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Asia Guide

Energy & Natural Resources — Australia


Allens - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Market leader with considerable strength across the oil and gas, mining and utilities sectors. The firm is regularly sought out by major resources clients to assist with large-scale projects and complex commercial transactions. Further noted for the possession of extensive, hands-on experience of the energy and resources industries and for access to worldwide expertise through the Linklaters alliance.

Strengths  Clients frequently cite the team's status as "long-standing partners" as a great advantage, one interviewee noting that "they get the advice right and the quality is consistently there year on year thanks to their depth of knowledge of our business," and another speaking of "relationships cemented by the quality of the work they perform."

Referees are also impressed by the practice's "hard-working and practical-minded" approach, one stressing the provision of "pragmatic legal advice which is relevant to our business."

Work highlights  Advised the New South Wales Treasury on all aspects of its partial 99-year leases of the Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and TransGrid electricity transmission networks, in transactions with a total value of around AUD23 billion.

Represented Rio Tinto in the USD2.45 billion sale of Coal & Allied Industries to Yancoal Australia, part of the client's gradual divestment of its New South Wales thermal coal assets and a transaction involving complex shareholder and regulatory approval aspects.

Notable practitioners

Practice leader Anna Collyer is acknowledged by peers as a standout practitioner in the utilities space and identified by a client as an indispensable contributor to a recent transaction. Noted for her stewardship of complex energy projects and in-depth knowledge of the renewables sector, she advised AGL Energy on the establishment of its Powering Australian Renewables Fund, valued between AUD2 and 3 billion and developed as a means of financing large-scale projects across the country.

John Greig is a highly respected player in the energy space, offering particularly extensive experience of advising both government and private sector clients on major infrastructure developments. Especially active in the renewables sector, he advised Lyon Solar on an alliance with Magnetar Capital and the development of a number of solar and battery projects across Australia.

Igor Bogdanich commands the respect of peers as "a genuine mining lawyer," while referees characterise him as a "seasoned, strategic, responsive and astute partner with detailed industry and regional knowledge," particularly where the Mongolian or Chinese markets are concerned. He represented Newcrest Mining in the sale of its interest in the Hidden Valley gold mine in Papua New Guinea to joint venture partner Harmony Gold.

Erin Feros heads the firm's mining group and brings over 30 years' experience of advising leading industry players on their transactions. One interviewee, who stresses the consistent quality of her counsel, notes: "I think very highly of Erin." She acted for Fitzroy QLD Resources in its acquisition of Vale's 90% interest in the Carborough Downs metallurgical coal joint venture.

Utilities specialist Andrew Mansour is acknowledged by peers as a prominent figure in the New South Wales electricity sphere and is praised by a client as an "acute, commercial and responsive lawyer with excellent interpersonal skills." He acted for Goldwind in its successful AUD110 million bid for the Stockyard Hill wind farm project in Victoria.

Gerard Woods headed the team advising CITIC on both commercial and contentious issues - including an extensively reported dispute with Clive Palmer's Mineralogy company - arising from its USD10 billion investment in Western Australia's Sino Iron Project. Peers "have a lot of time for him," recognising him as a true mining specialist, while a client singles him out as "well worth mentioning as a very good lawyer."

Richard Malcolmson attracts highly positive feedback from mining sector clients, one describing him as an adviser who "knows the industry and our assets very well and gives us comfort in complex transactions," while another praises his "very client-focused" approach and commitment to "making sure everyone is on the same page." He led the team advising Genesee & Wyoming Australia's AUD1.1 billion acquisition of Glencore Rail and with it near-exclusive rights to the haulage of coal from Glencore's Hunter Valley mines to the Port of Newcastle.

Department profile by Allens

Energy, Resources and Infrastructure has been a long-standing flagship practice group within Allens, and continues to lead the firm's sector approach with our energy and resources team true specialists within key sectors of the Australian economy. Our global alliance with Linklaters enables us to provide first class expertise across the mining, oil and gas and utilities sectors in all relevant jurisdictions.

We have a well-established client base with long standing clients such as Rio Tinto, Glencore, Newcrest Mining, ExxonMobil, AGL, TransGrid, Mitsui and regulatory bodies such as the Australian Energy Market Commission.

Our team has an in-depth understanding of the energy and resources industry with specialists in electricity, oil and gas industry regulation, mining, competition policy, environmental regulation, industrial relations, project finance, corporate restructuring, privatisation and corporatisation. We have commodity-specific expertise in the challenges facing the development of iron ore, coal, copper, gold, nickel and other metal and mineral resources across Australia and Asia, including mine development and operations, sales and marketing. In addition, we have dedicated practitioners focusing on the Oil & Gas sector, with specialists with experience in all aspects of LNG and floating LNG projects, as well as coal seam gas and shale gas projects. We also draw on the expertise of lawyers in other groups within the firm for areas such as financing or taxation.

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Ashurst - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Front-running team, renowned for its representation of leading multinationals on nationwide energy and resources mandates. Also noted for its adroit handling of cross-border matters, frequently exploiting the resources of the Ashurst global network, and for cost-effective employment of new document management technologies.

Strengths  Sources praise both the team's extensive range of sector knowledge and its geographical reach, one client speaking of "good expertise across various practice areas," and another noting: "I was very impressed by their management of so many complex issues across multiple jurisdictions."

The practice also receives high marks for its "very prompt and attentive service," one interviewee reporting: "The whole Ashurst team was cohesive and focused on getting the best outcome for the client."

