Firms To Watch: Industry focus: Energy

Working with a number of the largest entities in the market, Ariga is noted for the breadth of its capabilities, encompassing wholesale energy transactions, contentious mandates, and regulatory reviews.
Jointly led by Barteld Schutyser and Wim Goossens , Eubelius works with both high-profile public and private sector entities on the full scope of energy matters, with key strengths in the renewables and heating networks spaces.
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Firms in the Spotlight Industry focus: Energy

Industry focus: Energy in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP is recognised for its 'depth of knowledge and experience', routinely advising sponsors, banks and investors on a myriad of major renewable energy projects, including offshore and onshore wind farms, geothermal plants, and biomass production. The multidisciplinary team is also well regarded for its contentious capabilities, representing clients in proceedings regarding nuclear sector restructurings, tariff disputes, plant developments, emission allowances and subsidies. Antwerp-based practice head Tom Schoors is a reputed litigator and contracts specialist who frequently leads project finance transactions and energy-sector litigations. Joost Everaert is noted for his expertise in the regulatory implications facing electricity, oil and gas companies.

Practice head(s):

Tom Schoors

Other key lawyers:

Joost Everaert

Testimonials

‘A&O provided excellent legal support on an innovative energy transaction regarding the provision of ancillary services in Belgium.’

‘Tom Schoors played a key role in the successful close of the transaction. He provided in-depth legal guidance while also giving useful advice on structuring as well as commercial topics. He worked quickly and efficiently.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience.’

Work highlights

  • Advising various offshore wind farm operators on the operation and exploitation of their wind farms, including regulatory issues, force majeure issues and liability disputes (including in the context of Covid-19).
  • Advising various major, international corporates on their investments in renewable energy projects (including offshore, onshore and geothermal energy).

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick excels in the full spectrum of energy sector work, with significant expertise in regulatory, transactional, and contentious matters for a diverse roster of renewable and conventional energy heavyweights, both  in Belgium and beyond. In recent work, the team has handled a growing number of green energy mandates, ranging from carbon capture storage to hydropower and solar projects in various EMEA countries. The 'outstanding' Damien Verhoeven handles a significant volume of energy sector developments, transactions, and disputes, with particular expertise in electricity market matters, both in Belgium and the DRC. François Tulkens' regulatory expertise encompasses nuclear, gas and electricity issues, with recent highlights including nuclear plant phase-out provisions and fuel storage capacity reviews. Olivier Vanden Berghe focuses on commercial contracts for major renewable projects, while Thibaut Hollanders is noted for his varied expertise in DRC hydroelectric and mining projects. Lola Malluqin and Jonas Van Orshoven are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Damien Verhoeven

Other key lawyers:

François Tulkens; Olivier Vanden Berghe; Thibaut Hollanders; Lola Malluqin; Jonas Van Orshoven

Testimonials

‘Highly responsive and excellent knowledge of technical rules and regulations within the energy sector. Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick has been our law firm for a very long time. The lawyers are the most competent in the field of energy law and are very skilled regarding the specific technical matters which we handle.’

‘Damien Verhoeven is one of the best lawyers in Belgium specialising in energy law. An excellent lead lawyer, with a very hands-on mentality. He is always readily available and delivers outstanding work; he listens and takes feedback from us into account.’

Key clients

Elia

Air Liquide

Total

Engie Electrabel

EDF Luminus

Eneco

Veolia

Lampiris

Total Petrochemicals Feluy

Total Rafinaderij Antwerpen

FEBEG

Fortescue Metals Group

Perpetum Energy

Work highlights

  • Advising Elia on the development of the Belgian Capacity Remuneration Mechanism to ensure adequacy of electricity capacity after nuclear phase-out.
  • Advising Fortescue on negotiating and implementing a portfolio of 70GW renewable projects in DRC including Inga 3-8 hydropower dams.
  • Assisting Air Liquide with its participation in the EU-funded project of common interest Northern Lights, a full scale project of capture, liquefaction, shipping to Norway and offshore storage of carbon emitted by industrial plants.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff‘s practice is widely regarded for its diverse capabilities in renewable energy matters, routinely advising on a host of projects and regulatory analyses, both domestically and internationally. Led by the ‘exceptionalThomas Chellingsworth, the team handles a litany of new developments and legislative questions, advising various electricity generators and wind farm operators on the implications of the Transmission Grid Code, and representing public sector bodies in Constitutional Court challenges regarding the EU-wide roll-out of smart energy meters. Renewable energy sector M&A is also a key workflow. Christine Delagaye stands out for her deep knowledge of legislative frameworks and Bram Devlies‘ broad expertise includes capacity and subsidy mechanisms, corporate power purchase agreements and supply licences.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Chellingsworth

Other key lawyers:

Christine Delagaye; Bram Devlies

Testimonials

‘The team can deal with complex offshore, onshore projects in all regions of Benelux (important as the subsidy mechanism is particular to each region) and solar projects. As a result, the team can deal with all types of renewable projects.’

