Industry focus: Energy in France
Ashurst LLP continued to make key hires in 2019 to further boost its project finance and energy practice, making it a comprehensive offer in the market with the arrival of Tom Longmuir from Allen & Overy LLP and Mark Barges from Linklaters. The pair share the lead of the practice with Michel Lequien, Vincent Trévisani and Jacques Dabreteau. The newly combined expertise unites project, public law, corporate and finance capabilities and is equally strong in French and UK law. Many leading French and European utilities, investors and several state entities are clients. Geographically, the practice is a strong player in France, handling major brownfield and strategic regulatory work, but the team also has a strong footprint in Africa where it is involved in several of the continent's largest renewable energy projects in addition to advising on other major power projects, including landmark gas-to-power and hybrid projects in Morocco. Finally, the group is well versed in strategic matters in the gas sector, such as Engie's long-term gas supply agreements in Romania. The practice's Latin American practice continues to grow.
‘The firm has in-depth knowledge of project finance practices in Africa. The multicultural team has a sense of commitment and availability rarely seen in other law firms. They are very result-oriented.’
‘Mark Barges has a thorough know-how of African continent project finance work. He has the rare capability of understanding counter parties’ issues and find acceptable solutions for all. He is always constructive and never looses his cool. He is a real support for developers who are in a very challenging environment. He will always finds a way to get a deal done.’
Enel/Enel Green Power
The Carlyle Group
- Assisted CAA, Predica and Omnes Capital with the acquisition of a 400MW solar and onshore wind portfolio.
- Advised Morocco’s national power utility (ONEE) on the structuring of a $4.6bn gas-to-power tender project.
- Advised Nareva and Engie’s consortium on bidding on the Noor Midelt 800MW hybrid project in Morocco.
Clifford Chance offers the full range of expertise and is thus able to advise all types of stakeholders, from corporations to international financial institutions, ECAs, French and international banks, as well as governmental entities. The stellar practice is as strong in domestic work as it is in cross-border mandates. In France, the team advises on several of the market's largest greenfield and brownfield renewable energy projects, M&A and financing transactions, and also impresses with its regulatory expertise. Internationally, the group has a very strong presence in francophone Africa where it advises on some of the largest traditional power and renewables energy projects. Other cross-border work involved key projects in Kosovo, Serbia and Armenia. Finally, the practice is also experienced in advising on highly strategic pipeline projects. The practice is co-headed by the highly regarded project and finance partners Anthony Giustini, Delphine Siino Courtin, Nikolaï Eatwell, Richard Tomlinson, Laurent Schoenstein and Daniel Zerbib, as well as public law experts David Préat and Gauthier Martin, and international arbitration specialists Jason Fry and Simon Greenberg.
Africa50 Infrastructure Fund
CDC Group Plc
Agence Française de Développment (AFD)
Africa Finance Corporation
African Development Bank (ADB)
Asian Development Bank
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Inter-American Development Bank
Inter-American Investment Corporation
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF)
The Korean Development Bank
UK Export Finance
Standard Chartered bank
Türkiye Garanti Bankasi A.Ş.
- Advised lenders on the development of the 878km Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline.
- Advised Eolien Maritime France on the development, financing, construction and operation of three of the first major offshore wind farm projects in France, located off the Atlantic coast in Fécamp (498MW), Courseulles-sur-Mer (450MW) and Saint-Nazaire (480MW).
- Advised the lenders on the construction and operation of a 390MW natural gas-fired power plant developed by Eranove near Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
De Pardieu Brocas Maffei's comprehensive energy practice combines regulatory, project finance and M&A expertise. The practice is retained by leading energy producers and lenders, as well as project developers and investment funds, mainly handling work from the French renewable energy, gas and electricity industry sectors. Co-head of practice Christine Le Bihan-Graf has state-of-the-art regulatory expertise and regularly receives instructions to tackle the most complex regulatory matters, with her recent successful representation of French electricity grid operator Enedis before the Constitutional Council as a prime example. Jean-Renaud Cazali, with whom Le Bihan-Graf shares the lead of the practice, is a reference for project finance and highly sought after by lenders. Finally, the group fields a busy caseload advising on the market's most high-profile brownfield and other M&A transactions. Patrick Jaïs and Thomas Bréart de Boisanger are also highly recommended. Public law and regulatory specialist Laure Rosenblieh made counsel in 2019. Senior associate Ian Ouaknine is also noted.
‘The firm has very high level of proficiency on gas and electricity regulation issues.’
‘The firm provides high-quality work and a great strategic vision.’
‘The team shows strong engagement and availability. It demonstrates excellent ability to liaise with regulators and make the complex world of energy regulations seem simple and understandable.’
