Oil and gas in Argentina
For many, Martínez de Hoz & Rueda is ‘the best oil and gas firm in Argentina’. The comprehensive practice shines in all quarters of the hydrocarbons market, from exploration and production, through to transportation, distribution and marketing. Sources highlight the firm as ‘phenomenal in energy transactions’, where it is routinely called upon by oil-and-gas majors to advise on M&A, bidding rounds, joint ventures and financing matters. On the exploration side, it is advising ExxonMobil, Equinor Argentina and Mitsui on the development of their respective hydrocarbons’ businesses in Argentina, while on the infrastructure front, it is currently advising on several pipeline projects. It is also known for its formidable weight in the arbitration space and it frequently represents international oil companies in complex investment disputes and commercial arbitrations. José Martínez de Hoz co-heads the energy group — he also leads the arbitration practice — and is widely revered for his first-class experience and market profile. Energy department co-head Pablo Rueda is also highly regarded for his broad oil-and-gas expertise, which spans transactional, regulatory and environmental matters. The group also includes up-and-coming energy specialist Tomás Lanardonne.
‘Martínez de Hoz & Rueda is definitely number one, no doubt about that. They are the best oil and gas firm in Argentina.’
‘The team is phenomenal in energy transactions.’
‘MHR is excellent; they are most active oil and gas practice in Argentina right now.’
Axion Energy Argentina
Chevron Corporation / Chevron Argentina
ExxonMobil Exploration Argentina
Gasoducto Atacama Chile
International Financial Corporation
Pan American Energy
Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia
Phoenix Global Resources
Retamco Operating Group
Schlumberger Production Management (SPM)
ShearwaterGeo Seismic Services
Sinopec Argentina Exploration and Production
Transportadora Gas del Sur
United States Development Finance Corporation (formerly, OPIC)
- Advised ExxonMobil Argentina Offshore Investments on the development of its offshore hydrocarbons’ business in Argentina.
- Acted for International Financial Corporation (IFC) on the sale to Chevron Argentina of its working interest in the El Trapial-Curamched hydrocarbons exploitation concession and the El Trapial-Puesto Hernández transportation concession.
- Advised Equinor Argentina on the development of its offshore hydrocarbons’ business in Argentina.
- Advised YPF on its acquisition of an unconventional hydrocarbons concession and a transportation concession from state-owned company, Integración Energética Argentina (IEASA).
- Acted for President Petroleum and President Energy on a production offtake agreement with Trafigura.
Bazán Cambré & Orts
Oil and gas is a core practice at Bazán Cambré & Orts and the firm has an established track-record in advising on transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. A key partner to both local and multinational companies, the team is knowledgeable across all industry segments and it is particularly noted for its close relationships in the upstream sector, with ConocoPhillips, San Jorge Petroleum and Noble Energy all representative names. It also has a strong reputation in the oilfield-services sphere, where it provides ongoing advice to Bolland and Exterran Argentina. Mario Orts is a seasoned oil-and-gas specialist, who handles commercial, corporate and regulatory matters. Nicolás Dilernia is recommended for oil-and-gas transactions.
ConocoPhillips Company / ConocoPhillips Argentina Ventures
Exterran Energy Solutions / Exterran Argentina
Gasoducto del Pacífico (Argentina)
San Jorge Petroleum
Desarrollos Petroleros y Ganaderos
Petroleum Geo Services (PGS)
Innergy Soluciones Energéticas
- Advised ConocoPhillips Argentina Ventures on the assignment of 50% of ENAP Sipetrol Argentina’s participation in the El Turbio Este block to ConocoPhillips Argentina Ventures.
- Acted for Bolland & Cia’s shareholders on the company’s acquisition by PECOM Servicios Energía, which included operations and assets in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia.
- Advised ConocoPhillips Argentina Ventures on the acquisition of a 50% stake in Wintershall Energía’s participation in the Bandurria Norte block, and also on its acquisition of a 45% interest in Wintershall’s Aguada Federal block.
- Advised San Jorge Petroleum on governmental registrations for performing hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation activities.
