Energy

Energy & Sustainability

The Energy Agreement, the Paris climate agreement and developments in technology are dominating the energy sector. Houthoff’s experienced Energy & Sustainability Team identifies the commercial opportunities that these changes bring. Investments in wind and solar energy, biorefining and large-scale energy storage are all here to stay. CO2 emissions have to be reduced, which means that production processes need to be more efficient. This requires significant investment on the part of the industry. Houthoff is recognised nationally and internationally within the sector and helps energy companies, government bodies, manufacturers, investors and large energy consumers make smart and successful energy decisions. In that respect, our Energy & Sustainability Team is a market leader when it comes to sustainable energy.

  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The team's accessibility is highlighted as a strength, with interviewees reporting: 'They come up with practical solutions and listen to the client,' as well as being 'professional and friendly at the same time and always reachable'."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources: Regulatory & Transactional (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Additional clients admire the firm's direct approach, noting that it provides 'to-the-point advice'."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources: Regulatory & Transactional (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Legal 500, Energy: Transactional (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    Recommended
    Legal 500, Energy: Regulatory (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff’s team is ‘fully aware of the commercial implications of regulatory frameworks’."
    Legal 500, Energy: Transactional (2018 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "A source compliments the team for being 'very efficient, quick and approachable,' adding: 'I think everybody in the firm made a very good impression on me'."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Another client praises the team's 'great eye for detail, focus and speed, as well as depth of knowledge and experience,' adding that 'they have always delivered'."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Legal 500, Energy (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Highly experienced in various areas, including M&A, restructuring and insolvency, project finance and high-profile litigation, Houthoff Buruma’s department is active in oil and gas, conventional power, and renewable energy."
    Legal 500, Energy (2017 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The lawyers have great commitment - from the moment they became involved it was very strong. They often delivered before time and with good quality. They are very strong in terms of their intellectual knowledge."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "Houthoff Buruma clearly has a lot of experience and the lawyers really try to think proactively about what we need and what is best for us, so we value that."
    Chambers Europe, Energy & Natural Resources (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    First Tier firm.
    Legal 500, Energy (2016 Edition)
  • recommendation people shaking hands
    "The firm is very strong on regulatory and transactional matters."
    Legal 500, Energy (2016 Edition)

Our expertise in the energy sector

M&A transactions in both the oil and gas industry and the sustainable energy sector often have complex structures. Houthoff advises multinationals, private equity firms, government bodies and other parties on transactions in the energy market. Businesses in the niche 'waste-to-energy' market benefit from in-depth, full-service knowledge of the regulatory framework – specialist knowledge that can be found within our Energy & Sustainability Team. The team also act as advisers for a wide range of matters within this niche. The Netherlands is creating more and more opportunities for innovative wind projects. Our energy specialists have gained a key position in this context, assisting both developers and financiers of large wind projects.

Energy sector regulation is hinged on a mix of public and private law. Therefore, our Energy & Sustainability Team includes specialists on energy law, planning and zoning law, economic administrative law, environmental law, M&A, procedural law (including cassation), procurement law, criminal law and competition law. Our unrivalled track record in the energy sector is a testament to our sector knowledge. We not only deliver the highest quality, but always look beyond the problem and offer our clients solutions that will stand them in good stead for the future.

  • Houthoff represented Simadan in the sale of its businesses to Parcom Capital and John Swire & Sons. Parcom Capital will acquire the business Noba, supplier of fat products for the animal feed industry, and Rotie, collector and processor of used cooking oil and energy-rich organic waste. John Swire & Sons will acquire Biodiesel Amsterdam, a producer of second generation biodiesel from used cooking oil and animal fat, Tankstorage Amsterdam, a tank storage facility, and Cleaning & Services Amsterdam, a cleaning terminal for (bulk) trucks. The transactions are subject to Dutch and UK antitrust clearance.

  • Houthoff represented RockRose Energy PLC in the acquisition of Dyas. RockRose Energy PLC operates as an independent oil and gas production and infrastructure company in the United Kingdom. Dyas is an active, non-operating minority partner and investor in oil & gas exploration and production projects.

  • Together with Skadden Arps we advised ExxonMobil on matters of Suriname law in connection with an offshore oil and gas drilling project in Suriname.
  • Houthoff advised DeepOcean in the acquisition of the Searov Offshore SAS. Searov, established in 2008, is an agile and cost effective Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) service provider with a strong focus on West Africa. The company owns and operates ROVs from its operating bases in Pointe Noire, Congo and Port Gentil, Gabon.
  • Houthoff advised Vitol and Helios Investment Partners with the acquisition of a 20% interest in Vivo Energy from Shell. Further to the acquisition of Shell’s 20% shareholding in Vivo Energy by Vitol Africa B.V., Helios Investment Partners, acting on behalf of the funds to which it is advisor, and Vitol jointly own 100% of Vivo Energy.
  • Houthoff represented Varo Energy in the acquisition of United Fuel Groep BV, which resulted in the expansion of Varo Energy's retail network with 22 retail service stations in the Eastern Netherlands and wholesale and lubricants business activities.
  • The Unbundling Act requires that the integrated energy companies unbundle their network companies, and forbids privatization thereof. Three large energy companies argued that the act infringes on the right to free movement of capital and therefore does not bind them. After a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Dutch Supreme Court found that the Unbundling Act is in line with the right to free movement of capital. The Supreme Court reasons that the objectives of the Unbundling Act are ‘important reasons in the public interest’ and that the entailing restrictions on the free movement of capital or freedom of establishment are justified.

