The BG Group's chief counsel in South America, Andrew Haynes, and his deputy, Alejandro Segura, lead as much of the work as they can in-house for the company's planned investment in the pre-salt fields off the country's coast, but also turn to a carefully selected group of external counsel when needed.
Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados is one of the company's main external firms in working through the many legal issues raised by bringing one of the largest, but technically challenging, oil discoveries anywhere in the world in recent years online.
"Whenever we can, we keep the work in-house," Haynes told LATINLAWYER. "We have a strong team of very capable energy lawyers, but if our workloads are too large or if there is a need for additional technical expertise we will refer the work out - and as much of it is under Brazilian law it tends to go to local counsel."
Antonio Meyer leads the Machado Meyer team advising BG, although fellow partner José Virgílio Lopes tends to take on more of the day-to-day work. The team has, for example, advised on regulatory, gas sales and other matters to help manage BG's energy projects in Brazil.
BG's key partner in Brazil is Petrobras, who is operator of the huge Tupi, Iara and Guara fields, in which both companies have significant interests. "We generally will deal with Petrobras relying on our in-house legal team, but, at times, when we have needed advice on negotiating certain complicated arrangements with Petrobras, we make some use of external counsel," explains Segura.
Other companies with significant upstream interests Brazil´s Santos Basin include ExxonMobil, Portugal's Galp, Hess Corp, Spain's Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell.
Other firms which have been involved in helping BG Group in Brazil include, internationally, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Linklaters-Netherlands and Thompson & Knight (both internationally and in Brazil also), and locally, Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira & Agel - Advogados and Marilda Rosado de Sá Ribeiro of Doria, Jacobina, Rosado e Gondinho Advogados.
In a recent visit to Brazil, Frank Chapman, BG Group's CEO, announced plans to invest between US$4 - US$5 billion through to 2012 to develop pilot projects in three of Brazil's "pre- salt" giant oil field discoveries Tupi, Iara and Guara.
Counsel to BG
Chief counsel for BG Group in South America - Andrew Haynes
Deputy chief counsel for BG Group in South America - Alejandro Segura
Lead counsel BG Brasil E&P - Karla Azevedo
Counsel BG Brasil E&P - Ricardo Pontes
Counsel BG Brasil E&P - Raquel Ribeiro
Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados
Partners Antonio de Souza Corrêa Meyer and José Virgílio Lopes Enei
Schmidt, Valois, Miranda, Ferreira & Agel - Advogados
Partners Rogério Miranda and Sonia Agel
Doria, Jacobina, Rosado e Gondinho Advogados
Partner Marilda Rosado de Sá Ribeiro
Thompson & Knight
Partners Andrew Derman and Bruno Werneck
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP
Partner Brian Bradshaw and associate Giovanni Loss
Partner Peter Goes and associate Anouk Oosterom
(LATINLAWYER, 23.01.2009)