‘The firm has deep local market insight and experience on infrastructure and energy M&A transactions. They have the required experience and relationships to handle the biggest and most complex mandates in that area.’
‘Christine Le Bihan-Graf has excellent sector knowledge, a personable manner and strong engagement. She is able to make complex things simple and to get things done in difficult and tight deadlines.’
‘Senior associate Ian Ouaknine goes above and beyond the usual commercial and legal aspects of a transaction to managing and advising on government and regulatory process compliance. He is always exceptionally responsive.’
BANK OF TOKYO
SUMITOMO MITSUI BANKING CORPORATION GROUP
DEUTSCHE PFANDBRIEFBANK (PBB)
LA BANQUE POSTALE
ANTIN INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS
ORANO (ex AREVA)
FIRST STATE INVESTMENT
CAISSE DES DEPOTS
ELECTRICITE DE STRASBOURG
IPM / SAMSUNG ASSET MANAGEMENT
- Successfully represented French electricity grid operator Enedis in proceedings against Vince before the Constitutional Council which affirmed the constitutionality of a new law on electricity supply contract financing compensation.
- Assisted SNC Caraïbes Financement and lenders with the financing of a direct foreign investment in a 37.5MW thermal coal-fired power plant in Guadeloupe.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has the ability to cover the full range of energy-related matters thanks to the team's high-level project, contract, regulatory, finance and corporate expertise. With Michel Guénaire, who advises leading electricity producers, network providers and suppliers on strategic matters, including their representation in landmark litigation, the team counts one of the market's most experienced regulatory experts among its ranks. The practice recently advised on major domestic renewable energy brownfield transactions while its cross-border work saw the group act for financial institutions, state entities and sponsors on several of Africa’s largest renewable energy, hydropower and coal-fired projects. The team also advised on one of the world’s largest ongoing nuclear projects in India and took on major oil and gas instructions. Guénaire, Stéphane Vernay, John Crothers, Marie Bouvet-Guiramand, Nicolas Jean and Alexis Pailleret co-head the practice. Victor Grandguillaume made partner in February 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team displays an outstanding understanding of stakeholders’ expectations. Their participation in various projects across the globe has granted them clear expertise with experts worldwide.’
‘The team is highly professional and accessible. Lawyers really care to address clients’ concerns in providing the best and most innovative solutions. It is also very proactive.’
‘Marie Bouvet-Guiramand knows exactly what clients’ expectation are. She genuinely understands the constraints of all parties involved in a transaction and is able to propose solutions that are win-win for all parties.’
‘Alexis Pailleret is a deal-oriented M&A lawyer who is strongly focused on business results. He is able to negotiate commercial issues and the whole contractual framework, which makes him a very valuable adviser.’
IFC – International Finance Corporation
Poleol & Imwind
Total Direct Energie
Debiopharm Holding SA
Organisation de la Communauté Economique des Etats des Pays des Grands Lacs (CEPGL) pour l’Energie des Pays des Grands Lacs (EGL)
- Assisted EDF with contract procurement matters in relation to the construction of six EPR nuclear reactors in India (Jaitapur).
- Advised Meridiam and FGIS’ consortium on the development of a 40MW hydroelectric power plant at Kinguélé Aval on the Mbei river in Gabon.
- Advised the German developer Poleol and Austrian developer Imwind on the sale of Colombian developer Jemeiwaa-Kai which owns a global 648MW wind project portfolio.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has one of the market’s most comprehensive practices for handling project, finance, corporate and regulatory work. The 20-lawyer civil and common law-proficient team is a leading name for domestic work and advises key players on many of France’s landmark offshore wind projects, and brownfield gas and renewable energy sector transactions. The practice also provides assistance with an ongoing large electricity interconnector project. Internationally, the group is very active in strategic projects in Africa where it advises on several of the continent’s most significant hydroelectric and renewable energy projects. High-level oil and gas work and mining matters account for another significant portion of the caseload. Christophe Lefort heads the practice which also includes the very experienced Rebecca Major, Nina Bowyer, Bertrand Montembault, Stéphane Brabant and of counsel Mathias Dantin.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has specific in-depth knowledge of the francophone Africa’s legal system and its environment.’
‘The team is concise, agile, trustworthy and very reliable. They have the capability of solving complex issues within a short amount of time.’
‘The team has deep knowledge of the oil & gas industries, especially of upstream work, in several countries.’
‘Christophe Lefort is an excellent lawyer. He brings to the table his very effective problem-solving skills and his full dedication. He is hard-working and very reliable.’
‘Stéphane Brabant and his team provide very timely, hands-on and commercially-driven legal advice.’
‘Rebecca Major knows the Asian (Japanese) market very well and can work both in French and in English.’
