'Our operations will be determined by our clients’ needs, and we expect our clients will be at the very forefront of developments in the region -- and that we will be there on the ground with them.'
-- John White
As a partner in the global projects group, John White concentrates on the development and financing of large-scale energy and infrastructure projects. Mr White’s experience includes the development of floating LNG projects (both liquefaction and regasification), large downstream “gas to” projects as well as the construction, acquisition, chartering and financing of LNG vessels, FSRUs, FPSOs and other offshore energy assets.
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Baker Botts Opens in Rio de Janeiro
At Historic Time for Brazil
Editor's Note: This is one in a series of Q&As with Baker Botts partners on the opening today of Baker Botts, a foreign legal consultancy in Rio de Janeiro that represents a major step in the expansion of Baker Botts L.L.P.'s highly-regarded energy and disputes resolution practices throughout Latin America.
What is your vision for the firm’s Latin American operations in the next
JW: Our operations will be determined by our clients’ needs, and we expect our clients will be at the very forefront of developments in the region -- and that we
will be there on the ground with them. Specifically, with Brazil enjoying a “historic moment” with the discovery of new, world class, oil and gas reserves in recent years, on-going bid rounds and its continuing development as the regional powerhouse, I expect that over the next 2-3 years we will spending a considerable amount of our time and energy working with our clients in Brazil.
Which industries provide the most opportunity for growth in the Latin American legal sector? Why?
JW: This will vary from country to country in the region, as not all are fortunate enough to have abundant natural resources and developing markets. For us in Rio, it’s energy and infrastructure in Brazil. As a firm with its heart and soul in
the energy sector, we have a lot to offer in this area. These also happen to be
the sectors leading the economic development currently underway in Brazil, for example.
Which countries in Latin America are hot beds for legal growth? Why?
JW: There is a significant concentration of economic growth and activity in a handful of countries, notably, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela - comprising the lion’s share of GDP for the region (over 90%).
Among these countries, Brazil is the dominant economic force. Accordingly,
we see these countries as being the strongest for legal growth. Having said
that, you can bet our next significant project will not be in one of these countries.
Give an example of a representative engagement in Brazil where you’ve called upon colleagues in other international offices to assist.
JW: We have acted for some of the largest companies operating in the region,
on everything from major, “world first”, energy projects, to high value transactional matters, to complex international arbitration and dispute resolutions. Each of these can, and most often do, involve colleagues in different offices. It goes without saying that our practice takes us across borders - to the most complex and challenging matters around. Specifically in Brazil, we acted on the development of the world’s first commercially operating FSRU (LNG regasification) project, the development of a (never before been done) floating (LNG) liquefaction project and downstream gas projects. All involved large,
cross office, teams.
In your experience, how has practicing law in Brazil differed from practicing in other regions?
JW: Brazil, and Rio in particular, is a great place to do business - particularly in the energy sector. You get to experience the warmth and charm of the Brazilian culture, whilst working on some of the most challenging projects around. Not a bad combination!
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