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Colombia > Energy and natural resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría has expertise across environmental, mining, industrial, energy, infrastructure and real estate projects, and is ‘a leading name in the energy sector and the first choice for many local and international corporations’. Co-head of the practice Sandra Manrique advised Macquarie Capital on legal and regulatory issues related to the development of three hydro facilities, including assisting in the structuring of financing and the drafting of PPAs. The firm also provided regulatory advice to Neoen EnR Mexico concerning the development of a photovoltaic project in La Guajira department; and advised Sumitomo Mitsui on environmental matters connected to the financing and closing of the Concesión Autopista Conexión Norte project. Associate María Margarita Lorduy co-heads the practice.

Posse Herrera Ruiz has ‘a top-notch energy practice’, and advises on environmental licensing, administrative investigations, compliance audits, due diligence, consultation with ethnic communities, and zoning restrictions, among other areas. It acted for Trafigura Energy in the negotiation of a purchase and pre-payment agreement with Geopark Colombia for the acquisition of $100m of crude oil; and is advising Anadarko on matters including the successful declaration of a free trade zone for eight offshore exploration blocks. Álvaro José Rodríguez heads the team, with Francisco Urrutia a ‘notable’ figure and associate Diana Salazar also recommended.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S. has a proven track record in complex, cross-border oil and gas and energy projects. Practice head and energy expert Alejandro Mesa led advice to Alfa on the Colombian aspects of its bid to purchase a controlling interest in Pacific Exploration & Production (formerly Pacific Rubiales) in Chapter 11 proceedings before a New York court. The firm also advised Graña & Montero in relation to its joint venture with Ashmore to participate in the bidding process for the right to build a power transmission line in La Guajira department: a project valued at more than $149m. The team’s list of significant clients also includes Oleoducto al Pacífico, Petrobras, Total E&P, and ONGC Videsh. Jaime Trujillo, Ciro Meza and Felipe Correa are all key members of the practice.

Brigard & Urrutia has dedicated practices covering natural resources and environment; infrastructure and public utilities; and renewable energy and energy efficiency. Managing partner Carlos Umaña and Carlos Urrutia head the team, and attract praise for their deep knowledge and understanding of applicable legislation. Umaña led advice to Perimetral Oriental de Bogotá (as successful bidder for a 4G road concession) in negotiations with corporations which own distribution and transportation energy networks which may affect the projected road infrastructure. The team also advised Kimberly-Clark on potential options to self-generate and provide energy to a third party in a free trade zone, with the advice covering the applicable electricity legislation and the free zone regime. Other clients include Termovalle, Terranum Inversión, Dolphin Drilling and Ecopetrol. Associates Guillermo Tejeiro and Marianna Boza are both recommended.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is noted for its regulatory and financial expertise in the energy and natural resources field, particularly in the areas of mining and oil and gas. The dedicated team is headed by Bernardo Cárdenas, James Valdiri and associate Inés Elvira Vesga. Valdiri is assisting Novum Energy with due diligence concerning three mining titles located in Boyacá department; and Cárdenas and Valdiri are assisting Valparaiso Energy in connection with a gold mine situated in the Antioquia region. Brazil Resources, Condor Exploration and Resources, and Greenland Resources regularly instruct the firm. Since publication Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodríguez and Santiago González have all joined the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright.

An excellent firm in all energy matters’, Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) provides ‘appropriate advice for all type of energy projects in the infrastructure sector, and its lawyers are cordial and efficient’. It has an outstanding reputation for its work in oil and gas financing, tax and corporate matters, as well as on environmental and mining issues. It advised the investment banks acting for the Colombian state on Brookfield Asset Management’s $2bn acquisition of state-owned power generator ISAGEN, in what is considered the largest privatisation process in the country in the last ten years. The firm also acted as local counsel to the lenders (as part of the steering committee) on Pacific Exploration & Production’s $5.2bn debt restructuring in Canada, the US and Colombia. The mining practice is headed by Patricia Arrázola, the environment practice by Lina Uribe, and the natural resources practice by Germán Villamil.

