Projects and energy in Latin America: International firms
As a fast-developing economic region, Latin America has no shortage of energy and infrastructure initiatives. The substantial demand for finance and investment has formed the basis of many international firms’ advisory activities. For firms, the ability to target a range of clients that may originate or participate in projects and energy transactions has been key. Many firms will have a varied roster of lender, sponsor and developer clients, including those from around the world. Spanish developers and lenders have a history in the region and they have achieved greater market share in the last three years. The tightening nexus between Asia and Latin America is also in evidence with Asian lenders, investors and contractors becoming more active in the region. Renewable energy projects have been a major source of engagements for international firms over the last decade as the region seeks to assuage greater power demand. With the increase in commodities prices, there has been an uptick in mining projects and oil and gas remains a steady sector for many firms. The change to a left-wing government in Mexico has created uncertainty for an energy sector that had undergone considerable reform under the previous administration; most observers there expect much less private sector participation in the area going forward. Of the many firms, that are targeting Latin America’s projects and energy segment, Vinson & Elkins LLP reinforced its ranks with the hire of Eamon Nolan from Linklaters LLP, while White & Case LLP added to its burgeoning Houston branch with the hire of Rodrigo Dominguez and William Parish from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
Clifford Chance is unsurpassed in terms of its breadth of expertise and geographic coverage. It routinely captures market share in hot markets and is rarely left behind by competitors. Clients range from commercial banks and investment banks, to development finance institutions (DFIs), multilateral agencies (MLAs), institutional investors and sponsors and developers. It has also impressed by leveraging its extensive network, from Sao Paulo to New York, Washington DC, Madrid and beyond. Despite Argentina's recent economic woes, the firm continued to advise on a significant number of projects linked to the country's public-private partnerships (PPP) programme, especially on the lender side. Colombia, Peru and Paraguay have also been important markets, while Brazil is beginning to show promise for the team. The firm has continued to demonstrate leadership in private placement financings, notably those linked to wind farms in Peru. It continues to be at the forefront of project bonds in the region and has also further developed its standing in hybrid financing structures. Gianluca Bacchiocchi is 'the go to guy for many of the banks' on project bonds, and has impressed further in hybrid financings and PPPs in Argentina. Washington DC partner Fabricio Longhin continues to earn multiple accolades, derived in part from his leadership in Argentina and Colombia infrastructure projects, including road PPPs in the former, along with multi-source financings in Paraguay. Washington DC's Lori Ann Bean and Catherine McCarthy continue to be at the forefront of MLA and DFI financings in Latin America, while Madrid partner José Guardo is an increasingly prominent figure in Spanish-driven financings. New York's Guido Liniado has been elevated to partner, while Washington DC's Alberto Haito and Jessica Springsteen are key names at associate level.
Mayer Brown has a rich history of bank-led project finance work, coupled with a growing standing among DFIs, export credit agencies (ECAs) and project sponsors. It is also an accomplished player in project and infrastructure bonds, including private placement-driven financings. The Latin America practice is located across in multiple centres, most notably in Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Houston, Mexico City and in Brazil through Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown. The Brazil team recently led advice to GE Capital in connection with the $1.5bn financing of CELSE – Centrais Elétricas de Sergipe's Porto de Sergipe I thermoelectric complex project in Barra dos Coqueiros; the largest cross-border, energy-related transaction in Brazil for some years, it was financed through a mixture of a bond issuance and multilateral lenders. The firm is a major player in the renewable energy segment right across Latin America and advised MUFG, Natixis and SMBC, as lenders, on the $135m financing of the expansion of the 133MW Los Guindos diesel-fired power station in southern Chile’s Biobío region. In the private placement segment, the firm represented the note purchasers in the $103m placement of senior secured notes and $11.5m subordinated secured notes to refinance the Naranjal and Del Litoral solar power plants in Uruguay; the structure builds on the firm's previous work in private placement project bonds, including the Campo Palomas wind project in Uruguay. In the project bonds and private placement segment, New York and Washington DC partner Christopher Erckert is a recognised authority, though he is also an experienced traditional project finance practitioner, particularly in the renewables sector. Houston partner Robert Goldberg is an experienced figure in Latin America power and renewables projects. London's Ian Coles is a mining sector leader with considerable experience in Latin America. Houston's Pablo Ferrante and Jose Valera are highly rated for oil-and-gas, LNG, power and renewables deals. Ariel Ramos is a big name in Mexico City, while Barry Machlin and Douglas Doetsch are pivotal figures in Chicago. Washington DC's Gabriela Sakamoto is an emerging talent and Eduardo Lima is a key name in Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown's Sao Paulo office.