Acergy SA / Subsea 7
African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM)
CGN Europe Energy (CGN EE)
Etablissements Maurel et Prom
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
Tullow Oil (and prior to that Energy Africa)
- Advised Axpo on the acquisition of French photovoltaics company Urbasolar.
- Advised ENGIE Group on its acquisition of Sameole, a developer in the French renewable energy sector with a pipeline of onshore wind projects of more than 500MW.
- Advised EDF, IFC and the Government of Cameroon on the Nachtigal hydroelectric power project in Cameroon.
Norton Rose Fulbright is a key player in France and Africa, especially in Cameroon, Mali, Benin, Senegal and Morocco. The 18-lawyer team advises a large client base made up of leading operators and utilities, banks, sponsors, investment funds and governments. It is involved in landmark solar, offshore wind and cogeneration renewables, hydropower and oil and gas projects, advising on regulatory, project and finance aspects. The practice is increasingly involved in strategic and innovative electricity projects, including major interconnected projects and M&A transactions. Large-scale project work in Asia is another growing line of work. Global head Anne Lapierre is a leading market figure whose top team also includes the very experienced M&A and projects expert Christophe Asselineau, Arnaud Bélisaire, Alain Malek and Simon Cudennec, who made partner in 2019. Of counsel Thomas Rabain joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘Christophe Asselineau has a deep, reputable and quite unique experience in the energy sector in Africa, combined with a pragmatic and diplomatic approach of legal and political issues. His deep sense of modesty makes him a unique asset in negotiations with public companies and senior public officials. Being qualified in both civil and common law, he is able to advise and translate issues to international in-house legal teams qualified in different jurisdictions.’
International Finance Corporation
Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy
- Advised Cho Power on the financing of a gasification cogeneration plant in France.
- Advised INELFE on the Biscay Gulf €1.8bn investment interconnection project.
- Advised Total on the development of the LNG market in Benin.
Orrick Rambaud Martel has a broad scope of expertise, spanning projects, brownfield transactions, and regulatory work, and counts state entities, lenders and companies among its clients. In France, the practice assisted the French government with complex energy price renegotiations regarding the electricity production expected from the country’s future six wind offshore farms. The group also provides strategic regulatory advice on gas storage, and acts on geothermal and biomass projects. Additionally, the team has a very strong presence in Africa where it is currently involved in many of the continent's largest hydropower, thermal and renewals projects, especially in Cameroon and Mali. Yves Lepage chairs the practice which includes several very experienced advisers, such as public law expert Noël Chahid-Nouraï, an of counsel. Of counsel Foucaud Jaulin is another key name. Pascal Agboyibor and Simon Ratledge left the firm in 2019 to set up Asafo & Co. in Paris. Jean-Luc Champy is now at White & Case LLP. Nicholas George moved to Dentons in June 2020.
‘The team provides very relevant advice and has strong expertise on offshore wind projects. It is very responsive.’
‘The firm provides high-quality work on African infrastructure investments and related M&A. They stand out by their very high-quality technique and great insight due to their very deep market presence, particularly in francophone Africa.’
‘Yves Lepage is a very savvy adviser who helps his clients navigate difficult business environments safely.’
‘Geoffroy Berthon is highly reliable and has excellent analysis abilities and shows great responsiveness.’
The French Gouvernment
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
CDC Group Plc
Off Grid Electric
La Banque des Territoires (Caisse des Dépôts Group)
The Government of Mali
- Assisted the French government with complex energy price renegotiations regarding the electricity production expected from the country’s future six wind offshore farms.
- Assisted CDC with an equity investment in Illkirch’s geothermal power project company.
- Advising ENEO on Nachtigal’s €1.2bn 420MW hydropower plant in Cameroon.
Adamas has strong knowledge of the energy sector, including a good understanding of its technical and engineering aspects. The firm shows in-depth understanding of the supply and wholesale aspects of the energy market, as well as of energy production matters. The practice advises leading producers as well as France's leading electricity grid operator, but also assists municipalities, notably Greater Lyon, and several regions taking on energy and electricity infrastructure projects, including renewable and new hydrogen pilot projects. The team advises on landmark regulatory matters and disputes, especially in the electricity area where it recently secured a string of victories for its clients. Several major renewable energy producers are clients for projects and regulatory issues. Practice head Jérôme Lépée, Gilles Le Chatelier and Romain Granjon are based in the Lyon office as the main hub, but the team also offers energy expertise in the Paris office and several regional offices.
‘The firm has very strong expertise and shows good responsiveness.’
Republic of Benin
Aéroport de Lyon
Métropole de Saint-Etienne
SHEMA (EDF group)
DALKIA (EDF group)
Métropole de Lyon
BCM / Planète Oui
Région Grand Est
- Represented Enedis in mass litigation disputes regarding photovoltaic tariff issues.
