Energy and natural resources in Ecuador

Bustamante & Bustamante

Bustamante & Bustamante has seen an increase in alternative energy work, with notable recent instructions including advising on compliance and corporate matters for thermal power plant provider Mitsubishi Power Systems, including in relation to its spin off from Hitachi. In addition, the team frequently undertakes work in the oil and gas sector, as well as being a key name in the mining space, with large players such as Newcrest, Anglo American and AKD International instructing the firm on a wide range of matters. Roque Bernardo Bustamante heads the team and acts for some of the firm’s top mining clients, while senior partner Juan Carlos Bustamante focuses on the oil and gas sector. José Rafael Bustamante Crespo is recommended for M&A and joint venture work in the sector, while associate Ximena Cabezas is noted for advising on mining regulations. Since publication, the firm has announced its merger with fellow local firm Fabara & Compañía to become Bustamante Fabara, effective as of November 2021.

Practice head(s):

Roque Bernardo Bustamante; Juan Carlos Bustamante

Key clients

Newcrest

Anglo American

GeoPark

Ecolab

Mitsubishi Power

AKD

Omya

Sandstorm Gold

Alkorayef

Ecoluxen

Work highlights

  • Advised Newcrest on the acquisition of the gold prepay and stream facilities as well as the offtake agreement for $460m with respect to the Furta del Norte Mine from Lundin Gold.
  • Advised GeoPark on its partnership with Frontera, which involved the execution of two production sharing contracts for Blocks Espejo and Perico.
  • Obtained an official sanctioned suspension of activities for Pegasus Project on behalf of Anglo American, in order to recover the time lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and social and community conflicts near the site of the exploration activities.

ECIJA GPA

ECIJA GPA is particularly experienced in matters involving the oil and gas industries, acting for some of the sector's most important players, including Baker Hughes, Repsol and Schlumberger, among others. The team is jointly led by Gonzalo González, a highly experienced practitioner who handles the full range of matters for both upstream and downstream oil companies, and Bayardo Poveda, who focuses on corporate and financing matters. The team is involved in some of the market's most notable transactions, with González recently advising Baker Hughes in relation to negotiations surrounding the privatisation of the Sacha oil field, including advice on environmental and liability issues. Key names from the associate ranks are Gustavo Arrobo Moncayo, who is experienced in alternative dispute resolution as well as corporate work, and contract law specialist Francisco Mendoza.

Practice head(s):

Gonzalo González; Bayardo Poveda

Testimonials

‘Solid knowledge of both local and international legislation and strong ethical values.’

‘Bayardo Poveda and Gonzalo González stand out. Their main qualities are their experience and their resilience during the negotiation processes in the litigation in which they are acting for us.’

‘The work of this firm is very good. They are very business oriented, which makes them very practical with very beneficial legal solutions for their clients.’

‘Practical legal solutions focused on business continuity.’

‘High level of seniority and a lot of experience in the sector. Excellent relationships, links and deep knowledge of the sector.’

‘They are very committed to their work and to meeting the objectives set. My impression has been very positive, especially since I received very attentive advice from a team of experts who cover different legal areas, achieving a holistic and comprehensive solution in less time.’

‘The benefit of this firm is that the people who make up the ECIJA Ecuador team have managed to find a special synergy as a team. They are experts from different areas but they always serve us as a team, showing great commitment to delivering comprehensive answers to any problem. Gonzalo González and Bayardo Poveda do a great job.’

Key clients

Ecuador TLC

YPF Ecuador

Baker Hughes

Schlumberger

Hoerbiger

GME Cita (Alstom, Ineo UTS, Compagnie Internationale de Maintenance and TSO)

ACTN (Alstom, CIM and the NGE Group (TSO and NGE))

OCP

Repsol

GEBH (subsidiary to General Electric)

Work highlights

  • Advising Ecuador TLC in a breach of contract dispute with EP Petroecuador over an agreement for the transportation of crude oil, using the total available transport capacity of Ecuador TLC, through the heavy crude oil pipeline.
  • Advising GME Cita and ACTN, two French company consortiums in charge of the construction the Cuenca Tramway System, on the finalisation and delivery of the works.
  • Advising Schlumberger, one of the major oil services providers in Ecuador, on the termination of the Kamana and Panacocha fields, located at the Amazon basin.