Milbank is universally acclaimed as a leader in Latin America project development, project finance and in energy, natural resources and infrastructure investments and acquisitions. The firm has close connections to many of the most active lenders in the market, including commercial banks and DFIs. These include Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Mizuho Bank, Société Générale, Korea Development Bank, BBVA, Macquarie, Natixis and IDB. The firm outlined its leading credentials by advising more than a dozen institutional investors and a syndicate of commercial bank lenders on a hybrid $740m financing consisting of a private placement, term loan and credit facility for EVM II, a 850MW greenfield combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant in the Axapusco municipality, Mexico. It also advised the ECAs and commercial lenders on the $900m financing for the development, construction and operation of the Mina Justa copper-silver-gold mine in the Ica region of Peru. Other matters included representing the sponsors in the greenfield project financing of a water desalination project on the South Pacific coast of Chile for the operation of the Minera Spence copper mine. Daniel Bartfeld leads the firm's global project, energy and infrastructure finance practice and is also co-head of the Latin America Group; he is widely regarded as one of the premier names in the market and is credited with developing a market leading team. Carolina Walther-Meade is another big name with a fine record across power, oil and gas, mining and infrastructure. Jonathan Green is a senior figure in the firm with considerable experience in Latin America. Daniel Michalchuk and Los Angeles partner Allan Marks are also senior practitioners in Latin America projects, while Roland Estevez and Jaime Ramirez are part of an impressive younger generation of partners. Alec Borisoff has made a big impact on the Latin America practice since transferring to New York from Tokyo in 2017. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has further cemented its prominent standing in Latin America projects and energy. The firm is active across the energy, infrastructure and mining segments and has impressive geographic coverage from Argentina to Mexico and the Caribbean. Much of the Latin America practice sits in New York and Sao Paulo. Clients include Corporación Financiera de Desarrollo (Cofide), Credit Agricole, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Transelec, Banco Nacional de México, JP Morgan Chase, Itaú Unibanco, Credit Suisse, Ecopetrol, Metropolitan Life Insurance and BlackRock. It advised the commercial and development banks on Enel Green Power's portfolio project financing of three solar photovoltaic plants in Mexico; the Don Jose, Villanueva I and Villanueva III projects have an aggregate value of $1bn. In another landmark deal, it advised a group of purchasers of private placement secured notes, on the $1.25bn refinancing of the construction of the Longitudinal de la Sierra Norte Tramo 2 toll road project in Peru. Other matters included representing Los Guindos Generación, a joint venture owned by General Electric and the Inprolec Group, in the financing of the expansion of Los Guindos' existing diesel-fired power station located in the Bío Bío region, Chile; the project will increase capacity by 133MW. The Latin America team is praised for its 'incredible experience and leadership', which comes to to the fore in negotiations with counterparties. It is 'quick to address outstanding issues' and has 'strength in all Americas regions'. The group is frequently singled out for its lender-side representation. Gregory Tan is another giant of the market, who is 'efficient, explains the issues and makes recommendations very well'; he has has 'an amicable approach to address issues, is patient, provides great availability and has lots of experience in North and South America based transactions across many different industry sectors'. Cynthia Urda Kassis is another top practitioner with a tremendous record in energy and infrastruture; she remains one of the market leaders in mining projects in the region. Robert Freedman is a senior member of the practice with deep expertise in energy and oil-and-gas finance, development and acquisitions. Denise Grant has outstanding financing credentials and has worked on some of the headline deals of recent years in Mexico, Chile, Peru, Brazil and elsewhere. Alexandro Padrés has made a significant impression on the market, particularly in power and mining projects in Mexico, Chile and Peru; he is 'a great lawyer and a pleasure to work with' and is recognised for his broad experience across the projects and energy sphere. Senior associate Augusto Ruiloba is a rising star.
White & Case LLP has impressed in power sector financings, notably in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay, while it is building up its profile in Mexico. As a global firm, it might be closely associated with the world's leading lenders, but its eminence in Latin America has also attracted a wealth of sponsor and borrower clients. It has a burgeoning presence in project development, construction and equity investments, and is noted for its transport infrastructure expertise and its experience in project bonds. Its growing team in Houston is also bringing it even further closer to the region, particularly in renewables and oil and gas. Recent mandates include advising Goldman Sachs, IDB Invest, IFC and Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) on the $1.8bn financing for the design, construction and operation of a 1,516MW thermoelectric power plant in Sergipe, Brazil - the financing involved an investment-grade, senior secured notes and loan to a Luxembourg special purpose vehicle; and Atlas Renewable Energy, on its $114m long-term financing for two solar power projects in Uruguay. According to one client, 'the team adds value to the analysis of a transaction by way of combining its knowledge, its negotiation skills and its flexibility for last minute calls or communications'. It is praised for its 'combination of different levels of expertise' and 'lawyers who speak various languages' which contributes to successful drafting, negotiating and closing. Overall, the 'team is hard-working, skillful and attentive to lenders' needs', 'has an enviable experience in the project finance sphere, particularly in power and involving ECAs and development banks'. Head of the Latin America group Carlos Viana is based in Miami and is praised for his 'availability', 'deep knowledge and experience in project finance', and his 'broad industry network'. Sao Paulo's John Anderson is widely acclaimed, particularly for projects in Brazil and Peru, including hybrid loan and bond financings. Mexico City partner Sean Goldstein is helping the firm to build its standing in Mexico and Brazil. Houston partner Steven Otillar has played a key role in developing the firm's Latin America oil-and-gas practice throughout the upstream, midstream and downstream segments; and the recent arrivals of William Parish, Rodrigo Dominguez and counsel Emilio Grandio-Urrea to the Houston office from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP have served to further heighten the firm's standing in Latin America oil-and-gas and renewables projects. In Washington DC, Victor DeSantis is another prominent name in the market; while in Miami, Jeannine Acevedo has 'deep knowledge and experience in Latin America project finance', and Thomas Pate is 'always available and very professional' and 'cognisant of clients' needs'. Also in Miami, counsel Anna Andreeva 'has shown outstanding negotiation capacities, with a superior talent for bringing the right arguments to the table and articulating her client's wishes to the counterparty'. In New York, the increasingly energy and infrastructure-focused corporate practitioner Armando Rivera Jacobo arrived from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in July 2019.