- Won approximately 150 disputes on behalf of Enedis in litigation initiated by various parties made up of local public authorities and individuals opposing the instalment of smart electricity meter Linky.
- Advised Métropole de Lyon on all its energy issues.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP combines strong project, public law and M&A expertise. The firm assists several of France's leading energy companies with strategic domestic and international renewables, brownfield and M&A projects. The group also provides key guidance on new hydrogen, electrical vehicles fleet and storage-related development initiatives. Additionally, the practice advises several large French, Swedish and Africa solar and wind projects alongside sponsors and banks, and is involved in large-scale hydropower projects, especially in Georgia. Finally, the practice is active in oil and gas work and acts in regulatory disputes. Alexandre Ancel chairs the practice which also includes public law partner Romaric Lazerges and project finance co-heads Christine Poyer-Rufenacht and Driss Bererhi. Counsel Tom Longmuir joined Ashurst LLP in 2019.
African Development Bank
Africa Legal Support Facility
European Bank for Reconstruction & Development
International Finance Corporate
- Advised Engie’s subsidiary GDF International on the acquisition of CertiNergy, CN Solutions and CertiNergia from Effy SAS.
- Advised Engie and EDPR on the disposal of a 29.5% equity stake in French offshore projects to Sumitomo Corporation.
- Advised Korea Water Resources Corporation as sponsor and JSC Nenskra Hydro as project company on the construction and financing of the Nenskra Hydro 280MW power project in Georgia.
BCTG Avocats is a strong name in France for domestic projects in the renewable energy sector. The 16-lawyer team offers the whole range of expertise, including leading public law and regulatory know-how, strong M&A and contract proficiency, as well as finance capabilities. Leading French utilities are clients, as well as various domestic and foreign investors and developers. The practice is involved in all of France’s largest onshore and offshore wind projects, successfully acting in high-stake litigation. New types of self-consumption projects and mining and gas work are other busy lines of work. The practice is co-headed by public law expert Paul Elfassi, Catherine Dupuy-Burin des Roziers and Diane Mouratoglou. Corporate partner Alain de Rougé is another main practitioner. Counsel Nelsie Bergès provides key support.
‘The team combines public and private law experts which allows for a global strategic vision of matters at stake. Partners are available and show great listening skills.’
‘The team shows perfect technique, is highly responsive and able to deal with complex files.’
‘The team has excellent litigation expertise.’
‘Paul Elfassi keeps his temper, is very nice to work with and always looks for a solution.’
‘Catherine Dupuy-Burin des Roziers’ negotiating skills and risk analysis are excellent.’
‘The discreet while firm, dynamic and passionate Diane Mouratoglou thrives in litigation and knows what to do.’
‘Alain de Rougé is trustworthy and a real partner for his clients.’
GROUPE EDF RENOUVELABLES
VSB ENERGIES NOUVELLES
- Successfully represented EMF in high-stake permit litigation regarding the Nazaire, Fécamp and Courseulles-sur-mer offshore projects.
- Assisted Voltalia with the development of a biomass plant in French Guyana.
- Advised Total Eren on the acquisition of 97.15 % of the shares of Novenergia.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is instructed by African and emerging market states, state entities, as well as certain sponsors. The practice handles oil and gas work and regularly assists states with renegotiating their countries' external debt level through oil debt refinancings. It also advises on Africa mining work and on hydropower projects. Barthélemy Faye, senior counsel Jean-Pierre Vignaud and Andrew Bernstein are the key contacts.
CMS'practice head Christophe Barthélemy is recognised as one of France's leading experts in energy regulatory issues. The team is chosen by some of France's leading energy operators to assist with their most sensitive regulatory issues, often before French courts. The practice has notably dealt with strategic tariffs and new regulation issues in relation to the gas and electricity sectors. Energy certificates, storage and state subsidies matters as well as major domestic hydropower, biomass and offshore wind projects are other areas of strong expertise. Public law partner François Tenailleau, counsel Aurore-Emmanuelle Rubio and counsel Céline Cloché-Dubois, who brings her complementary knowledge of environmental and planning law matters to the table, are also noted.
‘The team is one of the most knowledgeable teams in France in the gas and electricity sectors.’
Europe Energie Sud
Européenne de Biomasse / Meridiam
- Advised Hydrocop on its projected acquisition of Nouvelles Energies Hydrauliques – Compagnie des Hautes Chutes de Roques, consisting of 19 hydropower plants with a total power capacity of 70 MW.
- Assisted Ailes Marines in negotiations with the French State, transmission grid operator RTE and energy purchaser EDF OA with numerous strategic industrial project contracts and corporate issues regarding the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm project.