The dissolution of longstanding energy boutique Alliani & Bruzzon, and the subsequent October-2020 arrival of much of the oil-and-gas team at major corporate firm Bomchil, is undoubtededly a win-win scenario; with Pablo Alliani and his team gaining the advantages of operating from what is now very much a full-service platform, and Bomchil obtaining capability in a key sector of the Argentine economy and in the process plugging one of the few remaining gaps in its service offering. Alliani, one of the standout figures in the oil and gas sector over the last twenty-five years, arrives with fellow hydrocarbons experts Fernando Brunelli and Cristián Galansky, along with of counsel Alejandro D’Onofrio, whose expertise also include mining law; all three are market-recognised figures in their own right. The group is particularly well reputed for its upstream capabilities and has long advised a mix of local and multinational energy corporates on the full spread of related matters as well as having considerable expertise in key, associated areas of law including corporate, antitrust, litigation, environment and tax.
- Advised CNOOC on the first round of the offshore bidding process.
- Assisted CGG with its application for an offshore superficial surveying permit.
- Advised Chevron on the administration of the Loma Campana/Loma La Lata agreement.
- Represented Chevron in a dispute against its main oil-and-gas purchaser.
The ‘very professional’ team at Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi is distinguished by its ‘great knowledge of the oil and gas market’ and ‘quick grasp of complex issues’. The practice has an emphasis on advising upstream and midstream players on the development of unconventional hydrocarbons, with strong activity in the Vaca Muerta Formation on behalf of clients such as Vista, Petronas and Equinor. The team’s robust transactional and regulatory capability is further supported by supplementary expertise in oil-and-gas arbitration and oil-and-gas customs matters. Department lead Javier Rodríguez Galli is an ‘outstanding professional’, who covers the waterfront on oil-and-gas issues. Senior associate Santiago Balbi is ‘very strong in oil and gas transactions’.
‘The firm’s knowledge in oil and gas and energy is second-to-none; skills and information are deep and up-to-date locally and internationally.’
‘The team goes beyond the requirements. They cover all angles looking for creative and quick solutions. They also think about the economic part of the issues and are always focused on the customer’s needs and benefits.’
‘The complete availability, quick grasp of complex issues and sound advice develops long-term loyalty in clients Also, outstanding muscle to approach and solve multi-skills issues. It is a truly performance-oriented team.’
‘The team makes it easy to get things done. In my experience with BFM&L, we always have a lead, a partner and two or three team members that can help in a pinch. This type of backing makes our life easier — especially around trips, holidays or other special occasions.’
‘They are all very professional but also very easy to talk to and quick to understand the situation.’
‘This firm is characterised by the seriousness of its team, the qualifications of its professionals and their attitude towards services delivered. Top knowledge on hydrocarbon issues, laws and regulations.’
‘It is the best oil and gas team we have found in Argentina. They cover the regulatory fronts, provide quick and pragmatic responses, and have in-depth knowledge of the issues, particularly Javier Rodríguez Galli and Santiago Balbi.’
‘The team led by Javier Rodríguez Galli is very professional with great knowledge of the oil and gas market and the regulations that govern them. Good relations with stakeholders in the public and private market.’
‘Javier Rodríguez Galli is an outstanding professional.’
‘Santiago Balbi is an excellent senior associate; very strong in oil and gas transactions.’
Vista Oil & Gas
Pan American Energy
- Advised Vista Oil & Gas on its $200m investment agreement with Riverstone, Southern Cross and other investors to create Aleph Midstream, the first Argentine midstream company focused on Vaca Muerta.
- Represented Equinor in negotiations with Schlumberger for the joint acquisition of a 50% stake each in SPM Argentina, which in turn holds 49% of the Bandurria Sur shale oil block.
- Advised Petronas on day to-day-operations and contracts with YPF connected to its $2bn development of the La Amarga Chica oil-shale project with YPF.
- Represented Vista Oil & Gas in negotiations to secure a $300m loan from OPIC to support its Vaca Muerta development.
