Keith Fullenweider > Vinson & Elkins LLP > Houston, United States > Lawyer Profile

Vinson & Elkins LLP
1001 FANNIN STREET
SUITE 2500
HOUSTON, TX 77002-6760
United States

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Finance > Project finance

Vinson & Elkins LLP is highly regarded for its expertise in handling finance mandates relating to energy and infrastructure projects. Kaam Sahely, who jointly heads the energy, transactions and projects department with John Connally, is advising Woodside Petroleum on its potential participation, as co-sponsor with Sempra, in the $10bn Port Arthur LNG project; he is also advising Gulf Coast Ammonia on the $800m development and project financing of a hydrogen-based ammonia production facility in Texas. Maritza Okata and Karen Smith in New York advised Tyr Energy, alongside Trina Chandler and Washington DC-based Katy Gottsponer, on the financing and development of the Hickory Run Energy Center, a natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Smith also advised Babson Capital Management on the $34.5m purchase of secured promissory notes issued by nine subsidiaries of Cypress Creek Renewables for the permanent financing of each issuer’s utility-scale tilt solar array project in North Carolina. Mark Spradling, Mark Brasher and Keith Fullenweider are also recommended, as are New York-based David Wicklund and John Grand in Dallas. Senior associate Simone King in New York is also a key figure, as is Eamon Nolan who joined in 2019 from Linklaters LLP. Named individuals are based in Houston unless stated otherwise. Former department co-head James Cuclis joined White & Case LLP in 2018.

United States > Industry focus > Energy: transactions: oil and gas

Primarily based in Houston, Vinson & Elkins LLP‘s ‘thorough, responsive, and engaged‘ practice group is ‘able to handle complex transactions in a down-to-earth manner and is really focused on getting deals done‘. Jointly headed by John Connally and Kaam Sahely, the team advises developers, pipeline and oil field services companies, commercial banks, export-credit agencies and private equity investors on the purchase, sale, development and financing of oil and gas assets and projects; the firm also has a formidable oil and gas regulatory practice. Douglas Bland and Mark Brasher advised Driftwood LNG and Tellurian on four fixed-price lump-sum turnkey agreements between Tellurian and Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, totaling $15.2bn, for the engineering, procurement and construction of Driftwood LNG, a liquefied natural gas export facility near Lake Charles, Louisiana. Also recommended are corporate head Keith FullenweiderDanielle PattersonBryan Loocke, who has ‘knowledge of everything in the oil and gas space, from basic concepts to complex mechanics‘, and Thomas Zentner, who has ‘built institutional knowledge that allows him to provide consistently insightful, comprehensive advice‘. Houston-based Jay Cuclis left for White & Case LLP and New York-based Mike Rosenwasser joined Baker Botts L.L.P.

United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Vinson & Elkins LLP remains the market leader in energy sector M&A. It is ‘very knowledgeable and responsive‘ and has ‘great market experience‘. In 2018, it advised RSP Permian on its sale to Concho Resources in an all-stock transaction valued at some $9.5bn; this was the the largest M&A deal in the oil and gas exploration and production sector since 2012, according to research outfit Wood Mackenzie. Beyond its Houston heartland, the firm has strong M&A teams in New York and Dallas. In a headline deal outside of the energy sector, the firm represented CYS Investments, an agency mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT), on its merger with Two Harbors Investment Corp, a leading hybrid mortgage REIT. The New York team was further enhanced by the arrival of John Kupiec from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, although the firm did lose a four partner team, including New York senior figure Mike Rosenwasser, to Baker Botts L.L.P.Keith Fullenweider heads the corporate practice, which includes M&A group co-head Matthew Strock and New York managing partner James Fox. Emerging names include Stephen Gill, who ‘has an extraordinary amount of experience in public company M&A matters that is very valuable‘, and Lande Spottswood who is ‘a very knowledgeable M&A and corporate partner‘. All partners are Houston-based unless stated otherwise.

United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > Private equity buyouts

Vinson & Elkins LLP continues to lead the way in energy industry private equity, and notably advises number of big-name buyout funds, as well as a growing number of financial sponsors. Major clients include Apollo Global Management, Blackstone Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs, KKR, Riverstone and TPG Capital. The team advised TPG Growth on its $1.2bn sale of Discovery Midstream to a newly-formed joint venture between KKR and Williams. It also advised Global Atlantic Financial Group on its $1.17bn acquisition of a 33% minority interest in Southern Power’s solar portfolio. Key names include corporate practice head Keith Fullenweider, who has advised the likes of TPG Capital, Blackstone and Crestview Partners. Co-head of the M&A group Matthew Strock and co-managing partner of the New York office James Fox are also prominent practitioners.