Firms To Watch: Projects and energy

Financial and corporate services boutique Virtù Atelier Legal launched its projects practice in January 2022 with the arrival of Marcia Arosemena de Paz, a specialist in the development of infrastructure projects and public-private partnership law, who was previously legal adviser to Metro de Panamá.

Projects and energy in Panama

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee houses a comprehensive projects practice, which is particularly renowned for its expertise in the transport infrastructure space. The firm has significant experience in the financing, structuring, construction and operation of major transport projects, spanning the expansion of highways, port facilities and the Panama Canal. On the energy front, the team is equally adept at advising on conventional and renewable energy (with an emphasis on solar power), as well as assisting international clients with the operation of Panamanian mining concessions. Following the departure of former practice co-head Eloy Alfaro in July 2022, the key names at the senior level are former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alejandro Ferrer; Raúl Borrell, whose practice encompasses public tenders and concessions and the development of maritime and port facilities; and energy specialist Jaime Castillo. The experienced associate group includes Diego Anguizola, Sophia Astrid Lee and Doris Nieto.

Galindo, Arias & López

The projects and energy practice at Galindo, Arias & López stands out for the depth and breadth of its offering, with strengths encompassing project finance, public procurement and government contracts, real estate and regulatory matters. The financing of large-scale energy and infrastructure projects (including the development of major healthcare facilities) is a core source of mandates, but the team is also highlighted for its experience in energy-related disputes, where clients emphasise its ‘extensive knowledge of the laws that govern the Panamanian electricity market‘, and regulatory issues in the renewables space. Salomón Behar, a high-profile name for public tenders and project development in the energy sector, leads the practice alongside project finance expert Cristina Lewis. Diego Herrera and litigation partners Diego de la Guardia and Selva Quintero (both specialists in the energy and public utilities sectors) also lend senior expertise to the team.

Practice head(s):

Cristina Lewis; Salomón Behar


The team are very professional – they always have very clear ideas and advise us very well. They act appropriately and always present suggestions that are very well worked out and in accordance with the law. They are well aware of the national environment and develop strategies that work. This is the best team of attorneys we have ever worked with.

We are happy with Salomón Behar’s advice as it aligns with the law and regulations, and corresponds with our principles and actions.

Galindo, Arias & López is one of the few firms in Panama that has extensive knowledge of the laws that govern the Panamanian electricity market and has been able to successfully carry out litigation related to electric generation and distribution companies.

The team stand out for the seriousness with which they carry out their work and their genuine interest in defending the client’s position. They differ from the rest of their competitors in that they meet the commitments made to their clients with total honesty and dedication. In addition, they maintain a high level of legal training.

Key clients

Goldwind International Penonomé

Panama Canal Expansion Project


Edemet & Edechi

Petroterminal de Panama (PTP)


Ocean Reef Islands Financing

Clínica Hospital San Fernando

Kalpataru Power Transmission

Work highlights

  • Advised Grupo San Fernando, as investor, on the $10m development and construction of a brand-new private hospital in the Azuero Peninsula.
  • Advised Goldwind International Holdings and Goldwind International Penonome on their follow-up obligations after the sale to AES Panama of their equity interests in UEP Penonomé I, which currently operates the first wind farm to be built in Panama.
  • Advising Petroterminal de Panamá (PTP) on all regulatory, compliance, contractual, litigation, public procurement, corporate and tax issues affecting its day-to-day operations.

Morgan & Morgan

Morgan & Morgan is hailed by clients for its ‘strong and well-coordinated team‘ in the energy and projects sphere, whose ‘diverse abilities‘ enable the firm to assist clients across the full spectrum of public procurement, permitting, financing and construction matters. The team is widely revered for its strength in the financing and development of significant infrastructure projects – its impressive recent record includes advising on the expansion of the Panama City metro system – but it is also highly experienced in energy projects, with an emphasis on the power industry. Its wide-ranging client base includes banks and multilaterals, public bodies and major developers. Ramon Varela, a go-to specialist in the energy sector, leads the team. Inocencio Galindo also brings his strong corporate and finance background to bear in the financing of public infrastructure projects, while Kharla Aizpurúa, Aristides Anguizola, who has notable expertise in the mining industry, and Ana Carolina Castillo, who was elevated to the partnership in January 2023, are also key members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ramon Varela


Their dedication and commitment to our company are unconditional. They compare favourably with any other firm and they have always gone above and beyond what we expect when working together. Dealing with the energy and projects team feels like working with family.