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce remains one of the strongest players for energy and natural resources work in Ecuador, providing a full service to clients across the mining, renewables, oil and gas, and electricity spaces. The team comprises a wide range of specialists from across the firm's other departments, and as such, provides advice on tax, labour, environmental, financing and corporate matters, as well as handling contentious matters, including contract disputes with government bodies. The large team includes Francisco Roldán-Cobo, who is highly experienced in contract negotiation for the oil and gas sectors, managing partner Sebastián Pérez Arteta, who primarily advises on transactions, environmental specialist Jaime Zaldumbide, and recent hire Sebastián Cortez, who joined the practice in January 2021 from Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados and focuses on regulatory work. Senior associate María Isabel Aillón-Vásconez is also recommended, particularly for disputes in the mining sector.

Practice head(s):

Francisco Roldán Cobo; Sebastián Pérez Arteta; Jaime Zaldumbide; Sebastián Cortez

Testimonials

‘The firm has a unique knowledge of environmental and mining issues, the partners are always available and if any problem arises we know it will be dealt promptly.’

‘Maria Isabel Aillon is a very professional person. Her attitude towards clients is one of a kind. She stands out for the work she does for the Women in Mining Ecuador initiative. During the pandemic they worked very hard and developed many different kinds of events to raise awareness in the mining industry.’

‘Good team, very knowledgeable about natural resources, excellent availability.’

‘With Jaime Zaldumbide we have a relationship of trust and friendship that is difficult to achieve with other lawyers. He knows our company and the way our in-house team works very well.’

‘They are lawyers with a business focus, which is a rare quality in the legal sector, and provide business-oriented advice, not just legal analysis.’

‘I really like the balance of this team. There are partners with invaluable experience in the energy sector, as well as dedicated young lawyers. In-house attorneys and others like me who require them for specific projects know that by working with PBP we are guaranteed an excellent and timely service.’

‘As well as a long career in oil and gas matters, Jaime Zaldumbide has experience in environmental issues and the renewable energy and electricity market. In addition to his technical knowledge, he is an excellent lawyer who facilitates solutions and reaches agreements based on his great personal qualities. Sebastián Pérez is indisputably one of the best lawyers in the country, and his opinion is respected by peers and clients. Personally, I really like working with him; he has a strategic view of matters and his advice is not limited to legal issues. María Isabel Aillón has good technical knowledge of the mining industry in addition to being a very meticulous lawyer. She is a young lawyer who undoubtedly has the potential to become a leading lawyer of her generation.’

Key clients

BHP

Nobis

Osisko

Codelco

Fortescue

Solgold

Aurelian Lundin Gold

Adventus/Curimining

Cámara De Minería Ecuador

Gransolar – Total Eren

Work highlights

  • Advised Codelco on the negotiation and execution of an addendum to a joint venture agreement with Enami (Ecuador’s state-owned mining company) for the development of the Llurimagua copper project.
  • Advising Gran Solar – Total Eren on a private initiative for the development of a project in the Galapagos Islands aimed at changing its energy generation system by replacing the use of fuel-generated energy with clean solar energy.
  • Advised BHP on its joint venture and exploration agreement with Lumina Gold.

Robalino Law

Robalino Law remains a notable presence within the Ecuadorian market following its spin-out from Ferrere and establishment as an independent firm. The team is active across the full spectrum of work in the energy and natural resources area, acting for high-profile clients focused on the renewables, oil and gas, and mining sectors, and handling a wide range of matters including project financing, M&A and the structuring of new energy projects. Key figures within the team include Rafael Valdivieso, who focuses on oil and gas matters and was promoted to partner in January 2021, Javier Robalino Orellana, who handles both transactional and contentious work, and Andrés Donoso.