Allen & Overy LLP's Latin America practice is largely centred in New York, Washington DC and Sao Paulo. Compared to its international rivals, the firm has a relatively small number of Latin America specialists, but it has nevertheless succeeded in maintaining and building an estimable client base of MLAs, DFIs, commercial banks and sponsors. Clients include IFC, IDB Invest, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), Bank of China and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The practice advised IDB Invest on the $114m financing for two solar photovoltaic plants owned by Atlas Renewable Energy in Salto department, Uruguay; and continues to advise Bank of China on its on-going acquisition financing of Empresa de Generación Huallaga by China Three Gorges; the deal is structured as a project financing. In another headline deal, it advised 11 commercial banks as lenders on the financing of the Mitsui & Co and Cobra Group's desalination project in Chile; the plant will sell water to the Minera Spence copper project. It is 'a strong team with deep experience across asset classes and jurisdictions' and is 'a flexible, effective firm that people actually enjoy working with rather than just taking counsel's opinion for granted'. Head of the Latin America practice Bruno Soares is a big name in Brazil with strong connections to sponsors and lenders. New York partner Dorina Yessios is an experienced figure in energy and infrastructure projects throughout Latin America; she is 'a fantastic projects and energy partner', 'experienced in operating across multiple jurisdictions, various asset classes, and on the sponsor side and lenders side'; moeover she 'is adept at finding solutions that work for all parties, leading to efficient document negotiations'. Sami Mir is the key figure in Washington DC, where he has cemented connections to MLAs and DFIs, while Jean Lee has returned to the Washington DC office from Seoul to reinforce this side of the practice, including for Latin America transactions. Sao Paulo counsel Mark Manisty is another pivotal member of the team. David Flechner, a capital markets partner who has worked on a number of project bond financings, joined Shearman & Sterling LLP's Sao Paulo office in 2018. Former Washington DC senior partner David Slade has retired.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has built further on its outstanding record for major oil-and-gas and natural resources companies in Latin America. Along with its already flourishing conventional and renewable power practice, it has recently broadened its practice to advise a series of European businesses on their Latin America interests. The practice advised Enel on its $1.5bn acquisition of a 73% stake in Eletropaulo, seeing off rival bids from Iberdrola and Energisa in a highly public and disputed tender process; the deal gives Enel access to Eletropaulo’s customers in São Paulo and makes it the largest power distribution company in Brazil. On the projects side, the Latin America team has been especially active in renewables and infrastructure programmes, including in the gas sector and waste-to-energy segment. Additionally, it remains a big player in project restructuring engagements, most notably in the offshore-drillship segment in Mexico and Brazil. Other highlights include advising Mexico City Airport Trust (MEXCAT) on its tender offers to purchase a portion of the $6bn of notes issued in the international markets, and representing the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation -and its subsidiaries Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de Mexico (GACM) and Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de Mexico- in GACM's $1.6bn IPO of FIBRA E trust certificates issued to finance the construction and development of the new Mexico City International Airport. Chantal Kordula has a tremendous record in Mexico, both in infrastructure and renewable projects, while Adam Brenneman has a flourishing practice in drillship-project restructurings and waste-to-energy projects. Jeffrey Lewis is a leading figure in natural resources and oil-and-gas transactions, having built an illustrious client base of big-name Latin American and international corporate clients, including national champions.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is relatively unique in having the majority of its Latin America project finance practice based in Sao Paulo. It has achieved particular prominence in offshore oil-and-gas and infrastructure financings, and has also leveraged the firm's outstanding credentials in capital markets to gain market share in project bonds transactions in the region. Further support is provided by teams in the firm's headquarters in New York. While the team is best known for its work in Brazil's oil-and-gas sector, it deserves credit for engagements across the infrastructure segment in Brazil and elsewhere. It advised Brazilian hydrocarbons giant, Odebrecht Óleo e Gás, on an agreement with a group of creditors to restructure some $5bn of financial debt. On the infrastructure side, it continued to advise ViaQuatro, the operator of Line 4 (Yellow) of the Sao Paulo subway, on the $1bn project financing that will link the city centre to the west zone. In another headline financing, it advised the lenders on a senior unsecured term loan credit facility for Enel Chile to be used for the development of its Elqui Project - a reorganisation consisting of the merger of Enel Green Power Latin America into Enel Chile, and the qssociated cash tender offer launched by Enel Chile for the shares of Enel Generación Chile. The seasoned Stephen Hood and younger partner James Vickers are leaders in Sao Paulo where they have an excellent record in Brazilian oil-and-gas financings, along with infrastructure financings in Brazil and across Latin America. Manuel Garciadiaz, is a highly respected and hugely versatile lawyer who splits his time between Sao Paulo and New York; he has extensive expertise in both energy and infrastructure financings and project bonds. James Florack is co-head of the global finance group, head of the Latin America finance practice and has an extensive record in project finance and energy sector financings.
Hogan Lovells US LLP continues to be recognised for its commitment to the Latin American market, demonstrated through both its offices in the region and its dedicated teams in Miami, New York and, especially, Houston. It has a particularly strong record in representing state-owned energy companies in jurisdictions such as Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, among others. Additionally, it continues to lead the way in projects involving Asian sponsors and lenders and has an outstanding record in energy projects in Central America. Clients include PetroAmazonas, Petrobras, Petroecuador, PDVSA, Pemex and Republic of Ecuador. The practice advised Nederlandse Financierings ‐ Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) and Deutsche Investitions ‐ und Entwicklungsgesellsc (DEG) on a $38m long‐term financing to General Energy Solutions for the development of phase two of the Monte Plata Solar Photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Dominican Republic. Miguel Zaldivar has a long track record with the Republic of Ecuador and its state-owned energy companies, including bringing Asian parties into its energy strategy; he has recently relocated from Miami to Hong Kong, where he is now regional chief executive for the Asia Pacific Middle East region. Co-chair of the Latin American group and Houston partner Bruno Ciuffetelli is a Venezuela-qualified lawyer and a long time adviser to Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and other Venezuelan state-owned companies; he is another with experience of financings involving Asian entities. Miami partner José Valdivia also co-heads the Latin America practice and is a seasoned practitioner in energy transactions in Venezuela, Ecuador and other Latin American states. Washington DC senior counsel Claudette Christian is a project finance specialist with an especially fine record in the oil-and-gas sector, for clients such as Petrobras. Miami partner Jorge Diaz-Silveira is a leader in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) agreements and has strong experience in Central American power and renewables projects. Carlos Ramos Miranda is a prominent name in Mexico City for energy and infrastructure projects, particularly in the oil-and-gas and water sectors. Miami partner Gaston Fernandez is recommended for Latin America projects that involve Asian entities. Since publication, Diaz-Silveira has been appointed managing partner of the Miami office, effective January 2020.
