Environment in Colombia

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA)

The full-service offering at Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) boasts a particularly strong reputation for handling all aspects of environmental law matters, including environmental due diligence, preparation of legal environmental matrixes and compliance with national and international regulations. The firm regularly assists clients in obtaining environmental licenses, permits, authorisations and registrations, reviewing agreements and indemnification clauses related to the assumption of environmental liability, as well as providing advice on remediation processes and the handling of hazardous waste. Head of energy and natural resources, Patricia Arrázola Bustillo, and head of the environmental practice, Lina Uribe García, co-lead the 10-strong team, displaying extensive experience across the environmental spectrum. Key support is provided by senior associate Lina Correa, who focuses on environmental compliance matters for clients in various economic sectors.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Arrázola Bustillo; Lina Uribe García

Testimonials

Good attention, clear solutions and a very good disposition in the search for the probative material with which the case was approached.

Very good advice, totally understandable and always looking for the best solution for the client, mitigating risks.’

Very good adaptation to virtuality.

Key clients

Pricesmart

Clorox Company

Cenit

Gases Industriales de Colombia

Pluspetrol

Weatherford Colombia

Hitachi ABB Power Grids

Abbot Laboratories

Bufalabella

Softys (CMPC Company)

General Motors-Colmotores

Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation and The World Wildlife Fund

Signify

Yanbal

Fundación Santo Domingo

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlyle Group on the acquisition of 100% of the capital stock of major Colombian oil producers, Oxy Colombia Holdings and Occidental International Holdings’ assets in Colombia.
  • Assisted EDP Renováveis with the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Solar Power Solutions ESP, which owns 100% of three companies, each of which is developing a wind farm located in the Department of La Guajira.
  • Advice on the environmental and social requirements for the modification of the hydroelectric projects located in the Chocó region in favour of Hydroglobal HK (joint venture owned by China Three Gorges) and EDP Portugal.

Holland & Knight

The ‘excellent’ multidisciplinary team at Holland & Knight has in-depth knowledge of all issues related to land use and environmental law, covering the full spectrum of matters but with a particular focus on climate change, compliance auditing and corporate governance, energy efficiency, environmental health and safety, green building, natural resources and sustainability issues. The team acts for a number of high-profile companies in the oil-and-gas industry and has seen recent growth in its client roster in to the  food and beverage and chemicals segmments, among others. Leading the 16-strong team is José Vicente Zapata, a well-known prasence in th eenvironmental sector and natural resources' expert with over 20 years' experience – he currently focuses on corporate and commercial matters which include an emphasis on the environment, energy and natural resources. Other names to note are: Ines Elvira Vesga (who was promoted to partner in August 2021), senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas, senior associate Camila Del Villar and associate Margarita Solorza.

Practice head(s):

José Vicente Zapata

Testimonials

‘It is an excellent team with a lot of experience and practice. The lawyers know how to prioritise and understand the needs of their clients.’

‘Excellent and close attention. Quick responses.

It is a very solid team with great cohesion, knowledge and management of environmental issues, and the ability to articulate these issues with those of the sector in which the company is located, as well as great knowledge and management of regulatory issues that apply to the company. As a team they complement each other perfectly and have excellent handling.

Empathy to understand the needs of the company and the difficulties faced in the development of activities so as to provide solutions.

This area in Colombia is very demanding because it is made up of legal elements and environmental technical elements. Lawyers who handle this issue require solid legal knowledge complemented with an understanding of how the environmental authorities operate, along with environmental knowledge. I believe that H&K has a solid team and that it builds responses based on experience and risk assessment. They are people with deep knowledge and a permanent attitude of investigation and seeking solutions. They are very accomplished and efficient in responding to the needs we have as clients.