Work highlights  Acted for IFM Investors and AustralianSuper on all aspects of their acquisition of a 50.4% stake in a 99-year lease of the country's largest electricity distribution network, Ausgrid, a deal valued at AUD20.7 billion and reported to have been Australia's largest M&A transaction of 2016.

Represented mineral sands miner Iluka Resources on its AUD375 million acquisition of Sierra Leone-based Sierra Rutile, a transaction requiring the exploitation of Ashurst expertise, not only in Sydney and Perth, but also in London and Germany.

Notable practitioners

Michael Harrison acts across the energy and resources spectrum, offering well-honed expertise in the utilities space, lately advising New Energy in the AUD450 million development of two pioneering waste-to-energy projects in Western Australia. One client says of him: "He understands the basis of every point - commercial, legal and technical - and the best thing is he takes everyone with him; no ego, no grandstanding, just outcomes."

Matthew Bubb is a noteworthy addition to the team, being the global head of the firm's utilities practice, with extensive experience of advising on conventional and renewable energy infrastructure projects across South-East Asia and, most recently, in Japan. Sources report that he is "widely seen as a go-to guy," citing in particular his breadth of sector knowledge and excellent network of regional contacts. He is further characterised as "commercial and good to work with."

Paul Newman is well regarded by both peers and clients, one of the latter singling him out for his "expert knowledge base, good commercial awareness and good client service." Active in the energy sector since the 1990s and handling both electricity and gas-related mandates, he advised Edify Energy on the development of three utility-scale solar PV farms and associated Australian Renewable Energy Agency funding aspects.

Peers rate Peter Vaughan as "a great practitioner whom clients like and top-quality clients go to," one such client confirming that he is "extremely knowledgeable, covers both the commercial and legal aspects of agreements superbly and is a pleasure to work with." He co-heads Ashurst's global oil and gas practice and advised Oil Search on its LNG-related operations in Papua New Guinea.

Peter Limbers stands out for his expert handling of transactional and regulatory mandates in the utilities sector, advising on both electricity and gas-related issues. He played a key role in the representation of IFM Investors and AustralianSuper in their acquisition of a controlling interest in a 99-year lease of Ausgrid.

Global co-head of mining Lorenzo Pacitti is identified as "a really good resources lawyer" by clients and acknowledged by peers as a stalwart of the mining sector. He acts as lead adviser to BHP Billiton on its Australian iron ore business, including the development of its South Flank project in Western Australia.

Department profile by Ashurst

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Herbert Smith Freehills - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Substantial and impressive team, offering specialist expertise in all practice sub-areas and regularly engaged by blue-chip clients. Further noted for its provision of full life-cycle support to energy and resources projects and full engagement with both transactional and operational issues.

Strengths  The team's place at the top of the market is explicitly endorsed by commentators, interviewees employing such notably similar expressions as "dominant in the space with excellent practitioners in all areas" and "unquestionably at the top, with go-to partners."

Client service is also highlighted, one interviewee commenting: "I have had good experiences with Herbert Smith Freehills in this respect for years."

Work highlights  Advised AGL Energy on project development and debt finance aspects of its Powering Australian Renewables Fund partnership to develop, own and manage some 1,000 MW of renewable energy assets.

Acted for Mitsui Matsushima with regard to its joint venture with with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to fund exploration activity in Queensland's Eastern Coal project tenement as part of JOGMEC's programme to secure high-quality coal from various international sources for the Japanese domestic market.

Notable practitioners

Stuart Barrymore is acclaimed by an interviewee as "a great practitioner at the top of his game and a great guy to deal with" in the oil and gas sector. He advises on the full range of transactional and operational issues in this sphere, including acquisitions, divestments, pipeline development, commodity sales and regulatory questions.

Jay Leary is Herbert Smith Freehills' global head of mining and is admired by peers as a partner who is "firmly in harness driving that practice," while clients appreciate him as a "particularly commercial, pragmatic and solutions-oriented partner who understands the business." He acts regularly for BHP Billiton and is also noted for his knowledge of the Indian resources scene.

Robert Merrick co-heads the firm's global energy group and commands great respect as a lawyer who is "making the practice really strong" in Australia. Prominent in both oil and gas and utilities matters, he advised Origin Energy on an extensive asset divestment programme, involving the sale of pipeline, conventional electricity and wind farm infrastructure with a total value of some AUD445 million.

Utilities specialist David Ryan assists clients on both transactional and project development issues, lately acting as the practice's lead adviser to IFM Investors and AustralianSuper in respect of their successful unsolicited proposal to secure the Ausgrid lease. He receives high praise from a referee who characterises him as a "cool, calm and collected lawyer and great negotiator" who is "able to make the complex and legalistic simple and understandable."

Brisbane-based Ian Williams brings to the table extensive experience of advising North Asian clients on transactional mandates in the Australian energy and resources space. Particularly adept where mining-related deals are concerned, he acted as lead partner representing Mitsui Matsushima in respect of its joint involvement with JOGMEC in the funding of exploration activity in the Eastern Coal project tenement in Queensland.

Department profile by Herbert Smith Freehills

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King & Wood Mallesons - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 1

第一等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Respected offering with substantial bench strength across the oil and gas, utilities and mining spectrum. Renowned not only for its work throughout Australia but also for its handling of impressive regional and global mandates, its China-related capability being especially strong. Also notable for a raising of its profile on the African resources scene and in the Australian renewables sector.

Strengths  Interviewees frequently refer to the practice's possession of "exceptionally skilled lawyers" who are also "very commercially minded."