Latham & Watkins LLP has an intense global focus on the energy and infrastructure sectors and this is very much in evidence in Latin America. Having strengthened its Madrid bench, the practice is now increasingly active on behalf of Spanish-based sponsors. Mexico, Chile and Colombia are particularly strong markets for the firm, which is noted for its connections to top Mexican law firms and its abilities in capital markets-driven financings and hybrid financings. In a key headline deal, the firm's project finance and capital markets groups teamed up to advise Mexican energy player, Fermaca, on the hybrid refinancing of its 420km gas pipeline in the states of Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico; the deal involved a commercial bank credit facility and the issuance of fixed-rate global notes in Singapore. The practice also advised Eletrans, the leading Chilean player in the construction, operation and maintenance of power transmission facilities, on a private placement of senior secured notes to finance the construction and operation of dual 220KV high voltage electricity transmission lines in Chile; and AES Corporation and Grupo BAL on the $304m private placement of senior secured notes linked to the Mesa La Paz wind development project in Mexico. In another significant engagement, the firm advised Global Energy & Power Infrastructure Fund on the project debt financing linked to an oil refinery, again in Mexico. Co-head of the Latin America practice, Antonio Del Pino is noted for M&A involving energy and infrastructure assets. Co-chair of the firm's global oil-and-gas group, Christopher Cross is another key figure in Latin America deals; while Chicago and New York-based capital markets partner Roderick Branch , a Mexico City native, is increasingly involved in energy and infrastructure financings throughout Latin America. Washington DC's David Penna is global co-chair of the project development and finance practice and has a long track-record in the region, most recently on deals such as the previously mentioned Fermaca and Eletrans financings. Veronica Relea is another key project finance specialist. Washington DC counsel Luis Torres is 'very technical, experienced and skilfull'. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise. On a more sombre note, less than a year after his arrival as Latin America practice co-head from DLA Piper LLP, Juan Picón passed away in June 2019; he will be greatly missed.
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP's Latin America team has a long history with the region. Perhaps best known for its excellent record in renewables, the practie group is also recognised for conventional power and transmission infrastructure. Its principal markets are Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru. The core Latin America group has worked hard to leverage the resources and expertise of the wider firm, including collaborating with colleagues in Toronto and London on mining finance engagements, and Milan lawyers on Argentine projects. It has close connections to a number of DFIs, MLAs and commercial banks, along with a range of sponsors. Clients include OPIC, IFC, IDB, North American Investment Corporation, Banco Nacional de Comercio, Macquarie Bank, Enel Green Power, Mitsubishi and Engie. Recent matters include advising the senior lenders on the $3bn restructuring of the 531MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric power project in Chile, which is sponsored by AES Gener; and Red Kite Mine on the debt funding of a lithium project in Sonora, northern Mexico. New York partner Raquel Bierzwinsky is admitted to practice in Mexico and has deep experience in Mexican projects, including in renewables and mining; she is 'an incredibly engaged and hands-on partner', 'an effective, fair and reasonable negotiator', 'has an in-depth understanding of the Mexican energy market' and 'her complete bilingual background is essential'. Sao Paulo partner Daniel Spencer is another hugely experienced practitioner in power and infrastructure projects throughout the region. Mexico City managing partner Hernán González Estrada is another pivotal member of the group, most notably in renewables and mining. New York's Todd Alexander is also prominent in renewable energy projects in Mexico, Chile, Peru and Argentina; while in Washington DC, Peter Fitzgerald is recommended for conventional power, LNG-to-power, and renewables, and Sarah Devine for projects across the region, including DFI-led financings in Argentina. The firm closed its Bogota office in February 2019 with Leopoldo Olavarria transferring to the Mexico City branch. Washington DC senior associate Rachel Crouch is 'very smart and thorough without losing her commercial compass'.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP is a leader in energy and infrastructure finance thanks in large part to the eminence of chair of the global project finance practice, Robert Kartheiser, a big name among lenders and sponsors who is also well-known for his ability to operate in Spanish and Portuguese. He has built an impressive fully Spanish-fluent team, many of whose members also speak Portuguese. Colombia is an especially fruitful market for the top-quality team, which has developed an impressive market share of the 4G toll road projects segment, particularly on the sponsor side; a couple of which have involved bank-bond financings. Key clients include JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, EVM, Natixis, Enagas, and SMBC. The team continued to advise Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Corporación Financiera de Dearrollo on the $142m project financing for the design, installation, operation, and maintenance of a minimum of 173,000 solar photovoltaic systems by Ergon Peru. It also advised the sponsors on the $717m dual-currency (Colombian peso and US dollar) financing of the Autopista al Mar 1 highway, as part of Colombia's 4G road infrastructure programme. The team is 'accessible, engaged and detailed'. Elicia Ling is making her mark as a partner, very much in the image of the previously mentioned Kartheiser, and Cathleen McLaughlin provides additional support in capital markets-driven financings. Former Sao Paulo office head Roberta Bassegio departed for Marlim Azul Energia, a joint-venture between Shell and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, but the firm has moved rapidly with the mid-August 2019 hire of David Flechner, formerly of Shearman & Sterling LLP.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a rich history in the project field, most notably in the mining, oil-and-gas, and infrastructure sectors. It is also at the forefront of energy sector acquisitions. The firm does not handle a high volume of matters, but does have a tradition of engagements in the biggest and most complex projects, particularly in the mining sector. It is known for its sponsor-side representation. Ongoing mandates include advising a consortium led by Chinese state-owned power company, China Three Gorges, on its $1.39bn acquisition of Empresa de Generación Huallaga, which owns the concession for Peru's Chaglla hydroelectric power plant; this is one of a series of Asia to Latin America transactions for the firm. In another landmark deal, the practice advised Marcobre on the $900m project financing for the $1.77bn Mina Justa copper mine project in Peru; the financing was provided by 16 lenders, including commercial banks and ECAs. Head of the Latin America practice Sergio Galvis has a mighty reputation in project finance, and in project and energy acquisitions; he is widely regarded as the leading specialist in Latin America mining projects. Head of the global infrastructure practice Christopher Mann is also a key part of the Latin America practice, while Werner Ahlers remains noted for energy and mining M&A. John Estes provides further financing expertise for mining sector clients.