Key clients

Racafe CIA SCA

Petrobras de Valores Internacional de España (sucursal Colombia)

Sator

Emerald Energy

Lewis Energy Colombia

Syngenta

Terranum Desarrollo

TransGas de Occidente

Equión Energía

Work highlights

  • Advised coal mining company Sator on the environmental licensing procedure of a key coal mining project, involving strategic analysis of the granted environmental licences, focusing on potential restrictions to in situ operations, and the drafting and submission of the corresponding appeal before the National Environmental Licensing Authority.
  • Provided advice and judicial representation to oil and gas company, Equion, in more than 200 judicial proceedings related to the discussion of an environmental tax (1% obligation) derived from the environmental license granted for oil projects, the structuring of the legal strategy necessary for the negotiation with the environmental authority at the mediation discussions with the National Agency for Environmental Licenses (ANLA) led by the National Agency for the Judicial Defense of the State (ANDJE).
  • Ongoing advice to oil and gas E&P company, Emerald Energy, on regulatory and contractual matters; services include the preparation of contractual and legal documents related to the operation of the company in Colombia, as well as environmental matters.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

Head of the environment team at Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría, and widely recognised by peers and clients as a leading practitioner in the field, Luis Fernando Macías advises both national and multinational companies on complex environmental matters. The practice regularly undertakes work covering the full spectrum of environmental-related services with a focus on the corporate aspect. In addition, it is currently developing a new sub-practice regarding sanitary law – a growing area of focus following new regulations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Key support at associate level comes from principals Alexander Acosta, who focuses on sustainability and renewable energies; and Ivan Paez , who shows ‘exceptional knowledge of litigation issues. Senior associate María Alejandra Gómez is an ‘excellent professional, with extensive knowledge and versatility’.

Practice head(s):

Luis Fernando Macías

Testimonials

The availability they have to attend to our affairs. They are open, warm people and their experience in the sector makes them reliable.

Plus factors: their human qualities and the knowledge they have of our company. Moreover, the preventive and risk management approach allows us not only to trust its concept but also to be reassured by its risk management approach.

Alejandra [Gómez] our support lawyer, in addition to being young, has the full support of the partner in charge and gives us a lot of confidence. Alejandra is the best attorney for environmental matters that we have found. Dr. Macías is the partner who leads this issue and has been empowering Alejandra so that she is the one who leads the relationship with us.’

The availability of the lawyers and their knowledge of the sector. Alexander Acosta: his availability and knowledge of the sector.

Ivan Paez – his exceptional knowledge of litigation issues.

Luis Fernando Macias: his availability and knowledge; the attention is excellent and the delivery times noteworthy.

Extensive knowledge and recognition of environmental issues. It is a team that looks at different alternatives and debates them, something very positive.

They are a great team, far superior to other firms.

Alejandra Gómez is an excellent professional, with extensive knowledge and versatility in seeing opportunities or threats in the context of a problem raised. Fernando Macías is an authority on the subject and this translates into the reliability of his analysis.

I like the reports of regulatory changes in the different sectors, it is an email with relevant information, not only from the environmental field; a very good initiative.

It is a very good team, very diligent, attentive and always support the company with advice and concepts that are very consistent and complete.

Ivan Páez seems to us to be an excellent lawyer, very clear in all his presentations, he makes us feel comfortable, confident and that we are advised in an excellent way.

They keep us updated with the regulations in all matters, particularly those related to environmental issues, it is easy to access the trusted advisor, unlike other firms where one is assigned an advisor per share.’

PPU’s internal environmental team stands out for its knowledge of the sector and the experience of its associates. They have very specialised knowledge in environmental matters. Alejandra Gómez is highlighted, she has all the virtues to be the next partner in the department.

Recommended for having the environmental technico-legal experience and their availability to the client – which personalises the handling of needs and priorities.

