BLP to open in Middle East on back of energy success

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) is planning to open an office in the Middle East after a year of success for its new energy practice in the region.

Energy partners Agnieszka Klich and Jon Nash joined the firm last year from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, along with Denton Wilde Sapte’s Sohail Barkatali, and they have hit the ground running with a string of projects in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“We’ve been talking about an office all the time. The question is how soon and where. It’s when rather than whether,” Klich told The Lawyer.

The firm is likely to set up shop in Dubai, but may decide to forge an alliance with a local law firm as it has in France, Italy and the US.
Barkatali and a colleague have been stationed in Oman full time since October and the firm has had another lawyer working in Dubai for the last six months.

The firm is advising the government of Oman on three projects: the Barka 2 water project, the restructuring of the electricity sector and Oman’s seawater extraction agreements.

In addition to Barkatali’s Omani work, Klich and Nash have been busy on the Taweelah A1 project, which they brought with them from Milbank, and two bids for power deals in Saudi Arabia.