Projects and energy in Latin America: International firms

Latin America's projects and energy segment remains robust, despite economic and political headwinds in jurisdictions such as Argentina and Chile. Clearly, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has stalled deals and projects in every jurisdiction. Moreover, Mexico's left leaning president Andrés Manuel López Obrador's policies have staunched economic liberalisation, dampening international investor interest with a consequent reduction in projects and energy-sector transactions. For international law firms, Mexico is no longer quite the bright spot it was on the Latin American landscape; a greater influx of international finance into Brazil has therefore been a welcome development for those capable of involvement. Despite the mixed outlook, projects and energy specialists remain in high demand, whether it be oil and gas experts in Houston, agency lender and development finance institution (DFI) advisors in Washington DC, commercial lender specialists in New York, or colleagues in Latin America itself.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is at the forefront of the projects and energy from multiple angles. It has outstanding connections to investment and commercial banks, development banks and export credit agencies (ECAs). It is a recognised leader in project bonds, hybrid financings and private-placement financings, most notably in Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay. Moreover, the firm has a growing profile in Brazil in line with the rising participation of international lenders in project financings there. Continuing to land the prized engagements in the region, the firm advised Goldman Sachs and IDB Invest on the hybrid financing for the construction of the first toll road awarded under Paraguay's PPP scheme, which included a forward purchase agreement, a Rule 144A/Reg S securitisation of government receivables and the first ever letter of credit facility by IDB Invest to facilitate working capital advances from the bonds' proceeds. This was the first PPP project in Paraguay to be financed in the international capital markets. Gianluca Bacchiocchi has an outstanding reputation in project bonds, hybrid financings and private placement financings. Washington DC partner Fabricio Longhin is a leading figure in infrastructure financings in Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay and other key jurisdictions. Chris Willott is at the forefront of a resurgent project financing market in Brazil. Washington DC's Lori Ann Bean has a close connection to OPIC and other lenders, and is frequently engaged in energy and infrastructure financings in Latin America. Fellow Washington DC partner Catherine McCarthy is also highly rated for DFI and ECA-driven infrastructure and renewable energy-project financings across the region. Guido Liniado is an emerging talent in Latin America PPPs and multi-source financings, having impressed in Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay projects. Washington DC associates Alberto Haito and Jessica Springsteen are also highly rated. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise. Since publication, Bacchiocchi and Liniado have moved to Latham & Watkins LLP, effective as of January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Fabricio Longhin

Key clients

IDB Invest

Goldman Sachs

Citibank

SMBC

JP Morgan

UBS

Santander

OPIC

Mizuho

Credit Suisse

IFC

Work highlights

  • Advised Goldman Sachs and IDB Invest on the complex hybrid financing for the construction of the first toll road awarded under Paraguay’s PPP scheme.
  • Advised a leading financial institution on the first-ever securitization of government receivables related to an infrastructure project in Paraguay: the 277km Loma Plata – Carmelo Peralta segment of the Corredor Bioceanico highway.
  • Advised Klabin, as borrower, in relation to a combined $800m loan provided by lenders, to expand the client’s existing pulp and paper facility, increase its cogeneration capacity and install certain waste and water treatment and gasification plants in Brazil.
  • Advised IDB, CAF, CAF–Asset Manager, SMBC and Intesa Sanpaolo on the $855m financing of the design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of 272km of railway from Paso de los Toros to Montevideo in Uruguay.
  • Advised several lenders on the multi-currency financing of the Autopista Al Mar 1 toll road project in Colombia, the largest of the 4G projects to reach financial close in 2019.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown's well-developed Latin America projects and energy practice covers the range of financings driven by commercial banks, DFIs and ECAs, and project bonds.  It continues to earn plaudits in key areas such as LNG-to-power, large and small-scale renewables projects, mining and resources, and infrastructure and PPP programmes. The group advised Celeo Redes on the $365m private-placement financing of a greenfield-brownfield portfolio of transmission projects in Chile, totalling more than 550km of transmission lines and eight substations. It also represented a consortium and sponsors in the $300m sale of milestone certificates issued in connection with construction of Corredor Bioceanico road in Paraguay. Washington DC and New York partner Christopher Erckert is a leading figure in project bonds and private placement financings, notably in the renewable energy and infrastructure fields. Chicago's Douglas Doetsch leads the Latin America group and has an extensive record in project financings and securitisation-driven financings. Buenos Aires born Gabriela Sakamoto has broad geographic and sector experience, covering, energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure. Native Spanish speaker and Houston and Mexico City partner Pablo Ferrante is a key figure in energy deals, particularly in Mexico. Highly rated Latin America oil and gas specialist Vera De Brito de Gyarfas joined the Houston office from King & Spalding LLP in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Erckert

Key clients

Arroyo Energy

Sumitomo Mining and Metal

Panama Canal Authority

Invenergy

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)

Credit Suisse Group

Overseas Private Investment Corporation

X-Elio

Banco Santander (Brasil)

GE Capital- Energy Financial Services

Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM)

Work highlights

  • Represented Celeo Redes on a $365m private placement financing of a greenfield-brownfield portfolio of transmission projects in Chile, totalling some 550km of transmission lines and eight substations.
  • Represented Vista Oil and Gas in connection with its operational- and midstream-services agreements for the development of the Vaca Muerta shale play.
  • Advised Sumitomo Metal Mining, as sponsor, on the $2.5bn project financing of the Quebrada Blanca Project (phase 2), one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper resources.
  • Represented Bank of China and Banco Santander in five project financing facilities, with an aggregate value of $450m, for the development of wind power generation capacity in Argentina.
  • Represented the consortium and sponsors in connection with the (approximately) $300m sale of milestone certificates issued in connection with construction of Corredor Bioceanico road in Paraguay.

Milbank

Milbank consistently leads the field across the projects and energy segment, from conventional power and renewables, to infrastructure and mining and resources. Aligned to the global firm's strengths, the Latin America group is consistently leveraging deep connections to commercial lenders and DFIs. The Latin America group is at the forefront of industry trends and more esoteric forms of project financing. It advised Allianz Global Investors on a $365m private placement to finance transmission lines totalling over 550km and eight substations in Chile. It represented the senior lenders on the financing for the expansion of the $2.5bn Quebrada Blanca (phase 2) copper mine in Chile, expected to extend the life of the operation by 28 years. Daniel Bartfeld is consistently recognised as one of the top names in the market; he leads the firm's global project, energy and infrastructure finance practice and is also co-head of the Latin America Group. Jonathan Green is another hugely experienced project, energy and infrastructure finance specialist with a fine record in Latin America. Carolina Walther-Meade is widely recognised for infrastructure, power, oil and gas and mining projects throughout Latin America. Los Angeles partner Allan Marks is a key figure in renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the region, while Jaime Ramirez and Roland Estevez are among the top names of the next generation of partners; Alec Borisoff is also increasingly involved with Latin America projects, particularly in the mining and metals segment.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Bartfeld; Marcelo Mottesi

Key clients

Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Mizuho Bank

Société Générale

Korea Development Bank (KDB)

