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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

05 March 2012

In 2004, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce participated in the first-ever claim against Ecuador at ICSID, helping Repsol YPF to win a US$13 million award.

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 – is the first port of call for many foreign energy companies faced with developments they don’t like, such as changes introduced by the Correa administration. Clients include Perenco, Burlington Resources, Murphy Oil, Duke Energy and Noble Energy. It’s often found pairing up with international counsel such as Covington & Burling, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and King & Spalding. Brazilian construction group Odebrecht used the firm, alongside White & Case, when it was threatened with expulsion from the country over a hydropower plant dispute.

It has emerged from US court filings that Chevron has also turned to the firm for local law advice in connection with its long-running environmental litigation.

Rodrigo Jijón, one of the founders of the Ecuadorian Arbitration Institute, leads the practice. He’s described in our sister publication Latin Lawyer as a lawyer of “complete integrity”. While known for his expertise in energy law, he assists a wide variety of clients and is praised for his versatility.

In the past, the team obtained a US$70 million settlement for Noble Energy and also won decisions on provisional measures in claims underway for Burlington, Perenco and Repsol.

Recent events

The practice suffered a blow with the departure of partner Javier Robalino, who left in August 2011 to join another Quito firm, Paz Horowitz, as name partner and head of international arbitration. Robalino was a key player in the Burlington and Noble Energy cases and featured recently in GAR’s “45 under 45”.

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