Projects and energy in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

With Savantha De Saram and Aloka Nandasena at the helm at D. L. & F. De Saram the team has substantial expertise in energy and infrastructure projects. The group frequently works alongside international law firms and has considerable prowess in the power sector (renewable and traditional energy, generation and distribution). The team also garners praise for its work in oil and gas, transport and utilities as well as the social infrastructure sector. It has been involved in some notable projects and is adept at advising on all aspects of a project from the preparation of concession agreements through to advising on the public procurement framework as well as the regulatory framework and licensing requirements. Associate Hansi Abayaratne is another key member of the department.

Other key lawyers:

Hansi Abayaratne

Key clients

Sugih Energy International Pte Ltd, Singapore

CMC Engineering Export GmbH of Melchers Group, Germany

Seoyoung Engineering Co., Ltd, South Korea

Bluesky Power (Private) Limited

China Harbour Engineering Company Limited

PowerchinaKunmingEngineering Corporation Limited

Octogona India Pvt Ltd

CCECC – HPRB – HNRBI Joint Venture (Private) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on a project to set up a petroleum refinery with a capacity of 21 MMTPA (420,000 barrels/day) at Hambantota for the export market, with the approval of BOI with an envisaged investment of $24bn.
  • Advised the client on a Feasibility Study for a Light Rail Transit Program that was proposed to be established by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development on a PPP basis.
  • Advised the client [ a consortium between GCL Intelligent Energy (Suzhou) Co. Limited of China, Windforce (Private) Ltd of Sri Lanka and Renewgen (Private) Limited of Sri Lanka] on a BOOT project for 300MW combined cycle power plant at Kerwalapitiya that was proposed by the Ceylon Electricity Board.

Nithya Partners

Nithya Partners is renowned for its expertise in project financing and has advised many clients on projects in the power and energy sector as well as on projects relating to telecommunications, transport and port development. It has acted for clients on a large number of independent power projects comprising HFO, diesel, LNG in addition to combined cycle and mini-hydro projects. The practice has an excellent reputation too for advising on disputes relating to infrastructure and project related transactions and has handled several infrastructure and project related arbitrations. Chanaka De Silva leads the practice and is highly regarded for his work on project financing matters.

Key clients

The Government of Sri Lanka

Iluka Resources Limited

Vidullanka PLC

Gazelle Ventures PTE LTD

Lakdhanavi Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Lakdhanavi Limited from the early stages of its bid and also represented the client in litigation in relation to the awarding of the contract for the Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant and it is now  advising the client in the ongoing negotiations with the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the funding agency, in finalising the project agreements to  achieve financial closure.
  • Advising the implementers of one of the pioneering Dendro projects in Sri Lanka from the initial structuring of the project, through to the  negotiation stages of the EPC and it is now advising it on the current implementation of the project.
  • Continuing to advise an Australian mining company on the Sri Lankan legal and other regulatory issues relating to its investment in Puttalam Mineral Sands Project – it has advised on matters relating to exchange control, mining rights and licensing issues.

Tiruchelvam Associates

Tiruchelvam Associates has an excellent team that advises both national and international clients on all aspects of infrastructure related projects. It is increasingly active in advising on projects involving the installation of rooftop solar power and is also adept at advising on PPP projects and on environmental legislation. Laila Nasry is a key figure in the group and receives plaudits for her energy and natural resources expertise. Nasry has considerable experience of advising on infrastructure and development related projects.  Senior associate Nirosha Peiris is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Laila Nasry


We are happy with the prompt services provided whenever required and the team will ensure that all the compliance requirement reports are submitted on time‘.

‘We have worked mostly with Ms. Nirosha Peiris, Senior Associate. She is articulate and very professional in her communication with us. When specific information is required, she ensures that the team at TA gets the work done and that we are able make timely decisions‘.

It is a highly responsible and friendly team that has the expertise to handle legal matters according to the requirements of our institution‘.

Heshika is a highly responsible employee who is very confident and passionate about her responsibility. I find it very easy and comfortable to work with her‘.

The firm was very responsive. From the first email we sent it. Not living in Sri Lanka yet, we thought communication would be difficult but the lawyers offered us Skype calls directly. We were able to talk easily and they are excellent advisers, always available and pleasant!‘.

We were lucky to work with Nirosha Peiris, Asanka Abeysekera, Heshika Rupasinghe, Ramani Muttettuwegama and Laila Nasry on how to structure a not-for-profit corporate entity. We are going through a very particular international crisis and we are happy to receive regular news of the situation in Colombo (economic, political and legal). The firm keeps us informed and we are grateful for that‘.


Key clients

Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka

PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of Sinopec Fuel Oil (Singapore) Co., Ltd

Pidilite Lanka (Private) Limited

Beijing Enterprises Water Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the electricity regulator on two separate projects. 1) Drafted guidelines for the PUCSL so as to better regulate and minimise issues arising from investigations concerning the tampering and/or alteration of the register of an electricity meter 2) Advised on the legal and regulatory framework concerning the issues arising from shifting and/or removal of electric lines/poles on public roads.
  • Conducted a high-level legal and regulatory compliance audit for Pidilite Lanka (Private) Limited on the activities of a joint venture Board of Investment approved Company in the manufacturing and trading sector.
  • Advised PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of Sinopec Fuel Oil (Singapore) Co., Ltd on the stringent regulatory requirements to carry out bunkering and oil storage services at the Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan)

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) continues to advise national and foreign clients on various large scale development projects, joint ventures, private-public partnerships and BOOT projects. It is skilled at advising on syndicated loans and all contracts relating to power projects. The practice has recently been active in advising on the shift towards renewable energy (especially wind power generation). Saravanan Neelakandan, Pranavan Neelakandan and Janani Rajeswara are the names to note.

Key clients

International Finance Corporate


Asian Development Bank

AES Corporation

WindForce (Pvt) Ltd

PowerGen Lanka (Pvt) Ltd

Hayleys PLC

Nirmalapura Wind Power (Pvt) Ltd

Serendib Flour Mills

China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (China)

Lanka Hotels & Residencies (Private) Limited NoTaisei Corporation of Japan

China National Technical Import & Export Corporation

Keangnam Corporation of Korea

Mustafa Group of Singapore

The Design Group Five International (Private) Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise Sojitz Kelanitissa Private Limited on a major project.
  • Advised China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation on the granting of an investment insurance to the Hong Kong-based major stakeholder China Merchants Holdings (International) Co. Ltd. for the $350m BOT project to develop a container dock project in the south of Colombo port.
  • Advised Serendib Flour Mills on the financing arrangements from a syndicate of banks for a term loan facility of Rs.1bn and $14.5m.