BBVA

Macquarie

Natixis

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders in connection with the refinancing of the Samay/Mollendo power plant, known as Puerto Bravo, located in Peru and owned by Inkia Energy, one of the largest single-asset energy refinancings in Latin America in 2019.
  • Advised Allianz Global Investors in connection with a $365m private placement to finance transmission lines totalling over 550km and eight substations in Chile.
  • Advised Mainstream Renewable Power and its affiliates in connection with the project financing of the 571MW Cóndor portfolio, the first phase of one of the largest wind and solar power generation platforms in Latin America.
  • Represented the senior lenders in connection with the financing for the expansion of the $2.5bn Quebrada Blanca phase 2 (QB2) copper mine in Chile.
  • Advised the lenders in connection with the financing of an LNG thermoelectric plant at Açu Port in São João da Barra, Brazil, part of the largest natural gas thermoelectric complex in Latin America.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP's longstanding commitment to Latin America and its global status in the projects and energy fields, makes it a consistent leader in the market. Its client base includes many of the top lenders, investors and sponsors in Latin America. The firm has an enviable profile in renewables, mining and metals, and in private placement financings. 2019-mandates include advising the lenders on a $578m financing for Cóndor Energía and its 571MW generation-portfolio, including three wind farms and a solar park, in Chile. It also represented the commercial and development banks in the Enel Green Power portfolio project financing of the Don José, Villanueva I and Villanueva III solar photovoltaic plants in Mexico. Gregory Tan leads the global project development and finance practice and has maintained his usual prominence in renewable energy, power and infrastructure projects throughout the region. Cynthia Urda Kassis heads the global mining and metals practice and has a heavy emphasis on Latin America, particularly Chile and Ecuador. Denise Grant is a senior finance lawyer with a fine record in project finance in Chile and elsewhere. Alexandro Padrés is an emerging talent, most notably in Mexico renewable energy projects and private placement financings. Augusto Ruiloba continues to impress at associate level. Since publication the bench has been further strengthened with the hire of former Avant Energy GC, Gabriel Salinas, as a counsel at the firm's Houston office.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Tan

Testimonials

Quick action to address outstanding issues. Strength in all Americas regions. Deep experience in different industry sectors and countries.

Incredible experience and leadership during the negotiations with the counter party.’

Gregory Tan has an amicable approach to address the issues, is patient, has great availability, and lots of experience in North and South America based transactions.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

KfW IPEX-Bank

BBVA Bancomer

Caixabank

MUFG Bank

Natixis

Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext)

European Investment Bank

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Orion Mine Finance

Blackstone Tactical Opportunities

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden

Deutsche Investitions-Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft

Société De Promotion Et De Participation Pour La Coopération Economique (PROPARCO)

GDF International

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Citigroup Global Markets

JP Morgan Chase Bank

Banco General

Credit Suisse, Cayman Islands Branch

Ameris Capital Administradora de Fondos

Société Générale

Axia Power

Termonorte

EIG Global Energy Partners

Mubadala Investment

DNB Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders on a $578m financing for the Cóndor Energía renewable portfolio in Chile.
  • Advised International Finance Corporation and KfW IPEX-Bank as the senior financing parties in connection with the development and financing of the $1.2bn integrated Açu LNG-to-power project.
  • Advised Orion Mine Finance and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities in the financing of Lundin Gold’s $1bn-plus Fruta Del Norte project in Ecuador.
  • Advised the lenders in a $610m senior secured financing to refinance the AES Colón LNG terminal and associated combined cycle power plant in Panama.
  • Represented the commercial and development banks in Enel Green Power’s project financing of three solar photovoltaic  plants in Mexico, with an aggregate project value of approximately $1bn.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP has an unrivalled depth of team with top project and energy practitioners in Miami, New York, Washington DC, Houston, Mexico and Sao Paulo. The department has a hugely impressive client mix of sponsors, commercial lenders, and DFIs and agencies. It is at the forefront of power, renewables, and oil and gas projects and transactions, and is also building its presence in infrastructure projects, including road, rail and ports. The firm also impresses in both project development and project finance, and has a growing practice in energy M&A and distressed oil and gas transactions. Notably, it is gaining a solid foothold in the growing number of international project financings in Brazil, and continues to have an outstanding record in Mexico as well as evidencing strength in other smaller economies too. Carlos Viana leads the Latin America practice from Miami, where he has an outstanding record in renewable energy and infrastructure projects throughout the region. Leading project development lawyer Sean Goldstein has transferred from Mexico City to Miami where he is leading the firm's relationship with the IDB. Martin Menski has joined the Washington DC office from Baker Botts L.L.P. to reinforce the firm's connections to agencies and DFIs, including IDB. John Anderson is a leading project finance specialist in Sao Paulo and Steven Otillar is a prominent project development expert in Houston with a proven track record in Latin America. Jeanine Acevedo and Anna Andreeva are also key names in Miami; up-and-coming name Thomas Pate has relocated to New York from Miami.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Viana

Testimonials

The team adds value to the analysis of a transaction by way of combining their knowledge, their negotiation skills and their flexibility.

White & Case not adequately transmits its legal expertise, but the lawyers have also actively contributed to finding solutions in a practical and effective way. Working with White & Case has been a pleasure.’

Excellent team with people who are experts in their respective fields, detail oriented, hard working, responsive and on top of that, decent and fun to work with.

Carlos Viana, Thomas Pate and Sean Williams really understand our needs, they are always available and are very professional. They are our first option for project finance.

Anna Andreeva has shown outstanding negotiation capabilities, with a superior talent for bringing the right arguments to the table and getting to the point. She is fluent in English and Spanish, which makes it very easy to involve her in discussions.

Jeannine Acevedo has deep knowledge/experience in Latin America project finance.

Key clients

Invenergy

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

SMBC

Natixis

Mizuho

Celsia

Central Puerto

EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG)

Energía del Pacífico

Inkia Energy and I-Squared

DP World

Work highlights

  • Advised DP World and subsidiary DPWorld Posorja on the $377m  project financing for the construction of a new deep-water multi-purpose port terminal (and related dredging works and access road), in Posorja, Ecuador.
  • Represented Neoen in connection with the project financing of the Altiplano 200 project, a 208MW solar power plant located in Salta, Argentina.
  • Advised a syndicate of ten global and Brazil-based banks on the financing of a consortium’s acquisition of 90% of the share capital of Transportadora Associada de Gas from Petrobras.
  • Assisted Pan American Energy and its subsidiary Hokchi Energy with the development of a shallow water offshore block in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represented Invenergy and its project subsidiary Energia del Pacífico on the development and project financing of the 378MW LNG-to-power infrastructure project at Acajutla port in  Sonsonate, El Salvador.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's core team of Latin America projects and energy specialists have carved out a fine reputation for infrastructure projects and PPPs, conventional power and renewables (including green loans), and oil and gas transactions. Like other leading firms, the versatile team covers the entire region. It is also at the forefront of new structures such as hybrid and private placement financings. In Washington DC, the firm has built excellent connections to many of the key DFIs and agency lenders. Among a series of headline engagements, it advised a bidding consortium led by China Harbour Engineering in connection with the Primera Línea del Metro de Bogotá – Tramo I PPP project, aimed at financing the construction and operation of the COlombian capital's first metro line. Sao Paulo-based partner and head of the Latin America practice, Bruno Soares is key for project financings in Brazil and for transactions elsewhere in Latin America featuring Brazilian lenders. New York's Dorina Yessios has impressed in renewable energy, infrastructure and PPP programmes, along with private placement and portfolio financings. Washington DC partner Sami Mir co-heads the US agency practice and has a principal focus on Latin America for clients such as IDB Invest and IFC. Since publication, the firm has hired a sizeable, 19-strong group from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (effective March 2021), opening a west-coast office (Los Angeles) in the process; comprised of six partners -led by Dan Sinaiko and John Marciano - the impact of this considerable deepening of the firm's bench -particulalry for project finance and renewables- on its activity in Latin America remains to be seen.

Practice head(s):

Bruno Soares

Testimonials

A&O is one of the more professional legal teams that we have encountered.’