They have lawyers with diverse abilities in the team, which enriches the advisory experience. They are very well trained and always have the best interests of our company in mind.

It is a strong and well-coordinated team.

Excellent professional ethics.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

IDB Invest

Seven Seas Water Corporation

PNE Wind

Ministry of Public Works of Panama


Hitachi Rail

Mitsubishi Corporation


Minera Panama

First Quantum Minerals

Metro de Panama

First Transit de Panama

Panama Ports (subsidiary of Hutchinson Ports Holding)

The AES Corporation

Electron Investment

Avanzalia Panamá

Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura


Work highlights

  • Advising the International Finance Corporation, which is assisting Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica (Etesa) with the development of a project for the design, construction and operation of the fourth electrical transmission line in Panama.
  • Advising longstanding client Minera Panamá on several matters arising from the $10bn Cobre Panamá copper mine project.
  • Advising Hitachi, Hitachi Rail and Mitsubishi Corporation on the negotiation of an agreement with Metro de Panamá in connection with their participation as nominated subcontractor in the project for the development of Line 3 of the Panama Metro.

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez garners praise from clients for its ‘extensive experience and knowledge‘ in the full range of projects and energy matters, including public procurement and concessions, project finance, regulatory matters, and the sale and acquisition of energy companies. The team stands out for its diverse sector expertise, which spans the energy, oil and gas, logistics, marine infrastructure, telecoms and transport industries. Annette Bárcenas is widely regarded as a leader in public procurement, routinely advising on the bidding processes for high-profile transport and renewable energy projects. She shares leadership of the practice with Juan Antonio Alfaro, who is highly sought after for his advice on maritime and port concessions, and Luis Horacio Moreno, an expert in energy, telecoms and government contracts. Corporate partner Roberto Harrington and associate Daniela Meana provide key support.

Practice head(s):

Annette Bárcenas; Juan Antonio Alfaro; Luis Horacio Moreno


A team of lawyers with extensive experience and knowledge.

Compared to other firms, AFRA has shown great knowledge of the topics on which we have required advice, as well as speed in its responses. The different departments at the firm work together in a very coordinated way and there is very good communication with the client.

All the partners and associates are very competent.

I have personally worked with Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez for a few years, throughout which they assisted me and my client with great professionalism and followed a clear path, even on the most unexpectedly complex matters. In our experience, among the other strengths which makes the firm a true asset for its clients (apart from the strong client recognition strategy, which naturally creates a feeling of trust) are its people and the effectiveness of the service, which is always very available and open. We believe that the firm’s practices fully meet our expectations, with solid interest in our business and a plan which is long term and of an equally broad scope.

I would say that the best qualities of the people at Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez with whom we interact are openness and kindness. Luis Horacio Moreno is a fitting example of this.

Key clients

Petroamerica Terminal (PATSA) (VTTI Group)


PSA International Terminal (PPIT).

Colon Logistics Park (CLP)

Astilleros Puertos de Balboa

Grupo Machetazo

SGP Bioenergy

Islas Secas Resort

Panama Digital Gateway

Elevadores Otis


Polaris Energy

Puma Energy

Consorcio Panameño De Construcciones Hospitalarias

Consorcio De Instalaciones Médicas De Panamá

Proyectos Mar Azul

Promotora y Desarrolladora Mexicana de Infraestructura (Proinfra)

Work highlights

  • Advised Consorcio Panameño De Construcciones Hospitalarias, a consortium of three local construction companies, on a $1bn infrastructure project for the design, construction, financing and equipment of the City of Health Hospital.
  • Advising Astillero de Balboa (Astibal) on the public procurement process and project financing of the Balboa shipyard, located in the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.
  • Advising Polaris Energy on the acquisition of two solar power plants from a Panamanian developer, including due diligence, transactional and regulatory matters.

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega‘s active projects and energy practice strikes a balance between transactional and regulatory work. Drawing on the wider firm’s strength in the banking and finance sphere, the team is particularly well known for its prowess in project finance, advising an extensive roster of international financial institutions and multilateral development agencies. The firm’s recent workload spans the financing of projects in the transport, energy, hospitality and public infrastructure (including healthcare) sectors, as well as energy-related M&A. Estif Aparicio, who is renowned for his experience in complex, often cross-border financial transactions, takes the lead on project finance matters, while Sofía Cohen heads the regulatory side of the practice. The sizeable team also benefits from the expertise of up-and-coming partner Fernando Arias F and international associates Cedric Kinschots and Donald Canavaggio.