Compliments are also paid to the team's "very attentive" focus on detail and ability to communicate the most significant results of this scrutiny to clients without loss of turnaround time. As one client puts it, "they were very good at keeping the matter moving forward and making sure that I was getting my attention brought to everything. I never had to chase them for anything."

Work highlights  Advised the CIOH consortium - a grouping of leading Chinese resources, investment and infrastructure players - on its involvement, as a 41.3% joint venture partner, in the development and funding of the multibillion-dollar Simandou iron ore project in the Republic of Guinea.

Acted for Mitsui E&P Australia in its AUD520 million purchase of a 35% stake in the Kipper gas field off the Victorian coast, a transaction involving the co-ordination of King & Wood Mallesons expertise in Australia, China and Singapore.

Notable practitioners

Vishal Ahuja is acclaimed by peers as "one of the real standouts" in the utility space and as a possessor of "real market expertise," while clients appreciate his strong reputation and close attention to detail. He played a leading role advising Origin Energy on the development of its AUD220 million Darling Downs Solar Farm.

Louis Chiam is a highly respected practitioner in the utilities space, particularly experienced in the handling of matters for Chinese clients, renewable energy-related deals and advising on regulatory questions. He co-headed the team assisting Cheung Kong Infrastructure on its AUD7.3 billion acquisition of the DUET Group and its portfolio of Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian power and gas distribution networks.

Mining specialist Robert Edel is a highly visible practitioner in his sphere, with a particularly strong reputation where project development, infrastructure and inbound investment mandates are concerned. He co-led the practice's representation of the CIOH consortium regarding its involvement in the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

Scott Langford returns to the rankings after a period as general counsel to a leading mining company, bringing with him some 30 years' experience in the sector and a widespread market reputation as a "brilliant practitioner" with a "really good pedigree." He headed the team advising Alumina on the highly complex renegotiation with Alcoa of the terms governing their running of the world's largest bauxite and alumina joint business, Alcoa World Alumina & Chemicals.

Alan Murray is a prominent actor in both the mining and oil and gas sectors, widely respected by market sources as a "quality practitioner" and identified by a client as "always a strong performer." He played a key role in the representation of Mitsui E&P Australia in its multi-jurisdictional, AUD520 million acquisition of a 35% stake in the Kipper gas field.

Nicholas Pappas specialises in transactional matters in the mining sector, securing recognition as a "great lawyer" from market sources. Regularly engaged by Glencore, he advised this resources giant on the AUD880 million sale of a 30% stake in the Ernest Henry gold and copper mine in Queensland.

Robert Jackson is noted for his focus on mining sector transactions, covering not only mergers and acquisitions and deals concerning the development of the mines themselves, but also those involving related port and rail infrastructure. He is a long-standing adviser to clients including ports and coal export terminals as well as mine operators.

Practice head Craig Rogers is a well-regarded practitioner in the oil and gas sphere, but is notably active across the energy and resources spectrum, often being associated with infrastructure developments in the various practice area subsectors. He acted for the SEA Gas Mortlake partnership with regard to its AUD245 million acquisition from Origin of the pipeline supplying gas to the open cycle turbines at Mortlake Power Station.

Department profile by King & Wood Mallesons

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Clayton Utz - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Well-regarded practice, advising government and corporate clients on a range of matters associated with their energy and resources requirements, notably addressing regulatory, contentious and project development issues alongside transactional support. Offers comprehensive coverage of all Australian jurisdictions and valued by international clients across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond as an independent source of Australia-specific expertise.

Strengths  The team's "attentive and supportive" understanding of the inner workings of its clients' organisations and provision of staffing and service "appropriate to the operating style of the client" is emphasised particularly frequently by interviewees, one reporting: "They know a lot about our operations; it's easy to go to someone who knows the background."

The practice's all-round excellence also secures enthusiastic endorsements from a number of sources. "I'm impressed by the quality of the advice, which is always on time. I've no reason to look elsewhere," says one, while another, citing "technical ability, depth of resources, quality of work and client service," concludes: "They are recognised as the go-to firm for my company. I would not hesitate to recommend them."

Work highlights  Acted for the AUD24 billion Australia Pacific LNG project in respect of a dispute with the US-based Tri-Star Group over coal seam gas tenements sold to APLNG in 2002 and from which Tri-Star subsequently claimed a substantial reversion of interest.

Advised a number of offshore resources sector clients on their acquisitions of various assets from Anglo-American's Australian metallurgical coal portfolio.

Notable practitioners

Emma Covacevich is characterised by one client as an "oil and gas lawyer with a deep understanding of joint venture, revenue and infrastructure agreements," and she is praised for "consistently providing high-quality legal advice, which takes into account the commercial context." She advised Hydro Tasmania on claims arising from the outage of the Basslink undersea transmission cable connecting Tasmania to the Australian mainland.

Practice head Stuart MacGregor is especially noted for his mining expertise and is also active in the oil and gas sector, frequently acting on significant cross-border mandates in both areas. He headed the team acting for Adani Abbot Point Operations in its acquisition from Glencore of Abbot Point Bulk Coal, effectively completing the Adani Group's ownership of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal.

Brett Cohen is explicitly singled out by peers as a "solid up-and-comer" with a recognised profile on the Western Australian mining scene, and clients view him as a valuable source of "practical and pragmatic advice" who "understands our business very well and never under-delivers." He advised Tianqi Lithium Australia on all aspects of the development of its AUD400 million lithium hydroxide processing plant at Kwinana, designed to support the expansion of the Greenbushes lithium mine.

