The energy practice area at Bowman Gilfillan is one of the most experienced in the country in the energy sector and has dealt with both renewable and non-renewable energy projects. 

The practice area has been operating for approximately 15 years and has a well-resourced team able to provide commercially relevant and practical legal advice in a range of areas. 

The regulatory team is headed by Claire Tucker, a partner at Bowman Gilfillan, and she is backed by a team of four lawyers, as well as consultants. In addition, various partners in the corporate and commercial department have significant exposure to and experience in the energy sector, particularly David Anderson on the electricity supply side, Rob Morson on the construction side and Daryn Webb and Anton Barnes Webb on the project finance and infrastructure side.

The firm also has an oil and gas department focusing on upstream oil and gas activities.

The firm’s recent experience in the energy sector has included:

  • Advising Airports Company South Africa on pipeline and petroleum storage issues and approaches to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa
  • Advising Eskom, the state electricity provider on various matters
  • Independent power peaking project — advisors to Rand Merchant Bank and ABN AMRO in their proposed financing of the two independent power producer projects put out to tender by the Department of Minerals and Energy in South Africa
  • The Matola Gas Pipeline — advising Matola Gas Company SARL in relation to the design, procurement, construction, commissioning and operation of a pipeline and distribution network for the purpose of purchasing natural gas from the government of Mozambique and the selling and delivering of such natural gas to industrial customers
  • Advising various clients on carbon asset development mechanism and trade in carbon emission reductions in South Africa; taking security over carbon emission reductions and the consequences of the security in bankruptcy. Our clients in this areas include but are not limited to Ener-g, which is a UK-based company; International Finance Corporation; Sephaku Holdings Limited and municipal entities

Professionals from our project finance and environment, energy and natural resources teams have been involved in CDM projects in the past. These projects essentially require skills in understanding the technical emissions reduction issues, liasing with the Designated National Authority and understanding the manner in which such regulatory bodies function and the extent of their power, as well as putting together the commercial, financing and related transactional documents. These are areas in which our project finance and infrastructure, and environment, energy and natural resources teams excel and which made their transition to CDM projects an easy one. 

An example of our experience in this are is we advised BioTherm Energy in relation to the biogas to energy project at the PetroSA refinery in Mossel Bay.

  • Acted for Denham Capital, a US private equity firm, in respect of its investment in BioTherm Energy, a South African developer, owner and operator of renewable and clean energy generation projects. Denham Capital acquired a controlling stake in BioTherm Energy and will provide up to US$150 million of equity capital for BioTherm Energy to develop, invest in or acquire projects totalling approximately 300 MW.
  • Recently advised the first private petroleum pipeline applicant on their application for a construction and operation license for a pipeline from Maputo to Gauteng, making representation before the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) regarding this application and advising on cross border regulatory issues between Mozambique and South Africa in the Petroline Pipeline approval process including assisting with international intergovernmental agreements to facilitate the cross border transport of petroleum.
  • Advising Shell (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd in relation to various petroleum and energy related matters including making representations to the Department of Minerals and Energy regarding various aspects of the Petroleum Products Act and making submissions on the regulations relating to wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers.
  • Advising an international company on the import of cultivars into South Africa to establish a facility to grow crops for the production of biodiesel and advised on the regulatory and commercial issues related to genetically modified crop cultivation, manufacture of biodiesel and export of biodiesel.

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