- Successfully represented Fioul 83 and Boudret SAS before the Conseil d’Etat in challenging a governmental order lowering the threshold of energy efficiency obligations applicable to fuel-distributing companies.
With public law expert Marc Fornacciari, Dentons offers very strong regulatory expertise. Fornacciari is notably active in highly strategic litigation and in one of France’s landmark renewable energy projects. The practice also advises on more traditional power and renewable energy projects abroad and is involved in oil and gas work and mining matters. Practice co-heads Ramin Hariri and Leïla Hubeaut are recommended for those aspects. Nicholas George, formerly at Orrick Rambaud Martel, joined the team in June 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC)
RATP Dév. + Keolis
- Advised EOLFI on the country’s first floating wind farm project based off the coast of Brittany.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Jeantet has strong knowledge of the African mining and oil and gas market through Thierry Lauriol who advises governmental entities and major mining and oil and gas companies. Lauriol provides key guidance on strategic exploration, contract, corporate and litigation issues and his expertise is solicited by governmental entities to help with training and the drafting of bills. Corporate partner Karl Hepp de Sevelinges assists investors with several of France's landmark offshore projects and is also active in brownfield renewables transactions. Counsel Martin Tavaut is also noted.
‘The team works fast and is always very responsive. Their answers are adequate and the contact is always pleasant. They have an excellent network. They are smooth and efficient.’
‘Experienced and dedicated lawyers, especially in the energy and oil and gas sector. The team is highly engaged.’
‘Thierry Lauriol is a master who provides technical and innovative solutions. He is more than a counsel, he becomes part of the client’s team. His savoir-faire is magic.’
‘Counsel Martin Tavaut is always responsive and takes time to ask the right questions to get proper answers. His work is always perfect and he has the right approach with people.’
GOVERNMENT OF GUINEA
AFRICAN LEGAL SUPPORT FACILITY
EB Sustainable Investments Luxembourg
- Advised Enbridge as member of a consortium on Dunkerque’s third offshore round process.
- Advised Enbridge as shareholder of EMF which is a developer in France’s first three French offshore wind farms projects (Saint-Nazaire, Fécamp, Courseulles).
Jones Day is recommended for its strong regulatory expertise. The firm assists several of France’s leading energy producers with high-stake domestic regulatory issues in relation to current tariffs regulation on renewables and on hydropower concessions. The practice also handles strategic regulatory work in the French Pacific territories and advises on major greenfield and brownfield renewables projects in France. A major transaction regarding a pipeline in France further bolsters the group's track record. Philippe Delelis and Nicolas Brice are highly recommended.
- Advised Engie Energie Services and its subsidiaries on power production and distribution concessions in the French Pacific islands.
- Represented EEC Engie before the Administrative Court of New Caledonia in order to request the cancellation of a government order limiting the amount of local royalties taken into account for the calculation of regulated tariffs.
King & Spalding LLP combines corporate, contract, project, regulatory and environmental expertise. Thanks to practice head Mehdi Haroun, the group is one of the most sought-after teams for complex and highly sensitive oil and gas transactions in the North African region, especially in Algeria. The practice recently advised oil and gas giants on most of the high-profile transactions in the region. In France, the firm assists oil and gas and mining companies with strategic permit issues. In a recent example, counsel Ruxandra Lazar represented clients in litigation against French authorities regarding new regulations aiming at stopping some of her clients’ hydrocarbon-based activities. Finally, the group also impresses with its strong arbitration expertise in the management of key matters in the European renewables sector. Associate Nora Djeraba is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is always willing to help and is totally flexible. Clients are sure to be in good hands.’
‘Mehdi Haroun is a true expert in energy contracts, especially in relation to the African oil sector.’
Dea Erdoel AG – formerly RWE Dea
Maurel & Prom
- Advised DEA on the Reggane upstream development project.
Linklaters receives instructions from the world’s largest sponsors and lenders. The firm handles landmark work in France and has a strong presence on major hydraulic and renewables projects in Africa, notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to the arrival of Stephen Le Vesconte, who relocated from Seoul to the Paris office in September 2018, the team now advising on landmark projects in Asia, such as advising wpd on the Yunlin and Guanyin offshore wind projects (1000MW). The impressive group is headed by Bertrand Andriani and also includes François April and promising counsel Darko Adamovic. The firm recently lost parts of its top-level offering following the departures of former counsel Mark Barges to Ashurst LLP in 2019 and of star public law partner Paul Lignières who left the profession. New arrival Pierre Guillot arrived in 2019 from the French administration to strengthen the public law bench. Senior associate and public law specialist Marianna Frison-Roche is also noted.
‘The team demonstrates a deep understanding of issues that arise in executing complex structures involving multiple parties, and knows how to address them.’