Practice head(s):

Andrés Donoso; Javier Robalino Orellana; Rafael Valdivieso

Testimonials

‘The firm offers a full service, covering all the areas of law necessary for our company. Rafael Valdivieso is available to assist clients at any time.’

‘The firm gives us support in all legal matters in an agile way, with very short response times, and with an unmatched knowledge of the sector and the regulations.’

‘They have a clear focus on results, in addition to enormous experience and knowledge in all the legal areas in which they support us.’

‘Undoubtedly the great benefit that the firm has to offer is the openness and constant search for solutions. It is very refreshing to receive clear guidelines on how to operate, always keeping in mind the best for all the parties involved. This behaviour is reflected as a culture within the firm.’

‘It is a very comprehensive practice. They are not limited only to regulatory knowledge, but also have extensive knowledge of industries and practices. They also have excellent government relationships which is a great added value for clients making new revenue in the industry.’

‘Rafael Valdivieso is client and business oriented. He has excellent availability and exceptional regulatory and industrial knowledge. He is proactive and suggests creative solutions to problems.’

Key clients

World Bank

Schlumberger

Pluspetrol

Newcrest

Frontera

Repsol

Gran Tierra

Lowell Mineral (Solaris Resources)

Trafigura

Castleton Commodities International

Nexa Resources

Sinopec

Tenaris

Total Eren

Yildrim

Work highlights

  • Advising Schlumberger, the largest oil and gas investor in Ecuador, on day-to-day matters concerning its assets and projects in the country.
  • Advised Pluspetrol on successfully acquiring ENI’s upstream assets in Ecuador.
  • Advised Lowell Mineral, a subsidiary of Solaris Resources, on Solaris’ IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Flor & Hurtado

Flor & Hurtado is active across a range of matters within the energy sector, with notable recent instructions including M&A transactions, cross-border financings, and contract negotiations. The team is also adept at advising clients on the early stages of projects, including precontractual and structuring advice. The group is jointly led by mining specialist Andrés Ycaza Palacios, Agustin Hurtado Larrea, who focuses primarily on oil and gas work, and Mario Alejandro Flor, who is highly experienced in banking and finance matters, with a particular focus on infrastructure financing. At senior associate level, Alejandro Pérez Arellano is a key contact for sovereign-guaranteed financing matters, while Carlos Torres is a figure to note for regulatory and environmental work.

Practice head(s):

Mario Alejandro Flor; Agustín Hurtado Larrea; Andrés Ycaza Palacios

Key clients

Sunstone Metals

Unipec America

Fortescue Metals Group

Dundee Precious Metals

Atico Mining

Tempus Resources

Work highlights

  • Advised Sunstone Metals on the increase of its stake in La Plata Minerales, the holder of the Bramaderos gold-copper project concession, to 87.5%.
  • Advised Sunstone Metals on a staged acquisition contract with the purpose of acquiring the El Palmar copper-gold project from Golden Exploration Ecuador.
  • Advised Scotia Bank, the lender and the offshore collateral agent, on the amendments to local security documents and ratification of the onshore collateral agent agreement due to the entering of Newcrest in the Fruta del Norte mining project.

Tobar ZVS

Tobar ZVS advises on the full life cycle of projects in the energy and natural resources sector, from planning and initial bidding agreements through to construction and transactional matters, alongside a strong regulatory practice. The mining sector is of particular significance to the firm’s practice, with a range of high-profile foreign clients instructing the team, including SolGold, Aurania Resources and Lumina Gold, among others. César Zumárraga heads the team and advises clients in a wide range of transactional work, recently handling Challenger Exploration’s acquisition of Torata Mining. Juan Fernando Larrea Savinovich, who was raised to the partnership in March 2021,  is another key figure in the team (assisting Zumárraga with mcuh of the practice group’s work) and heads up the firm’s new environmental and sustainability unit); while Andrés Paz y Miño Borja, in turn promoted to senior in Septemeber 2021, handles mining, energy and infrastructure matters, associated finacing and regulatory issues, and arbitration.