CMS continues to underscore its outstanding credentials in power, oil and gas, mining and infrastructure. Having brought in three new associate members from the Andean region into the firm's network in 2017, Mexico City firm CMS Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow became a full member in 2018. It has also attracted a series of lateral hires into its associate and full member network, which includes its original Latin America office in Rio de Janeiro. The firm has achieved particular prominence in engagements linked to Mexico's energy sector reforms (brought in by the previous administration) and changes to Colombia's offshore oil-and-gas regime. Recent mandates include advising both IDB and IDB Invest on a credit facility from Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) for the financing of infrastructure projects in Colombia; Bogota's CMS Rodríguez-Azuero partner Daniel Rodríguez led the team. In Mexico City, a team led by José Antonio Téllez and Gabriel Salinas Ruiz advised Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and CKD Infraestructura México on their acquisition of an 80% stake in Enel Green Power's 1.75GW portfolio of eight renewable long-term auction winner projects, including three solar parks and five wind farms. Mexico City partner Enrique Lorente Ludlow also advised the Mexico City government on the concession for the development of the Taxqueña Transport Hub, which includes a subway, inter-city bus transportation, collective transportation, bus rapid transport (BRT), taxis, a 8,500m² shopping center, 13,770m² of office space, a 120-room hotel and a 608-space parking lot. Ted Rhodes is the managing partner of the Rio office and has an excellent record in energy and infrastructure projects. Mexico City's Derek Woodhouse and Santiago partner Jorge Allende Z are also highly rated.
DLA Piper LLP (US) targets Latin America from multiple locations in the region as well as from the US. It continues to make an impression in both power, including renewables, and in infrastructure. Its client base ranges from a multitude of project sponsors to lenders and equity investors; these include Stoneway Capital, Murphy Oil, Acciona Energia, Grupo Biofields, OPIC, Abengoa, Banco Santander, Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Coopération (PROPARCO) and Banco BTG. The practice advised IDB on a $55m senior loan to Vale do Parana for the expansion and renewal of sugarcane plantations, the installation of a sugar factory and adjustments to integrate the mill with a 48MW electric power co-generation plant to be developed in a joint venture with Albioma. It also advised IDB and PROPARCO on the financing of construction and the operation of three photovoltaic solar power plants with a total capacity of some 24.5MW in Chile. New York-based global co-chair of the energy practice Robert Gruendel is noted for project development in the oil-and-gas sector. Miami's John Murphy has a healthy record in project and infrastructure finance, while Washington DC partner Gregory Smith is helping to grow the firm's market share in Latin America project financings driven by agency lenders. Also in Washington DC, of counsel Amala Nath is rated for development bank and agency lender transactions; she has advised IDB on a series of financings connected to renewable energy and infrastructure projects in multiple Latin American jurisdictions. Mexico City's Marcelo Paramo is recognised for oil-and-gas and electricity transactions.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills is at the forefront of the mining and natural resources space in Latin America, particularly as regards Chilean copper mining. The firm is becoming increasingly active beyond its Chilean beach-head, including in Argentina and Peru, and is expanding its range of projects to minerals such as lithium. The practice also has an leading reputation for greenfield project development work. Clients include Corporación Nacional del Cobre (Codelco), Mantos Copper, BHP Billiton, GranEnergia, Mitsubishi Corporation and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM). It advised Codelco on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme for a desalination plant to deliver desalinated water to Codelco's existing Radomiro Tomic mine in Chile; this project is expected to set a benchmark for BOT contracting in Chile. It also advised Mantos Copper on the EPC contracts for the Mantos Blancos De-Bottlenecking Project and the Mantoverde Development Project. The Latin America team is 'first class', 'very responsive' and 'just outstanding' according to clients who highlight the group's expertise in engineering and construction, along with the contribution of teams and specialist individuals from the firm's global office network. The team's 'commercial skills make very complicated transactions to look easy and smooth' and 'clients feel their interests are well protected'. 'A very business oriented lawyer', mining and resources specialist Juan-José Zentner is 'fluent in Spanish and understands the idiosyncrasies of Latin America'. Edward Dougherty is also highly rated for oil-and-gas transactions and for his Spanish language skills.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has a diverse practice covering energy, infrastructure, and oil and gas. With its practice group spread across its Washington DC, Houston and Miami offices, the firm has been able to target multiple industries and jurisdictions. It also has a niche in telecoms and cable infrastructure, along with particular experience in PPP projects for Spanish sponsors. Clients include IDB, IFC, Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura (CIFI), World Bank and Energía del Caribe. The practice advised IDB and IDB Invest on a loan from FDN to support their financing of infrastructure projects in Colombia spanning transportation (including its 4G roads programme), energy, logistics and production, and social infrastructure. It also advised Energía del Caribe on the development of a natural gas power plant in Mexico that will serve Guatemala. The team is 'deeply involved in transactions', has 'a practical aproach to resolving legal and commercial issues', and its 'combination of knowledge, availability and negotiations skills make for a unique practice'. In sum, it is 'well-known, reputable and reliable' with 'a group of professionals that have a wide range of skills'. Washington DC partner Vera Rechsteiner has an outstanding record in renewable energy projects in Latin America, particularly for commercial lenders and MLAs. Houston's Doris Rodríguez is recognised for oil-and-gas investments and projects, while Miami partner Fernando Margarit is a leader in telecoms and cable infrastructure. Miami's Fernando Alonso and Houston partner Mark Thurber are also recommended.
Jones Day's multi-office strategy is paying considerable dividends with its market share of renewable energy projects in Mexico particularly noteworthy, along with strong levels of activity in Argentina, Colombia and Peru. The firm's Sao Paulo office has also achieved considerable recognition for its record in energy and infrastructure M&A. The firm has a strong weighting towards project developers and sponsors, although is gaining ground with DFIs and MLAs thanks to the work of Fradyn Suárez in Miami and with commercial banks through Robert da Silva Ashley and James Salerno in New York. Moreover, the firm is building a strong record in representing Chinese investors, developers and lenders. Clients include ENGIE, Banco Santander, IDB, Jinko Solar, EDF, Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de Mexico, Cemex and Elecnor. Recent mandates include advising Chinese solar panel manufacturer Jinko Solar, and its project company Solar Park Viborillas, on the development, construction, and senior financing of a 130MW photovoltaic solar power project to be constructed in Las Viborillas, Mexico; and Banco Santander on a bridge loan to Concesionaria Autopista Silao to finance the construction and equipment of the Silao Toll Road in Mexico. The 'high quality' team provides 'timely responses' and includes Miami partner Richard Puttré, who is a leader in renewable energy projects, most notably for Spanish developers; and Sao Paulo's Marcello Hallake , who deserves recognition for energy and infrastructure M&A. In Mexico City, Alberto de la Parra has a tremendous record in infrastructure projects and financings, and has a long-term association with the development of the new Mexico City airport; in 2018 he advised Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México on its $1.6bn IPO of Fibra E Shares on the Mexican Stock Exchange.
