Energy and natural resources/projects in Guatemala

Aguilar Castillo Love

Aguilar Castillo Love‘s ‘solid‘ team has expertise across the full range of energy and projects matters, including project finance, disputes in the energy sector and local energy regulations. The team particularly stands out for its ‘specialty and knowledge‘ in the electricity sub-sector, advising major electricity distribution and generation companies, and also has notable strength in renewable energy matters, including the development of renewable energy projects. ‘Senior specialistJuan Carlos Castillo-Chacón stands out for his broad experience in project finance and in financial and corporate transactions  in the energy sector, as well as his regulatory expertise. He leads the practice with Natalia Callejas Aquino, who is experienced in regulatory issues and project finance. Other notable team members include René Vicente Rodriguez, who is active in energy-related disputes, and associate María Lilian Franco.

Practice head(s):

Natalia Callejas Aquino; Juan Carlos Castillo Chacón

Testimonials

‘In our experience, the firm’s specialty and knowledge in the field of electric energy law is its strength. In this specialty, the firm is undoubtedly superior.’

‘Juan Carlos Castillo Chacón is the firm’s senior specialist, with all the experience and knowledge of electricity law necessary for providing resolutions and advice in this area. His main qualities are his objectivity and knowledge of economic and legal issues.’

‘A solid team with diverse specialties and strengths. One thing that stands out about them is the reputation they have built over many years.’

‘The lawyers have good reputations, attitudes and presentation skills. Juan Carlos Castillo is a worthy representative of the elite of Guatemalan lawyers.’

Key clients

Jaguar Energy

Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala (EEGSA)

Energuate (DEOCSA and DEORSA)

Administrador del Mercado Mayorista (Wholesale Market Administrator (AMM))

Transelec

Industria Energética Asociada

Work highlights

  • Advising EEGSA on regulations issued by the Guatemalan state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the electricity distribution system of the country.
  • Acting for Energuate in a challenge to building regulations introduced by the municipalities of Río Hondo and Asunción Mita which may affect the construction and installation of energy towers.
  • Advising Industria Energética Asociada on the applicability of the Wholesale Electricity Market Administrator regulations relating to the calculation of energy prices.

Alta QIL+4 Abogados

Alta QIL+4 Abogados is noted for its expertise in the regulation of the Guatemalan and Central American energy sectors, with experience advising on the trading of energy with other countries in Latin America. In addition, the team is well versed in the financing and development of energy and infrastructure projects (including ports and transportation projects) and in high-profile litigation over mining and energy projects, acting for Minera San Rafael in a long-running dispute over the suspension of its mining licence. Its broad client base includes electricity distribution companies, energy traders and transmission companies. Practice head Gabriela Roca has extensive experience in disputes and financing relating to energy, mining and infrastructure projects. The strong team of associates includes Ignacio Grazioso, who has been active advising on project finance and, particularly recently, on public-private partnerships (PPPs). Since publication, Roca has departed the firm for an in-house role.

Practice head(s):

Gabriela Roca

Key clients

Enel Green Power

Multienergia (Corporacion Multi Inversiones)

Generadora San Andres y Generadora San Mateo

Minera San Rafael (Panamerican Silver Pass)

Viento Blanco

Vitol

Work highlights

  • Acting for Minera San Rafael, the owner of the world’s third-largest silver mine, in extensive litigation following a challenge to the company’s mining licence by an NGO under ILO Convention 169.
  • Acting for an energy company in Guatemala in a dispute over the interpretation of PPAs.
  • Advising energy broker Vitol on the registration of its Guatemalan subsidiary before the Guatemalan Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Wholesale Market Administrator (AMM).

Carrillo & Asociados

Carrillo & Asociados has significant strength in disputes, corporate and commercial matters, project finance and regulatory issues in the energy and mining sectors, including advising on permits to operate in the energy market and acting in commercial, regulatory and constitutional litigation and arbitration in these sectors. Practice head Rodolfo Alegria has extensive experience in the financing of high-profile telecoms, energy and natural resources projects, acting on behalf of major multinationals; he also handles related arbitration proceedings. Senior associate Mélida Pineda is also a key member of the team, with experience in project finance, M&A and insurance cases in the energy sector, as well as in advising on power-purchase agreements (PPAs). Since publication, Alegría has left the firm after more than 30 years, moving to Estudio Chávez Bosque S.A. as of March 2022, as has Pineda.

Key clients

Enel Green Power

Grupo Terra

Axa Impact Fund

Work highlights

  • Acted for Enel Green Power in a dispute over land acquired for the development of a hydropower plant which was suspended and not built.
  • Representing Grupo Terra in arbitration proceedings relating to the default of a PPA which the client executed with a utility company.
  • Advising Axa Impact Fund, as underwriter, on the planned issuance of bonds of Guatemalan NGO Fundaeco, to be secured by the revenues of the sale of carbon units of Fundaeco’s forestry projects.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

Highlighted for its 'strong knowledge' of energy and projects matters - and particularly for its 'extensive understanding of the electricity sector' - Mayora & Mayora, S.C. has experience in the financing and development of infrastructure for power plants, PPAs and government bids, energy regulation, and energy-related litigation. The team acts for major local and international energy companies, with a growing number of clients in the renewable energy sector, and provides its client base with services across Central America, often working alongside its offices in El Salvador and Honduras. Rafael Briz, who has significant experience in energy and natural resources matters, leads the team, supported by senior associate Juan Carlos Foncea, a specialist in tax and administrative law who frequently advises energy distributors on challenging fines imposed by the government regulator.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Briz

Testimonials

‘They have a strong knowledge of the subject, with an extensive understanding of the electricity sector and its laws and regulations. They also have a wide knowledge of the history of the companies involved and their different lawsuits.’