Practice head(s):

César Zumárraga

Testimonials

‘In addition to having extensive knowledge of the law and vast experience in legal procedures, each of the team members is extremely kind and professional, and provides excellent client service. There is a very high level of commitment, internal organisation and efficiency.’

‘Accessibility, prompt communication and responses, and cordiality. César Zumárraga and Juan Fernando Larrea have these qualities and it makes working with them very pleasant.’

‘They have extensive knowledge of the mining sector, especially in regulatory and permitting matters. They also have good relationships with highly strategic players at the national and provincial level.’

‘César Zumárraga and Juan Fernando Larrea stand out for their effective, positive and strategic advice.’

‘The team are highly specialised in mining law. They know the subject and delve deeply into complicated situations before giving advice. They have an excellent network of contacts to confirm the progress of the processes and use solid arguments to defend or clarify situations.’

‘Their level of knowledge of mining law is one of the highest in the country, and their analytical capacity is well known. When complex problems arise, they make use of group analysis or call in experts to give their opinion, so that the decisions made are correct.’

‘The digital system they use for internal and external coordination with the client in each case is efficient. This platform facilitates the monitoring of cases and makes the information and time dedicated by lawyers to each client transparent.’

‘They really care about their clients and treat you like a friend.’

Key clients

Minera Mesaloma

Challenger Exploration

SolGold

Aurania Resources

Lumina Gold

Condomining Corporation

Ecuasolidus

Work highlights

  • Advised Minera Mesaloma on a $3.3m letter of intent with Salazar Resources for the development of the Los Santos 2.1 project.
  • Advised Challenger Exploration on the acquisition of Torata Mining, holder of the El Guayabo mining concession.
  • Acted as lead counsel for SolGold on the structuring and closing of a $150 m project financing for the development of the Cascabel mining project.

Dentons Paz Horowitz

With significantly expanded cross-border capabilities, the new Ecuadorian arm of global firm Dentons, Dentons Paz Horowitz, is highly active in the mining sector, offering regulatory, corporate and transactional advice to both domestic and international clients. The team also advises clients in the oil sector, particularly in dealings with government bodies, such as obtaining authorisations. The practice is led by Jorge Paz Durini and Juan Carlos Pérez, both of whom are highly experienced in the mining sector, while senior associates Gabriel Santelices and Maria del Mar Heredia provide key support, with the former focusing on mining law and environmental compliance, while the latter handles corporate work.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Paz Durini; Juan Carlos Pérez

Key clients

Plata Industrial LACEC

Natural Capital

Titan

New Stratus Energy

FV Area Andina

Work highlights

  • Advised LACEC on the construction and operation of a new calcium carbonate production plant, as well as on an investment contract with the state.
  • Advising Natural Capital on the due diligence process to confirm a gold provider had fulfilled all of its legal requirements.
  • Advised FV Area Andina on the due diligence of the mining concession, which had been unattended for three years.

Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados

Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados advises on a wide range of matters in the oil, gas, and mining spaces, including tax, labour and corporate issues, in addition to a strong regulatory and transactional practice. Senior associate Francisco Larrea heads the team following the January 2021 departure of Sebastián Cortez Merlo, and is particularly experienced in the field of corporate structuring and project financing, advising both upstream and downstream clients. Other key names within the practice include Rafael Pástor, who focuses on environmental matters, and associate María Elena Sanmartín.

Practice head(s):

Francisco Larrea

Testimonials

‘The firm has been directly involved in the most important oil contracts of the last 15 years in Ecuador. They provide a personalised service that is led by the main partners.’

