Clifford Chance LLP

Projects & Energy Department

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What the team is known for A leader in the African projects and energy market, demonstrating top-drawer capability in power, oil and gas, infrastructure and mining. Highly adept in supporting sponsors and lenders through the design, building, financing and operation of projects across the continent. Possesses notable expertise in novel IPP and power mandates, including the full array of renewable energy sectors, from hydropower to wind, solar and geothermal. Also frequently mandated on corporate matters, commercial agreements and international disputes, including significant matters for major mining houses.

Strengths Sources recognise the group as "a strong adviser to DFIs," in addition to highlighting its "strong project finance background." They point to the strength it can draw on from its offices in London, Paris and Washington, DC, confirming: "Clifford Chance is a leading firm in the African power sector."

One client acknowledged: "I use the firm regularly for projects in Africa that require a team with a thoughtful, solution-oriented and innovative approach."

Work highlights Acted for the Ethiopian government and the state electric utility on PPA negotiations for the approximately USD2 billion Corbetti geothermal power plant.

Notable practitioners

Anthony Giustini is widely regarded as "a superstar," running an enviable practice from the firm's Paris office. He acts for governments, DFIs, banks and sponsors on a number of the continent's most significant projects, notably in the natural resources and renewable energy sectors. Interviewees consider him to be "very strong in francophone Africa," with others adding: "He's the best of the best, with historic links to the continent." When it comes to complex negotiations with governments and major stakeholders, clients note that "he does this brilliantly." Peers conclude: "He's got that unusual skill which is to be able to do deals and keep both sides happy."

Interviewees report that Delphine Siino Courtin "is practical and commercial and understands how to get things done." Co-head of the firm's francophone North Africa practice and based in Paris, she demonstrates experience across energy and infrastructure, as illustrated by her representation of the lenders, including IFC and AfDB, in the USD50 million development of a solar plant in Mali.

London-based Jeremy Connick remains an eminent figure in the African power market, deploying his significant expertise in large-scale projects to assist both sponsors and lenders. Equally adept in infrastructure and natural resources, he is regarded as "great for innovative, first-of-a-kind deals in Africa. There's seemingly no challenge that he can't find a solution to." Clients further value his deep sector knowledge and pragmatic approach.

Project finance expert Nikolaï Eatwell is frequently sought out by DFIs, ECAs and other lenders to offer guidance on their involvement in African projects. Based in Paris, he advises on hydro plants and other renewable energy projects, as well as infrastructure development. Market observers commend his work on the debt side of the sector, saying: "He's a nice guy who knows what it takes to get something financed."