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Latin America

For decades, Vinson & Elkins' lawyers have worked on diverse projects in Latin America, including landmark energy, infrastructure, and finance transactions and disputes. This work often crosses multiple borders and requires depth of experience in the client’s business sector.

V&E not only brings strong connections in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, but also industry-specific experience on which our clients can rely. We further strengthen our global reach by collaborating with local law firms and business contacts. Our lawyers have counseled clients doing business in Latin America on energy transactions, international disputes, mergers and acquisitions, and structuring and financing complex and innovative projects. 

Practice Highlights

  • 2007 to date, advising the Panama Canal Authority in relation to the construction and engineering aspects of the $5.25 billion Panama Canal Expansion Program, including the procurement of the major locks contract (FIDIC Yellow Book based),the program manager’s appointment, and a number of technical and high-value disputes in DAB proceedings and ICC arbitration proceedings
  • Riverstone Holdings in the formation and $525 million line of equity commitment to Sierra Oil & Gas, Mexico’s first independent exploration and production company
  • A publicly-held Brazilian independent oil company on the acquisition of a 60% operating interest in the Polvo field and on the sale of its interest in the Solimoes oil basin
  • Pan American Sports Partners Company in the $400 million sale of the controlling interest in a Latin American sports network to FOX International Channels
  • EZ Corp in the $50 million sale of its majority interest in Grupo Finmart, a provider of consumer loans to government agency employees in Mexico, to AlphaCredit
  • Energy Transfer Partners in the $400 million proposed development of a cross-border natural gas pipeline to the Chihuahua industrial corridor in Mexico
  • Alto Maipo SpA in the development and financing of a 531 MW hydroelectric project in Chile; total financing represents $1.217 billion of the approximately $2.05 billion project cost; financing was provided by the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and Chilean and European commercial banks; the project consists of two separate run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities, and construction requires excavation of approximately 67 kilometers of tunnels; the Alto Maipo project was selected as Project Finance International’s 2013 Latin America Power Deal of the Year
  • HRT O&G Exploração e Produção de Petróleo in a sale and purchase agreement to acquire a 40% interest in the Polvo Field offshore Brazil from Maersk Energia Ltda. in exchange for cash consideration and the assumption of certain decommissioning obligations
  • GasAtacama in negotiation of charter agreements for a floating LNG receiving, storage and regasification unit to be moored offshore of Chile, along with related LNG shipping and LNG purchase agreements 
  • Transelec S.A. in connection with the development and project financing of a 188 km electric transmission line that delivers energy to the Caserones copper mine in Chile
  • Sinopec in the $7.1 billion acquisition of a major interest in the Brazilian assets and operations of a large European energy company, and related shareholder, subscription, and diligence matters
  • AES Gener S.A. in connection with the development and $1.05 billion project financing of the Cochrane power plant in Chile, a 472 MW (net) pulverized coal-fired generating facility in Chile, with financing provided by JBIC, NEXI, K-Sure, and various commercial banks

Regulatory Disputes

  • Successfully represented El Paso International Company defending against Argentina’s application to annul the ICSID award in El Paso’s favor; the annulment was dismissed affirming our client's award
  • Won an $80 million arbitration award in Brazil on behalf of an energy company involving a power plant development project, and achieved a successful resolution after seeking to enforce the award in the U.S.
  • Representing a Central American public authority in an ICC arbitration (Miami seat)  over a dispute arising from a contract
  • Represented investors in the power generation and transmission sector of a South American state in ICSID proceedings against the government for breach of legal stability guarantees 
  • Represented two upstream investors in Ecuador in connection with government attempts at forced conversion of PSAs on four blocks to service contracts, and in relation to expropriatory tax legislation, and advising under production sharing agreements and relevant bilateral investment treaties
  • Acted on behalf of two investors in Venezuela in connection with government demands for "migration" of investor-controlled upstream operations to public-controlled entities, and advise under hydrocarbon venture agreement, foreign investment law, and relevant treaties 
  • Successfully represented a U.S. company in a $1.5 billion arbitration arising out of a power plant project in Brazil
  • Successfully represented an energy company in a dispute involving a LNG project in Chile
  • Achieved successful contractual resolution for a complex, multinational case involving assignment of fiduciary duties for a joint venture in Trinidad and Tobago