Practice head(s):

Estif Aparicio; Sofía Cohen

Key clients

UBS Securities

Citigroup Global Markets

JP Morgan Securities

Scotia Capital (USA)

Credit Suisse Securities

Banco General

The Bank of Nova Scotia


Deutsche Bank

Global Bank Corporation

IDB Invest

Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE)

Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura (CIFI)


Work highlights

  • Advised Grupo Energía Bogotá (GEB) on its merger with its subsidiaries in Central America (Emgesa, Codensa, Enel Green Power Colombia and ESSA2) to form Enel Colombia, which has a presence in Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
  • Advised various export credit agencies and banks in connection with a $2,264,037,941.16 and JPY 51,458,523,871.00 receivables purchase facility and related credit facilities agreements for the financing of Line 3 of the Panama Metro system.
  • Advised the underwriters, HSBC and Scotiabank on Panamanian power distributor Elektra Noreste’s private placement on the Latin American stock exchange (Latinex) in Panama.


Dentons‘ wide-ranging practice spans projects, energy, government contracts and public procurement matters, with a strong track record in the development of road, public utilities, healthcare and energy infrastructure projects. Its client base includes a host of major international construction companies, multilateral investment institutions and energy companies. Practice head María del Rosario de Roux stands out for her advice on high-profile public infrastructure projects, while Panama managing partner Gisela Álvarez de Porras brings extensive experience in the public sector (including as director of Panama’s internal revenue service and as Minister of Commerce and Industry). Associate Nicole Goldoni provides capable support in energy and government contracts matters.

Practice head(s):

María del Rosario de Roux

Fabrega Molino

Fabrega Molino‘s projects and energy practice attracts strong praise for its ‘experience in dealing with regulatory bodies‘ and ‘deep knowledge of Panamanian public law‘, which is reflected in its recent advice to the Ministry of Public Works on the structuring of Panama’s first PPP project. The firm also has a robust track record in advising on the tender process and financing of major projects in the energy (including renewables), transport and mining sectors. At the head of the practice, Ana Lorena Morales, who is singled out for her ‘clear understanding‘ of both public and private projects matters, specialises in government contracts, with expertise in the construction, telecoms, energy and transport spaces.

Practice head(s):

Ana Lorena Morales


The first team in Panama to focus expressly on PPP projects. Great capacity for collaboration and deep knowledge of Panamanian public law.

Ana Lorena Morales leads the practice, showing a strong knowledge of state contracting regulations and a clear understanding of projects with private participation. Her team supports her in other aspects of the projects such as fiduciary and tax matters.

Knowledge of the subject matter and the law. Professionalism and efficiency in handling transactions.

Experience in dealing with regulatory bodies.

SIGMA International and Global Market Attorneys

SIGMA International and Global Market Attorneys‘ ‘valuable and versatile‘ team is particularly sought after for its advice to international clients on the financing of major renewable energy projects, combining the boutique firm’s expertise in financial and capital markets transactions and knowledge of the energy industry. In addition, the firm is consistently active in handling M&A in the energy sector and the acquisition of energy assets. Practice head Cecilio Castillero, who is admitted to practice in New York and Panama, has a strong profile in international matters and ‘impresses with his comprehensive knowledge‘ of the projects and energy space. He is ably supported by senior associate Mónica Moreno and associate Eric Carles (who is also dual qualified in New York and Panama).

Practice head(s):

Cecilio Castillero


The team at SIGMA are very committed and work on our projects with a lot of dedication. They work very constructively and have all possible difficulties in mind. As a client, you feel very well taken care of and looked after. Even outside of business hours, the team responds promptly to requests.

Each team member has a different focus, which makes the team very valuable and versatile. With SIGMA you are very well advised.

Mónica Moreno always meets client expectations.

Key clients

InterEnergy Group

Glenfarne Group



Global Bank

Generadora Gatún



China Harbour Engineering Company

Work highlights

  • Acted as Panamanian counsel to InterEnergy Group on the negotiation and closing of the financing of the construction of the Generadora Gatún 670MW combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant.
  • Acted as Panamanian counsel to InterEnergy Group in connection with the $262.7m green bond offering by its Panama City-based subsidiary, UEP Penonomé II, the owner of the largest wind farm in Central America.
  • Advising Global Bank, as the agent, on the financing granted by Deutsche Bank to Acciona for the construction and equipment of the new Children’s Hospital in Panama City.