‘Stephen Le Vesconte is calm and professional and keeps his good humour even under pressure.’
‘Counsel Darko Adamovic has a great commercial mindset and attitude, and in-depth understanding of the underlying business aspects and sound understanding of derivatives.’
Antin Infrastructure Partners SAS
Ecobank Development Corporation
European Investment Bank
InfraVia Capital Partners
- Advised Reden Solar on one of the largest solar assets refinancings to date in the French market.
- Assisted Philae with the development of solar-powered mini-grids in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Advised wpd on the Yunlin and Guanyin offshore wind projects (1000MW).
LPA-CGR avocats’ comprehensive energy capabilities span regulatory, public law, environmental law and corporate law expertise. The team is renowned for its leading domestic renewable energy regulatory know-how and recommended for its experience in communication with regulators and governmental authorities regarding new regulations. Permit issues and audits on major brownfield renewables projects are other areas of strength. Additionally, the group also takes on litigation matters and offers rare expertise in advising on state subsidies. The practice is involved in most of France’s largest ongoing offshore renewables projects, including successfully handling high-stake related litigation. New types of energy projects such as assisting SNCF Energie on the conclusion of one of France’s first Corporate PPA with Voltalia also form part of the caseload. Public and private sector operators and utilities are clients. Public law and regulatory experts Fabrice Cassin and Hélène Gelas share the lead of the practice. Also recommended are corporate partner Philippe Raybaud, contract and real estate specialist Philippe Jacques and finance partner Alexae Fournier de Faÿ.
‘A strong team that is highly available.’
‘Fabrice Cassin and Hélène Gelas stand out as key industry sector legal experts.’
‘Hélène Gelas is available, accessible and follows a great practical approach.’
FEE (France Energie Eolienne)
- Represented the Iberdrola/Res consortium in the Saint Brieuc, Tréport and Ile d’Yeu’s offshore wind projects calls for tender.
- Advised EnBw on the acquisition of Valeco.
- Assisted SNCF Energie with the conclusion of one of France’s first Corporate PPA with Voltalia.
Mayer Brown ’s six-lawyer team mainly takes on Africa-related matters and advises states, sponsors and banks on traditional and renewable energy, oil and gas, and mining projects. The firm acts on several solar projects, notably in Cameroon. It also assists the Republic of Benin with several ambitious projects including the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import floating terminal. The practice is co-headed by Olivier Mélédo and Alban Dorin.
‘The team is well experienced, has deep knowledge of the business and industry sector, and provides the best advice required in one place.’
‘Olivier Mélédo is flexible, knowledgeable and efficient. He gives proper advice and builds strategies to optimally support his clients’ business.’
Presidency of the Republic of Benin
Millennium Challenge Corporation/Government of Benin
Générale du Solaire
Maurel & Prom
- Assisted the Republic of Benin with several ambitious projects including the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import floating terminal, and the design, financing and construction of a 144MW dual fuel/HFO and gas-fired power plant.
- Advised Générale du Solaire on a 20MW solar project in Cameroon.
- Advised Toro Gold on the financing and development of the Mako Gold project in Senegal.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP has a very strong and compact team which advises on large-scale hydropower, biomass, renewables, nuclear and electric-transmission projects in France, African states, Russia, India and a list of other countries. The firm’s expertise is particularly sought after for its leading advisory and contentious FIDIC and NEC contracts know-how. It is retained by leading French and international utilities and developers. High-profile nuclear plant construction projects and landmark hydropower and renewables projects in Africa are other areas of strength. Frédéric Gillion remains as head of the six-lawyer Paris team. Since publication of the ranking Stéphane Gasne joined DS Avocats.
Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd
European Investment Bank
- Assisted RTE with the setting up of a €700m electrical interconnection project with England (IFA2).
Ravetto Associés stands out through its rare ability as a boutique firm to cover a wide spectrum legal expertise and sector knowledge. The 12-lawyer firm handles key work in the power, gas and heat and renewable energy fields, providing particularly strong public law and contract regulatory expertise, both in and advisory role or in disputes. M&A and financing abilities, especially for project work, top the portfolio of expertise off. The practice advises an extensive client base consisting of various energy players, including leading operators and utilities companies, investors, municipalities and banks. The practice handles a high volume of work and recently acted in several highly strategic regulatory litigation matters. It also provided assistance to a municipality regarding a major electricity procurement contract and advised banks on renewables project financing. The group's expertise in the gas sector is particularly excellent and relied on by leading corporations for their most strategic regulatory work. Founding partner Paul Ravetto is the firm's leading figure. Public law expert Patrick Labayle-Pabet, contract and regulatory expert Anne-Laure Proisy, debt and equity investment adviser Claire Bretheau , and of counsel Rémy Coin 's add their extensive experience.