‘The energy team’s know-how is generally very high. The standards are also very high.’

‘Thomas Chellingsworth and Marc Vermylen are among the most experienced energy regulatory lawyers in Belgium. The standards are very high. They work in a very solution-oriented fashion, also in case of litigation.’

‘Christine Delagaye is a very dedicated associate with a very thorough knowledge of the legislative framework who is just great to collaborate with because of her pragmatic and knowledgeable approach.’

‘Being a client financing transactions in the financial sector we especially appreciate their capability to incorporate public and energy law matters seamlessly into our financings. We feel that the finance and energy department is well attuned to each other and manages to give a one-stop shop advice adapted to the needs of a client focusing mainly on the banking and financing side.’

‘Thomas Chellingsworth is exceptional in his field. He knows all the ins and outs, without losing oversight of the bigger picture. He advises clearly to non-specialists and manages to give concrete and practical input that you can actually use when structuring up your financing transaction.’

‘Personally, I believe that Loyens and Loeff is a cut above the rest. They are responsive, flexible, intuitive, efficient and they apply the highest professional standards in all their efforts.’

‘The service from Loyens & Loeff was impeccable, from start to finish.’

Key clients

Flemish Regional Government (Energy Minister)

EQUANS (Engie Axima NV)

Norther NV

European Investment Bank

Elicio NV

ISVAG

KBC Bank NV

Blink Charging Co

International Car Operators

Northwester 2 NV

Fluvius

Parkwind NV

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead lenders’ legal adviser on the development, construction, maintenance and financing of the 247MW “Arcadis Ost I” offshore wind farm in the German sector of the Baltic Sea.
  • Represented the Flemish government in relation to six legal challenges in the Constitutional Court against legislation concerning the roll-out of smart electricity and gas meters.
  • Advised Blink Charging Co on its acquisition of Blue Corner, an electric vehicle charging operator with a portfolio of over 7,000 EV charging stations.

Clifford Chance

A stellar roster of Belgian and foreign clients turn to Clifford Chance for assistance in the full gamut of energy and infrastructure matters, including major renewable power projects and associated financings. Recent highlights for the team include international offshore wind and green hydrogen developments, transnational gas infrastructure projects and broad regulatory reviews for various operators. Practice head Xavier Remy is an experienced corporate and commercial adviser on high-value transactions, privatisations, and group structure and governance matters. Patrice Viaene combines expertise in energy and infrastructure.

Practice head(s):

Xavier Remy

Other key lawyers:

Patrice Viaene

Testimonials

‘High expertise in very complex issues, high level of services, excellent collaboration, high degree of commitment.’

‘Excellent technical knowledge and an extensive expertise in gas industry and in complex cross-border infrastructure projects.’

‘Practical and hard working team who delivered us a great outcome on the realisation of our project. The team was always available and flexible and had a very balanced approach in negotiations.’

‘Very responsive and professional team with many long-term client relationships.’

‘Xavier Remy is a very experienced lawyer, very amicable, has an excellent overview of files, and is able at all times to find solutions for potential issues.’

‘Very experienced team with the ability to think outside of the box and to provide solutions to for complex problems.’

‘The individuals I worked with quickly became part of the team and were sincerely interested about the project, going the extra mile for its success. I wish to particularly mention Patrice Viaene who supported us in so many ways, and to highlight his business mindset and his ability to conduct balanced negotiations.’