     

    Click here for the judgement of the Supreme Court. 

  • Our team is drafting several manuals for project developers and government authorities on complex environmental aspects of onshore wind projects.
  • Representing Windpark Afrikahaven, a wind park in the Amsterdam Harbour, in litigation concerning (inter alia) a € 26 million turnkey agreement before the Rotterdam District Court and the Hague Court of Appeal against Sustainable Future Fund, a vehicle controlled by a former director of Econcern, the former shareholder and director of Windpark Afrikahaven. The case concerns the question which party has the best rights to the remainder of the financing of the construction of the wind park on a building deposit account; a contingency which was never used.
  • Argos Group and Varo Energy merge, creating a major independent oil company in North West Europe with a workforce of over 1,500 employees and an expected total annual throughput of 16 million m3. Houthoff assisted Argos Group and its shareholders Reggeborgh and Atlas Invest in the envisaged merger with Varo Energy. Following the merger the joint company will be owned in equal parts by three parties: the current shareholders of Argos, i.e. private investment companies Reggeborgh and Atlas Invest; Carlyle International Energy Partners, an advisory fund which is part of the global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group; and international energy and commodities company Vitol. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval and scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2015.
  • Advised OCI N.V. (NYSE Euronext: OCI) on the acquisition of BioMCN, one of Europe’s largest methanol producer and pioneer in bio-methanol production based in the Netherlands, for € 15 million. BioMCN’s glycerin activities are not part of the transaction and will be continued under the name of Dutch Glycerin Refinery B.V.
  • Advised H2 Equity Partners on the sale of its shareholding in Ballast Phoenix Limited (“Ballast Phoenix”), the UK’s market leading Incinerator Bottom Ash recycling group, to Waterland Private Equity.
  • Advised, together with Herbert Smith Freehills, KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH on the financing of the acquisition by Icon Infrastructure LLP of an important oil storage facility, strategically located at the port of Rotterdam with 242,000m3 storage capacity across two tank parks and a total quay length of 450 meters. The financing consists of a term loan facility as well as a revolving facility for a total amount of EUR 70 million.
  • Representing an energy company in an arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules
  • Advised Huntsman on the amendment of several major site energy and utilities contracts with Eurogen/Air Liquide.
  • Advised Attero in a dispute with RWE regarding a long-term landfill gas contract and in drafting new long-term gas sales agreements.
  • Successfully represented the Republic of Colombia and the former state-owned energy company Ecopetrol against Llanos Oil in a Supreme Court litigation. In this litigation, Llanos Oil claimed that they have been wrongly deprived of their exploration license for oil and gas and they demanded billions of Euros as a compensation. The core of the legal battle was whether a Dutch court has jurisdiction in this case that seems to be purely Colombian. Llanos Oil appealed to the Dutch nationality of its shareholders and directors in conjunction with Article 9 of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure, the so-called forum of necessity, which offers jurisdiction to Dutch court where normally competent court is unavailable or unreliable and where there is a sufficient link with Dutch interest. The Supreme Court has decided that a Dutch court has no jurisdiction in this matter.
  • The team is advising Vinci on its position in the GATE Terminal project in the Rotterdam port. The GATE Terminal is one of the world's largest LNG storage facilities.
  • Water control board “Aa en Maas” is building a new biogas plant. For the operation the water control board will take residual heat from the municipal waste product centre. Moreover, the water control board will supply generated biogas to the nearby Heineken brewery. Houthoff is drafting and negotiating the agreements (including the PPA) and giving regulatory advice.
  • Advised Acta Marine on the acquisition of Offshore Wind Services B.V. (OWS) from the Municipality of Rotterdam, including the UK subsidiary OWPMS Ltd. OWS owns ten crew transfer vessels that are operated to transfer technicians and parts to- and from offshore wind turbines.
Kirsten Berger

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 73
+31 6 1296 7383
Willem de Nijs Bik

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 66
+31 6 5356 6533
Jacques Kröner

Key Contact

Rotterdam
Advocaat | Partner
+31 10 217 25 44
+31 6 5144 5782
Marc van Beuge

Key Contact

Amsterdam
Advocaat | Senior Associate
+31 20 605 65 82
+31 6 2298 7889