Energy and infrastructure in United Arab Emirates
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP is 'across all legal and commercial aspects of transactions, from big-picture issues down to the smallest but still important details of the documents'. It is a popular choice for lenders on major energy projects. Michael Diosi and Shaun Beaton advised the financiers of Acwa Power's successful bid for the the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, which uses concentrated solar power technology. Peter Timchur assists the lenders to a bidder for a 300MW photovoltaic project in Saudi Arabia. Duncan Macnab is another key contact - he handles work concerning some of the more challenging jurisdictions in the region. Bimal Desai, 'a master, with a great depth of experience in Middle Eastern finance transactions', acted for Salalah Methanol Company on the financing of an ammonia plant in the eponymous free zone in Oman. Judith Kim contributes oil and gas expertise - she and Sachin Karia advised the project sponsors of an oil refinery project in Oman's Duqm Special Economic Zone. Kim also assists Cepsa with an upstream exploration and production of several fields in Abu Dhabi. Senior associate Kyle Nevin is a notable name below partner level.
Ashurst LLP is 'approachable over any topic - it is willing to go the mile to assist, and at the heart of its culture is a strong client focus'. Joss Dare is advising the ArRiyadh Development Authority on procuring an operator for the Riyadh Metro - he 'literally knows everybody; his established network of contacts means he has go-to people for most areas'. David Charlier is assisting Dubai Electricity and Water Authority with procuring the fourth phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will use novel concentrated solar tower and storage technology. Charlier also advises DP World on its Berbera port project in Somaliland (which is de-facto independent but internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia), including the negotiation of the development agreement and also an agreement between DP World and the Somaliland government. The practice was bolstered by the recruitment of Matthew Wood, who brings a track record of energy and transport projects with him from White & Case LLP. The firm also has a track record in oil and gas: it advised OMV on its $1.5bn purchase of a 20% stake in two offshore oilfield concessions and their infrastructure, with counsel Yvonne Cross also having petrochemical expertise. Renad Younes is now at Shearman & Sterling LLP .
At Clifford Chance, Mohamed Hamra-Krouha, working with the firm's team in Riyadh, is advising Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Civil Aviation on the planned privatisation of five airports, including King Abdulaziz International Airport, a key airport for the Hajj. In the UAE itself, Richard Parris and Robin Abraham handle a range of renewables, water and conventional energy projects for stakeholders including financiers, contractors and sponsors. Andrej Kormuth joined Bracewell LLP in March 2019.
Dan Feldman, who handles energy projects work for banner clients, is a new partner promotion at Shearman & Sterling LLP. In oil and gas, Rodney Cannon and Matthew Powell advised Mubadala Petroleum on the purchase of an Egyptian concession from Eni for $934m - Powell also advised the client on numerous sales of interests in oilfields aggregating $7.9bn. Iain Elder, who divides his time between Abu Dhabi and London, is another notable name. Natural resources specialist Renad Younes is a new hire from Ashurst LLP: she 'puts her clients above everything - her insight from previous assignments and knowledge in the region is what makes clients choose her'.
White & Case LLP has 'a solid team at both partner and associate level'. Michael Watson, who handles water, education and energy projects, is 'unfailingly reliable, responsive and knowledgeable about the downstream oil and gas industry, having worked on some of its largest deals in the past few years'. Capital markets issuances for project finance are an area of expertise - Sean Johnson and Watson are advising a subsidiary of Adnoc on issuing bonds to generate revenue from its mid-stream infrastructure and to purchase the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline, which provides an alternative route for crude oil to the Strait of Hormuz. Saudi Aramco is a cornerstone client - Antoine Cousin advises it on the Fadhili co-generation project.
CMS handles a range of energy work, including a number of Iran-related mandates: it is 'able to provide not just Iranian legal advice, but also insights into the jurisprudence of the sector as well as market intelligence and strategic advice for establishing a presence in a politically respectful manner'. Amir Kordvani advises Unit International on a number of power projects in Iran, including two gas-fired power stations. Matthew Culver is another key contact for energy - he assisted Schulmberger with the extension of a synthetic working interest in several concessions in Morocco. Nicholas Kramer, who 'leads by example', acts for the government of Ras Al Khaimah on procuring a new wastewater system for the entire Emirate. Randall Walker handles energy-related disputes.
At Dentons, Jon Nash in Abu Dhabi advises RATP Dev on its maintenance contracts for the Riyadh Metro, and also handles energy projects for international project bidders. In Dubai, Mhairi Main Garcia, who joined from Ashurst in November 2017, handles renewables, transport and other projects. Stephen Knight joined from Allen & Overy LLP in March 2018; he has a track record in renewable energy, chemicals and healthcare projects.
