Counsel of choice for energy clients in Ecuador
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In 2004, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce participated in the first-ever claim against Ecuador at ICSID, helping Repsol YPF to win US$13 million in a contractual claim. Remarkably, two of the firm’s partners oversaw the whole case, without any assistance from international co-counsel.
Today, the firm – one of Ecuador’s oldest – attracts many foreign oil and gas companies affected by regulatory changes introduced by president Rafael Correa’s administration. It is often found pairing up with firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, King & Spalding and White & Case on investment treaty cases.
Rodrigo Jijón, a founder and former president of the Ecuadorean Arbitration Institute, leads the international arbitration practice and is also well known for his energy law expertise. Another name to know is Juan Manuel Marchán, who was promoted to partner in 2013 and is increasingly active on investment treaty matters.
Who uses it?
Energy clients loom large on the list. Perenco, Burlington Resources, Murphy Oil, Noble Energy and Teikoku Oil have all turned to the firm for investment claims against Ecuador. Another client is Brazilian state oil and gas company Petrobras.
Although the firm won’t confirm it, Chevron is also reportedly using the firm for local law advice in connection with its long-running dispute over environmental pollution in the Amazon rainforest – including in a denial of justice claim against Ecuador now playing out before an arbitral tribunal in The Hague.
It has also defended Occidental Petroleum and BP in local environmental litigation (the BP case was in connection with the Deepwater Horizon spill). Other clients of note include Daimler Chrysler, Brazilian construction group Odebrecht, Spain’s Telefónica and Nestlé.
Together with White & Case, the firm helped airport consortium Quiport settle a dispute with the Ecuadorean government in 2011 over the construction of an international airport in Quito; the claimants dropped their ICSID case after agreeing on new contractual terms. The firm also helped Noble Energy settle an ICSID claim against Ecuador in 2009, convincing the state to pay US$70 million to resolve the dispute.
More recently, the firm helped Murphy Oil clear a jurisdictional hurdle in 2013 in its UNCITRAL claim against Ecuador concerning the state’s 99 per cent tax on windfall oil profits. A year later, it helped UK consultancy firm Development Delivery International settle a denial of justice claim against Ecuador over the failure of its courts to enforce domestic arbitral awards in the client’s favour.
In November 2015, the firm helped subsidiaries of Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings knock out the bulk of a US$200 million claim brought by an Ecuadorean port authority over their early termination of a port upgrade project. A split tribunal awarded just US$35 million in damages.
It also emerged that Pérez Bustamante (together with Freshfields) is acting for Petrobras and its partners in an UNCITRAL claim against Ecuador over two nationalised oil projects. The contract-based claim is being heard in The Hague.
Perez Bustamante & Ponce (PBP) is a full service leading law firm in Ecuador, with offices in Quito and Guayaquil and relationships throughout the world. Since 1916, it has provided quality legal advice to local and international clients and it has participated in many of the country´s landmark legal matters.
PBP combines experience with dynamism. Many of its lawyers are reputable attorneys widely recognized in their specialized practice areas, university professors, and well-known lecturers. The firm also has a large group of determined and efficient young lawyers who are starting to excel in their respective practice areas. This combination allows the firm to effectively meet its clients’ needs and handle complex legal matters.
The firm has been appointed as the Ecuadorian Firm of the Year by Chambers Latin America for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and by Who’s Who Legal for years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The firm’s Arbitration Practice has been very successful and has delivered positive results to our clients in various sectors.
On the international front, PBP Arbitration Practice has gained global recognition in investment arbitration cases at ICSID, as well as proceedings according to UNCITRAL and ICC arbitration rules. The firm has work as co-counsel with other notable international law firms achieving positive and quantifiable results for its clients.
On the local front, the firm has an excellent track record in local arbitration cases, and is widely regarded as a leading player in this field. PBP continuously handle cases in several areas of business including energy and natural resources, project financing, construction, securities, banking, telecommunications, and health. Its clients include multinational companies, global non-governmental organizations, and leading Ecuadorean companies.
PBP´s Arbitration Practice comprises partners with broad experience and knowledge in litigation and arbitration as well as younger attorneys with outstanding academic background and leadership skills. To best serve its clients, it assembles teams for each project to ensure a combination of the required expertise for a particular case.
A significant number of partners and associates are arbitrators and secretaries in various arbitration centers in Ecuador as well as abroad. Most of the members in its team are also law professors and lecturers at the most prestigious universities in the country.
PBP firmly believes in high-quality legal services, the importance of its clients’ trust and confidentiality, the need of technological developments, and the practice of law with emphasis on internationalization.
For more information please contact:
Rodrigo Jijon Letort
Juan Manuel Marchán