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Corrs Chambers Westgarth - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Full-service, independent practice offering noteworthy expertise on large-scale energy and resources matters and frequently active on inbound investment mandates for international clients. Particularly prominent in the mining and oil and gas sectors and significantly expanding its coverage of the Papua New Guinea market.

Strengths  The team's "deep understanding of the resources sector" is emphasised by a number of interviewees, one speaking of "such a good depth of knowledge and understanding of the industry; they know who's who in the market."

The practice is also said to deliver "good, solid advice from genuine people who are nice to deal with," while another contributor adds that "the seamless manner in which the team operates makes it particularly user-friendly and effective."

Work highlights  Advised investment bank Macquarie on its acquisition from Santos of a 50% interest in the onshore Mereenie oil and gas project in the Northern Territory's Amadeus Basin.

Acted for ASX-listed Gold Road on its AUD350 million sale of a 50% interest in the Gruyere gold project to South Africa-based Gold Fields, a transaction which simultaneously funded Gold Road's further development of the Gruyere project and the exploration of adjacent tenements.

Notable practitioners

Peter Jarosek is acknowledged by market commentators as a major asset of this practice and a highly respected negotiator in transactional discussions. Principally focused on deals in the oil and gas sector, he assisted Woodside Energy in its USD400 billion acquisition, of half of BHP Billiton's holdings in Western Australia's Scarborough gas field.

Michael MacGinley heads the department and is active on both mining and oil and gas-related mandates, one interviewee identifying him as an "accessible and responsive" partner who is "very experienced in Queensland resource law and energy transactions." He is also cited for his "unparalleled depth of knowledge of the mining industry" by a referee who "couldn't sing his praises highly enough," stressing in particular his skill in "finding a path through complexity."

Bruce Adkins receives extremely enthusiastic commendation for his work on mining and mining infrastructure-related mandates, one referee singling him out as "particularly impressive in orchestrating the involvement of all the team members," while another, who identifies him as "our primary go-to for this kind of work," reports: "He listens to what we want, handles things exceptionally well and the quality of his work is excellent. I wouldn't think of going anywhere else." He acted for MACH Energy in its AUD320 million acquisition from Rio Tinto of the Mount Pleasant Coal Project.

Paul Careless advises extensively on transactional mandates in the energy and resources sector, offering particularly noteworthy expertise where joint venture formations and oil and gas deals are concerned. He served as a key member of the team advising PPB Advisory in connection with the liquidation of Bandanna Energy.

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MinterEllison - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 2

第二等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Respected team, particularly noted for its representation of global mining houses, leading regional oil and gas players and electricity companies across Australia, in addition to government agencies at both state and Commonwealth level. Assists clients on both transactional and operational mandates, covering the full life-cycles of their projects, from initial exploration and financing, through operation, regulation and contentious issues to disposal.

Strengths  The team's overall quality is underlined by a client who reports "a superb depth of knowledge across all fields. Proactive in their approach, they are genuine partners in our business."

Particular strength in the utilities space is stressed by an interviewee who opines that "the Minters energy team is very good from a supply and consumption perspective."

Work highlights  Acted for Anglo American in the ongoing divestment of its Australian coal mining assets, assisting specifically in the sale of the Callide, Dartbrook, Foxleigh and Drayton mines to Batchfire Resources, Australian Pacific Coal, a Taurus Fund Management consortium and Malabar Coal respectively.

Advised the Queensland government on all aspects of the merger of Ergon Energy and Energex, including legislative, corporate establishment and due diligence issues. The merged entity - Energy Queensland - has a reported value of AUD24 billion.

Notable practitioners

Mark Carkeet stands out as a "very, very good technical lawyer" and a renowned specialist in electricity law in general and electricity regulation in particular, one source observing that "his expertise is without question." He led the team advising the Queensland government and its Treasury Corporation on the AUD24 billion creation of Energy Queensland through the merger of Ergon Energy and Energex.

Simon Scott is a "very well-regarded practitioner," acknowledged for his "very able and adaptable" handling of mining matters. One interviewee, who also calls him "pragmatic and very good at details," maintains that "his knowledge of the area is second to none." He acted as the practice's chief adviser to Anglo American in respect of the divestment of its Australian coal holdings.

Allison Warburton wins peer admiration as a specialist in the energy space. A highly appreciative client observes: "She's very good technically, but her strength lies in her strategic and tactical nous: she can moderate her style to fit different settings and can play the negotiator or the technocrat in equal measure." Further noted for her expertise on clean energy and climate change issues, she advised SolarQ on the development of its AUD2 billion solar farm at Gympie in Queensland.

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Allen & Overy LLP - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Well-recognised offering with impressive international reach, conferred by its integrated global network, handling key transactions for household-name players in all practice area subsectors. Offers specialised expertise on resources project finance and development matters in African jurisdictions, and is equipped to provide support on contentious, transactional and operational issues both domestically and overseas.

Strengths  The practice's combination of a high level of local and regional recognition with a "significant global presence" is a key asset in the eyes of interviewees, one of whom observes that "Allen & Overy's excellent reputation in this area provides gravitas to our company's position."

Detailed sector knowledge is another frequently cited quality, referees variously citing such assets as the "good depth of experience within the resources industry" and the "good handle on what is going on in the energy market."

Work highlights  Acted for Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises on its successful bid - reported to have been in the region of AUD4.1 billion - for the entire issued share capital of gas and electricity retailer Alinta Energy, a transaction effected in competition with a simultaneously running proposed IPO.