Key clients

3i Infrastructure

50 Hertz

Amprion

AVAIO

Elia

EEM-I

EGI

Eneco

EuroAsia

European Investment Bank

Fluxys

Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator SA

Macquarie Capital

Mitsubishi Corporation

NemoLink

Oiltanking

Publi-T

Resa

Socofe

Thyssenkrupp

Total

Work highlights

  • Advising Elia on the possible development and construction of a multifunctional offshore energy island in the North Sea within the concession zone for the next generation offshore wind farms.
  • Advising Thyssenkrupp on its bid to construct the very first pioneering green hydrogen plant in Belgium on an industrial scale for a consortium between Eoly (part of the Colruyt group), Parkwind and Fluxys.
  • Advising the electricity and gas distribution system operator Resa on the regulatory challenges ensuing from its ambition to support new energy innovation projects.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is routinely engaged by a diverse roster of public and private sector companies operating across the energy sector but particularly stands out for its dedicated EU-Greek desk operating from the Brussels office. In recent work, the team has handled matters concerning carbon capture initiatives, battery storage systems and decentralised energy generation schemes, both domestically and internationally. Power purchase agreements and infrastructure transactions are other areas of proficiency. Bob Martens is a key adviser to major providers and Europe-wide organisations on various regulatory matters and CEPANI-governed arbitrations. A wide range of clients hold EU-Greek head Orestis Omran in high regard for his ‘spectacular‘ capabilities in cross-border transactions and regulatory knowledge. Alec Van Vaerenbergh specialises in EU and Belgian energy regulation, assisting corporations and governments with offshore and onshore wind farms, biomass plants, and district heating projects. Stella Mavrommati is also recommended for EU-Greek instructions.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens

Other key lawyers:

Orestis Omran; Alec Van Vaerenbergh; Stella Mavrommati

Testimonials

‘DLA Piper’s energy practice comprises a team of highly skilled practitioners that are experts in the energy sector. Having worked with them on renewable energy projects – comprising both regulatory and transactional work – I can definitely attest to the team’s capacity to tackle any complex legal issue that may arise. Moreover, the team’s capability to advise on multiple jurisdictions allows us to work with them on a continuous basis regardless of applicable law.’

‘Orestis Omran is an experienced energy lawyer with a business-oriented mindset. He does not only facilitate deals but he also creates deals by bring together different stakeholders thanks to his vast client network. Simply spectacular – one of the top energy lawyers on the continent.’

DLA’s Energy Team has an excellent grasp of all aspects of EU energy regulation that we feel is key for our business moves. Aside from being excellent lawyers, they are easy to work with, showing flexibility where needed and an ability to understand where we are coming for.’

‘I have mainly worked with Orestis Omran who is leading DLA Piper’s international energy practice in Brussels. Apart from a truly great lawyer that he is, Orestis has a unique knowledge of the latest investment opportunities in Greece, Cyprus and the broader South Eastern European region both on the seller and buyer side; he is a fully-fledged deal-maker providing comprehensive legal and strategic advice to us. His skills are simply impossible to find elsewhere in the market.’

‘Stella Mavrommati deserves special praise; she knows how to get the job done and is Orestis’ alter ego in many transactional assignments that we are giving them.’

‘We are regularly working with Orestis Omran and his team on energy matters and his dynamic presence and ability to convey complex information in a clear and concise way is a key strength of his. He understands the energy markets across Europe and has closed landmark transactions that initially were thought to be extremely difficult to complete. He is supported by a great team of associates with whom our team also regularly works, and we shouldn’t fail to mention Stella Mavrommati who also stands out as a lawyer with great skills on energy matters. I am sure she will soon be at the forefront of the industry as well.’

‘DLA Piper’s EU-Greek practice has developed a niche in the energy sector during the past few years since the team has managed to represent some of the biggest names in the industry both in and out of Greece. The team possesses all the skills that make a great practice great: pragmatic and simple yet sophisticated legal advice, deep understanding of the underlying market conditions behind each project, 24/7 availability, swift reaction to our queries, timely submissions and incredibly easy to work with.’

‘We have been working with Orestis Omran for a number of years now. Based on our experience, there is nothing that can go wrong when working with Orestis; he is always personally engaged with all cases that the team is handling, he identifies risks and opportunities remarkably well and advises the client accordingly in a transparent yet decisive way. Stella Mavrommati is also an expert in the industry, a true ‘problem-solver’; highly recommended.’