Marval O’Farrell Mairal finds favour for its ability to bring an ‘out-of-the-box perspective’ to its oil-and-gas work. The experienced group is well versed across the full hydrocarbons supply chain, from exploration and production through to midstream and downstream issues. On the transactional side, the team kept busy advising on bid rounds, farm-in agreements and restructuring matters. It also has a prominent position in regulatory and contentious work, with recent roles on several high-profile disputes for companies such as Roch and Shell. High-profile figure Francisco Macías is an oil-and-gas expert, who advises on transactions, contracts and regulatory issues. M&A and capital markets partner Ricardo Beller is noted for oil-and-gas transactions. Senior associate Jimena Montoya is also recommended for her focus on energy work.
‘The firm approaches the main themes with an ‘out of the box’ perspective.’
‘The team is always available and ready to assist the client, regularly incorporating other internal teams if needed.’
‘We totally recommend Francisco Macías.’
ExxonMobil / Exxon
Royal Dutch Shell / Raízen Argentina
Corporación América / Compañia General de Combustibles (CGC)
Engie (formerly, GDF Suez)
Transportadora de Gas del Sur (TGS) / controlling company Compañía de Inversiones de Energía (CIESA)
Gasoducto Nor Andino
TGS / Spectrum
- Advised several clients (including Engie, Compañía General de Combustibles, GasAndes and Gasoducto Nor Andino) on cross-border transactions consisting of natural gas exports from Argentina to Chile.
- Represented Transportadora de Gas del Sur in a dispute brought by Pan American Energy regarding an alleged breach of a gas liquids processing agreement.
- Advised gas distribution utility, Litoral Gas, on the adjustments of its tariffs approved by the ENARGAS (the Federal Regulator For Natural Gas Matters).
- Acted for Compañía Mega (a joint venture between YPF, Petrobrás and Dow) in challenging a government surcharge and also in litigation against the government regarding export duties applicable to hydrocarbon by-products.
Nicholson y Cano Abogados sets out its stall as being a one-stop shop for oil-and-gas work and it covers the full range of downstream, upstream and midstream matters. Recently, it is has become most associated with its activity in the Vaca Muerta Formation, with its close relationships with Qatar Petroleum International and YPF paying dividends in this area. The firm also handles a steady stream of M&A transactions, energy disputes and regulatory matters. Experienced industry specialist Marcelo Lamesa steers the department alongside Nicolás Perkins, who handles energy, agribusiness and corporate matters. Up-and-coming partner Mariana Guzian is highly regarded for oil-and-gas transactions.
Qatar Petroleum International
Schlumberger / Western Geco
Refinería del Norte (joint venture between YPF, Petrobras and Pluspetrol)
New Times / High Luck Group Limited
PECOM Servicios Energia
- Advised Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) on the acquisition of a 30% interest in seven areas in the Vaca Muerta Formation from ExxonMobil, worth over $550m.
- Acted for Riverstone on the development of its oil-and-gas midstream project in Vaca Muerta.
- Represented QPI on its successful participation in the international offshore bidding process, where it was awarded three exploration areas in a joint venture with ExxonMobil.
- Advised YPF on day-to-day matters related to its joint ventures with Chevron for shale oil projects in Argentina.
Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen’s 16-strong oil-and-gas group attracts praise for its ‘technical capacity and flexibility’. The team has a broad multidisciplinary focus, with experience in transactions, regulatory matters, dispute resolution, tax and environmental law. Petrolera El Trébol is a key client and the firm routinely advises the Phoenix Global Resources subsidiary on its E&P activities in Argentina. Francisco Javier Romano heads the team and brings to bear significant hands-on experience following in-house roles at Chevron, Pan American Energy and Bridas Corporation. Senior patners Mariano Grondona, Alan Arntsen and Diego Serrano Redonnet all participate in the sector, as does transactional partner Tomás Pérez Alati. Key associate support comes from Ignacio Payarola, who focuses on energy, renewables, oil and gas and administrative law and litigation.
‘The team stands out for its technical capacity and flexibility.’