Represented mining-specialised private equity house EMR Capital on its AUD210 million acquisition of the Golden Grove copper, zinc, lead and precious metals mine in Western Australia from MMG subsidiary Album Investments.

Notable practitioners

Angus Jones enjoys widespread peer respect as an influential market player with a long and impressive track record in the energy and resources space, one interviewee calling him "experienced and capable across a broad range of M&A work and general oil and gas matters." He oversaw the practice's representation of GLX Holdings with regard to its development of an innovative platform for the online trading of liquefied natural gas.

Practice leader Geoff Simpson is valued by clients as an "excellent communicator and trusted, easy to deal with service provider," while peers respect him as a "quality practitioner." Well known for his handling of mining and other resources deals with complex cross-jurisdictional aspects, he advised Mumbai-headquartered Hindalco Industries with regard to Metals X's takeover of Hindalco's majority owned Aditya Birla Minerals and, subsequently, Hindalco's disposal of its own 6.8% stake in Metals X.

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Baker McKenzie - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  A compact practice, backed by a global international network, the team offers especially impressive expertise in matters involving renewable energy projects in general, and infrastructure-related transactions in particular. Also acts prominently on deals in the mining and oil and gas arenas and noted for its enviable roster of investor and international and domestic energy and resources corporate clients.

Strengths  The team's "very strong market position in the Australian clean energy sector" is its key differentiator in the eyes of a number of interviewees, one of whom calls it "the star of the market for renewables."

The worldwide Baker McKenzie network is also identified as a major advantage by sources, one referee observing: "If I have a client needing help anywhere, they can find me someone," while another reports: "Baker McKenzie is able to combine the elements of international experience with strong local expertise."

Work highlights  Acted as sponsor counsel to Neoen Australia in respect of the project development and financing aspects of the establishment of three solar projects - Parkes, Dubbo and Griffith - in New South Wales. The projects, part-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Authority, had a combined value in excess of AUD230 million.

Acted for Byerwen Coal on all aspects - including lease applications, infrastructure development and interactions with affected third parties - of the development of the AUD2 billion Byerwen Coal Project in Queensland's Bowen Basin.

Notable practitioners

Paul Curnow heads the Baker McKenzie Asia-Pacific renewable energy practice and is lauded by one referee as an "outstanding professional in this space, with a global reputation." He is further characterised as a lawyer who "understands exactly what is at stake in a transaction" and who, "through his strong knowledge of the sector and relationships with key individuals, is able to minimise roadblocks and advise on practical solutions to problems." He advised Neoen Australia on a number of recent mandates, including its disposal of minority interests in two components of the Hornsdale wind farm project to John Laing Investments.

Practice head Chris Saxon is a "standout practitioner" in the practice area, regularly complimented for thoughtful application of the benefits of many years' experience in the energy sector to his work. He took the lead role in the practice's provision of due diligence and transactional documentation support to Chow Tai Fook in its AUD4 billion acquisition of Alinta Energy.

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Gilbert + Tobin - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Well-regarded group maintaining a significant presence on large-scale mining and oil and gas mandates. Experienced in assisting both domestic and international clients on a variety of transactional, regulatory and investment issues. Particularly well known for in-depth familiarity with the global mining scene and especially noteworthy experience of advising on African products. The practice also advises extensively on access to resources-related port and rail infrastructure.

Strengths  A number of contributors identify a readiness to go beyond conventional expectations where customer service is concerned as a defining characteristic of the team. One source states: "They have a client-centric culture and their forward-looking approach to the delivery of legal services is an element which sets them apart." Another contributor concurs, opining that "G+T are more approachable and client-driven, more commercial and less 'black-letter'."

The practice's "reasonable, pragmatic and practical approach" also has a wide appeal. One referee who reports: "They're very good, very efficient and stick to their brief," concludes: "I'll be looking to use them more in the future."

Work highlights  Advised Gold Fields Australia regarding its AUD350 million acquisition from Gold Road Resources of a 50% interest in the Gruyere Gold Project in Western Australia, a mandate involving assistance with joint venture, royalty and access arrangements.

Assisted the Papua New Guinea government and its national oil company, Kumul Petroleum Holdings, on a thorough reorganisation and regulatory overhaul of its oil and gas sector, with a view to rebalancing state involvement and encouraging inbound investment.

Notable practitioners

Practice leader Michael Blakiston commands immense respect from peers and clients, both as a "fantastic, very commercially astute lawyer with diverse experience across the board" and, more specifically, for "huge African experience" in the mining space. A veteran of transactions in over 50 countries, roughly half of which are in Africa, he lately advised Syrah Resources on its USD250 million Balama graphite mining project in Mozambique, in particular those aspects governing the capacity of the government to influence the enterprise.

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Johnson Winter & Slattery - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Deep bench in a core practice area for this firm, with a broad national footprint, specialist expertise across energy and resources and a particularly high reputation in the oil and gas sphere. The team also assists clients with large-scale power and mining projects and is highly experienced in advising on acquisitions and divestments, joint venture formations, regulatory questions and access arrangements.

Strengths  Sources opine that this is a practice which "has real depth in this space and is taken very seriously," one contributor identifying "significant experience and deep thinking" as two of its most important assets.

The firm's staffing policy also receives high marks, one interviewee reporting: "The way they resource a file is fit for purpose: there's a lot of partner time, but the associates have similar skill sets and there's no training on your dime - it's a very efficient approach."

Work highlights  Advised Cooper Energy on its acquisitions of substantial interests in Santos's Victorian gas field portfolio, a mandate including assistance with securing the funding supporting the transactions, which have a total value of around AUD220 million.