Key clients

DEME Group (including DEME Offshore)

ArcelorMittal Belgium

General Electric (Renewable Energy business unit)

Fluvius System Operator CV

Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy

Belgian Federal Ministry of Economy

European Commission (DG Climate Action)

Vlaamse Energiebedrijf

BASF Antwerpen

Agoria

Belgian Eco Energy

ParticipatieMaatschappij Vlaanderen

Eurogas

Decathlon

City of Antwerp

Katoen Natie

City of Ghent

VLEEMO group (incl. Wind aan de Stroom, Polder Investeringsfonds, Ravawind)

Kuwait Petroleum (Q8)

FINEG

Veolia Flexcity

IGI Poseidon

Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator SA

Bonobo Conservation International

Regulatory Authority for Energy

Claritas Investments

Energetický a průmyslový holding, a.s.

Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations

Eunice Energy Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the federal Ministry of Economy (DG Energy) and the Cabinet of the federal Minister of Energy on the modalities of implementation of the “capacity remuneration mechanism” for electricity generation in Belgium.
  • Representing the Hellenic Republic in state aid submissions concerning a landmark 106 TFEU antitrust case concerning the Greek lignite and electricity markets, a strategic reserve scheme for the lignite units of the Public Power Corporation and a closure aid for the scheduled closure of said units.
  • Advising ArcelorMittal Belgium on a day-to-day basis in respect of matters of energy, climate and environmental law relevant to its business in Belgium.

Fieldfisher

Drawing on the expertise of the competition and trade departments, Fieldfisher's cross-disciplinary practice works with a strong mix of public bodies, energy companies and blue-chip multinationals on various regulatory and advisory mandates. Led by David Haverbeke and Wouter Vandorpe, the team routinely assists clients with power plant construction bids, wind and solar developments, and in proceedings before the various domestic and European courts. Haverbeke is an expert in energy market liberalisation measures, while Vandorpe regularly represents clients before the Belgian Council of State and European Court of Justice. Laura Pellens focuses on renewable project development and competition law and Elise Van Gerven's broad expertise encompasses digitalisation initiatives in the sector.

Practice head(s):

David Haverbeke; Wouter Vandorpe

Other key lawyers:

Laura Pellens; Elise Van Gerven

Key clients

CENTRICA

ESSENT

DURABRIK BOUWBEDRIJVEN NV

VLAAMS ENERGIEBEDRIJF

FLEMISH GOVERNMENT (Vlaamse Overheid)

GREENPULSE

STORM MANAGEMENT

Work highlights

  • Advising Centrica on its flexibility services both on regulatory and contractual matters including its relationships with the relevant regulatory authorities (energy administration, energy regulators) both at European and national levels.
  • Assisting Essent in various court proceedings in relation to free circulation of energy green certificates and to support measures in the Flemish Region.
  • Developing a substantive study for the Flemish energy administration on the regulatory framework in the Flemish Region on CO2 and hydrogen.

Stibbe

Stibbe's energy practice is regarded for its broad capabilities in project development, strategic consulting and regulatory reviews, advising on matters across the renewable and non-renewable sectors. Practice head Frederik Vandendriessche is highly experienced in energy cases with a distinctive public law or regulatory aspect, variously advising on the structure of distribution grid operators and legislative overhauls affecting solar power production and the capacity remuneration mechanism. Pieterjan Claeys specialises in infrastructure projects and energy performance contracting.

Practice head(s):

Frederik Vandendriessche

Other key lawyers:

Pieterjan Claeys

Testimonials

‘In-depth knowledge of the market.’

Key clients

Antwerp Port Authority

Apetra

Aquafin

Arcelor Mittal Energy

BNP Paribas Fortis

Centrica

CGNEE

Direct Energie

DNB BA

EDF Luminus

Elia System Operator

Eneco

ENGIE Fabricom

European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET)

Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy under the authority of Federal Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten (FOD Economie, KMO, Middenstand en Energie or FOD Economie)

Flemish Energy and Climate Agency (VEKA)

Fluxys

Hita

I4B (the Belgian Infrastructure Fund)

Ikaros Solar

Leo Group

LRM (incl. Floating PV and Terhills NV)

Norther

OVAM (Public Waste Agency of Flanders)

Storm Management

Suez R&R Belgium

Tractebel Engineering

Zenobe Energy

Work highlights

  • Assisting Hita with the realisation of deep geothermal projects in Belgium.
  • Assisting the Port of Antwerp in its ambition to build a central pipeline along the industrial zones on both the Right and Left banks of the Scheldt, along with various shared processing units, a shared CO2 liquefaction unit, interim storage facilities and cross-border transport of CO2, both by ship and by pipeline.
  • Assisting EDF Luminus with the CRM auction process and contemplated transaction for a new gas-fired power station in Seraing, Wallonia, southern Belgium (in collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills Paris).