‘The team has great skills in energy and in corporate negotiations which are very precious. Lawyers are very focused on addressing clients’ concerns and are very attentive to their targets. They help to work out solutions to find the good way to reach these targets.’
‘The team has deep knowledge in the energy industry, is well-connected, and works very efficiently. It understands clients’ needs, and thinks out of the box.’
Caisse des dépôts et consignations
Simmons & Simmons is traditionally heavily involved in Africa, but the gorup has recently been developing its domestic presence on large renewables projects. The firm is notably assisting German banks and developers, while also developing its client base among US and international investment funds, especially in collaboration with the firm's London office. Africa mining work represents a significant portion of the team’s activity. In that area, the practice advises leading mining corporations and African state entities on some of the world’s largest mining projects, notably in Mauritania and Guinea. The firm is also involved in African power projects and handles major work in Djibouti, for example for the Djibouti Ports & Free Zone Authority. Yves Baratte directs the very compact and growing practice.
‘The team is proficient, shows great availability, is easily accessible and swiftly responds to clients’ needs.’
‘The team has PPP, oil, mining and metals expertise.’
First Quantum Minerals
African Legal Support Facility (ALSF)
Djibouti Ports & Free Zone Authority
De Run International
TBEA Co. Ltd.
- Advised Mauritanian Copper Mines on all aspects of its mining operations in Mauritania.
- Advised De Run International on the negotiations of a mining convention with the Guinean government regarding a $3.3bn bauxite and alumina mining project in the Republic of Guinea.
- Advised Chinese energy firm TBEA regarding an investment in a hydropower project in Gabon.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
Watson Farley & Williams LLP combines strong public law, finance and project expertise with strength in corporate and tax law, all with a focus on the renewable energy sector. The group is primarily active in domestic greenfield and brownfield projects and has attracted a large client base made up of developers, funds and banks. The team handles a high number of solar and wind farm projects, but also advises on other matters, such as cogeneration, biomass, corporate PPA and new electricity initiatives. The practice is co-headed by finance expert Laurence Martinez-Bellet, corporate partner Arnaud Félix and public law specialist Laurent Battoue. Thomas Rabain's arrival from Norton Rose Fulbright at the beginning of 2019 brings further strength to the practice.
‘The team has very good public law and energy law expertise.’
‘The team has excellent knowledge of the French market while also retaining global capabilities and has the ability to deal with complex deals.’
‘A very strong team endowed with very high-level technical skills.’
‘Laurent Battoue provides very high-level input on transactions and is very reactive. He is a great energy law expert of the renewables energy industry. He is always reassuring and a pleasure to work with.’
‘Laurence Martinez-Bellet is a very practical, solution-oriented and smart lawyer. She always seeks the best solution to ease both parties.’
Amundi Transition Energétique
Crédit Agricole Assurances
La Banque Postale
RIVE Private Investment
- Advised a consortium comprising Groupe Renault, the Fonds de Modernisation Ecologique des Transports, The Mobility House and the Banque des Territoires (CDC) on setting up a joint project company specialising in stationary energy storage systems using electric vehicle batteries in France and in Germany.
- Advised Total Eren on the refinancing of the acquisition of NovEnergia (IPP).
- Advised Société Générale on the €350m financing for the construction, development and commissioning of a portfolio of onshore wind farms (180 MW) developed by Valorem.
White & Case LLP is particularly active for sponsors undertaking large-scale hydropower, cogeneration, thermal and renewable energy projects in Africa. The practice also assists a client with a high-profile hydropower project in Georgia and advises banks and sponsors on project financing. The group was also instructed to advise on the landmark ITER experimental thermonuclear reactor project. The firm offers excellent arbitration expertise. Project finance partner Paule Biensan leads the practice, with public law expert François-Guilhem Vaissier being the other key name in the team. The hiring of public law expert Jean-Luc Champy from Orrick Rambaud Martel, who has been involved in several French landmark's renewables projects, in another strong addition.
Other key lawyers:
‘A talented team which has precise knowledge of the energy sector. Their advice is efficient and clear and always delivered with the goal of getting the best possible result for their clients.’
‘A very experienced team on independent power producer and PPP projects. Their advice is very useful.’
‘The team has excellent business sector knowledge, anticipates issues and comes up with solutions.’
‘Paul Biensan and François-Guilhem Vaissier are high-level lawyers. Clients know they can rely on them blindly.’
‘François-Guilhem Vaissier is highly available and very open-minded. He always seeks to understand the technical engineering aspects behind a project to provide the best advice possible.’
Emerging Capital Partners/Eranove
Eren Renewable Energy
Uniper Global Commodities
- Advised National Bank of Greece on the €41m financing of the acquisition of a portfolio consisting of five wind farms and two hydroelectric plants in Greece by El Sewedy.