Acted for United Energy Distribution in its dealings with the Australian Energy Regulator concerning the latter's electricity distribution determination for the client's Victorian operations in the period 2016 to 2020. This included representing United Energy in merits review application proceedings in the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Notable practitioners

Peter Rose"has some of the broadest and deepest hands-on experience in the oil and gas space across Australia" and acts extensively on transactional and regulatory matters in both that sphere and the broader energy sector, winning further praise as an "excellent energy lawyer who remains calm and helpful in driving forward practical, commercial solutions to very thorny and complex issues." His recent clients include Beach Energy and Origin Energy.

Michael Dulaney is acknowledged as a partner of "real depth" in oil and gas matters, especially respected for his long and varied experience in the sector. In addition to his specialist knowledge of both the transactional and operational aspects of large-scale LNG projects, he also offers experience of deals in the renewables space.

Adelaide-based Anthony Groom is an extremely versatile, highly regarded practitioner, active in all sectors of the practice area, but especially well known for his knowledge of utilities and oil and gas-related issues. In the former sphere he acts prominently on infrastructure, connection and retail matters and on power purchase agreements.

James Marshall is acknowledged by market sources as a prominent practitioner of oil and gas matters and acts on a variety of transactional mandates in that space, lately co-heading the team advising Cooper Energy on a series of strategic gas field acquisition deals involving assets in Santos's Victorian portfolio.

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Norton Rose Fulbright - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 3

第三等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Substantial Australian arm of a global practice with significant capacity to advise on both domestic and international energy and resources projects. The team acts in all sectors for public and private operators, regulators and investors, covering transactional, contentious and operational matters which frequently have cross-border aspects. The team is increasing its involvement in Papua New Guinea and accessing fresh expertise through Norton Rose Fulbright's combinations with other firms.

Strengths  Sources appreciate the firm's membership of an international network, valuing the practice's combination of "having strength in Australia" and a "deep understanding of the sector and of changes in market conditions" with an "ability to tap global market precedent."

Referees also express high satisfaction with the practice's work "across the board," one contributor citing "high-quality work product, depth of resources, knowledge of the market, management of the matter and flexibility in adjusting to changes in the scope of the work."

Work highlights  Advised an Enel Green Power and Dutch Infrastructure Fund consortium on its purchase from Reach Solar Energy of the 275 MW Bungala Solar PV project in South Australia, a transaction involving Australian, Dutch, Italian and Spanish components and correspondingly complex administrative and regulatory aspects.

Acted for BP International in respect of its AUD1.8 billion acquisition of Woolworths' retail fuel distribution business and infrastructural network, comprising some 543 sites across Australia.

Notable practitioners

Practice co-head Keira Brennan stands out for her "really deep understanding" of the mining sector in general and for "her expertise in the area of rail infrastructure" in particular, sources also citing her "practical and effective advice" and "excellent ability to explain complex legal terms to non-lawyers." She led the team advising five prominent coal mining companies in dispute with Aurizon over conditions of access to rail infrastructure serving the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.

Practice co-leader and the firm's global head of energy Simon Currie is recognised both as "an outstanding thought leader in the energy sector" on the international stage and as "a sure guide in Australia for project financing and M&A issues" in the same space. He co-headed the team advising government trustee Kumul Consolidated Holdings on the development of the AUD4 billion Ramu 2 Hydropower Project in Papua New Guinea.

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Clifford Chance - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Australian component of a high-profile, international firm, frequently utilising its global network in support of significant cross-border mandates for leading multinationals. Acts on the full range of practice area issues, offering specialist expertise on the international arbitration of energy and resources sector disputes, commodity trading issues and renewables projects.

Strengths"Quality advice and individuals" are identified as the key strengths of the Clifford Chance offering in this sphere, one referee speaking of "commercially appropriate, timely, well-considered advice that has assisted us to close complex transactions on an accelerated schedule."

The practice's establishment of "strong relationships" with its clients also attracts highly favourable comment, one source testifying: "They know and understand our business and legal needs, and their broad market knowledge also assists in getting the outcomes we seek."

Work highlights  Acted for French mining multinational Eramet on the development of the Weda Bay nickel project in Indonesia, including agreements with China-based steelmaker, the Tsingshan Group. The mandate involved exploitation of Clifford Chance expertise in London, Hong Kong and Shanghai as well as in Perth.

Advised Norddeutsche Landesbank on its role as sole debt financier in the development, in North Queensland, of Australia's first major integrated solar and storage project.

Notable practitioners

Paul Lingard stands out for expertise across the energy and resources spectrum, being noted as an especially "strong performer" in the mining and utilities spheres and lately acting for Western Australia's state-owned electricity distributor with regard to the transfer of its statutory functions to the Australian Energy Market Operator. One referee says of him: "His understanding of our company’s needs is a real asset, and a definite strength is his getting straight to the point and being able to work with variable deal terms within tight timeframes."

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DLA Piper Australia - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Offers a high cross-border capability, facilitated by the integrated nature of DLA Piper's global network. Particularly noted for its mining expertise, growing capability in the renewables space, familiarity with regulatory issues in the energy sector and experience in the management of high-level, cross-jurisdictional contentious matters.

Strengths  The team's good business sense is identified as a significant asset, one source reporting: "We lean very heavily on DLA Piper's highly capable and extremely commercial abilities in the structuring of quite challenging transactions."