Deloitte

Underpinned by its significant global footprint and cross-departmental collaboration, Deloitte's climate and energy team works with a range of municipal bodies, regulators, and renewable energy suppliers on various regulatory and advisory mandates. Renewable energy support mechanisms, closed distribution systems and public procurement contracts are all key areas of expertise for the group. Practice lead Dominique Vanherck's broad expertise includes solar, wind power and the development of energy infrastructure projects. Kathleen De Hornois is noted for her significant experience in public procurement and public-private partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Kathleen De Hornois

Other key lawyers:

Dominique Vanherck

Testimonials

‘Open minded, outside-the-box thinking.’

‘Pragmatic advisory approach.’

‘Large team with a broad set of skills.’

Key clients

CREG

Port of Oostende

Futech

Elia

Shell

Nexans

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

West Flemish Intermunicipal Company

Intermunicipal Water Supply Company of Flanders

Fluvius

DATS 24

Aquafin

The Flemish Government, Department of Economy, Science and Innovation

Work highlights

  • Prepared a study for the federal government and the federal Energy Minister with policy recommendations for the future role of clean gas in a climate-neutral Belgium.
  • Advised the Port of Oostende on the legal framework governing the decommissioning, re-powering and sale on the second hand market of offshore and onshore wind turbines in Belgium.
  • Advised Elia on the tender procedure for the OSS contract for its Modular Offshore Grid II project.

NautaDutilh

Jointly led by corporate transactions specialist Nicolas de Crombrugghe and regulatory expert Jens Mosselmans, NautaDutilh handles a diverse array of energy sector mandates, ranging from project financings and share acquisitions to CRM implementation advisory and public procurement tenders. The team works with both traditional energy sector stalwarts and renewables providers, regularly advising both public and private sector clients on oil, gas, nuclear, wind and solar issues. Thibaut Willems is noted for his wide-ranging capabilities in project financing and public-private partnerships and Maxime Vanderstraeten has key expertise in public contracts involving European institutions and agencies, including contentious proceedings before various courts. Patrick Peeters has retired.

Practice head(s):

Nicolas de Crombrugghe; Jens Mosselmans

Other key lawyers:

Thibaut Willems; Maxime Vanderstraeten

Key clients

ENGIE Electrabel

Virya Energy

Korys

Fluxys

Parkwind

Eoly

Ineos

SODRAEP (VEOLIA Group)

Enel

Gunvor

ExxonMobil

DCC Energy

Solar Chest

Synatom

Xylergy

Work highlights

  • Advising ENGIE Electrabel on the legislative deployment of the Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) and simultaneously assisting in several investment dossiers entangled with CRM.
  • Assisted Virya Energy with the acquisition of the shares of the minority shareholders of Eurowatt.
  • Assisted ENGIE Electrabel and its partners as lenders’ legal counsel with the financing of the Wind4Flanders 5 and Wind4Wallonia 2 projects.

Philippe & Partners

Working across multiple sites throughout the Benelux region, Philippe & Partners is ideally positioned to advise a host of pan-European operators and governing bodies on the full scope of energy sector matters, ranging from transition initiatives to high-profile criminal proceedings. Practice chair Denis Philippe is a highly experienced tort law specialist, who is routinely sought out by private and public sector entities for his deep expertise in regulatory and contentious matters. Counsel Tom Van Noyen specialises in contracts and liability litigation, working with some of the largest operators in the European market, while the Liege-based Mathieu Clément de Cléty  is a public law specialist who regularly handles energy-related cases before the Council of State and the Constitutional Court. All named lawyers are based in Brussels unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Denis Philippe

Other key lawyers:

Tom Van Noyen; Mathieu Clément de Cléty

Work highlights

  • Assisted Electrabel during criminal proceedings, which was initiated in the context of sabotage of a nuclear power plant in 2014.
  • Assisted Electrabel in a claim against distribution system operator which failed to fulfil its legal obligations due to a problem that occurred during the migration of the IT system.
  • Assisted the Brussels Region in the transposition of the European directives of the Clean Energy Package and on the modification of the Brussels regulation relating to the organisation of the energy markets.