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Ahmed T. el-Gaili

Ahmed T. el-Gaili Partner, Energy Transactions & Projects

Ahmed represents clients on complex cross-border, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and joint venture transactions in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. He also advises several governments in the Middle East on large-scale energy projects and energy legislation.

In addition, Ahmed has substantial experience advising on complex project finance and development matters in the Middle East and the Caspian region, including multisourced financings, such as those involving ECA/multilateral and Islamic finance. Ahmed also works with the international dispute resolution team on matters in the region where his deep understanding in regional legal systems and commercial transactions assists the client’s litigation or settlement efforts. He has extensive knowledge of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, where he lived for more than 16 years. Ahmed is the Managing Partner of the firm’s Dubai office.

Experience Highlights

  • A leading U.S. private equity firm in connection with a potential tender offer on the Iraq Stock Exchange for shares of a bank in Iraq
  • Saudi-based Zuhair Fayez Partnership in connection with a joint venture with SNC Lavalin to create one of the largest oil and gas and petrochemical engineering and EPCM services companies in the Middle East
  • Leading Middle Eastern telecom company in connection with the potential establishment of an independent tower operating company to own and manage its own, and third party, towers, and other telecom infrastructure in eight African countries, including the sale and lease back arrangements of such telecom towers
  • The Republic of Iraq Ministry of Oil on a multibillion dollar development of the 1,000-kilometer Iraq-Jordan Export Pipeline Project, which will be developed on a BOOT basis. Our advice includes leading the negotiation of the Intergovernmental agreement, the BOOT contract, crude and gas offtake agreements, and project finance bankability considerations
  • King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy on the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework for a renewable and civil atomic energy sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • The Republic of Iraq Ministry of Oil in connection with the $17 billion Basrah Gas Project to capture the large volume of natural gas currently being flared in oil fields in Iraq’s southern region and process it for both domestic power generation and LNG export; the project involves a 25-year development joint venture agreement with Royal Dutch Shell plc and Mitsubishi
  • China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) on project finance and sponsor financing documentation matters in connection with its joint venture with Saudi Aramco for development of the $10 billion Yanbu Refinery on the west coast of Saudi Arabia
  • Lenders on the $4.1 billion refinancing of the Dolphin integrated natural gas project in Qatar and the UAE; previously advised Occidental in connection with the original bank and Islamic bridge financing
  • A leading IOC and the oil and gas arm of a regional sovereign wealth fund on various contracts (including the Development and Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Operating Agreement and the Shareholder’s Agreement) entered into with a GCC government in relation to  an upstream development project  
  • Ahmed Hamad Al Gossaibi & Bros (AHAB) in Saudi Arabia’s largest restructuring and settlement negotiations with creditors

Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity

  • A global telecom company in connection with the sale and leaseback of telecom towers in Asia
  • A UAE-based subsidiary of a U.S. private equity firm in connection with the acquisition of an oil field services company in the UAE
  • A leading U.S. private equity firm in connection with the acquisition of a stake in an oil field service company in Iraq 
  • A confidential client in connection with its proposed acquisition of an upstream interest in Afghanistan and the related JOA negotiations
  • A Saudi investor in connection with the formation of a joint venture and negotiation of a shareholders’ agreement relating to construction support services in Saudi Arabia
  • A leading U.S. private equity firm in connection with a potential tender offer on the Iraq Stock Exchange for shares of a bank in Iraq
  • A regional sovereign wealth fund in connection with the sale of its stake in an oil field service company in the UAE
  • An oil field service company in the UAE, and its U.S. private equity owners, in connection with a potential sale of the company
  • A leading Middle Eastern telecom company in connection with the potential sale of one of its East African operating companies
  • A major U.S. telecom company on restructuring a joint venture with a leading Gulf-based telecom company

Project Development & Finance

  • A major Iraqi private company in connection with the development and financing of a power project in southern Iraq
  • A leading IOC and the oil and gas arm of a regional sovereign wealth fund on various contracts (including the Development and Production Sharing Agreement, Joint Operating Agreement and the Shareholder’s Agreement) entered into with a GCC government in relation to  an upstream development project  
  • A regional government on the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework for energy efficiency 
  • The oil trading arm of a regional government in connection with a potential international trading joint venture
  • A U.S. solar company in connection with formation requirements in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi electricity legal framework
  • A Middle East drilling company in connection with its onshore drilling services in Libya
  • Sponsors in relation to financing a petrochemical project in Saudi Arabia; the proposed financing consists of funding from Saudi banks on a Shari’a-compliant basis and SIDF
  • A project company and its sponsors on $2.8 billion financing for a natural gas pipeline and liquefaction project in Yemen—the largest financing and foreign direct investment in history of Yemen; advice included serving on a ministerial committee in Yemen to facilitate governmental approvals
  • A project company and its sponsors on $4.4 billion financing for an expansion project of the largest oilfield in Kazakhstan; provided initial advice on potential multibillion dollar financing of a further expansion
  • A project company and its sponsors on $3.6 billion financing for its trans-border (Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey) oil pipeline project

Disputes

  • A Saudi private company in connection with  a dispute with its JV partner
  • A regional government in connection with a contractual dispute with a contractor 
  • Represented a Yemeni Power company in a claim against a Delaware LLC and Maltese power company in a dispute arising out of the purchase and fabrication of custom built Heavy Fuel Oil generators
  • A regional government regarding commercial resolution of disputes and project restart strategies for a project involving the reconstruction of an oil terminal
  • A regional government in connection with a potential claim and arbitration against a neighboring country relating to the breach of an oil pipeline treaty
  • A regional government, successfully, in UAE court proceedings to release an oil tanker seized in connection with a contractual dispute

Contact Details

Dubai

T +971.4.403.6240
F +971.4.330.1300
ael-gaili@velaw.com
DIFC
Gate Village 10, Office 211
P.O. Box 504945
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Local time: 4:54 PM
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Ahmed's Practices

  • Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 2003 (Managing Editor, Harvard International Law Journal)
  • Harvard College, B.A., Economic Development Studies (area focus, the Middle East and Africa) magna cum laude, 1998
  • Admitted to practice: New York
  • Languages: English and Arabic (native speaker)
  • Ahmed’s M&A experience includes previously working at Morgan Stanley’s Global Energy Group in New York, where he provided investment banking advice on mergers and acquisitions to major oil companies
  • Prior to joining V&E, Ahmed was resident in the London office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

 

    • Chambers Global, General Business Law: Iraq (Expert Based Abroad), 2016 and 2017
    • Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney) Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers, 2013 
    • Lawyer Monthly, Legal Awards: “UAE Energy Lawyer of the Year,” 2013
    • Director: Board of Directors Harvard Alumni Association
    • Member: Advisory Board of the Beirut Institute
    • Director: Alumni Council of Dhahran Ahliyyah Schools