The ‘very competitive’ energy group at Norton Rose Fulbright attracts praise for its responsiveness, pragmatism and approachability, and counts among its clients substantial independent mining and oil and gas corporations. Venezuela-trained energy expert Jorge Neher acted for Touchstone Colombia in environmental licensing proceedings connected to several mining projects in the country. Head of mining Hernán Rodríguez led advice to Bluecrest on the sale of its mining interests in the country to a private investment fund. Leopoldo Olavarría, Luis Carlos Neira and senior associate Efraín Peña, who heads the environmental practice, are all key figures. Since publication Jorge Neher and Hernán Rodríguez have moved to Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas.

Sanclemente Fernández Abogados S.A.’s ten-strong group, including four partners, deals with complex mandates across upstream exploration, midstream refining, and transportation and downstream commercialisation, advising on joint ventures, operating agreements, administrative proceedings and other matters. Antonio Sanclemente, José Gabriel Fernández and Diana Sanclemente are the key names.

Energy and natural resources is a core practice area for Durán & Osorio Abogados Asociados. It has a particular focus on the hydrocarbons sector and power and mining projects, and is well-versed in concession bids and related financings. The firm was part of the pool of advisers appointed by the National Planning Department to assist on the structuring of a PPP for the construction, operation and maintenance of the water supply and sewerage for the city of Santa Marta. Other significant clients include ISAGEN, Corporación Andina de Fomento, and the Mining and Energy Planning Unit (UPME). Gustavo Osorio, Álvaro Durán and Jorge Gabriel Taboada are all highly recommended.

Godoy & Hoyos Abogados SAS’ energy team provides clients with ‘clear answers supported by solid legal arguments’. The compact but efficient team is led by Juan Pablo Godoy, who has held several managerial positions in energy corporations. Work highlights included advising mining corporation ADAMG (in the business of environmentally sustainable coal production) on its purchase of and investment in mining assets and operations in Colombia. Godoy led advice to Gunvor Colombia on the regulatory aspects of the potential export of oil in the south of the country via pipelines located in Ecuador.

Holland & Knight’s ‘professional and competent’ team ‘has a deep knowledge of the sector and provides pragmatic, fit-for-purpose advice’; it is active in oil, gas, energy and other natural resources matters. It recently advised a mining corporation on all environmental regulations applicable to its activities in the country. The ‘knowledgeable and reliable’ José Vicente Zapata leads the practice. Rayovac Varta, ISAGEN and Cerro Matoso are clients.

Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s energy team has particular strength in mining matters, and is active in relation to title investigations, contracts, due diligence and litigation involving native communities’ rights before administrative and judicial tribunals. Practice head Ignacio Santamaría advised Antioquia Gold on land acquisition matters, involving the direct negotiation of easements with the prospective sellers and the drafting of the corresponding purchase agreements which formalised the rights to exercise the easements. Clients include Continental Gold, Minera Cobre de Colombia, and Minera Vetas. Senior associates Ángela Salazar and Natalia Soto are both recommended.

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados’ small but ‘well-established’ energy department is known for its expertise in dealing with the authorities on the licensing of exploration concessions, and is well placed to advise on environmental matters in the mining, oil and gas, energy and infrastructure sectors. The firm advised Geopark Colombia on various regulatory matters including compliance with environmental obligations, and also represented the client before tribunals in connection with easement rights over an oil field in the Casanare department. Juan Manuel Sabogal is the key name.

Chalela | Abogados advises on regulatory, contractual and corporate matters in the energy sector, and counts among its clients a range of power companies, across generation, distribution and commercialisation. Its track record includes acting for an international lead arranger on a $280m credit line to refinance the expansion of a power plant. Federico Chalela is the name to note.

Work highlights for Palacios Lleras’ energy department included acting for Quimpac (formerly Prodesal) as the claimant in a dispute with Pacific Energy Company and several municipal authorities of the city of Cali, seeking the revision of a contract for the construction of an electric substation and power supply. The team also successfully acted for Petroleum Pipe Latin America in disputes with a number of its customers concerning overdue payments. Other clients include Drummond, Naturgas and Gas Unión. The team is led by Hugo Palacios Mejía and Oscar Gutiérrez Herrán.

Environmental specialist Claudia Mora leads the three-lawyer group at Pinilla, González & Prieto, which continues to cement its standing in the market, particularly in regulatory issues relating to projects and licence applications. Its roster of clients includes Carboquímica, Empresa de Energía de Bogotá, Pintuco, and Constructora Bolívar.

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