The practice is also applauded for attentively "taking on board client feedback and preferences, ensuring availability and being very responsive to urgent matters." It also operates in a highly collaborative manner, one interviewee appreciatively noting: "They work with us and together we figure out how to get it done."

Work highlights  Advised the Australian Renewable Energy Agency on its AUD100 million funding of 12 major solar PV projects in New South Wales and Queensland, including the pioneering Whitsunday solar farm, which is one of the first such projects to be developed on a greenfield site.

Advised RATCH-Australia Collinsville Solar on the project and financing documents and sponsor due diligence for the development of a 42.5 MW AC solar photovoltaic power plant in Collinsville, Queensland.

Notable practitioners

Perth-based Alex Jones and Stephen Webb in Brisbane co-head the practice and are key contacts.

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Jackson McDonald - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Long-established profile and substantial presence in the Western Australian market. A go-to team for household names from the mining, and oil and gas sectors, advising on both onshore and offshore transactions, and expanding its coverage of the renewables sector. Also offers impressive skills in relation to regulatory matters, drawing on its involvement in the development of state energy legislation to advise on reforms to the provision of gas and electricity.

Strengths  The practice is identified as a "heavy hitter" in Western Australia, thanks to its "great understanding of both state and national jurisdictional requirements, trends and legal issues and ability to provide interpretations and guidance to mitigate risks to a business."

The team's comprehensive sector coverage is also praised, referees citing "the depth of technical knowledge in the power generation and gas markets" and its "knowledge of corporate issues" at both general and individual project level in the mining sector.

Work highlights  Advised leading Indonesian mining company AMNT on the negotiation of a AUD190 million deal with Australian mining services provider Macmahon Contractors; the former would sell mining equipment to and gain a 44% stake in the latter, in return for which Macmahon would receive a life-of-mine contract to service the Batu Hijau copper-gold mine, the second largest in Indonesia.

Advised the Western Australian government on a reform of its Wholesale Electricity Market Rules, replacing the system whereby the market operator was also the rulemaker with a new structure in which the latter function is devolved to an independent Rule Change Panel.

Notable practitioners

Joint practice head Matthew Bowen is simultaneously recognised as a "stalwart of the utilities space" and an "indomitable practitioner" in the oil and gas sphere, and praised for "outstanding technical knowledge" of both markets by an interviewee who also highlights the care he takes "to explain complex legal issues" to his clients. Much of his recent work was for the Western Australian government's Public Utilities Office in connection with substantial reforms in electricity market regulation.

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Jones Day - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Compact Australian team, fully connected to a worldwide network and focusing on the handling of transactional mandates for prominent public and private sector players - including corporates, government bodies and infrastructure developers - in all practice area subsectors. Also offers notable expertise on regulatory and competition issues arising in the energy and resources sphere.

Strengths  Sources prize Jones Day highly for a combination of factors, those most salient in the feedback being its "international reputation" and readily accessible global resources, its provision of "great legal knowledge coupled with practical legal advice," and its "efficiency and effectiveness of service."

Work highlights  Advised Peabody Energy, both on the restructuring of its US operations and on the impact of these changes on its Australian coal mining subsidiary.

Acted for AusNet in making representations to the Australian Competition Tribunal concerning rate of return rulings laid down by the Australian Energy Regulator and placing limitations on the income AusNet is permitted to earn in the ensuing five years.

Notable practitioners

Andrew Smith is recognised by peers as "one of the most respected oil and gas practitioners in the country" and valued by clients for his blend of in-depth technical knowledge with pragmatic counsel. An experienced handler of M&A, project financing and supply transactions in the industry, he advised junior gas explorer Central Petroleum on its takeover by the Macquarie Group by means of a contingent value notes structure not previously employed in Australia.

Tony Wassaf both heads the practice and maintains his position as a widely respected operator in the mining sphere, one referee lauding him as a "responsive and always commercial" provider of a "fantastic, first-class, professional service." Best known for his transactional expertise, he also acts on contentious issues, lately advising Highlands Pacific on a dispute with joint venture partner PanAust over the Frieda River copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea.

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McCullough Robertson - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 4

第四等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Established presence on the East Coast with a long-standing, in-depth relationship with the Queensland coal sector and a rising profile in the representation of other extractive industries and of players in the renewable energy market. Offers a full, 'pit to port' service to domestic and international clients on large-scale projects from transactional matters to related environmental, health and safety and other regulatory issues and, where necessary, disputes.

Strengths  More than one referee stresses the advantage of a long-standing relationship with the practice. An interviewee who speaks of the team being "commercially focused and aligned with our corporate philosophy" notes that "this means they can hit the ground running on any issue, work out what needs to get done and give peace of mind to our board members."

Contributors also cite the practice's "depth of experience and wide, strong industry networks," one source observing that its "industry knowledge and experience give it an understanding of the context in which things actually happen and helps it get wind of things early."

Work highlights  Acted for Malabar Coal in respect of its acquisition from Anglo American of an 88% interest in the Drayton South thermal coal mine in New South Wales, this asset being of value both in its own right and as an adjunct to Malabar's Spur Hill coking coal project, which is situated nearby.

Represented Genex Power with regard to the development of an innovative AUD282 million project to redevelop the former Kidston Gold Mine in Northern Queensland as a centre for the generation of hydroelectric power.

Notable practitioners

Practice head Damien Clarke is a key contact at this firm.

