-fired power plants, and the sale or acquisition of electric power and natural gas assets. He has analyzed the regulatory systems of several foreign countries. John has also represented natural gas pipeline owners, liquefied natural gas importers, investor-owned utilities, owners of qualifying facilities, exempt wholesale generators, electric power marketers, and municipalities before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE). John has also provided advice on commercial and regulatory issues in the domestic retail electricity market.


  • Member, Energy Bar Association


John graduated from Duke University, A.B. in 1991 (Fraternity: Omicron Delta Epsilon Honor Society in Economics), and the University of Virginia, J.D. in 1994 (Fraternity: Order of the Coif). John served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Environmental Law Journal. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1994 and the District of Columbia Bar in 1996.

United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Project finance

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..

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United States: Industry focus

Energy regulatory: oil and gas

Within: Energy regulatory: oil and gas

Vinson & Elkins LLP has carved out a strong practice representing companies in the natural gas industry but also handles regulatory oil work. The ‘very well informed’ team, co-headed by ‘very good’ Washington DC partner David Andril and Dallas-based Matthew Henry, is experienced in tariff, certificate, abandonment and presidential permit applications, rate cases, gas quality proceedings and compliance issues. James Olson represented the independent exploration and production company Antero Resources in a FERC rate case, opposing ANR Pipeline’s filing to double its service rates. Olson also acted for Sunoco - a large gasoline distributor - in a proceeding initiated by Colonial Pipeline to modify its FERC tariff. John Decker advised Fortress Investment on the development of multiple small-scale LNG export projects, which necessitated DOE export authorization, EPC contract negotiations, and purchase and sale agreements for natural gas and LNG. James Seegers is an established name in the market.

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