A&O stands out for having teams committed to the transaction, led by the partner but in which the associates are divided according to the needs of the project. Thus, there are partners leading the negotiation of the project documents while there are others leading the financing documents. I like this way of dividing work.

A strong team with deep experience across asset classes and jurisdictions.’

Dorina Yessios is a fantastic projects and energy partner. She is experienced in operating across multiple jurisdictions, various asset classes, as well as on sponsor side and lenders’ side of a transaction. This has made her adept at finding solutions that work for all parties, leading to efficient document negotiations.

Key clients

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Banco Santander

IFC’s PPP Advisory Team

Vale

China Harbour Engineering Company

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CA-CIB)

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)

Natixis

Proparco

Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF)

Bancomext

Allianz

Elecnorte

Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior (BICE)

FinDev Canada

Banco BTG Pactual

CSP – Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém

Work highlights

  • Advised a bidding consortium led by China Harbour Engineering in connection with the Primera Línea del Metro de Bogotá – Tramo I PPP project.
  • Acted for IFC’s PPP advisory team in connection with advice to Peru’s ProInversión on structuring, procuring and executing a public-private partnership for the Lima water supply project known as Obras de Cabecera.
  • Advised the lenders and guarantor on a first-of-its-kind financing structure for a portfolio of renewable energy projects to be developed, financed, constructed, owned, operated and maintained by ENGIE México.
  • Advised Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém (CSP), Vale, POSCO and Dongkuk Steel on the restructuring of the $3.1bn project financing of CSP’s integrated steel mill in the State of Ceará, Brazil.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's deep engagement with Latin America has long since furnished it with the foundations for a flourishing energy, resources and infrastructure practice, driven by big-ticket Latin American corporates such as Petrobras, Pemex and Vale, along with major investors including BlackRock. It is at the forefront of energy M&A and restructurings, while building its standing in renewable energy projects and PPPs. The firm's outstanding capital markets practice has proved pivotal in debt restructuring programmes and the firm's ability to target the growing green bonds segment. It advised Argentine energy company Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia on a $108m secured project financing for the construction, operation and maintenance of Parque Eólico del Bicentenario, a 125.2MWac wind farm in the Province of Santa Cruz. It also represented Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority on the transformation of Puerto Rico’s electricity system. Chantal Kordula has a prolific record in energy and infrastructure projects across the region, from Argentina to Mexico and Puerto Rico. Adam Brenneman has a similarly broad practice across Latin America, while Jeffrey Lewis has an outstanding reputation for energy and natural resources M&A.

Practice head(s):

Adam Brenneman; Chantal Kordula

Key clients

Mexican Ministry of Finance and Mexico City Airport Trust (MEXCAT)

Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia

DP World and Caucedo Development Corporation

Blackrock

Central Puerto

The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority

Republic of Chile

Ad hoc Group of Secured Project Finance Lenders

CT Barragán

Brazilian National Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES)

PEMEX

Constellation Oil Services Holding

Comisión Federal de Electricidad

Credit Suisse

Ad hoc group of créditos of San Antonio Oil & Gas

Compania General de Combustibles

Petrobras

Vista Oil & Gas

Pampa Energia

Empresa Nacional del Petroleo

Alpek

Work highlights

  • Represened the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Mexico City Airport Trust (MEXCAT) in tender offers to purchase, for cash, a portion of the $6bn of notes issued on the international markets.
  • Advised Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia in connection with a $108m secured project financing for the construction, operation and maintenance of Parque Eólico del Bicentenario, a 125.2 MWac wind farm in the Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina.
  • Advised a joint venture comprising DP World and Caucedo Development Corporation in connection with the $285m refinancing of the credit facility for its container terminal on the Caucedo Peninsula of the Dominican Republic.
  • Advised BlackRock on the refinancing of a project finance facility used for the construction and development of the 130MW La Bufa wind farm in Zacatecas, Mexico.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has a well-established and highly reputed project finance group in Sao Paulo. This is supplemented by Latin America-facing colleagues in New York and a group of capital markets specialists that provide support on project bonds and private placement financings. The Sao Paulo team has benefitted from the growth in international financings in Brazil itself, including in the offshore oil and gas industry, along with the firm's prominence in infrastructure projects in general in Brazil and elsewhere across Latin America. The Sao Paulo group continued to advise Odebrecht Oil & Gas and Teekay Offshore Partners on the $900m long-term limited recourse project financing of an extended well-test floating production, storage and offloading  (FPSO) unit to be chartered to Petrobras Brasileiro. It also continued to advise ViaQuatro, the operator of Line 4 of São Paulo's metro system, on the project financing for phase two of the project that will link the city centre to the west zone. In this regard, the immensely experienced Stephen Hood and James Vickers have an outstanding record, while co-head of the Sao Paulo office Manuel Garciadiaz is a key name for project bonds and conventional project finance. New York partner and head of the Latin America finance practice James Florack is an experienced project finance practitioner.

Key clients

Arcos Dorados

Banco de Credito del Peru

Banco Safra

BR Malls

BR Properties

CCR

Contour Global

Cosan

Elementia GP Investments

Mexichem

Odebrecht Group

Santander

Sete Brasil

Several leading financial institutions

Telemar/Oi

Tonon Bioenergia

Work highlights

  • Advised Odebrecht Oil & Gas and Teekay Offshore Partners and their subsidiaries on the $900m long-term limited recourse project financing of an extended well-test FPSO unit to be chartered to Petrobras Brasileiro.
  • Advised Oro Negro Drilling on the restructuring of a $939m senior secured bond issued through a concurso mercantil proceeding in Mexico.
  • Advised Raízen Combustiveis and Raízen Energia in connection with a new $850m unsecured term loan facility.
  • Advised ViaQuatro, the operator of São Paulo metro Line 4, on the project financing for an extension which will link the city’s centre to the west zone.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP has an excellent record in project development and project finance throughout Latin America. It has a particularly stellar record in Ecuador, Venezuela and Central America; recent mandates include advising Generadora San Andrés, and Generadora San Mateo on the development, construction and financing of two hydroelectric projects in Guatemala. Head of the Miami office Jorge Diaz-Silveira leads the Americas infrastructure practice and has a fine record in project development and project finance, including engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), and operations and maintenance (O&M) agreements. José Valdivia is hugely experienced in Latin America projects and energy transactions, notably in Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Central America. Qualified in Venezuela, Houston partner Bruno Ciuffetelli has a long history with PDVSA and is a key figure in oil and gas projects and transactions across the region. Gaston Fernandez is an emerging talent. All named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.

Jones Day

Jones Day has achieved significant participation in the projects and energy field acting for European and Asian sponsors, most notably Spanish and Chinese players. This has supported the firm's admirable practice in renewable energy and transport infrastructure (including ports, airports and toll roads; the practice has landed a series of engagements in Colombia's 4G road infrastructure programme and is also prominent in the renewable energy sphere thanks to the presence of head of the global projects and infrastructure practice Richard Puttré, in Miami. In the same office, Fradyn Suárez is a key project finance specialist with close links to borrowers and sponsors and good relations with the IDB. In Mexico, Alberto de la Parra is a leading figure in infrastructure projects whose recent mandates include various bond issues linked to the financing of Mexico City's new airport. Marcello Hallake in Sao Paulo has extensive experience in Brazil projects. New York's Robert da Silva Ashley is another key figure in Latin America energy financings.

Practice head(s):

 Richard Puttré

Testimonials

The level of knowledge, dedication and professionalism of the Jones Day team is unique, as well as the involvement of the partners in each of the financings.’

The Jones Day team, both in Madrid and Miami, is very technically well-trained and open to explore innovative legal structures for projects.

Alberto de la Parra’s level of dedication and knowledge is outstanding.