Key clients

Bayer

Mansarovar Energy Colombia

Holcim Colombia

Concesionaria Vial del Pacífico

CI Prodeco

Interconexión Eléctrica ESP

Sociedad Aeroportuaria de la Costa (SACSA)

Hocol

Cementos Argos

Compañía Nacional de Levaduras, Levapan

Transmisora Colombiana De Energía ESP

Autopistas del Nordeste

Concesionaria Vial Del Oriente

Grupo Manuelita Isagen ESP

Aes Chivor & Cia ESP

Jemeiwaa Ka’i

Brinsa

Productos Naturales de la Sabana – Alquería

Work highlights

  • Legal and regulatory advice to Bayer for the design of a strategy to authorise the production of agrochemical products, such as glyphosate, through the modification of the environmental license by Resolution 1044 of 2020.
  • Legal advice to Mansarovar Energy Colombia on the submission before National Environmental Authority, ANLA, of the updating of the obligation related to the forced investment of 1% of the value of the total project, as a method to avoid overruns to the client.
  • Legal advice and representation of Holcim Colombia in the judicial process of Reparación Directa, before the Tribunal de Boyacá with regard to accusations of negative impacts on water resources linked to the occurrence of floods in the lands surrounding the plant; Holcim was acquitted of all accusations.

Brigard Urrutia

The interdisciplinary practice at Brigard Urrutia draws experience from lawyers across its natural resources, infrastructure and public utilities departments to offer a comprehensive portfolio of services in matters such as obtaining environmental authorisations and permits, due diligence and environmental audits. The firm regularly represents clients in environmental claims and investigations before governmental agencies, as well as before the courts, combining the expertise of its litigators and environmental experts. Senior associate Guillermo Tejeiro is head of the environmental and sustainable business development team, and advises national and international clients on matters related to the sustainability of projects and activities, including the representation of clients in environmental litigation, advising on environmental tax benefits, ESG matters, and structuring projects and green business. Partner Jaime Robledo is best known for corporate work, but also advises on environment-related cases for companies from the finance, aeronautics, and oil-and-gas sectors.

Practice head(s):

Jaime Robledo; Guillermo Tejeiro

Key clients

Laboratorios Baxter

Biofix Consultoría

Carbo-sostenible

Compañía de Puertos Asociados (COMPAS)

Concesionaria Férrea de Occidente (CFRO)

Elecnorte

Electricaribe

Expertise France

Ferro Internacional – Nubiola

Proyectos Vertize

LCPZ Colombia

Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia / Oleoducto de Los Llanos Orientales

SK Bergé

Suzuki Motor de Colombia

Transmisora Colombiana de Energía (TCE)

Volvo Group Colombia

Work highlights

  • General environmental advisor of  Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia and Oleoducto de Los Llanos Orientales regarding their operations, including advisory on the legal, technical and social aspects of their operations in Colombia.
  • General environmental advisor to Laboratorios Baxter on its operations, including advisory on legal and technical aspects.
  • Consultants to Expertise France in realtion to defining the new legal structure of the Colombian Strategy to Decarbonize the Economy by 2050 (Climate Resilience Strategy)

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados' broad service offering revolves primarily around advice within the mining, oil and gas, energy and infrastructure sectors – often on matters involving hazardous waste management, compliance and regulatory issues. The three-strong area is sought after by both local and multinational companies for its weight in strategic matters, especially audits, administrative defence and environmental litigation. The department is now under the leadership of associate director Silvia María Méndez Parodi, whose past experience includes as an environmental advisor at the International Affairs Office of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. Méndez Parodi was promoted to head of practice after reputed specialist Juan Manuel Sabogal passed away in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Silvia María Méndez Parodi

Key clients

Geopark Colombia

Petróleos Sudamericanos (sucursal Colombia)

Asociación Nacional de Empresas Generadoras (ANDEG)

Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito

Promotora Convivienda

Corporación Club Los Lagartos

Organización Terpel

Constructora Bolívar

Monster Energy Drink

Caja de Compensación Familiar de Antioquia (COMFAMA)

Protela

Work highlights

  • Assisting GeoPark, an oil and gas E&P company GeoPark with the analysis of oil easements, environmental responsibility and compliance on environmental and mining matters.
  • Ongoing advice to Petróleos Sudamericanos (“Petrosud”) to assist with solving environmental enquiries that arise from its day-to-day activities – focused on the reactivation of wells across Colombia, and on ensuring optimum efficiency to enable production from low-capacity wells.
  • Prepared multiple petitions for CREG (Regulation Commission of Energy and Gas), seeking a regulatory adjustment to the way in which energy is valued in relation to the “Cargo por Restricciones”, a charge that affects both the fee paid by the users of an energy service and the payment received by the companies producing the energy.