‘Technical training and fleixibility – they compare favourably iwth other firms.‘
‘Strong insight of the oil and gas business in Argentina.‘
‘Francisco has enormous experience in the oil and gas sector from working as in-house counsel for decades. That is a valuable quality as he has a business approach to legal issues. He is a hands-on kind of partner and has been very helpful in structuring transactions.‘
‘It is led by a professional with a lot of experience in the O&G market: Francisco Romano, who is backed by a full service firm with highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyers.‘
‘The firm’s team is very solid, especially the one who leads the oil and gas practice, Francisco Romano, an exceptional lawyer, with great knowledge of the industry.‘
‘Specifically, Francisco Romano, an excellent lawyer, with very solid experience and reputation in the industry, especially in matters related to upstream and midstream.‘
‘Excellent Oil & Gas team integrated with a first level full-service law firm.‘
‘The partner in charge of the oil & gas team, Francisco Romano, was General Counsel of an oil company in Argentina for many years. That allows him to perfectly understand my needs as a client. Their responses are fast and of great quality and they are always available. I value their work very positively.‘
Oil & Gas Chamber of Argentina
Mercuria Energy Group
San Antonio International
IFC – International Finance Corporation
Sinopec Argentina Exploration and Production
Pan American Energy
Petrolera El Trebol
Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia
Grupo CAPSA – CAPEX
- Advised Petrolera El Trébol on the sale of assets in Santa Cruz province to Echo Energy.
- Acted for IFC on a loan to Pan American Energy (Argentina) to finance the expansion of the Campana Refinery.
- Represented Petrolera El Trébol on its successful bid for a non-conventional hydrocarbons concession in the province of Mendoza.
Baker McKenzie’s ‘solid technical knowledge’ is a recurring theme among sources, who also highlight its ‘prompt and thorough advice’. The oil-and-gas group is best known for its focus on the exploration and production (E&P) sector, with a strong record in representing oilfield service companies, including recent matters for Nabors, Spectrum ASA and Wellbore Integrity Solutions. Additionally, the firm has increased its representation of E&P companies of late, with a growing share of Vaca Muerta-related work. Adolfo Durañona and Roberto Grané co-head a team that also includes ‘outstanding energy lawyer’ Ezequiel Artola.
‘Baker Mckenzie’s team has been very responsive to the demands placed on them. The consultancy services provided are precise and complete. All requested information is given on time and they are always available.’
‘The team has very solid technical knowledge in energy matters.’
‘What makes them stand out is their availability to the client, their specific technical knowledge and the quality of their work.’
‘They provide prompt and thorough advice. They stand out for the speed of their responses.’
‘I would like to highlight Ezequiel Artola, who is an outstanding energy lawyer.’
Superior Energy Services
Impact Fluid Solutions
- Advised Nabors Industries on the potential legal consequences of a blowout event in one of the operational areas of YPF, and also on its contract negotiations with YPF.
- Advised Wellbore Integrity Solutions (owned by Rhone Capital) on the $400m acquisition of businesses and associated assets of DRILCO, Thomas Tools, and Fishing & Remedial Services from Schlumberger.
- Advised Spectrum ASA on its offshore operations in Argentina.
‘Quick and efficient’, Beccar Varela impresses with its ‘perfect balance of forcefulness and caution’. The department leans on the wider firm’s full-service offering to provide multidisciplinary support to oil-and-gas companies and oilfield service providers, with strong recent experience in E&P matters, tender processes, M&A, commercial agreements and finance transactions. Natural resources head Roberto Fortunati also co-heads the M&A and banking departments and has an emphasis on corporate and commercial work. Other key contacts include José Carlos Cueva, who focuses on energy, economic regulation and public law, and talented senior associate, Lucila Parodi.
‘The firm responds to our queries very quickly, and their answers are technically excellent.’
‘The team’s treatment of clients and third parties is outstanding. Beccar Varela provides us with a superior service to other firms we have worked with.’
‘We recommend them for their knowledge of our industry and their perfect balance of forcefulness and caution. They are very quick and efficient.’
‘Partner Roberto Fortunati and senior associate Lucila Parodi are both brilliant lawyers.’
Quintana E&P Argentina
Wintershall Dea Argentina
International Finance Corporation
Trafigura / Puma Energy
American Energy Partners
- Acted for Patterson UTI-Energy on its participation in tender processes called by YPF, Wintershall and Pan American Energy to contract a drilling company to render drilling services in oil-and-gas concession areas.
- Advised Quintana E&P Argentina on its day-to-day activities in the Anticlinal Aguada de Bandera block and the Sur Río Deseado Este concession area.