Key clients

Banco Santander

BBVA Bancomer

Cemex

Electricité de France (EDF)

Elecnor

ENGIE

Globalvia

Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México

IDB Invest

JinkoSolar Holding

Promotora y Desarrolladora Mexicana (Prodemex)

Sacyr

Work highlights

  • Advised ENGIE on its $8.6bn acquisition of Transportadora Associada de Gás from Brazilian state oil company Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras).
  • Advised Banco Santander in obtaining antitrust clearance from the Mexican Competition Commission to acquire 99.99% of the shares of A3T, a subsidiary of Abengoa.
  • Represented the Mexican Private Trust and Mexico’s Ministry of Finance in connection with the issuance of four series of bonds totalling some $6bn.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP is a major player in Latin America energy and infrastructure projects and transactions. It primarily targets the region through its New York and Madrid offices, although its Houston office provides another connection to the oil and gas markets in Mexico and elsewhere. Major engagements from banks is a strong feature of the Latin America practice. Many of the team members were born or educated in Latin America. The firm's global commitment to the projects and energy field, enables it to provide expertise throughout the lifecycle of a project, including financing and development phases. It is also at the forefront of bank-and-bond and hybrid style financings. Recent mandates include advising Brookfield Infrastructure and IEnova joint venture, TAG Pipelines Norte, on a bond offering to refinance a portion of the development and commercial bank debt of the Los Ramones Norte natural gas pipeline (Mexico). Latin America practice co-chair Antonio Del Pino is noted for projects and M&A involving energy and infrastructure assets. Oil and gas industry co-chair Christopher Cross has a strong focus on Latin America, particularly Mexico. Washington DC's Luis Torres has a fine pedigree in project financings, including those involving DFIs and multilateral lenders. Veronica Relea is another important member of the team, while Roderick Branch provides further expertise in bond-driven project financings. Washington DC associate Carlos Ardila is a rising star. David Penna has joined the US International Development Finance Corporation. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise. Since publication the firm has notably strengthened the practice with the January-2021 hires of Gianluca Bacchiocchi and Guido Liniado from Clifford Chance; they arrive as partners in the corporate department and energy & infrastructure industry group, and as members of the Latin America and capital markets practices.

Practice head(s):

Antonio Del Pino

Testimonials

They are extremely technical but very human people. The Latham & Watkins team has always embraced our projects with interest, professionalism and commitment.

Its best qualities are the commitment and knowledge of the sector and excellent management of our contracts.

I emphasize the great work of Carlos Ardila for his knowledge and total dedication.

Key clients

Fermaca Pipeline El Encino

Brookfield Energy Marketing (Cerro Dominador)

Eletrans

The Bank of Nova Scotia

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)

Proinversión Peru

Banco de Sabadell

BNP Paribas

Caixabank

The Korea Development Bank

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

IFM

Orion Energy Partners

Howard Midstream

Work highlights

  • Represented The Bank of Nova Scotia in a project financing in connection with the acquisition by ContourGlobal of two natural gas-fired, combined heat-and-power plants.
  • Advised Proinversión, on behalf of the Peruvian government, on the structuring and implementation of the invitational bid for the Titicaca Lake Basin wastewater treatment system project.
  • Represented joint venture TAG Pipelines Norte Holding on an offering of 20-year bonds issued to refinance a portion of the development and commercial bank debt borrowed to pay for the development of the Los Ramones Norte pipeline.
  • Represented the lenders in connection with the project financing of the Santa Isabel project, a 190MW DC photovoltaic power plant located in the María Elena commune in Antofagasta, Chile.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has a well-established Latin America projects and energy practice primarily distributed across its New York, Washington DC, Mexico City and Sao Paulo offices. Given the spread of expertise and experience, the team covers a broad geographic area and multiple sectors, from renewable energy, to mining and resources, and transport infrastructure. The Latin America group was one of the first to specialise in project and infrastructure bonds in the region, thanks largely to the presence of key Sao Paulo partner Daniel Spencer; he recently led the team that advised Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on the 144A/Reg S bond issuance for refinancing a portion of the existing bonds used to finance the construction of Line 2 Lima metro. Raquel Bierzwinsky is qualified in Mexico and New York, dividing her time between both locations, and has an outstanding record in renewable energy projects in Mexico. Mexico City's Hernán González Estrada and Leopoldo Olavarria are also key figures, along with renewable energy and oil and gas specialist Todd AlexanderSarah Devine and Jeremy Hushon in Washington DC are recommended for DFI and agency lender engagements. Charles Johnson is another prominent project finance expert in Sao Paulo, where Alison Baxter is recommended for energy and transport matters. Washington DC associate Rachel Crouch is a rising star. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Keith Martin; Ben Koenigsberg

Testimonials

The knowledge they have of the sector is very important. They have the vision of how to resolve issues rather than complicate them.

Raquel Bierzwinski is an incredibly engaged and hands-on partner who manages all aspects of the transaction and her team (both in NY and in Mexico) seamlessly. She is an effective, fair and reasonable negotiator and has an in-depth understanding of the Mexican energy market.

Todd Alexander is the one who focuses most on the business and how to make projects work. His experience in a large number of projects allows him to apply different strategies to solve controversies during important negotiations.

Rachel Crouch is a stellar senior associate. She is very smart and thorough on legal issues and drafting without losing her commercial compass.

Key clients

Neoen

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Bancomext

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC)

BRK Ambiental Participações

OPIC

Goldman Sachs

JP Morgan

China Development Bank (CDB)

RK Mine Finance

POSCO

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

ING Bank

Unifin Financiera

Work highlights

  • Representing IFC as senior lenders for the project finance facility supporting the development of the Cerro Blanco gold mine in Guatemala.
  • Represented Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on the 144A/Reg S bond issuance to refinance a portion of the existing bonds used to finance the construction of Lima Metro’s Line 2.
  • Advised French renewable energy developer, Neoen, on the financing of the 375 MW El Llano solar farm in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
  • Represented the senior lenders in connection with the financing of the 296 MWAC Potrero solar farm in Jalisco, Mexico, which is sponsored by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures –  the first merchant solar project in Mexico.

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP's share of the largest and most significant engagements in the market continues to grow.  It has developed a notable profile as concerns airport, port, rail and road financings (including a number of 4G road financings in Colombia), and retains its established relevance in power generation, both conventional and renewables. The practice is well balanced on both the lender and sponsor sides, and is at the forefront of alternative financing structures including Section 4(a)(2) private placement transactions. Moreover, its growing presence in Sao Paulo is expected to give it a greater share of Brazil projects and energy transactions. From senior to junior levels, the team features a high number of practitioners that can operate comfortably in Spanish and Portuguese. This includes market leader Robert Kartheiser and up-and-coming name, Elicia LingCathleen McLaughlin provides additional expertise in capital markets-driven project financings, including private placement structures; and associate Thomas Sines is held in high regard by clients. All named individuals are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Robert Kartheiser

Testimonials

The Paul Hastings team is accessible, engaged and detailed.

The project finance practice is by far one of the most professional, committed, and knowledgeable on the street. The entire team is very experienced and client driven, in particular with regards to mandates across Latin America where they have represented sponsors and banks alike on the most important transactions across sectors.

Bob Kartheiser and Elicia Ling are extremely knowledgeable partners, always available and willing to offer their expert advise.

Bob Kartheiser and Elicia Ling are top-notch lawyers from my perspective. They are very experienced and there are very rarely issues that they may not have addressed directly or in a similar form through other transactions.’

Thomas Sines has become an integral part of the team and has developed strong, lasting relationships with key clients, which means he has been able to amass experience on some of the most interesting and important transactions in Latin America. Thomas is definitely a rising star.

