Herbert Smith Freehills

Energy & Natural Resources Department

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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 entire life-cycle support to energy and resources projects and full engagement with transactional, operational and contentious issues, supported, where required, by relevant expertise from the firm's corporate and disputes practices. The group also incorporates a regional renewables team, offering extensive experience of advising on the development of wind and solar energy projects.

Foreign desks Advises across a wide array of energy projects, including LNG, gas-fired, hydroelectric and wind farm developments in the Philippines, lately advising FGEN with regard to the proposed development of an LNG refining terminal at Batangas. Also maintains a strong track record of assisting in the construction and finance of greenfield power projects. Sydney-based Toby Anderson is a key contact for clients.

Notable practitioners

David Ryan advises both public and private sector players across Australia on energy sector projects and transactions. He is highly rated by both peers and clients, one of the latter reporting: "David was excellent: his industry knowledge, availability and ability to get things done within our timeframe was great." His communication skills are also highly valued, especially on cross-border mandates, one client citing his ability to "explain very, very complex contracts in a very simple way" and emphasising his "skill in explaining things in layman's terms which someone for whom English is not their first language can easily understand."

Ian Williams 's mining-related expertise is regularly applied on behalf of leading Japanese, South Korean and American investors in the Australian mining sector. Peers acknowledge his "pre-eminent Japanese practice," while clients value him as a partner whose "depth of coal industry knowledge is a great asset" and whose "advice is always precise, commercial and delivered on time and on budget."

Jay Leary heads the firm's global mining practice and is widely acknowledged for his expertise in the sphere by interviewees who variously characterise him as "an excellent practitioner," a "great, very busy operator" and someone who is "very good on both mining and infrastructure issues." His command of the field covers transactional, development and operational issues.

Robert Merrick attracts praise from one client as an "excellent, very bright, commercial lawyer who thinks outside the box" and from another as a "very strong negotiator with an in-depth understanding of our business" whose "pragmatic approach cuts through to focus on the material issues." His more than 20 years' experience of advising oil and gas clients embraces complete familiarity with financing, project development, transactional and commodity trading issues.

Veteran oil and gas specialist Stuart Barrymore is based in Perth and offers extensive experience of advising on the development of LNG projects, not only in Australia but across the Asia-Pacific region and in Africa. His expertise covers the full life-cycle of such projects and he receives especially high praise for his mastery of their commercial and transactional aspects.