Energy and natural resources in Guatemala
Aguilar Castillo Love's 'prestigious' energy practice is 'recognised in the electricity sector for delivering positive results for clients', advising not only on electricity generation issues, but also on distribution. The firm's high-profile client base includes market operators, power distribution companies and power generation companies, such as Administrador del Mercado Mayorista (AMM), Guatemala's wholesale power market administration, Energuate and Jaguar Energy Guatemala. The practice is led by Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón, who is praised for his 'professionalism, attitude and service'. He recently advised Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala and Energía del Caribe on a power purchase agreement, as well as providing an expert opinion to AMM in proceedings brought by the regional energy integration commission, Comisión Regional de Integración Eléctrica. New partner Natalia Callejas Aquino specialises in regulatory advice.
Mayora & Mayora, S.C.'s areas of expertise include advising on the structuring of energy transactions, the development and infrastructure of energy plants, regulation and project finance, as well as acting in energy-related litigation and arbitration. Highlights included practice head Rafael Briz and senior associate Juan Carlos Foncea advising Grupo Cobra and Obrascón Huarte Lain, separately, on the construction of hydroelectric generation plants. The team is also representing Energuate in a high-profile arbitration case against the Guatemalan government concerning compensation for an energy infrastructure project. The firm is expanding its renewable energy practice with the support of senior associate Rafael Pinto; clients include Grupo Gransolar, a specialist construction company focusing on renewable energy projects, and hydroelectric power generation company IC Power.
Praised for its 'industry knowledge, personal relationships, great customer service attitude and diverse expertise', QIL+4 ABOGADOS, S.A. has particular strength in relation to energy project finance. The team is highly active in the electricity sector, advising electricity generation companies, and also handles a number of renewable energy matters; clients include Enel Green Power and the San Andrés and San Mateo hydroelectric projects. Practice head Gabriela Roca, who has returned to the firm full time after acting as in-house counsel to client Minera San Rafael, and associate Verónica Orantes have 'great industry networks and expertise' and 'an excellent work ethic', and are 'always willing to go the extra mile'. Recently, the two advised Renace (part of Corporación Multi Inversiones) on the development of two hydropower projects, while Roca is advising Minera San Rafael on the suspension of its mining licence.
Carrillo & Asociados is particularly active in energy sector litigation and arbitration; past highlights included challenging an agreement between Guatemala and a foreign government over a drilling moratorium in border areas. The team also advises on project financing and regulatory compliance, and has assisted energy companies with corporate matters. Major clients include I Squared Capital, which the firm advised on the $1.2bn acquisition of Duke Energy's electricity generation assets in Latin America. Practice head Rodolfo Alegría specialises in energy-related arbitration and project finance.
Novales Abogados is known for its strength in electric power transmission; the firm has been advising longstanding client Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica on the construction, installation and operation of a power transmission network across most of Guatemala, as well as defending the client against a number of judicial challenges raised by environmental groups and representatives of the indigenous community. The team also advises on energy transactions in Guatemala and Central America, including assisting agro-industrial power generator Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana with the negotiation of contracts for the sale and export of energy. Other clients include Enel Green Power Guatemala and Asociación de Transportistas de Electricidad de Guatemala. Javier Novales Schlesinger heads the team.
Director Roxana Sandoval leads the practice at Alegalis, which handles the development and financing of energy projects, environmental impact studies and energy-related litigation. The firm is particularly strong in the renewable energy sector, advising on solar, hydroelectric and biogas projects; past highlights included assisting Grupo Cutzan and Caudales Renovables, separately, with the development of hydroelectric power plants. Other clients include Empresa Generadora de Energía Limpia and Industrias de Biogas. Juan Antonio Mazariegos is also a key contact.
BLP advises on matters from energy generation through to transportation, distribution and regulation, as well as acting in energy-related litigation and and arbitration. The team regularly advises private companies investing in the Guatemalan energy sector, and has also acted for the state of Guatemala. Practice head Rodolfo Salazar and associate Elizabeth Cardona advised Colombian bank Banco Davivienda on providing the financing to a local company for the construction of transmission lines and substations in Guatemala; Salazar also represented Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo in proceedings relating to the withdrawal of contracts and authorisations necessary for the operation of the power plant.
CENTRAL LAW Guatemala
CENTRAL LAW Guatemala is noted for its strength in the mining sector, although renewable energy is also a growing area of expertise for the firm. In recent highlights, the team assisted Bluestone Resources with the environmental law aspects of the resumption of the operations of the Cerro Blanco gold mine in Guatemala, as well as advising the same client on the reactivation of the Mita geothermal energy project. In the oil and gas sector, the firm acted for Latin American Resources on the operation of the Atzam oil field in the Alta Verapaz region. Other clients include Geosyntec Consultants, Cunico Resources and Cresta Resources. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote heads the team.
Lexincorp advises on the regulation of the energy sector in Guatemala and Central America, the financing and management of electrical and other energy projects, and the negotiation of power purchase agreements. Clients include private companies and public institutions. The team is led by Leslie Henry Ayau, who has extensive experience advising on the development of renewable energy projects and carbon credit projects. Highlights included advising Grupo Kin, which is made up of electricity distributor Mayoristas de Electricidad and renewable energy generators Ixtal, Xolhuitz and Tuncaj, on the operation of several hydroelectric plants and solar farms.