Energy & Mining

LALIVE has extensive international experience in the mining and energy sectors, including the oil & gas and electricity sub-sectors. The firm’s expertise spans all energy sources, including renewable energy.

Our practice, which is particularly active in emerging markets and developing countries, focuses on the prevention, management and resolution of energy and mining disputes, in particular through international arbitration.

In addition, we provide advisory services regarding the structuring, financing and negotiation of large international upstream, midstream and downstream transactions in a variety of contexts, such as licences and concession agreements, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, privatisations, bidding processes and public procurement.

We have a strong track record advising and representing the main players in the energy sector namely large and smaller petroleum and mining companies, governments, regulatory authorities, public utilities, international financial institutions, investment banks, investment funds, independent power producers, power plant and mine operators, service suppliers, including consultants and construction companies specialised in the mining and energy fields.

We can add value in the following specific areas:

  • Oil and gas disputes: We have broad experience acting in disputes which arise at every stage of oil and gas projects including related those related to financing, regulatory, exploration and exploitation requirements, joint venture agreements and distribution.
  • Gas pricing disputes: We advise producers, sellers and buyers of natural gas and LNG across all sectors of the industry on their gas pricing negotiations and disputes, including in international arbitration and litigation. Our broad experience in this field, both as counsel and as arbitrator, and understanding of the industry including major changes of the natural gas market over the last decade allows us to provide tailored advice to our clients and develop the best strategy in the event of a dispute.
  • Mining disputes: We have experience advising mining companies at every stage of the mineral resource value chain, both junior miners and international majors in preventing and resolving disputes, ranging from commercial JV disputes to conflicts with States for breaches of their international obligations. Our team has gained a deep understanding of both the legal characteristics of mining disputes and the technical and business sides of the industry, and our experience spans the globe from South America to Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa to Southern Europe
  • Upstream agreements, M&As and due diligence: We draft and negotiate E&P contracts with resource holders, co-ventures, suppliers and contractors. We also advise clients on the sale or acquisition of energy companies, the structure of the transaction, project finance, full due diligence (including regulatory and IP issues) and negotiation of relevant documents and agreements.
  • Regulatory and compliance: We can advise on merger control, cartel and antitrust issues as well as good governance and compliance issues.
  • Acting as counsel of a Southern European energy company in several multi-billion gas pricing arbitrations arising under long-term contracts with international natural gas production companies and buyers
  • Acting as counsel to a Eastern European State in a USD 4 billion ICSID arbitration involving North American investors concerning a gold mining project
  • Acting as counsel to a Southern European State in a EUR 2.5 billion SCC arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty involving concession agreements for the operation of power production plants
  • Acting as counsel to an international oil and gas explorer in a USD 1.5 billion dispute with an African State over the termination of several petroleum production sharing agreements before an ICC tribunal
  • Acting for a Southern American State in a USD 120 million investment arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules, concerning the alleged expropriation of a copper mining concession
  • Acting for a African State in an ICSID arbitration relating to a dispute over cobalt and copper mining concessions
  • Advising a mining company in an investment arbitration against a Southern American State related to investments in bauxite
  • Advising an international oil company in a multi-million acquisition of an E&P company in West Africa, including the negotiation and drafting of a memorandum of understanding, a share purchase agreement and the organization of a full due diligence process involving different jurisdictions in Europe and Africa
  • Advising a leading European integrated group in the gas infrastructure business in connection with the setting up of a jointly controlled company with another top gas infrastructure group for the integrated management of the companies’ international assets across Europe
  • Advising one of the largest global energy producers, transporters and distributors on the legal implications of the WTO agreements on contracts for the procurement of goods and services in connection with a multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project

International Investment Law and Natural Resource Governance

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2016

In: Kati Kulovesi, Elisa Morgera (Eds.), Research Handbook on Environment and Investment Law, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, forthcoming 2016, chapter 2 (also published as an E15 Think Piece for the Extractive Industries Group of the E15 Initiative, WEF/IISD/ICTSD, 2015)

The Sources of International Investment Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2016

In: Samantha Besson, Jean d’Aspremont (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2016, chapter 24

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. A Commentary

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

Jorge Viñuales (Ed.), Oxford University Press, 2015

International Environmental Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

Cambridge University Press, Bruylant, Brussels, 2015

Vers un droit international de l’énergie : Essai de cartographie

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2013

In: Marcelo Kohen, Dolores Bentolila (Eds.), Mélanges en l’honneur de Jean-Michel Jacquet, LexisNexis, Paris, 2013, chapter 18

The “Resource Curse” – A Legal Perspective

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2011

Global Governance, Vol. 17, No 2, 2011, pp. 197-212

Foreign Investment in Latin-America: Between Love and Hatred

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2011

In: Claude Auroi, Aline Helg (Eds.), Latin America. Dreams and Legacy 1810-2010, Imperial College Press, London, 2011, pp. 319-358.

Foreign Investment and the Environment in International Law: An Ambiguous Relationship

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2010

British Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 80, 2010, pp. 244-332

Access to Water in Foreign Investment Disputes

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2009

Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Vol. 21, No 4, 2009, pp. 733-751

The Contribution of the International Court of Justice to the Development of International Environmental Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2008

Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 32, No 1, 2008, pp. 232-258

Acclaimed group of international arbitration experts headquartered in Geneva. Operates a well-regarded investor-state and commercial arbitration practice, with particular expertise in the energy, construction, telecoms and mining sectors. Highly rated for its handling of significant disputes in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and South America. One interviewee was particularly impressed by "the phenomenal amount of work they do" and reported: "They leave no stone unturned and miss nothing, it is quite phenomenal. They're also extremely conscientious about keeping you in the loop. They forge a personal connection with you, which is very reassuring." Sources appreciate the team's efficiency, noting: "Their performance has been extraordinary. They were able to analyse a complex case within a short timeframe, and they had the skills to communicate in the different languages required for our case."

Chambers Global, Global-wide, Arbitration, 2018

Outstanding Swiss firm operating out of Geneva and Zürich with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level, acting on disputes throughout the continent. Noted for its prowess in large-scale BIT, investor-state and commercial arbitrations on behalf of sovereign entities, governments and state-owned companies, as well as multinational clients. Particularly active in the energy, construction and telecoms sectors, with an increasing presence in finance and post-M&A disputes. Widely recognised and praised for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks. Commentators describe Lalive as "a high-quality firm in European international arbitration," "a class outfit with a reach that goes beyond Switzerland." One client states: "I was blown away," adding: "It seemed like an exceptional level of commitment." The client goes on to say of the lawyers: "They are creative, smart and everybody makes a contribution."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Europe-wide (Band 2), 2017

Geneva-based full-service firm Lalive provides the most lawyers in this chapter, with three practitioners selected from its 'substantial' energy practice. (Georges Racine, Matthias Scherer and Alexander Troller recommended)

Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, Power, 2013