King & Spalding LLP is a big name in upstream and midstream oil and gas and is a market leader in LNG. Renewables is another area of strength. The firm has close connections to a number of major sponsors and continues to develop its standing among private equity investors. Clients include Chevron, SeaOne Caribbean, Sierra Oil & Gas, MODEC, Mitsui & Co, Marubeni and Mitsui OSK Lines. The firm benefits from the 'diverse backgrounds of team members', which includes 'great transactional lawyers accompanied by regulatory experts' that are 'outstanding, both in availability and knowledge'. According to one client, 'it was ready, probably like no other US law firm, to undertake and participate in projects coming as a result of Mexico's energy reforms'. Clients also praise the sector experience of the team, highlighting that several members have backgrounds in industry, including as engineers. The practice group advised Mexico's Sierra Oil & Gas on its sale to German international independent exploration and production company Deutsche Erdoel (DEA); Sierra was integrated into Deutsche Erdoel México, a fully-owned subsidiary of DEA. It also represented DKRW on the development of an LNG export project in Sonora, Mexico. Ken Culotta is a seasoned practitioner with a fine record in oil and gas and LNG, having 'been doing deals in Mexico since the 1980s'. Vera De Brito de Gyarfas has also achieved particular prominence in Latin America oil-and-gas and LNG transactions; she is 'an outstanding Latin American lawyer', 'helps deals go through', 'is a reference in oil-and-gas projects in the region', and 'a multi-tasker with ease'.
Linklaters LLP's coalesence of Latin America expertise is frequently applied to projects and energy transactions, with the firm showing a knack for tapping into especially active markets. With wide-ranging experience ranging from offshore oil and gas to telecoms infrastructure and renewables, the firm deserves recognition for its healthy market share of headline deals. The team advised Latin American development bank, Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF), on a $50m loan to ALTÁN Redes to develop the telecommunications network in Mexico. In the infrastructure segment, it advised China Southern Power Grid on its $1.3bn acquisition of Brookfield Infrastructure's 27.8% stake in Transelec, the largest pure-play power transmission company in Chile. The firm has advised on the financing of a number of 4G toll road projects in Colombia and has a fine record in energy and infrastructure projects in Chile and Peru. Vijaya Palaniswamy is noted for energy and infrastructure projects in Chile and Michael Bassett has extensive experience in project finance, including in the offshore oil-and-gas sector. Matthew Poulter brings further versatility across multiple areas, including project bonds.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP is a big player in the power and oil-and-gas sectors, thanks in part to its burgeoning Houston office, which houses a number of Latin America specialists. The core team is noted for upstream oil and gas, LNG and power, with upstream oil and gas work in Mexico and Brazil a particular feature of the practice. Brian Bradshaw and David Asmus are major recent additions to the team and have brought additional and extensive experience in upstream and LNG work. Glenn Pinkerton provides further expertise in renewable energy projects, particuarly in Central America.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has a fine standing in Latin America with notable strength in traditional project finance, energy and infrastructure M&A, and private equity transactions. Clients include Abengoa, Blue Water Worldwide, Compañía de Petróleos de Chile (Copec), CPFL Energias Renováveis, Minsur, MSU Energy and OHL Concesiones. The firm has made a particular impression in Argentina where it advised Río Energy, UGEN and UENSA (collectively known as MSU Energy), as co-issuers on the private placement of $250m of secured floating-rate notes; MSU Energy will use the proceeds to expand the installed generation capacity of its three power plants in Argentina, with total installed capacity increasing to 750 MW. It also advised Inversiones Alxar, a subsidiary of Empresas Copec, on its acquisition of a 40% stake in Cumbres Andinas, a subsidiary of Peruvian conglomerate Grupo Breca. The team is 'extremely talented', delivering 'outstanding professionalism', 'outstanding commitment and responsiveness to clients'. It has 'a proactive and pro-business approach' combining this with 'a hard-working mentality' that 'constantly delivers great results and achieves objectives' with 'world class solutions tailored to clients' needs'. Co-head of the Latin America practice Todd Crider 'is very detailed, knowledgeable and experienced', 'has great negotiation and great leadership skills combined with a proactive approach'. He also has 'a great balance between legal knowledge and commercial skills', according to one client. Co-head of the Latin America team, David Williams is also highly experienced and hugely rated. Jaime Mercado, Juan Naveira, Sao Paulo-based Grenfel Calheiros and Juan Francisco Méndez are also key names. Counsel Borja Marcos is 'a highly-skilled, technical lawyer with a pro-business orientation', 'a very sharp guy', who is 'super methodical and super responsive' and 'has an outstanding work ethic'.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has an established record in renewables and conventional power financings. It has an impressive mix of sponsor and lender relationships and is active throughout the region. It advised the lenders on a $395m loan to Albanesi Energía (Argentina), and its subsidiary Generación Centro (Argentina), to finance the construction of the 133MW de la Arroyo Seco cogeneration power plant and to refinance the development of the 170MW Timbúes project. On the infrastructure side, it advised Bank of America and BBVA Bancomer on a $430m financing to Aeropuerto de Cancún, Mexico. Alejandro González Lazzeri is the primary name in project finance, while Washington DC-based global head of energy and infrastructure Lance Brasher provides further Latin America experience, particularly in renewable energy. Washington DC counsel Jorge Kamine is noted for oil-and-gas and renewables acquisitions and financings in Latin America.