Key clients

JP Morgan

BNP Paribas

Glenfarne

EVM

Natixis

EIG

Grupo Odinsa

SMBC

Macquarie

Sempra

Fisterra/Blackstone

Grana y Montero

Sacyr

Citi

Strabag

FRV

EMPower/Riverstone

Braskem Idesa

Work highlights

  • Represented a syndicate of lenders in financing the development, construction and operation of the 4G Autopista al Mar 2 project in Colombia, consisting of 254km of highways connecting the city of Medellín to the Caribbean coast.
  • Represented the sponsors, in a $717m dual-currency (COP/USD) financing for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Autopista al Mar 1 road project.
  • Acted as counsel to the investors in the $222M 4(a)(2) private placement green bond issued by  Ergon Peru; and to SMBC, as lender and issuing bank, for the approximately $20m letter-of-credit facility.
  • Advised Fotowatio Renewable Ventures Potrero Solar on the $110m dual tranche, dual currency financing of a 270MW solar project in Jalisco, Mexico.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Project finance has been a central component of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's illustrious Latin America practice for decades. Much of this has centred on the mining, oil, gas and infrastructure sectors. Indeed, mining is a particular strong-suit for the team, which recently advised Canadian metals and mining company Teck Resources on the $2.5bn limited recourse project financing facility for its Teck Quebrada Blanca subsidiary, to fund the development of the second phase of its project in northern Chile. Energy M&A is another strength of the Latin America group, which continued to advise Chinese state-owned power company China Three Gorges on its $1.39bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga, which is developing Peru's Chaglla hydroelectric power plant. Christopher Mann leads the global infrastructure practice and is a key member of the Latin America group. Sergio Galvis and Werner Ahlers provide additional senior level project finance and energy M&A expertise.

CMS

CMS has amassed a decade's energy and infrastructure experience in its Rio de Janeiro office, where it is especially known for oil and gas work but has also developed further into renewables and infrastructure. Having consolidated its longstanding association with the projects-focused Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow, which became a full member of the CMS network in 2018, it has achieved further prominence with additional offices in Peru, Chile and Colombia. This includes a notably strong oil and gas team in Peru that features key names Carlos Hamann and Augusto Astorga. The firm has also increased its renewables footprint, with the Mexico City office having a pivotal role as part of a global team advising Brookfield Global Renewable Energy Advisor on its acquisition of 50% of a 1.66GW solar power generation portfolio with projects in seven jurisdictions. Indeed, already an established player in the projects sector, the Mexico office has grown its role in infrastructure projects, with headline mandates including its role as advisor to the Federal Government of Mexico on the 1,525km, Tren Maya rail project. Mexico City's Enrique Lorente Ludlow is a leading figure in infrastructure projects, while fellow Mexico partner Derek Woodhouse is a leader in power matters. Rio managing partner Ted Rhodes is noted for energy and infrastructure, particularly oil and gas. Santiago partner Jorge Allende Z and Daniel Rodríguez are also noted for energy and mining matters.

Practice head(s):

Ted Rhodes

Key clients

Eléctricas de Medellín Ingeniería y Servicios (EDEMSA)

Enagás

SAIPEM

Brookfield Renewables

EDF Renewables

CKD IM and CDQP

Equinor

ENI

Tullow Oil

COPASA

Work highlights

  • Advising the Mexico Federal Government on the legal structuring (design, structuring and implementation) of the Tren Maya project in Mexico.
  • Advised on the acquisition of 50% of a 1.66GW solar power generation portfolio, with projects in seven jurisdictions; aggregate portfolio value: $1bn.
  • Advised EDEMSA on the development of the new transmission line expansion project, Plan de Expansión Chile LT2 x 500kV Cardones – Polpaico.

DLA Piper LLP (US)

DLA Piper LLP (US) 's ascendant reputation is partially driven by its fruitful relationship with IDB Group, the development finance institution for Latin America and the Caribbean. This has led to a flow of headline engagements, including portfolio financings in the renewable energy and road infrastructure segments. Much credit should go to agency and development finance specialist Amala Nath and also Gregory Smith, who have joined the firm in the last five years. The two advised IDB Invest on portfolio-related matters for the financing of the Bucaramanga–Barrancabermeja–Yondó corridor project (Ruta del Cacao), part of Colombia's 4G road-building programme. Beyond agencies and DFIs, the firm frequently represents commercial lenders from multiple US offices and is an increasing force in Spanish law engagements from its Madrid office. Moreover, its broad presence in Latin America itself draws in a number of important deals and gives the firm much greater regional credibility. New York partner Robert Gruendel is global co-chair of the firm's energy practice and has an excellent record in project development in the oil and gas segment. Mexico City's Marcelo Paramo is noted for oil, gas and electricity matters in the jurisdiction. Madrid partner César Herrero is noted for Spanish law engagements concerning Latin America infrastructure financings. The wider group was significantly bolstered by the March-2020 arrival of immensely experienced Los Angeles-partner Dino Barajas from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as as co-head of the US infrastructure and projects and Latin America practices.

Practice head(s):

Roger Meltzer

Testimonials

The DLA project finance team is very competent. This includes being aware of legislative developments and market trends, the way of executing operations, and knowing how to differentiate what is superfluous from what is relevant.’

They have a very high technical quality that, added to the knowledge of the market and the orientation to satisfy the needs of the client, makes them one of the best options on the market.’

The team offers comprehensive services and always gets to the point. It is also sincere and fast.

Key clients

IDB Group

Stoneway Capital

Murphy Oil

Acciona Energia

Grupo Biofields

DFC (formerly OPIC)

Abengoa

Noble Group

Banco Santander

Work highlights

  • Represented IDB Invest in the financing of the Bucaramanga–Barrancabermeja–Yondó highway project.
  • Advised IDB Invest on its financing for the deployment of the Mexican Government’s sponsored $2.8bn Red Compartida public-private partnership.
  • Acted on the strategic financing and subordinated loan for one of the largest photovoltaic projects in Latin America.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills has expanded its spread of engagements in Latin America, both from a geographic and sectoral perspective. It continues to be a leading light in the mining project sector, particularly in Chile, and it remains noted for its core engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) expertise. The firm is gaining prominence in oil and gas projects, including FPSOs, FSRUs and drill ships, particularly in Brazil. Beyond that, it is also gaining a foothold in renewable energy projects, notably solar initiatives in Chile. The core Latin America team is bilingual with extensive local law expertise and acts primarily for a mix of international and local sponsor clients. Juan-José Zentner is noted for his outstanding project development expertise, particularly in the mining sector; and Edward Dougherty is known for oil and gas financings, especially in Brazil's offshore sector. Both are New York based. London-based head of the Latin America practice Pedro Rufino Carvalho is rated for energy M&A.

Testimonials

HSF displays enormous knowledge in each of their areas of practice and stands out from the crowd in terms of availability, partner involvement and attention to every client’s need. They also team up with the best law firms across many different jurisdictions.

HSF’s projects and energy team is just outstanding. The level of commitment and work is first class. Also having a multidisciplinary team in different parts of the world, makes the team response very fast.

They have a very deep knowledge of both the legal and the commercial side of projects, and a vast expertise in Chile and Latam. The expertise they have in complex engineering and construction matters, you won’t find within the Chilean law firms.

‘Juan-José Zentner stands out. He is fluent in Spanish and understands the idiosyncrasies of Latin America. He is a very business oriented lawyer.’

Pedro Rufino Carvalho in an exceptional lawyer with a profound knowledge of the energy sector and who is always ready to bring creative solutions for issues that come up along the way.