- Represented the Pestalozza Piatti Dal Pozzo family, owners of a plot of land where a YPF concession is located, on negotiating amendments to the oil-and-gas easement agreement signed with YPF.
Capable boutique Martelli Abogados remains a popular choice for multinational E&P majors and oilfield service companies conducting business in Argentina — it also maintains good links with international law firms. A strong performer in transactional matters, the group also brings to bear solid expertise in regulatory and contentious work. Hugo Martelli is highly sought after for his comprehensive experience in the upstream and midstream spheres. Pablo de Rosso is also recommended for his specialist focus on oil-and-gas matters.
Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados’ oil-and-gas practice continues to go from strength to strength, with an increasing profile in upstream, downstream and midstream matters. On the transactional front, the team has recently advised on cross-border transactions for Echo Energy and Southern Cross Group and it also evidences robust capacity on the regulatory side. Oil-and-gas specialist Mariana Ardizzone, who is an ‘outstanding lawyer’, has been at the helm since the firm incorporated her hydrocarbons-specialised boutique, Ardizzone Abogados, in 2017.
‘They advise some of the most important companies in the oil and gas sector.’
‘Mariana Ardizzone is an outstanding lawyer, who demonstrates her experience in the industry.’
Southern Cross Group
Novum Energy Trading
Tecpetrol / Americas Petrogas Argentina
- Advised Echo Energy on its acquisition of a 70% interest in Santa Cruz Sur assets from Petrolera El Trebol.
- Acted as Argentine counsel to Southern Cross Group on their agreement with Riverstone Holdings, Vista Oil & Gas and other investors for the contribution of up to $160m for the creation of Aleph Midstream.
Estudio O'Farrell stands out for its ‘vast experience’ and ‘highly qualified specialists’. The team is best known for its regulatory expertise, in line with the firm’s signature strength, and it notably played a significant role in the development of the hydrocarbons regime in Argentina through its close relationship with state-controlled energy company, YPF. The team also frequently advises on transactional and contentious matters. Senior partner Uriel O’Farrell co-heads the team and is recognised for his broad energy practice, which spans power, oil and gas. Group co-lead Agustín Siboldi specialises in public law and economic regulation.
‘The oil and gas team has vast experience advising companies, national and local state bodies, and non-governmental organisations on the legal regime surrounding the exploration and exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons.’
‘The team is excellent and stands out from other firms in the gas industry.’
‘They have highly qualified specialists with a comprehensive vision and knowledge of the issues. We mostly work with Agustín Siboldi and Uriel O’Farrell.’
Energy Consulting Service – Engie
Latinoamericana de Energía
- Advised Pampa Energía on the renegotiation of the conditions of the national incentive scheme for the production of natural gas.
- Represented Naturgy BAN on the license renegotiation agreement regarding natural gas distribution in Buenos Aires.
- Advised Total on its exit from Argentina’s liquefied petroleum gas fractioning and distribution market through the sale of its assets to Amarilla Gas and Cañuela Gas.
Abeledo Gottheil Abogados
Abeledo Gottheil Abogados is widely respected for its combined weight in the commercial, regulatory and arbitration areas. The team is a prominent industry player and consistently represents leading companies such as Shell, YPF and Total on acquisitions, joint ventures and oil services contracts, among other issues. Department head Luis Erize is highly regarded for his broad oil-and-gas expertise, which encompasses regulatory, transactional and environmental matters.
Allende & Brea has a significant position in the oilfield services sphere, where it acts for major multinational names such as Apergy Corporation, FMC Technologies and Weatherford. The cross-practice group advises on transactions, regulatory issues and day-to-day matters, with the ability to draw upon the firm’s full-service offering for complex work. Marcos Patrón Costas heads the oil-and-gas team, while mining specialist Florencia Heredia spearheads the wider energy department.
Patagonia Shale Services
Indigo Energy Partners
Rhoda Poliamida e especialidades
Sabre Drilling Argentina
JX Nippon Oil & Energy
Proenergy Holding Company
Mercuria Energy Trading
- Advised Weatherford on its day-to-day operations in Argentina, including agreements and litigation.
- Advised Dover Corporation on the spin-off of Apergy Corporation.