DLA Piper Middle East LLP handles a range of work, frequently but not exclusively for Saudi project sponsors. Practice head Trevor Butcher, Keith Bullen and senior legal consultant Adam Haque advise Saudi Arabia Water & Electricity Company on the procurement of a water and energy generation plant in Jubail, which promises to be the world's largest desalination plant. On the transport side, Butcher assists Saudia Cargo with a new terminal project in Riyadh. Robert Harker, who joined from Bracewell LLP, is another notable name - his work includes advice to project lenders. Clients also include Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, which the team is acting for on a project concerning a brownfield site in Al Ghubrah, Muscat.
Latham & Watkins LLP' Villiers Terblanche advises Harbin Electric as a member of a consortium that has preferred bidder status for the Hassayan coal-fired power station project. Counsel Derek McKinley is assisting a consortium of sponsors with creating a waste-to-energy plant in Kuwait, the first in the country to be created via a public-private partnership.
Linklaters handles a range of projects in sectors as diverse as shipping and water treatment. Sarosh Mewawalla in Dubai and Nicholas Edwards in Abu Dhabi advised DP World on its purchase of Dubai Maritime City and Drydocks World from Dubai World. As far as work for financiers is concerned, Mewawalla is assisting the Saudi British Bank with a SAR1.1bn loan to the operator of the King Abdullah Port on Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast, and is acting for the syndicate of banks providing funds for the expansion of Dubai's airports. Ashley Halewood is a key managing associate.
At Eversheds Sutherland LLP, Karim Mahmud, who is dual-qualified to practise in England and Wales and Canada, relocated from the London office; he has expertise in a wide ambit of infrastructure matters, including those with a nexus to oil and gas, water, mining and social infrastructure. Clint Dempsey continues to be involved in renewables project finance - he led a cross-office team in the advice to Voltalia on financing the development of a 32MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Egypt. Elsewhere, the team is active in projects in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, among other markets. Iwan Walters leads on the firm's clean energy and sustainability work in the Middle East and North Africa, acting for clients such as utilities, banks, developers, and private equity and infrastructure funds. Walters was the lead adviser to an international consortium on a bid to develop the 400MW Dumat al Jandal wind project in Saudi Arabia. Paul Taylor, who has a focus on construction and engineering disputes, joined from Reed Smith. Tim Armsby and Gurmeet Kaur are now at Pinsent Masons LLP.
Hadef & Partners LLC
Hadef & Partners LLC's primary focus is advising on the "onshore" UAE law elements of projects, including IPP projects and others. James Farn handles project finance work among other matters, as does Alan Rodgers. Valeria Lysenko is also notable for project finance. On the oil and gas side, Michael Webb acts for, among others, Chinese clients.
At King & Spalding LLP, Tim Burbury advises the Dubai World Trade Centre on procuring district cooling for various parts of the EXPO 2020 site, and in a separate deal assisted the Jeddah Economic Company with procuring energy, water and district cooling for the Jeddah Economic City development. Robin Bayley was a new arrival from Shearman & Sterling LLP. Leroy Levy is now at Squire Patton Boggs and Usman Ahmad, previously a senior associate at the firm, is now in-house at Masdar.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP
At Trowers & Hamlins LLP, Martin Amison in Dubai has a track record advising government-backed project sponsors and notable experience handling Bahrain-related work.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP advises a number of clients, many of which are "Abu Dhabi Inc." entities, on energy and infrastructure projects. Highlights included advising Adwec on the Sweihan solar project. Marc Hammerson left for Stephenson Harwood's London office. Chadi Salloum joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in November 2019.
Al Tamimi & Company
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP has bolstered its projects team by hiring Tim Armsby and Gurmeet Kaur from Eversheds Sutherland LLP. The two advise the lenders to a consortium bidding for the 450 megalitre/day third phase of the Shuqiaiq water plant in Saudi Arabia. Amir Ahmad acts for Pakistan GasPort on the Port Qasim LNG port project in Karachi. Sachin Kerur is now at Reed Smith.
Squire Patton Boggs has a particular strength in advising government-backed clients across the region. Douglas Smith has rail megaproject expertise, while Shane Wilson separately advised the lenders to a consortium bidding for a reverse osmosis desalination plant. The practice also grew with the recruitment of Leroy Levy from King & Spalding LLP.