Vinson & Elkins LLP is a global leader in upstream oil and gas and it has brought this expertise to Latin America, most notably the Brazil and Mexico markets. In Mexico, it has achieved prominence in bidding rounds for exploration and production contracts, and in the development of natural gas pipelines and infrastructure to improve the flow of gas from the United States into the country. Downstream projects in Mexico are another growth area. In Brazil, it continues to be a force in presalt production sharing contracts. Moreover, it is recognised player in renewable energy -including wind and solar- right across Latin America. Clients include Talos Energy, Riverstone, Key Energy Services, ExxonMobil, Pattern Energy Group and Statoil. The team advised Equinor on its acquisition of a 25% interest in the offshore Roncador field, one of Brazil’s largest producing oil fields, from Petrobras; and Avant Energy, the Riverstone portfolio company, on its proposal to invest $500m into 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. Clients praise the firm for 'identifying key country entry risk', its ongoing support in post-closing matters, its 'network of professionals', 'ability to meet almost any timeline, whether that means working overnight, holidays or weekends', its understanding of how fast industries move, the manner in which 'requests or issues are routed to the correct team member' and 'the way the team communicates internally'. Now based in San Francisco, Boyd Carano has a long record in oil-and-gas bids, acquisitions and project development in Mexico and Brazil; he is also an experienced figure in Latin America renewables projects. New York partner Eamon Nolan, a genuine Latin America project development and finance specialist, joined the New York office from Linklaters LLP in February 2019. London partner Alex Msimang and Houston's Mark Brasher are also key names. Also in Houston, senior associate Alan Alexander is noted for his expertise in Mexico's oil-and-gas sector; he is 'a client's dream', 'can handle all aspects of a deal on his own', 'is very efficient and reasonable with his billing, and does a good job of delegating work to members of his team', he 'has always exceeded expectations, is very smart and is able to convey information in a manner that enables commercial decisions to be made based on his legal advice'.
Winston & Strawn LLP 's core Latin America team has deep experience in the region and is noted for project finance, energy sector M&A and investments, renewables projects and capital markets-driven financings. Key markets include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Central America; and clients include Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), Enel Américas, Southern Cross Group, Sociedad Química y Minera De Chile (SQM), Pampa Energía and YPF. In recent mandates the team advised EPM, as borrower, on the financing of the construction of the 2,400MW Ituango Hydroelectric Project in Medellín, Colombia; and Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) on its co-investment agreement with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) to jointly finance infrastructure projects in Colombia. The team's 'level of service is outstanding' and it 'is really impressive in terms of availability, responsiveness, depth of knowledge and practical advice'; 'the partners are completely involved' and 'they understand extremely well the Latin American market and the complexities that may arise in transactions'. Talbert Navia leads the Latin America group and has a fine record in energy transactions. Co-head of the team Allen Miller 'really cares about his clients and gets deeply involved in every transaction', he 'is thorough but very pragmatic and has a unique business understanding' - he grasps 'local issues very well and is very creative to solve problems'. Sey-Hyo Lee 'is an extraordinary adviser', who 'always understands the whole picture very well and never misses the important details'; he 'has a lot of patience and makes sure that everyone understands the issues and solutions', 'is extremely collaborative and succeeds in timely achieving the results sought by clients'. Claude Serfilippi 'is very deal oriented, pragmatic and understands his clients needs'.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is closely aligned to Mexico's energy sector, including private equity investment, infrastructure development and traditional project finance. The firm's lobbying and policy expertise is coming into play, particularly in light of trade tensions between the US and Mexico. Its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) expertise is also applied to much of its work in the projects and energy sphere. Argentina, Brazil, Central America and the Caribbean are also key regions for the Latin America team, which has longstanding links to influential developers and sponsors, and is now quickly growing its market share of private equity investments into Latin America assets. Clients include Canadian Solar, Carlyle International Energy Partners, DEA Deutsche Erdoel, DKRW, LUKOIL, Mitsubishi Corporation, Oak Creek Energy and Pan American Energy. The team advised DEA Deutsche Erdoel on its acquisition of leading independent Mexican oil and gas company, Sierra Oil & Gas; and regular client Canadian Solar on the development and financing of a 60MW solar project in Aguascalientes, Mexico - the firm has represented the client on a range of projects around Latin America. Los Angeles partner Dino Barajas is a specialist in Mexican energy transactions and projects. Houston partner Douglas Glass is an experienced figure in oil and gas, including LNG, and has a fine record in Latin America; he led the team that advised Carlyle International Energy Partners on its purchase of COG Energy and Colombia Energy Development, involving onshore oil-and-gas production assets in Colombia.
Baker Botts L.L.P. has outstanding energy credentials in the Latin America energy sector, involving a variety of corporate acquisitions, foreign direct investments, project development and project finance. In recent years it closely aligned itself with the previous Mexican government's energy reforms, but a series of lateral hires have enabled it to build market share elsewhere. Clients include Alto Maipo, Costa Norte LNG Terminal, Gas Natural Atlantico, AES Corporation and Petrobras. The team recently advised Petrobras, on the sale of its fuel distribution business in Paraguay to local gas station operator, Grupo Copetrol; and AES Corporation affiliate Alto Maipo on the restructuring of its 531MW, run-of-the-river hydroelectric project in Chile. Houston partner Carlos Solé has achieved prominence in energy project development, particularly in relation to Mexico's energy reforms. Houston's Ned Crady also deserves recognition for his experience in oil, gas and power projects and transactions throughout Latin America. Washington DC's Mark Spivak is noted for project development and finance in the conventional power, renewables and oil-and-gas sectors.
Baker McKenzie LLP's unique geographic coverage and broad sector offering makes it a genuine player in the market, most notably in oil, gas, mining and power deals in Mexico and Brazil. Clients include Petrobras, EDF, Shell, Canadian Solar, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and Atacama Pacific Gold. The practice advised French renewables partnership Total-Eren on the acquisition of three solar-power projects with a combined 90MW installed capacity from Spanish group Cobra; the three projects, which include a power substation and transmission lines, are in Dracena, São Paulo. Other matters included assisting Canadian Solar, as a consortium member, on the $136m acquisition of three solar projects in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The 'strong and experienced team' is praised for its 'full availability'. José Roberto Martins of Brazil associate firm Trench Rossi Watanabe, heads the global firm's Latin America energy, mining and infrastructure group. Mexico City's Benjamin Torres-Barrón is also an experienced figure in the energy sector. Santiago partner Antonio Ortúzar is a key name in mining and Lima's Juan Carlos de los Heros Echecopar is also singled out by clients.