- Advised Eranove and the Fonds Gabonais d’Investissements Stratégiques on a 73MW hydropower project located in Ngoulmendjim and a 15 MW hydropower project located in Dibwangui in the Gabonese Republic.
- Advised Eranove on a €110m 42MW hydroelectric dam project in Kénié, Mali.
Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
La Générale des Carrières et des Mines S.A. (Gécamines)
Ministry of Mines and Geology of the Republic of Guinea
National Agency of the Universal Service of Telecommunication (ANSUT, Côte d’Ivoire)
Nouvelle Société Interafricaine d’Assurance
Limak Africa S.A.
African Development Bank (AfDB)
AZITO Energie S.A. / Globeleq
IPS (West Africa), part of the Aga Khan Development Fund
- Advising the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the development of the Inga 3 hydroelectric project, which consists of the construction of a 11,000 MW hydroelectric power plant on the Congo river.
- Advising the Republic of Guinea on the Simandou-South mining project located in the South-East Corner of Guinea.
- Advising project company Azito Energie S.A. and the sponsors on the 250MW expansion of the gas-fired Azito independent power plant in Ivory Coast (Azito Phase IV).
CGN (China General Nuclear Power) Energy Europe
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique
- Successfully represented EDF in regulatory disputes initiated by independent producers challenging the compulsory tariff of solar electricity purchase.
- Advised Lucia Holding on the establishment of a joint venture with Priméo Énergie AG in the renewable energy sector.
Other key lawyers:
BayWa r.e. France SAS
Hamburg Commercial Bank
WPD onshore France
- Advised Norddeutsche Landesbank on the financing of wind farms projects in France.
‘Very good complementary expertise.’
‘Sylvie Perrin has well recognised technical knowledge and a great network.’
Credit Mutuel – CIC
- Assisted La Banque Postale with the financing of several wind and solar projects.
- Assisted Générale du Solaire in connection with the acquisition of a portfolio of 13 PV projects (54MW total).
Glencore International AG
- Assisted EDF with the $110m financing of a 50MW solar farm in Benban, Egypt.
- Assisted EDF with the $110m financing of a 50MW solar farm in Benban, Egypt.
- Advising Nordex in dealing with several disputes towards several municipal orders preventing the construction of wind farms.
‘The firm has a real know-how of renewable energy sector issues’
‘Guillaume Ansalon is very good, available and timely’
CREDIT INDUSTRIEL ET COMMERCIAL
LA BANQUE POSTALE
- Assisted Luxel’s major shareholders with the sale of the company to EDF Renouvelables,
- Advising Auxifip and the lenders with the financing of Boralex’s 11 onshore wing farm project
IDIA Capital Investissement
- Managing high-stake mass litigation disputes challenging its client Enedis’ Linky smart meters.
TOTCO (Tchad Oil Transportation Company)
Esso Guyane Française Exploration & Production
Groupe Crédit Agricole
Groupe Caisse d’Epargne
Arkea Banque Entreprises & Institutionnels
- Assisting Esso Guyane Française Exploration and Production with the submission of an exclusive exploration license of hydrocarbons in French Gyana, including handling proceedings before the administrative court in Cayenne.
- Assisting TGS Geophysical Company with the transfer of rights from bankrupted company Dolphin in the North West African Survey to the benefit of the client.
- Advising Bpifrance Financing and the lenders on the financing of several biomass, solar and biogas projects.
WEB ENERGIE DU VENT
State of CHAD
Caisse des Dépots et consignations
General Electric – GE WIND
Green Power Partners
- Assisting the govenment of Tchad with the development of a 32MW solar farm.
Other key lawyers:
Deme Concessions Wind
Crédit Foncier de France (CFF)
Conquest Asset Management
Gaz de Bordeaux
- Assisted Glennmont Partners with the refinancing and disposal of a 50MW wind farm portfolio.
- Advised Valeco andMirova-Eurofideme 3 on the financing of a 181MW solar and wind portfolio.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has very good understanding of energy regulatory issues.’
‘The team is very responsive and has very precise knowledge of the energy sector.’
Trinity International LLP
‘The firm has strong experience working across Africa on energy and project finance deals and transactions.’
‘Pierre Bernheim is always being available. His vast and wide experience working in different countries and projects is helpful and reinsuring to clients.’
- Advising Aggreko International on a 50MW emergency HFO Power Plant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
- Advising Total Eren and Access Power on the development and financing in respect of a 25MW Solar PV Project in Koutiala, Mali.
- Advising Tembo power on the development of three hydropower projects with a total installed capacity of 67MW in Democratic Republic of Congo.