Edward Dougherty and Juan-José Zentner are the team to look after you for project finance and energy transactions. Their experience in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America, as well as their native speaking Spanish, makes very complicated transactions look easy and smooth.

Key clients

Codelco

Mantos Copper

GranEnergia

Marubeni Corporation

BHP

Trident Energy

Ocyan

Work highlights

  • Advised Codelco on the award of a BOOT contract for the development, construction and operation of a $1bn seawater desalination plant and related infrastructure to supply water in the northern Antofagasta region of Chile.
  • Advised GranEnergia on the refinancing of its long-term facility for the Olympia floating hotel .
  • Advised Trident Energy on the first-of-a-kind financing and acquisition of Brazilian oil and gas assets from Petrobras.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP's substantial and well-established Latin America group has an excellent record in project finance and energy transactions across the region. Among a series of headline engagements, it advised Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and China Development Bank as lead arrangers on the $650m financing of the Mar 2 project, and represented FDN as a credit-enhancement provider in connection with the project financing of the Ruta del Cacao development, both part of Colombia’s 4G road infrastructure programme. In this regard, Norberto Quintana has made a significantly increased the practice's profile in infrastructure project financings. New York partner Peter Baumgaertner and his team, who joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in February 2019, have added further expertise in oil and gas project financings and acquisition financings, with New York's Stephen Double providing further financing expertise in the oil and gas segment. Alejandro Landa is a key name in Mexico City for oil and gas projects.

Key clients

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp

MUFG Union Bank and TMF Group

China Development Bank

Inter Miami

Banco Santander

Banco Sabadell

TMF Brazil

Deutsche Bank

MRV Engenharia

Work highlights

  • Advised the lead arrangers of the $650m financing for Colombia’s Mar 2 road project, part of the country’s 4G road infrastructure programme.
  • Advised MUFG Union Bank and TMF Global in a complex secured dual-tranche project acquisition financing for the acquisition of a 4,505km natural gas pipeline.
  • Represented Banco Multiva in a $22m project financing for the drilling, interconnection and distribution works of seven oil and gas wells.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has a diversified projects and energy practice, primarily driven by teams in Miami, Washington DC and Houston. The firm is close to a number of DFIs and multilateral agencies, commercial lenders and major sponsors. It has a particular niche in telecoms and submarine cable systems thanks to the presence of Fernando Margarit. In other areas, the firm advised DKRW Energy on the development and sale of the Puerto Libertad LNG liquefaction facility in Mexico. Head of the Latin America group Fernando Alonso frequently represents lenders in major Latin American project financings, along with a number of construction and infrastructure businesses. Houston partners Mark Thurber and Doris Rodríguez are key for oil and gas projects and transactions in Latin America. Washington DC partner Vera Rechsteiner is close to IDB Invest, representing the DFI on a multitude of Latin America energy and infrastructure financings. Named partners are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Alonso

Testimonials

The team has a lot of expertise in project finance transactions. They get deeply involved in the transactions and have a practical approach at the time of resolving legal and commercial issues.

The Miami-based projects team is well-known, reputable and has a reliable group of professionals with a wide range of professional skills, which is capable of delivering an integrated service to in-house lawyers in the US and the Americas as whole.

A combination of knowledge, availability and negotiations skills make this practice unique. The firm ranks highest among firms because they always get the deal closed in the best possible manner, in the shortest time.

Key clients

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)

Wartsila Development and Financial Services

CIFI Latam

DKRW Energy

Flamingo Energy Investment (BVI)

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in the acquisition and farmout of exploration acreage in Belize and Guatemala.
  • Represented Nicaraguan company Comercializadora de Mani on a $65m loan to finance the working capital requirements to purchase, process and export peanuts.
  • Represented IDB Invest in the drafting and negotiation of transaction documentation through closing for a financing of $37.5m to Nicaragua Sugar Estates.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP has an unusually internationally-driven Latin America practice, with offices such as Houston, New York, Washington DC, Singapore, London and Tokyo all involved with engagements in the region. The Tokyo office recently advised the project company and sponsors, MODEC, Mitsui & Co and Mitsui OSK Lines, on the first project financing for an FPSO project in Mexico. As the global leader in LNG, the firm has landed major LNG project engagements in Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil. It is also a key player in oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas transportation and supply, and crude oil transportation and storage. The firm has been especially active in the Mexico market in connection with natural gas supply agreements, LNG export projects, upstream projects, and oil rig and FPSO financings. Washington DC partner James Bowe is an experienced name in Latin America engagements and recently advised the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) on the negotiation of a fuel supply and facility conversion agreement with New Fortress Energy affiliate NFEnergía. Houston's Scott Greer, a construction specialist, is a frequent adviser on Latin America LNG, and oil and gas projects. Former Houston oil and gas partner Vera De Brito de Gyarfas has joined Mayer Brown.

Practice head(s):

Scott Greer

Testimonials

The K&S projects team was ready, probably like no other US law firm, to undertake and participate in projects coming as a result of Mexico’s energy reform.

They know LATAM and how to make transactions in our jurisdictions work under US law.

What sets them apart is that almost all of the team members, especially the partners, have background experience in the industry or in related industries, not only as lawyers but as engineers or other related positions.

Key clients

Chevron Corporation

DKRW – MPL

Joint venture of Grupo Gondi and WestRock Company

MODEC

SeaOne Caribbean

Energas

Wood Mackenzie

Mitsui

Sempra Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on the negotiation of a fuel supply and facility conversion agreement with New Fortress Energy affiliate NFEnergía , providing for the supply of natural gas and conversion of two of PREPA’s electric generating facilities.
  • Advised the shareholders of the issuer and the project company on a $1.2bn Rule 144A / Reg S project bond issuance.
  • Advised Papel y Empaques Gondi Monterrey (Grupo Gondi) on agreements related to the construction of a $300m containerboard manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico.

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP's diverse practice covers multiple jurisdictions and a variety of sectors, from road infrastructure projects to renewables and FPSO financings. The firm has maintained particular prominence in solar and conventional power projects in Mexico and Chile, and continues to be regarded as a major player in infrastructure projects across the region. Andrew Compton was elected partner in May 2020 and has a significant focus on Latin America power, renewables, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects. Vijaya Palaniswamy is another project development and financing specialist with significant experience of Latin America energy and infrastructure projects. Michael Bassett is noted for oil and gas sector financings; while Matthew Poulter, who splits his time between Sao Paulo and New York, is recommended for project bonds and hybrid financings. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

The core team of Latin America specialists at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is very highly regarded and continues to land significant project finance engagements throughout the region. Moreover, the group regularly advises on capital markets fund raisings by energy and infrastructure businesses. The practice group is comprised of lawyers with a broader approach and offering -covering M&A, capital markets, financing, projects and other key segments- than common. This versatility has earned it a strong standing among a range of lender, multinational borrower and sponsor, and financial investor clients. Recent mandates include advising Volcan Compañía Minera on its joint-venture with Cosco Shipping Ports for the development of the Chancay deep water port in Peru. New York and Sao Paulo partner Todd Crider leads the Latin America practice and has a long track record in energy and infrastructure financings. Juan Francisco Méndez is another experienced figure in energy and infrastructure financings, including fund raisings via the capital markets. Borja Marcos is a key name at counsel level.