Posse Herrera Ruiz

Posse Herrera Ruiz‘s environmental practice group is a full-service offering, acting particularly on matters across the entire energy sector, and perhaps best known for its advice on oil and gas, renewable energy and  associated disputes, as well as in environmental regulation. The practice is led at partner level by Alvaro José Rodríguez (head of the natural resources department), a renowned professional in energy and environmental matters, whoe spent four years at the Ministry of Environment prior to entering private practice. Senior associate Erika Serrano who has wide experience in environmental permitting and sanctioning processes, as well as in the legal management of controlled chemical substances is an additional key member of the team and co-heads the practice in conjunction with Rodríguez. However, former associate Julián Manrique moved in house at Prime Energía in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Alvaro José Rodríguez

Key clients

Occidental Petroleum Corporation

Arrow Exploration Limited

Conoco Phillips

Cedco (The Carlyle Group)

Energo-pro

BHP Chile

SeaOne Caribbean

Northland Power

Hidrocasanare

Yara

Oiltanking

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited

Sociedad Minera de Santander S.A.S. (Minesa)

Triple Flag Precious Metals Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Oxy in the sale of substantially all its onshore Colombian oil and gas assets to the Carlyle Group.
  • Advised Solarpack in the qualification process of its subsidiary in Colombia for the bidding process of a 50 MW solar energy farm for Ecopetrol, Colombia’s largest company.
  • Advised Northland Power in the bidding process for a 275 km transmission line 500 kW. Northland Power sought to enter the local transmission line market through this transaction. This line in particular joined up with the distribution network of EBSA that they acquired early this year.

Araújo Ibarra Consultores Internacionales

The environmental practice at Araújo Ibarra Consultores Internacionales specialises in advice to corporates on environmental planning and project development, including public investment initiatives, licensing,  business risk assessments and compliance with environmental law. The team has experience in modernisation and expansion projects in the oil sector, one such example being the planning and environmental management of two refineries in Colombia. Additionally, the team offers advice on environmental tax benefits. Javier Eduardo Trillos leads the four-strong practice group, and focuses on the implementation of environmental processes, related investments and clean development mechanisms.

Practice head(s):

Javier Eduardo Trillos

Baker McKenzie S.A.S.

The environmental department at Baker McKenzie S.A.S. is active across many transactions, effectively resolving environmental challenges as they relate to compliance with environmental regulations. Experienced senior associate Camila Jiménez leads the practice, representing primarily oil, mining, agrochemical and industrial companies in Colombia, particularly on the structuring of relevant environmental due diligence processes. Partner-level support is provided by energy specialist Alejandro Mesa, and Andrés Crump, who has experience in complex M&A transactions, especially in the infrastructure and power generation sectors. Associate Mariana Villegas is also noted for her work on mining, oil and gas matters.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Mesa; Andres Crump; Mariana Villegas; Camila Jimenez

Testimonials

For the area of ​​environment and compliance, the person who has given us support has been attorney Camila Jimenez, who has provided us with answers and clear and accurate guidance on legal matters, at the times in which we have needed her; I emphasize her availability to assist us, her ability to make us understand the issues, her methodology of analysis of the situations and her speed to comply with the commitments that we establish in each meeting. Definitely for the reasons mentioned above, the Baker McKenzie team has been outstanding in the service they have provided us, being far above other teams.