‘The team stands out for its knowledge of the sector, specifically in the area of electric power distribution, and its great availability when required.’

Key clients

Arroyo Energy Group

Deocsa-Deorsa (Energuate)

Grupo Cobra

Grupo Ortiz

Cox Energy

Inkia Energy

Ingenio San Diego

Isagen

Grupo Liztex

Obrascón Huarte Lain

Work highlights

  • Assisting Cox Energy with the constitution of local entities in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in order to initiate solar energy operations in the region.
  • Representing Energuate in administrative actions filed against the local regulator relating to energy distribution rates.
  • Acting for Energuate in an arbitration against the National Institute of Electricity (INDE) relating to compensation for infrastructure costs incurred by the client while fulfilling its government contract for the electrification of the Guatemalan countryside.

A. D. Sosa & Soto

The oil, mining and renewable energy sectors are key areas of expertise for A. D. Sosa & Soto, which has particular strength in advising on regulatory matters, as well as the environmental, political and social issues relating to project development. Carlos Rafael Pellecer is noted for his advice on foreign direct investment in projects in Guatemala, particularly mining projects. Other key figures are Manuel Arturo Soto, who regularly assists with PPAs, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts and regulatory issues; Rodolfo Sosa, who has longstanding experience in the oil industry; and José Javier Sosa, who advises on mining and renewable energy matters.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Rafael Pellecer; Manuel Arturo Soto; Rodolfo Sosa; Jose Javier Sosa

Novales Abogados

Novales Abogados has a notable specialism in electric power transmission and is currently advising one of its major clients, Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica (TRECSA), on the construction of Guatemala's largest transmission network. The team regularly advises on EPC contracts and environmental and social permits relating to the construction of energy infrastructure projects, as well as representing clients in high-profile judicial challenges to developments. Cross-border energy transactions and corporate and regulatory issues for energy companies setting up operations in Guatemala are also key areas of expertise. Javier Novales Schlesinger leads the practice, while founding partner Alfonso Novales Aguirre is also a key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Javier Novales

Key clients

Mota Engil Latin America

Empresa de Energía de Bogotá (EEB)

Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica (TRECSA)

Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana (CAISA)

EEB Ingeniería y Servicios (EEBIS)

Enel Green Power Energy

X’Agon

Asociación de Transportistas de Electricidad de Guatemala

Work highlights

  • Advising TRECSA, a subsidiary of Grupo de Energía de Bogotá, on various issues relating to the construction, installation and operation of a power transmission network across most of Guatemala, including judicial challenges by special interest groups.
  • Advising EEBIS, a subsidiary of Grupo de Energía de Bogotá, on the “South Pacific Ring” project to develop a network of electricity transmission lines between power plants and the National Interconnected System.
  • Assisting agroindustrial power generator Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana on the negotiation of energy sale contracts with Guatemalan purchasers, and contracts for energy exports to the rest of Central America and Mexico.

BLP

BLP has a particular focus on advising clients in the electricity sub-sector, with expertise spanning tax, regulatory, environmental, social, corporate and financial matters. In addition, the team assists with disputes in the energy sector, PPAs and tenders, and the development of energy and infrastructure projects. Practice head Rodolfo Salazar is highly experienced in dispute resolution matters, particularly arbitration in the energy sector, as well as advising on project development and environmental impact studies and mitigation measures. Senior associate Rubén Fuentes also assists with public procurement and regulatory matters and environmental compliance audits.

Practice head(s):

Rodolfo Salazar

Key clients

Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo

Ratio Petroleum Energy

Siemens Guatemala

Work highlights

  • Advising Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo on energy regulation, energy permits and agreements signed with the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and contract disputes with the National Institute of Electricity (INDE).
  • Advising Radio Petroleum Energy on the legal framework in Guatemala for setting up the facilities and infrastructure for the generation of geothermal energy.
  • Advising Siemens Guatemala on energy regulations and the agreement of a contract with INDE to provide critical software and hardware to maintain the national electricity grid in Guatemala.

CENTRAL LAW Guatemala

Foreign direct investment, the development of mining, oil and renewable energy projects, and regulatory issues in the energy sector are all key areas of strength for Central Law Guatemala, which also advises on M&A transactions for international energy and natural resources companies. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote

Sfera Legal

Jorge Asensio Aguirre leads the practice at Sfera Legal, which has a wide range of expertise in the energy sector, covering M&A transactions, project finance, tax and regulatory issues, and disputes. In particular, the team has notable experience in litigation over challenges to the development of mining and energy projects under ILO Convention 169, and is currently representing Inversiones Pasabien in criminal proceedings brought against community leaders for causing damage to the client's hydroelectric plant in Río Hondo.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Asensio Aguirre

Key clients

Inversiones Pasabien

Renovables De Guatemala / Enel Green Power

Work highlights

  • Acting for Inversiones Pasabien, the owner of the Pasabien hydroelectric plant in Río Hondo, in criminal proceedings against community leaders opposed to the construction of the plant, after severe damage was caused to the facilities.