Firm / Organisation

Centurion Law Group - Equatorial Guinea

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Managing Partner: NJ Ayuk
Country Head:
Santiago Olo Lima
Number of partners: 3
Number of lawyers: 17
Languages: Afrikaans, English, French, German, Hebrew, Igbo, Portuguese, Shona, Spanish, Swahili, Tswana, Zulu

Firm Overview:
Centurion Law Group is a pan-African corporate law conglomerate. The firm helps you navigate the legal and regulatory environments of Africa’s many jurisdictions to make sure that you can do business efficiently and successfully. It offers unsurpassed legal and business solutions for Africa through a hybrid delivery model that lets you choose the most effective method for your business needs. Call on in-house attorneys at Centurion for your full suite of legal services, or select from its talented team of on-demand specialists at Centurion Plus to represent your concerns on a particular project.

Centurion Law Group and Centurion Plus complement each other: Clients get the benefit of extensive expertise, resources, and connections — along with a means of accessing top legal talent at an affordable rate. Many clients prefer full-time, in-house legal and business representation; others appreciate the flexibility of choosing the services of an advisor only when they need one. By combining both options, Centurion builds on its practice of uplifting Africa. Centurion Plus makes excellent legal services affordable to growing indigenous businesses and foreign companies setting up operations here. Whether you select Centurion’s full team of legal representation or an on-demand lawyer, when you work with Centurion Law Group, you have access to a pool of thoroughly vetted business attorneys who’ve cut their teeth in some of the world’s top law firms.

During the last decade, the firm’s commitment to its clients, and to Africa, has set us apart, by making the top ranking for General Business Law by Chambers and Partners, facilitating negotiations for Equatorial Guinea and Congo to enter OPEC, being pivotal in structuring, negotiation, and implementation of some of largest oil and gas projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and successfully facilitating exploration production sharing contract between Pan African Independent Oranto Petroleum and the government of South Sudan.

Centurion’s CEO NJ Ayuk has been named one of world’s top energy lawyers by Who’s Who Legal, one of top 10 most influential Africans by Forbes, and one of the 100 personalities transforming Africa by French magazine, Financial Afrik.

Main Areas of Practice:

Corporate & Commercial:
■ Advised a US utility in the structuring of a USD 2 billion stranded cost bond financing (including legislative, lobbying and structured finance transactional matters) in an African country
■ Represented an American provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions in distribution agreements contracts in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana
■ Advised one of the world’s largest multinational food suppliers in connection with trademarks and intellectual property issues in Africa

Mining, Energy & Resources, Oil & Gas:
■Acted as Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Mines & Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea in the successful negotiation and execution of Government-to-Government Agreements regulating cooperation in the field of oil & gas, between Equatorial Guinea and the Governments of South Sudan, Uganda and Ghana
■ Facilitated the successful entry and subsequent membership of Equatorial Guinea, as a member state of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC)
■ Successfully negotiated an Umbrella Agreement, and further ancillary contractual documents on behalf of the Government of Equatorial Guinea, with a multinational exploration company, establishing the full legal and fiscal framework, for the facilitation, development, financing and operation of Africa’s first independent deep-water FLNG project
■ Acted as counsel to major international oil drilling service providers in connection with exploration and production projects in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and West Africa
■ Advising the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea on the drafting of new mining legislation and the creation of a national mining company in Equatorial Guinea
■ Successfully negotiated and signed a Unitization Agreement and Unit Operating Agreement between several oil majors in Equatorial Guinea
■ Advised a multinational exploration and production company on crude oil supply in Equatorial Guinea

Banking & Finance:
■ Advised an international bank on the construction financing and related matters of a major development project in Equatorial Guinea.
■ Advised a Big Four accounting firm with regard to VAT and other tax issues

Public Law - Government Procurement & Contracts:
Provided advice on the implementation of new and existing construction/reconstruction projects for government centers, office buildings, hotels, and industrial facilities, as well as the structuring of real estate transactions in a number of international investment projects being implemented in Equatorial Guinea, involving a very active role in negotiations with the local government and authorities.

Legislative Drafting:
■ Advising the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea on the drafting of new mining legislation
■ Advising the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea on local content regulation reform

Labour & Employment:
■ Advised a technological leader in oil and gas products and services headquartered in the US on Equatorial Guinean employment regulations
■ Advised a number of oil and gas service companies on employment law with a focus on restructuring overflow staff, adapting work places, modifying remuneration agreements and agreed pay scale classifications, among other issues

Tax & Customs:
■ Represented an international oil and gas company in a dispute over the application of a special tax rate under a production sharing contract. The team won the dispute despite unpromising previous case law on the issue
■ Advised various major international companies on how to apply the Equatorial Guinean tax regime within the scope of a production sharing contract, with a view to overcoming unhelpful case law trends
■ Represented and defended an international oilfield services company in courts against a substantial claim by a state agency
■ Advised a Big Four accounting firm with regard to the application of VAT and other tax issues in Equatorial Guinea

Telecommunications:
Advised on and reviewed the Interactive Digital Centre (IDC) Hub Master Agreement for the establishment of a Virtual Learning Centre between the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and EON USA.

Competition:
Advised clients on competition law compliance, conducted competition law audits, compliance review, and drafted legal opinions on various competition law topics.

Construction:
■ Negotiated field service agreements, such as the repair and reconstruction of oil wells and advising seismic, drilling, environmental and other specialty service contractors
■ Represented a US insurance company in the construction of a hospital in mainland Equatorial Guinea
■ Advised an international bank on the construction financing of a major development project in Equatorial Guinea 
■ Advised a multinational engineering and construction company on a planned project for the design and construction of a highway in Equatorial Guinea

Arbitration & Commercial Litigation:
■ Appearance on behalf of clients before various administrative tribunals
■ Represented and defended a major oilfield services company in the first and appellate instance courts in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea against a claim of a former contractor

Anti-Corruption Advisory:
With a strong and in-depth knowledge of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), UK Anti Bribery Act and other international anti-corruption instruments, Centurion LLP’’s lawyers train, advise and represent companies on anti-corruption-related matters in most African markets. Centurion LLP advises on in-house counsel and foreign law firms on conducting internal investigations and have extensive trial experience involving civil and criminal cases.

Lobbying & Public Affairs:
Centurion LLP’s lobbying and public affairs team assists clients with focused strategic thinking, communications savvy and a successful track record of effective grassroots and lobbying campaigns. Centurion’s lobbying professionals are respected for their integrity, knowledge, experience and hard work.