Bracewell LLP has outstanding oil-and-gas credentials. It is noted for upstream and midstream projects and transactions, particularly in Mexico. Recent work saw the team advise Ophir Energy on the sale of its interest in Block 5 in the Salina Basin offshore Mexico, which includes the Cholula discovery. It also assisted Eni on the sale to Qatar Petroleum of a 35% interest in Block 1 in Campeche Bay (Mexico), which includes the Amoca, Miztón and Tecoalli discoveries. Houston partner Manuel Vera is licensed to practice in Mexico and New York's Fernando Marin is noted for renewable energy projects.
Cuatrecasas is noted for Spanish inbound transactions and outbound investments by Latin American entities. The firm has an impressive record in energy and infrastructure, particularly in Mexico and Colombia; it has an office in Mexico City and a presence in Bogota through its associate firm Posse Herrera Ruiz. It has worked on a series of headline renewables projects, including solar, wind and hydroelectric developments. Electricity transmission lines and transport infrastructure projects are also key parts of the practice. Clients include Pemex, FDN, Banco BTG Pactual, Banco Sabadell, IDB and Acciona Energy. The team advised Pemex on the design and structuring of a co-participation plan with third parties for the Litoral project in the Gulf of Mexico. Through its alliance with Posse Herrera Ruiz in Colombia, it also advised FDN on a bridge loan to SACYR for the construction of Mar 1, a 4G road PPP-project in Colombia. Marco Antonio de la Peña is a key name in Mexico City where he has extensive experience in the energy sector. Madrid-based head of the finance practice Rafael Mínguez is also active in the region, as are renewable energy expert Fernando Bernad, and Madrid partners Manuel Follía and Agustín Cerdá - the latter known for project finance in Mexico.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's New York office has a highly-reputable practice in energy and infrastructure projects and financings, which extends to Latin America. Melissa Raciti-Knapp co-leads the Latin America practice from New York and is noted for her representation of MLAs and DFIs in regional financings, most notably in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. OPIC is an especially regular client. Recent matters saw the team advise the lenders on Gas y Petroquímica de Occidente and G2X Energy's development of a $1.3bn petrochemical facility in Mexico.
Greenberg Traurig LLP is historically best known for its work in telecoms and road infrastructure, but it reinforced its standing in energy with the addition of Carlos Treistman, the former co-chair of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's Latin America practice, to its Houston office. Treistman has a fine record in upstream and midstream oil-and-gas transactions in Mexico, although he has a much wider energy practice that covers multiple Latin American jurisdictions. The team continued to advise Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as financial adviser to the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, on the structuring and coordination of the competitive tender process for the design, installation, operation and commercialisation of a nationwide 4G mobile wholesale shared network (Red Compartida). Founder of the firm's Mexico City office Juan Manuel González is a leader in project finance, particularly in relation to telecoms, airport and road infrastructure.
Holland & Knight LLP
Holland & Knight LLP has one of the fastest emerging Latin America practices, thanks to its prominent and growing teams in New York, Miami, Houston, Mexico City and Bogota. Senior counsel Adrian Talamantes was recently added to the Houston office to add to the firm's capabilities in Mexico upstream and midstream oil-and-gas projects and transactions. The firm advised Banco Santander Chile on a VAT credit facility to finance the design, construction and operation of Prime Energía Quickstart's five new backup power generation plants in Chile; and also assisted SOTRAMAC with the financing for a natural gas-fuelled public transportation project in Cartagena, Colombia. Norberto Quintana is a highly-reputed practitioner with extensive experience acting for both lenders and sponsors.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a developed oil-and-gas, LNG and power practice. Clients include PetroRio, CEMEX, Midstream Energy Partners and Statoil. Key geographic expertise includes Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The practice advised Statoil on its acquisition from YPF of a 50% participating interest in an exploration permit covering the Bajo del Toro block, a 157 Km² area in Argentina's shale-gas Vaca Muerta formation. The team has 'great expertise and overall knowledge of the energy industry' and 'communication with all the team members and the support they provide when required is greatly appreciated'. Houston's John Crespo, Humberto Padilla Gonzalez and Washington DC partner Ulises Pin are the core of an impressive and versatile Latin America team. Houston partner Felipe Alice is 'an excellent professional and person' who 'deals with complex situations in different transactions'; 'his knowledge of the industry sector is impressive', and he 'has strong skills to understand the issues and present solutions'.
Morrison & Foerster LLP has a longstanding association with Latin America, particularly in the renewable energy segment and in projects involving Japanese sponsors and lenders. Conventional power and mining are other fortés of the team. Clients include EDF Renewables, Apex Clean Energy, GSSG Solar, Solar Frontier Americas Development, innogy Renewables US and Oak Creek Energy Systems. The team advised the latter on the development and sale of the 300MW Eolica Mesa La Paz wind-power project located in Tamaulipas, Mexico, to EnerAB, a joint venture formed by Grupo Bal and AES. Tokyo-based Michael Graffagna has an impressive track record with Japanese contractors and sponsors in conventional power, renewables, LNG regasification and other projects. Jeffrey Chester moved to Greenberg Traurig LLP in July 2019.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's relatively new Houston office is making an ever-greater impression on the Latin America energy segment, especially in Mexico. Having had key roles in relation to Mexico's energy reforms, the firm has maintained activity levels in the power sector, including in renewables. Clients include VINCI, Proman, Pattern Energy, Renewable Resources Group, Proyectos Globales de Energia y Servicios CME, Eurus Energy and EDP Renewables. The team 'has a vast knowledge base across all aspects of a project in development', 'has strong competencies in areas such as project finance, municipal bonds, as well as offtake/sales and construction' and is 'fully available, flexible and business oriented'. Blake Winburne, global head of the energy and infrastructure group, also has extensive experience in energy projects in the region. Paris partner Yves Lepage, 'an outstanding professional and leader', is a key figure in infrastructure transactions and projects, having advised VINCI Airports on a series of deals in Latin America. However, the practice has been hit by departures from its Houston office, with former co-chair of the Latin America practice Rodrigo Dominguez, William Parish and former senior associate Emilio Grandio-Urrea joining White & Case LLP, and the subsequent July-2019 departure of Geroge Humphrey to Thompson & Knight LLP.