McCarthy Denning adds four to international energy team

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City law firm McCarthy Denning has expanded its international energy practice with the appointment of two new partners, Michel Lequien, who joins from Ashurst LLP (Paris), and Peter Wright, previously with Squire Patton Boggs. Consultant Solicitor, Nila Gibb, and Legal Consultant, Keymir Orazov, have also joined the team.

With these four new additions, McCarthy Denning’s Energy Group has more than doubled in size to a team of 11 experienced lawyers in the past three years. The firm’s international energy practice offers its clients expert corporate, projects and commercial advice across the global energy sector (oil, gas, LNG, conventional and renewable power). McCarthy Denning’s extensive reach caters to international energy clients with operations across the UK, Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. 

Partner Michel Lequien specialises in energy projects in France, Southern and Eastern Europe and Africa, in particular North and sub-Saharan Africa. Michel has a wealth of experience in renewables development and acquisition projects, encompassing solar, onshore and offshore wind, biomass and waste-to-energy projects. Michel also has extensive experience in advising on the development, financing and implementation of conventional power, petrochemical and water projects. His clients include French and multinational utilities, developers, investment funds and contractors, trading houses, as well as public authorities and international financial institutions. Michel Lequien is French law qualified and is based in Paris.

“There is a wealth of experience and great synergies within McCarthy Denning’s Energy Team that allow us to work across both the traditional and the new energy markets in all parts of the world. I look forward to working with my new colleagues as the global energy sector continues to evolve at a rapid pace,” says Partner Michel Lequien.

Peter Wright is a UK-qualified energy lawyer with over 20 years’ experience of advising on both domestic and international energy and infrastructure projects. He specialises in power and LNG transactions, advising clients on all aspects of procurement, project development, project finance, regulation and related commercial transactions in the energy sector.  Over the past decade, Peter has developed a particular focus on sub-Saharan African energy projects, including first-in-country projects in South Africa, Eswatini and Cameroon. 

Wright, says: “McCarthy Denning has built an impressive international energy practice and there are great opportunities for me to explore with the Energy team at this forward-thinking law firm.”

Joining the partners is Nila Gibb, a dual-qualified solicitor in Indonesia and England & Wales, who was previously with law firm Pinsent Masons Vario. Nila boasts both in-house and private practice experience in the UK and Asian oil and gas industries, having worked with energy leaders such as BP and ExxonMobil. Skilled at handling a variety of industry agreements, Nila advises clients on corporate and commercial transactional issues for energy companies, including contracts and compliance. Additionally, Keymir Orazov, a Turkmenistan-qualified lawyer, joins the firm as a Legal Consultant. Keymir has more than 20 years’ experience advising transnational corporations, international organisations, law firms and entrepreneurs in various capacities within the energy industry. His practice covers a wide range of legal expertise from finance and banking law to intellectual property law, which will benefit McCarthy Denning’s national and international clients.

Warren Wooldridge, Co-founder and CEO of McCarthy Denning, says: “Despite the challenges of the past year, McCarthy Denning’s Energy Team continues to grow at speed, whilst also strengthening our international reach. Michel, Peter, Nila and Keymir all work within the parameters of multi-jurisdictional environments and complex energy value chains. The calibre of our partners and lawyers speaks for itself. We have significantly enhanced our energy offering to clients in all key jurisdictions to meet client demand internationally.”