Key clients

Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp

MUFG Union Bank and TMF Group

China Development Bank

Inter Miami

Banco Santander

Banco Sabadell

TMF Brazil

Deutsche Bank

MRV Engenharia

Work highlights

  • Represented Volcan Compañía Minera (Volcan) in its joint venture with Cosco Shipping Ports for the development of port facilities in Chancay, Peru.
  • Represented Hokchi Energy in connection with term loans to be provided by multiple lenders.
  • Represented the lenders in connection with Central Puerto’s $180m syndicated loan to fund its purchase of the Brigadier López plant from Argentine state entity,  IEASA.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's excellent Latin America financing practice is, in large part, centred on the energy and infrastructure sectors. It has an extensive record in energy and infrastructure projects and transactions, including those driven by private equity houses. In this regard, Washington DC partner Lance Brasher is highly rated, particularly in relation to private equity clients making investments in and seeking to finance renewable energy assets; he recently advised a private equity firm on the proposed acquisition, financing and development of a portfolio of hydroelectric assets in Peru. New York's Alejandro González Lazzeri is also a well-known name in the sector, recommended for project finance. Former Washington DC counsel Jorge Kamine moved to Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in March 2020.

Practice head(s):

Lance Brasher

Key clients

Sonnedix

Ultrapar Participações

Petróleos del Peru

Credit Suisse

Empresa de Energía del Pacífico

HSBC Mexico

Work highlights

  • Advised Sonnedix on a $99m non-recourse debt project financing for its 171MW Atacama Solar PV plant in Chile.
  • Represented a private equity firm in connection with the financing of a portfolio of distributed generating solar assets in Brazil.
  • Represented Ultrapar Participações in a $500m Rule 144A/Reg S high-yield offering and a concurrent $200m cash tender offer.

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Vinson & Elkins LLP's outstanding energy credentials are increasingly evident in Latin America, thanks in part to its growing team of senior practitioners that are focused on the region. Midstream and upstream oil and gas are real fortes of the core Latin America group, which also impresses in power and renewables. Infrastructure is a growing feature of the practice too. The firm is increasingly active in solar, wind and hydro projects in Mexico and beyond. It is also involved in a large number of midstream oil and gas projects involving Mexico. Ports and roads are a growing area of focus, including the 4G toll road segment in Colombia. San Francisco's Boyd Carano is noted for upstream, midstream, power and renewables transactions and projects, particularly in Mexico. New York partner Eamon Nolan is also a key name for Mexico power and renewables projects, while also building a presence in infrastructure projects elsewhere. Houston's Alan Alexander was elected to partner in January 2020 and has a similar background in upstream and midstream oil and gas projects in Mexico; while Houston partner Mark Brasher is active across, energy and infrastructure projects and associated financing and transactions.

Practice head(s):

Boyd Carano; Eamon Nolan

Testimonials

The team works well as a unit. I appreciate the way the team communicates internally so that when I give guidance or set priorities I know that all team members will be aware of them. Every project I have with V&E has been a pleasure.

The key strengths of the international transaction team was their ability to identify key country entry risk for a firm engaging in its first international transaction.

What stands out about the professionals at V&E is their ability to meet almost any timeline.

Alan Alexander is a client’s dream. He works hard, he is smart and he always considers whether his issue/question is worth the client’s time. Alan is very efficient and reasonable with his billing and does a great job of delegating work to members of his team.

Alan Alexander is thoughtful and evaluates potential issues from all sides.

Alan Alexander is very smart and able to convey information in a manner for which we can easily make commercial decisions based on his legal advice.’

Key clients

Talos Energy

Exxon Mobil Corporation

Pattern Energy Group Holdings

Equinor (formerly Statoil)

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets

IFM Investors

Aleatica

Work highlights

  • Represented New Fortress Energy in its successful bid to convert the Units 5 and 6 at the San Juan Power Plant from fuel oil to natural gas, and to develop and construct modular LNG import and regasification facilities in San Juan Harbor, Puerto Rico.
  • Advised Avant Energy on the development of a network of terminals to supply refined petroleum products from the Port of Altamira, Tamaulipas, to the Bajio region of north-central Mexico.
  • Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the acquisition of multiple renewable power portfolios in Mexico, and the negotiation of long term arrangements for their operation, financing and maintenance.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP's core Latin America team is deeply engaged within the region, with notable expertise in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure segments. It frequently lands major mandates in big-ticket project financings, M&A, corporate reorganisations and capital markets fund raisings, recently advising Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on its loan to Latin America Power Peru to refinance existing debt. Another client is Barrick Gold Corporation, which it represents with regard to its $4bn Pueblo Viejo gold mine project and operations in the Dominican Republic. Claude Serfilippi has an extensive record in energy and infrastructure finance' co-head of the Latin America group Allen Miller is rated for capital market fund raisings in the energy and infrastructure fields; and fellow-co-head Talbert Navia, a 30-year Americas-veteran, is noted for energy M&A and private equity investments and exits.

Testimonials

The level of service is outstanding. The team is really impressive in terms of availability, responsiveness, depth of knowledge and practical advice. The partners are completely involved and are always the main contact in all the projects. Their advice is always wise and they know how to solve any issue.

What I really like about Winston is that they know how to work as a team. Their focus is always on the client and they really know how to interact very well with local counsel to achieve the results sought by the client.

Allen Miller is an extremely capable lawyer who has been involved in most of the main high profile transactions in Chile and in many relevant transactions in Latin America. He really cares about his clients and gets deeply involved in every transaction he works. He has a lot of experience, he is thorough but very pragmatic and has a unique business understanding.

Claude Serfilippi is a very capable lawyer. He is very deal oriented, pragmatic and understands very well his clients needs.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Prominent in oil and gas, power and renewables generally, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has maintained its close connection to Latin America -especially Mexico- despite the recent loss of Los Angeles partner Dino Barajas to DLA Piper LLP (US). It remains active in offshore oil and gas thanks to the presence of Houston partner David Sweeney , supported by counsel Eduardo Canales. Sweeney led the team that advised DEA Deutsche Erdoel on its $500m acquisition of independent Mexican oil and gas company Sierra Oil & Gas. He also advised Wintershall DEA on its agreement to acquire interests in Block 5 in the Cuenca Salina Basin (offshore Mexico), from Ophir Energy. London-based transactions and investment specialist Daniel Walsh has a particular emphasis on South America that includes the energy and mining sectors as part of a broader offering. May-2019 hire (from McGuireWoods LLP), Matt Kapinos is an EPC specialist; while transactional tax practitioner Sam Kamyans, who arrived from Baker McKenzie LLP in September 2019, focuses on the structuring of energy transactions. However, since publication, a sizeable group of 19 lawyers, comprising six partners -led by Dan Sinaiko ( in Los Angeles) and John Marciano  (in Washington, D.C.)- and including the recently recruited Kamyans, has moved to Allen & Overy LLP, effective as of March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Walsh; David Sweeney

Key clients

Mitsubishi Corporation

Diamond Generating Corporation

Canadian Solar

LUKOIL

BC Energy Investments Corporation (formerly Bridas Corporation)

Baker Hughes

Ram Power

Och Ziff Capital

DKRW

Carlyle International Energy Partners

Wintershall DEA

DEA Deutsche Erdoel

CITGO

GE Financial Services

COG Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised DEA Deutsche Erdoel on its $500m acquisition of independent Mexican oil and gas company,Sierra Oil & Gas.
  • Assisted Mitsubishi Corporation with ongoing corporate matters relating to a 495MW natural gas fired power project located in Mexico.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P.'s Latin America practice centres on project development, project finance and energy (including oil and gas) M&A. The Latin America group has a fine record in oil and gas, LNG, conventional power and renewables. It has a number of multinational clients with interests in Latin America, along with big-name Latin American businesses such as Brazilian oil and gas giant. Petrobras, which it advised on the restructuring of certain commodity and off-take agreements, along with the overall sale of its Paraguayan fuel distribution business local gas station operator Grupo Copetrol.  Other mandates include advising Costa Norte LNG Terminal and Gas Natural Atlantico on the long-term purchase of LNG from ENGIE for fuelling gas-fired power generation in Panama. Houston's Carlos Solé is rated for LNG, oil and gas, and renewables transactions in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Washington DC's Mark Spivak also has a fine record in project development and project finance across the conventional power, renewables, and oil and gas sectors.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Solé

Testimonials

The Baker Botts team is exceptional, with proven experience across a range of transactions. The quality of its services is of the highest, it is a multi-disciplinary team and impeccable in its work.