Department profile by McCullough Robertson

McCullough Robertson’s Resources and Renewables group comprises approximately 25% of the firm’s revenue. It is one of the biggest practices in eastern Australia, and nationally. They are the firm that plays at every level of the chain or “pit to port” as they say. This means that, being quintessential “dirt” lawyers, they embrace the tough and nitty gritty work such as the environmental, the regulatory permits work, health and safety, tax structuring and operational contracting. They do not just look to the top end M&A in the sector as some of their rivals do.

McCullough Robertson continues to build its reputation in the resources and energy industry with the expansion from a traditional strength in the coal sector into base metals and oil and gas with major international clients. Thye are also one of the few firms in Australia to be involved in the uranium sector and they have an emerging renewable energy practice. 

Its client base is domestic and international and they are a market leader, particularly in the mid-market resources space.

Its Newcastle office acts as a strategic hub for many Hunter Valley miners.

On top of this is its work with a number of large mining contractors who are working on some of the most significant projects in Australia and now across the globe as they chase work overseas in Papua New Guinea Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Zambia, Turkey, the United States and Canada.

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Dentons - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 5

第五等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Solid group, operating principally from offices in Sydney and Perth and offering experience of advising domestic and international corporates and public sector clients on a comprehensive range of energy and resources matters. Couples established Australian experience with the global resources of one of the world's largest law firms and offers especially well-developed Papua New Guinea-related expertise.

Strengths  The benefits of a long-standing relationship with the team are indicated by a referee who reports: "They're a great bunch of practical, sensible people with great people skills. If I need anything, the first step is always to phone them up. They've looked after me a long time, I trust them and am happy to recommend them."

Consistently "excellent service" is also a key Dentons characteristic in the eyes of referees, one interviewee observing: "I can't remember ever having to whinge."

Work highlights  Advised China National Gold Group on its USD300 million acquisition of Australia-based Sino Mining Guizhou from Eldorado Gold, a transaction requiring the co-ordination of teams working in Australia, China and Canada.

Acted for Paltar Petroleum with regard to the development of its Northern Territory oil and gas assets and associated corporate structuring and equity raising issues.

Notable practitioners

Practice leader Kym Livesley is valued by mining sector clients for "giving a commercial perspective on the deal which makes him more like a business partner than a service provider," and for the "wide experience he brings to the table." Highly experienced in the management of cross-border resources transactions, he represented Metminco in its AUD214 million acquisition from RMB Australia Holdings of Minera Seafield SAS, owner of the Quinchia gold project in Colombia.

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HFW - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 5

第五等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the Department  Specialised practice, connected to a global network and recognised for its substantial Western Australian utilities-related capability and in-depth familiarity with transactional, regulatory and contentious issues in that sector. Offers noted expertise on third party access issues and maintains an emergency response capability, geared to react swiftly to accidents originating within or affecting the energy industry.

Strengths  The practice stands out for its "good customer focus and quick turnaround of documents." That it is a "cohesive team which integrates well with our internal personnel" is a key element of its effectiveness in the opinion of one referee.

Sources also emphasise the team's "appreciation of a deal's commercial drivers and ability to manage the risk to deliver on the desired outcome."

Work highlights  Acted for the Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation, trading as Synergy, on a wide variety of mandates, including the AUD50 million establishment of Western Australia's first co-located wind and solar project at Emu Downs.

Successfully represented the Australian Energy Market Operator in a Western Australia Supreme Court dispute with Sumitomo-owned Bluewaters Power 2 over a power outage suffered by one of Bluewaters' generation units.

Notable practitioners

Simon Adams heads the practice and attracts enthusiastic commentary from clients who characterise him as a lawyer of "commercial acumen and approachability" who "understands the energy industry, thinks outside the square and is quick to understand our position on issues." Well known for both transactional and regulatory expertise, he also acts on contentious issues and advised Vinalco on its prosecution by the Independent Market Operator for alleged breaches of the Wholesale Electricity Market Rules.

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HopgoodGanim Lawyers - Energy & Natural Resources

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Band 5

第五等

Commentary from the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for  Compact team with an acknowledged reputation for its work on behalf of resource explorers and producers, especially junior and mid-market mining clients, in Queensland and Western Australia, now augmented by a merger with respected resources boutique Hunt & Humphry. Also active in the electricity, minerals and oil and gas sectors, the team provides full support on land court, project development and native title issues, in addition to transactional matters.

Strengths  The team is valued for its timely provision of high-quality, straightforward service. One interviewee reports: "They tick all the boxes: they're personable, prompt, turn things around quickly and the advice we get is first-rate." Another speaks of a practice which is "practical, understands our business and the sector, and establishes good relationships."

Work highlights  Advised Australia Pacific Coal on capital raising, operational contracting and regulatory aspects of its acquisition and regeneration of the Dartbrook coal mine in New South Wales's Hunter Valley.

Acted for Armour Energy in a successful tender for petroleum tenements in Uganda, and with regard to an associated production sharing agreement with the Ugandan government.

Notable practitioners

Michael Hunt is a veteran practitioner, often identified by interviewees as one of the leading authorities on the Western Australian mining scene. He continues to bring the expertise accumulated in over 40 years' practice to bear in a consultant role, one source noting: "His strengths are a thorough knowledge of mining law in Western Australia and a good, commercial knowledge of and perspective on the overall resources industry."

Practice leader Martin Klapper is active in both the mining and oil and gas spheres, offering over 20 years' experience in the energy and resources sector, including membership of several key industry bodies and involvement in the development of Queensland government legislation. He advised Chinese lithium carbonate manufacturer Shandong Ruifu Lithium on an off-take agreement with Pilbara Minerals for the supply of direct shipping ore.

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