Key clients

Solargreen

Trafigura Marketing Colombia ESP

Oak Creek Energy

Voltalia

SC Solar

EPM

Clarios Andina

SPV Villanueva

Refocosta

MAC Johnson Controls

Schlumberger Surenco

Graña y Montero (Morelco)

ONGC Videsh

Petroleo Brasilero (PETROBRAS)

Total EyP Colombie (sucursal Colombia)

Brookfield

Peabody Energy Corporation

Crest Investments – Texas Mining and Associates

Talis Capital

Stepan Colombia

Cummins Norte de Colombia

Ferro Corporation

Intenartional Flavors and Fragances Colombia

Global Tower Solutions

Sociedad Portuaria Impala Terminals

MGM Innova Group

Work highlights

  • Assisting Clarios Andina with the process of implementing the proper management of waste coming from plastics and paperboard, according to regulations recently issued by the Colombian government.
  • Advised EPM on the drafting of an environmental due diligence report regarding compliance with the applicable environmental regulations and authorisations granted to Electricaribe, as part of the due diligence process for acquisition of the company.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas

Joining the rankings for 2021, Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas' demonstrates expertise in environmental and social regulatory matters, primarily in relation to the mining industry. In this area, the firm has been in consultation with government authorities to discuss a large number of the recent mining, environmental and social regulations in Colombia. The environment practice is perhaps best known in relation to M&A in the mining sector, including complex cross-border transactions, multidisciplinary due diligence and securities-related elements such as Canadian plans of arrangements and the IPOs of listed companies. Associate director María Margarita Lorduy heads the environment team, advising on environmental matters for well known mining, hydrocarbon, and infrastructure companies.

Practice head(s):

Bernardo Cárdenas Martinez; James Valdiri Reyes; Jorge Neher, Hernán Rodriguez; Santiago Gonzalez

Testimonials

‘Very professional and have the necessary knowledge to support us in making decisions. Knowledge of regulations and relationship with government entities.

They have a highly experienced team in providing legal services and in different areas of law. They have great communication and relationship skills and are very friendly at all times. The team is diverse in every way, as well as very versatile and with an international and local focus. Their rates are competitive and they are very collaborative. They are very experienced in the practice area and they know the sector well, as well as the regulations. Hernan Rodriguez and Margarita Lorduy always provide an accompaniment of exceptional quality and that is very close.’

Key clients

Novum Energy

Brazil Resources

Valparaiso Energy

Newmont Mining Corporation

Gran Colombia Gold

Iamgold

Anglo Gold Ashanti

Anglo American

Greenstone Mining

Caribbean Resources

Enami

B2Gold

Royal Road Minerals

Mineros

Toachí Mining

Asociación Colombiana de Minería

Sun Valley Investments

Atico Mining

Minera el Roble

Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration

GoldMining

Hochschild Mining

RK Mine finance Bermuda I

Minera Cobre de Colombia

Touchstone

Miraflores Compañía Minera

Baroyeca

Carbocoque

Aris Investment

Fenix Gold

Gramalote Colombia

Minera Cobre Quebradona

Work highlights

  • Advised Minera El Roble regarding the filing before the National Mining Agency for an extension of its mining concession.; involving the design and implementation of a complex legal strategy that seeks to obtain a new mining concession under current regulations, allowing it to continue its existing mining operations for an additional 30 years and carry out new exploration activities.
  • Advising Gramalote on the structuring of a power line project to supply the company’s project, involving the structuring of the terms of reference, the preparation and drafting of agreements, and support in the definitive contractor’s selection process for the construction of the line.
  • Advised AngloGold Ashanti subsidiary Quebradona on preparing the legal chapters of the pre-feasibility study for a world-class copper mining project in Jericó, Antioquia, Colombia.

Guerrero Ruiz Asociados

Specialist boutique firm Guerrero Ruiz Asociados focuses almost exclusively on advising in the environment and natural resources sectors. The team acts primarily in cases involving compliance issues relating to environmental regulations, and strategic litigation concerning environmental risk matters. Recent highlights include advising Refinería de Cartagena (a subsidiary of Ecopetrol) on an environmental licensing disagreement before the ANLA. Founding partner Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero Ruiz ('an indisputable support when making strategic decisions') has a strong track record in the field, and leads the four-strong team.

Practice head(s):

Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero Ruiz

Testimonials

The environmental area of ​​Guerrero Ruiz Asociados combines competencies in environmental law with a very important emphasis on urban law. It is also a firm with great competence in litigation matters. I believe that it compares favourably with the teams of other firms as it integrates unique competencies in real estate and litigation matters. They have a team of lawyers specialised in different aspects of environmental law, but also with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team that works hand in hand with the legal team. This marks an important difference from other areas of environmental law. Gustavo Guerrero is a highly competent lawyer not only in environmental law but also in litigation with the experience that enables him to know the issues in their entirety.

