White & Case joins CC and Links on £3.5bn gas pipeline project

Clifford Chance, Linklaters and White & Case took on leading roles on the recently closed €3.9bn (£3.53bn) first phase project financing of the 1,220km Nord Stream gas pipeline.

The pipeline, which is due to complete in 2012, will transport gas from Russia to Europe.

White & Case acted for project company Nord Stream and sponsors Gazprom, Ruhrgas, BASF/Wintershall and Nederlandse Gasunie on the construction and financing of the pipeline.

Jason Kerr led the White & Case team, which featured fellow project finance partners Philip Stopford, Mark Castillo-Bernaus, Manfred Ungemach, Irina Nesvetova and Maxim Kobzev, alongside construction partner Ellis Baker and competition partner Mark Powell.

A multi-jurisdictional Clifford Chance team advised export credit agencies Hermes and SACE as well as the group of 26 commercial banks providing debt finance to the project. The Clifford Chance team was led by partners Anthony Giustini in Paris and Russell Wells and Nicholas Wong in London.

Linklaters, meanwhile, advised sole shipper for the project Gazprom Export on its long-term transportation agreement with Nord Stream. It also acted for Gazprom on the establishment of the joint venture five years ago.

The magic circle firm fielded a team led by Moscow-based infrastructure partner Daniel Tyrer, with corporate partner Grigory Gadzhiev also featuring.

The transaction is one of the largest project finance deals to have closed since the beginning of the recession.

White & Case’s Kerr said: “This deal was launched in the middle of one of the toughest markets for a generation – the fact that it was so heavily over-subscribed reflects the continued confidence and appetite of the international debt community for well-structured energy deals.”