‘They project a sense of security to clients, and they are more detailed and precise in their advice than other firms.’

‘Francisco Larrea is an excellent lawyer and very knowledgeable about the subject.’

‘Francisco Larrea is outstanding. He has extensive knowledge in the field and a lot of experience. Francisco stands out for having previously been a state’s attorney; this experience makes a big difference.’

Key clients

Grupo Cobra

Gente Oil

Santa Elena Petroleum

China Energy Reserve and Chemicals

Montecz

Edinpetrol

Work highlights

  • Advising Grupo Cobra on the bidding for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Villonaco II y III wind power project in the south of Ecuador.
  • Advising Cuyabenopetro (a subsidiary of Grupo Cobra, which holds the drilling services provision contacts for the Cuyabeno – Sansahuari oilfield) on the starting up of its operations in Ecuador and day-to-day environmental, labour and contractual matters.
  • Acting for Gente Oil, which operates the Singue oilfield under an E&P contract with the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, on day-to-day legal matters.

Pino Elizalde Abogados

Pino Elizalde Abogados advises a range of clients across the energy and natural resources sector, including  both upstream and downstream oil and gas companies, mining companies and foreign mineral traders, as well as oil traders and mineral processing companies. Practice head Daniel Pino is particularly noted for his corporate and financing expertise, having recently advised Traxys Europe on its financing and transactional work in Ecuador. Fernanda Guzmán is a key name at associate level.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Pino

Testimonials

‘They quickly take on board the client’s requirements in each case and tailor their advice.’

‘A team of specialists in different areas of law who apply their expertise to the specific field of non-renewable natural resources.’

‘Their opinions, recommendations and performance meet our highest expectations. Their knowledge of the local mining industry, both of its participants and of the legal framework and other regulations, is remarkable.’

‘Their knowledge of the industry and excellent network in Ecuador makes them stand out. Fernanda Guzman provides fast responses and she makes sure to cover all possible risks and scenarios. She is clear in her communication and knows how to implement lateral thinking effectively.’

Key clients

Core Petroleum

Holcim Agregados (affiliate of Lafarge Holcim in Ecuador)

Americas Development

Traxys Europe

Bluequest Resources

Ecoluxen

Mincosmo

Asociacion de Productores Ecuatorianos de Lubricantes (APE)

Work highlights

  • Advising Core Petroleum regarding its oil trading activities in Ecuador, including on the acquisition of both Ecuadorian oil and Colombian oil transported in through Ecuadorian pipelines and public vessels.
  • Representing Holcim in two administrative contentious cases against the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources for the collection of royalties for the exploitation of materials in the mining concessions owned by Holcim.
  • Assisting Americas Development in its planned development of an infrastructure project to store and distribute refined oil products on the coast of Ecuador.

Sempértegui Abogados

Sempértegui Abogados offers a full service to a range of companies in the mining sector, providing regulatory and transactional advice, alongside experience in taxation, environmental and financing matters. Henry Troya Figueroa heads the team and has significant government-side experience, having previously served as Deputy Secretary of Industrial Mining and Deputy Minister of Mining. The team recently saw an expansion at the junior level, with associate Sophia Briones joining in October 2020 from an in-house role at Salazar Resources.

Practice head(s):

Henry Troya

Testimonials

‘Personal service.’

Key clients

Grupo Expobonanza

Salazar Resources

Inv Minerales Ecuador (Invminec)

Exploraciones Mineras Andinas Ecuador (Emsaec)

Western Pacific Resources

Planamb

Jacol

Anglo American

Profitas

Robert Peter Simpson Nankervis

Banco Solidario

Weatherford South America

Ecuaservoil

Global Compact

Belorusneft

Nortec Minerals

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nortec Minerals in a challenge to a resolution issued by the National Mining Company.
  • Advised Ecuaservoil on the bidding for and execution of contracts relating to oil operations.
  • Advised Weatherford on the closing process of several contracts that the company had open with Petroamazonas.