It is committed to achieving the expected results and always meeting the client’s needs.

Key clients

Alto Maipo

Costa Norte LNG Terminal and Gas Natural Atlantico (AES Corporation affiliates)

Petrobras

CMI Energia

Work highlights

  • Represented Petrobras in the restructuring of certain commodity and off-take agreements as well as the overall sale of its Paraguayan fuel distribution business to Grupo Copetrol.
  • Assisted Sempra with the development and marketing of a brownfield liquefaction project in Mexico.

Baker McKenzie LLP

Baker McKenzie LLP's extensive Latin America footprint delivers it a wide ranging projects and energy deal flow, covering oil and gas, power, mining and resources, and transport infrastructure. The firm has a particularly strong standing among international and Latin American project sponsors and energy businesses; it advised China Yangtze Power on its $3.6bn acquisition of Sempra Energy’s Peruvian business, the largest overseas M&A transaction by a Chinese company in 2019. It also represented the lenders in a $1.3bn loan to Petroperú, the state-owned petrol company. José Roberto Martins, at Brazilian associate firm Trench Rossi Watanabe, chairs the projects group. Benjamin Torres-Barrón is another key energy specialist in Mexico, while Chile's Antonio Ortúzar is rated for mining M&A and projects.

Testimonials

‘A strong and very experienced team.’

‘Full availability.’

Bracewell LLP

Bracewell LLP is principally focused on upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions, most notably in Mexico and other key Latin American markets. Renewable energy is another sub-sectoral strength. In 2019, the firm advised a subsidiary of Ophir Energy on the sale of its interest in Block 5 in the Salina Basin offshore Mexico. New York partner Fernando Marin is noted for renewables and infrastructure projects in Latin America. Houston's Manuel Vera is licensed to practice in Mexico and has an excellent record in oil and gas transactions.

Cuatrecasas

Cuatrecasas has achieved particular growth in Mexico and Colombia, where it has had offices since 2016 and 2017, respectively; and its 2019-opening in Lima has already led to a number of prime engagements. Renewables, oil and gas, and transport and social infrastructure, represents the bulk of the caseload. The firm represents a large number of the biggest companies in the region, including a number of the most active lenders to Latin America projects and local developers, generating healthy deal flow. Madrid-based head of the finance practice, Rafael Mínguez leads the Latin America group, among which Aldo Reggiardo and León López (in Lima and Mexico, respectively), are key names in project financings in the renewables, infrastructure and mining segments. The latter worked alongside Madrid partner Agustín Cerdá to advise the lenders on the financing of the construction and operation of Tizimín wind farm in Yucatán, Mexico, involving increasing the farm’s generation capacity up to 84 MW through the acquisition of four new wind generators.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Mínguez

Key clients

Banco Sabadell

ICO- FIEM

SACYR

Banco Santander

Opdenergy

Solarpack

CAIXA Bank

Vestas

T&C Real Estate Developers

Work highlights

  • Advised on the financing of the construction and operation of Tizimín wind farm in Yucatán (Mexico).
  • Advised on the financing for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a hydrocarbon storage terminal developed by CLH in Mexico.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has an established Latin America practice, fuelled in large part by commercial and agency lenders such as KfW IPEX-Bank and OPIC. The Latin America projects practice is spearheaded by New York partner Melissa Raciti-Knapp, who is co-head of the Latin America practice. Her work covers a range of conventional power, renewables and infrastructure project financings.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig LLP's sizeable office in Mexico and its increasing focus on Latin America from Houston, has enabled it to maintain a solid flow of major engagements in the projects and energy fields. This includes power, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects, particularly in Mexico. It has advised BP Estaciones y Servicios Energéticos in connection with the roll-out and opening of gasoline stations across Mexico, along with storage and transportation matters. Mexico City's Erick Hernández Gallego and Fernando Orrantia Dworak are key names for oil and gas sector transactions. Los Angeles partner Jeffrey Chester joined the firm from Morrison & Foerster LLP in July 2019, bringing extensive experience in wind and solar projects in Mexico; he has become global head of energy project finance. Prominent Houston partner Carlos Treistman left in June 2020 to launch his own practice.

Work highlights

  • Advised Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova)  in a dispute with the state-owned electric utility Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) regarding several multibillion dollar transportation services agreements.
  • Representing BP in opening all its gas stations in Mexico and in drafting, negotiation and execution of almost 500 agreements in 28 states with station owners and operators.
  • Advised BP in several landmark midstream projects in Mexico, including the first private marine and inland storage terminals to be built in Mexico after the recent energy reforms.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP 's team features a number of lawyers from the region, various of which are licensed to practice in key jurisdictions such as Brazil and Mexico. Coupled with the firm's standing among international oil and gas giants, along with big SOEs in Latin America itself, it frequently lands major engagements across the region. The group advised independent Brazilian oil and gas company, PetroRio, on its oil and gas regulatory filings in the US and the proposed financing and acquisition of assets offshore, in the Gulf of Mexico. Conventional power, renewables, telecoms and infrastructure are also key for the group.  Felipe Alice is noted for Brazil oil and gas projects and transactions, while John Crespo and Humberto Padilla Gonzalez are also recognised for energy (including oil and gas) M&A. All named partners are based in Houston.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Mellor; John Crespo

Testimonials

They have a great expertise and overall knowledge of the energy industry. The ease in communication with all the team members and the support they provide when required is greatly appreciated and standouts from other teams.

Felipe Alice has demonstrated excellent legal knowledge. He has strong skills to understand the issues and present solutions.

Felipe Alice’s has dealt with complex situations in different deals and he is always available to help and support. His knowledge of the industry sector is impressive. I admire his ability to work under pressure and keep calm in these situations.

Key clients

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)

PetroRio

Gaia

ABEP

CEMEX

BCCK Engineering

Dellner Industrial

Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP is a serious player in the energy (including oil and gas) and renewables fields. Its Houston office houses a number of respected, senior practitioners that have a considerable focus on Latin America. Upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas development projects and M&A are a particular sweet spot, along with power and renewables projects. David Asmus and Brian Bradshaw are the key partners for oil and gas, with Glenn Pinkerton providing additional power and renewables expertise. All named partners are based in Houston.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs has deep links to Latin America, notably in renewable energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure projects in Mexico and beyond. The Latin America group is led by Alejandro Peña-Prieto in the Dominican Republic and features a number of Latin America-facing partners in Washington DC and elsewhere. It advised Infraestuctura Energética Nova on the EPC and O&M contracts for a 100-plus MW wind power project to be sited in Baja California, Mexico. Alvaro Mestre chairs the Mexico desk and spends much of his time in the jurisdiction focused on the energy and transportation industries. Paul O’Hop is also rated for energy deals across the region.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Peña Prieto

Key clients

Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova)

Puerto Rico’s Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3 Authority)

Ibereólica Cabo Leonés

China Construction America

Bridas Corporation

NIC Power DR Operations

Terminal de LNG de Altamira

BEEGO

Work highlights

  • Advised Infraestuctura Energética Nova on the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts of a 100-plus MW wind power project to be sited in Baja California, Mexico.