Guerrero Ruiz Asociados has been a strategic ally in the prevention, control and management of the legal environmental matters of our organisation. The knowledge and expertise of its representative, Gustavo Guerrero, gives us peace of mind that the matters that we submit to his consideration will be resolved with high quality work; he is an indisputable support when making strategic decisions as a company. The firm stands out from others, in its personalised attention and availability to the client, as well as its proven expertise in the solution and planning of business environmental legal management. Likewise, it has an excellent relationship with the environmental authorities, efficiently handling the different procedures under its charge.

Key clients

Refinería de Cartagena

Gloria Colombia

Productos Alimenticios El Recreo

Inerco Consultoría Colombia

La Pradera de Potosí Club Residencial

Canacol Energy

Politecnico Internacional

Aventtus

Proyecto El Triunfo

Combustibles Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising Refinería de Cartagena on the application, processing and obtaining of modifications to the environmental license before the National Authority of Environmental Licenses ANLA for its expansion and modernisation.
  • Advised the INERCO OPTIM Temporary Union on the structuring of eight sustainable productive projects for local communities and producer organisations in the Department of Cauca, with financing from the IDB and the Sustainable Colombia Fund within the framework of the green and sustainable business strategy payment for environmental services.
  • Advising the builder of the Montevioleta Country Condominium project on the process to obtain a discharge permit for the urban development project.

Palacios Lleras

Palacios Lleras is perhaps best known for its public law capabilities, especially in relation to the energy sector and mining activities, but also demonstrates successful experience in complex environmental litigation, where it represents an array of companies at all court levels. Particularly strong in regulatory advisory work, the practice is led by enormously experienced founding partner, Hugo Palacios Mejía; and senior partner Óscar Gutiérrez, who is an expert in litigation regarding infrastructure and port matters. Both leaders are highly respected in the environmental industry, acting for public and private entities on environmental, and social and governance matters in relation to complex projects.

Practice head(s):

Hugo Palacios Mejía; Óscar Gutierrez; Pedro Pacheco

Key clients

Drummond

Drummond Coal Mining

Drummond Energy

Work highlights

  • Palacios Lleras is currently representing Drummond in two contractual disputes against the National Mining Agency (ANM), and before other public entities.
  • Palacios Lleras is representing Drummond Coal Mining in litigation seeking the annulment of an administrative order.
  • Representing Drummond Energy in a proceeding in which the company is assisting the Ministry of Mines and Energy (one of the defendants), regarding the possibility of imposing a ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Colombian territory.

Pinilla González & Prieto Abogados

With renowned experience advising on environmental and public utility issues associated with land use, planning and urban development projects, Pinilla González & Prieto Abogados is widely respected for its strength in this sector. The seven-strong practice, led by environmental specialist partner Natalia Nuñez, advises companies operating across the mining, oil and gas, transport, finance and healthcare sectors, as well as in relation to real estate development. The team mainly focuses primarily on environmental licensing issues, risk assessment, due diligence and administrative environmental proceedings. Key associate support is provided at senior level by Ángela Pinzón, who has particular expertise in land use and water issues, having participated in several transactions concerning the protection and conservation of significant environmental protection areas in Colombia.

Practice head(s):

Natalia Núñez Vélez

Key clients

Prodesa y Cia

Fiduciara Bogota

Tao Tao

Actual Constructora

Autopistas del Café

Garcés Eder

Grupo Chía

Coporación Levante

Ladrillera Santa Fe

Work highlights

  • Advised Tao Tao on obtaining a sanitary authorisation to guarantee access to potable water supply for a population of 36000 inhabitants.
  • Advised Prodesa on the lifting of a preventive measure that ordered the suspension of construction activities.
  • Advised Autopistas del Cafe on environmental legal issues concerning major road infrastructure projects in Colombia.