Norton Rose, Canadian Firms Lead on Colombian Energy Deal
Canadian oil and gas exploration and production company Pacific Rubiales Energy has tapped Norton Rose Fulbright for counsel on its nearly $1.6 billion acquisition of Petrominerales, a deal announced Monday that sees one of the world’s fastest-growing crude producers bolster its operations in Colombia.
Norton Rose Fulbright debuted in June after its combination under the Swiss verein structure with Fulbright & Jaworski, an Am Law 100 firm known for its oil and gas expertise. But it was Norton Rose’s merger two years ago with Calgary-based Macleod Dixon that helped it pick up the work for Pacific Rubiales.
Jorge Neher, a former Macleod Dixon infrastructure, mining, and commodities partner who helped open the former Canadian firm’s Bogota office back in 2010, is leading a Norton Rose team advising Calgary-based Pacific Rubiales on its current bid for Petrominerales, which according to Bloomberg includes $909 million in cash.
Other Norton Rose lawyers working on the matter include M&A and finance partner Crispin Arthur, corporate and securities partners Paul Fitzgerald and Ava Yaskiel, tax partner Adrienne Oliver, senior M&A partner Terence Dobbin, antitrust partner Kevin Ackhurst, and associates Andres Afanador, Santiago Gonzalez Rojas, Matthew Hall, and Krista Treasure.
Norton Rose has grown into one of the largest firms in Canada, having already acquired Ogilvy Renault in late 2010, according to our previous reports. The firm, whose next horizon is expansion throughout Latin America, earlier this year made several key lateral hires in Bogota from local firm Holguin Neira & Pombo.
Peter Volk serves as general counsel for Pacific Rubiales, which has grown into the largest independent oil and gas company in Colombia, having acquired local oil producer C&C Eneragia last year in another $500 million deal. (Norton Rose also advised Pacific Rubiales on that transaction.)
James Pasieka, an energy and finance partner with McCarthy Tetrault in Calgary, is working on the deal along with corporate partners Tom Cotter and Mark Franko, litigation partner Douglas Yoshida, antitrust partner Oliver Borgers, and associates Jeremy Busch-Howell and Xiaodi Jin. Pasieka, Cotter, and Franko all joined McCarthy Tetrault in August from Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie.
McCarthy Tetrault advised Petrominerales on its spin-off from Calgary’s Petrobank Energy and Resources in 2010. Former McCarthy Tetrault associate Andrea Hatzinikolas serves as general counsel and corporate secretary for Petrominerales, while Heenan Blaikie alum James Maclean is its senior legal counsel.
Maria Palacio, a former in-house lawyer for British oil giant BP’s Colombian unit, is the company’s vice president of corporate affairs. And Kenneth McKinnon, a former general counsel for Calgary-based digital marketing agency Critical Mass, is an independent director of the board at Petrominerales.