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White & Case Advises Invenergy on Groundbreaking Power Project in El Salvador

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised Invenergy and its project subsidiary Energia del Pacifico (EDP) on the groundbreaking development and project financing of the 378 MW liquefied natural gas (LNG)-to-power infrastructure project at the Port of Acajutla in the Department of Sonsonate in El Salvador. In addition to the thermal power plant, project components include a marine terminal, consisting of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) permanently moored through a modified spread mooring system for liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivery, storage and regasification, as well as a long-term LNG supply contract for the FSRU.  The project also includes a natural gas pipeline that will run from the FSRU to the power plant and the construction of a 44-km, 230-kilovolt transmission line and related substations to connect the power plant to the electrical grid of El Salvador.

The project will require an investment of approximately US$1 billion. It will be the largest foreign direct investment in El Salvador to date. Once completed, the project is expected to increase the power generating capacity of El Salvador by 23 percent, provide reliable energy, reduce carbon emissions and help reduce the country's dependence on diesel and heavy fuel oil.

White & Case's involvement in the development of the project included negotiation of the long-term charter and services agreements for the FSRU; negotiation of a long-term contract for the supply of LNG and services related thereto; the long-term charter of existing and new-build tugs for operation of the offshore facility and mooring LNG carriers; the structuring and negotiation of documentation for the conversion of an LNG carrier into the FSRU; advising on best international practices relating to securing rights of way and other land rights for the project; the bankability of all project documents and performance security arrangements, including project-on-project arrangements; and other related local and international components of the transaction, such as assisting with the offshore port concession and liability allocation for all marine activity relating to the project.

White & Case also advised Invenergy as sponsor and EDP, as borrower, in the limited recourse financing for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the project, and in ensuring the bankability of all aspects of the project.

The financing for the project is being provided by the Overseas Private Investment Company, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, Finnvera and KFW IPX-Bank GmbH.  The total amount of the financing is US$657 million. This is the largest project financing ever closed in the history of El Salvador, and one of the largest and most complex in Central America.

The White & Case team that advised on this transaction was led by partners Carlos Viana in Miami as overall lead partner, Thomas Pate in New York as finance lead partner, and Steven Otillar in Houston as project development lead partner.  The team also included partner Jeannine Acevedo and associates Ana Arias, Christopher Delp, Maria Vanegas, Helena Buitrago and Stefan Lyman in Miami; partner Saul Daniel, counsels Morgan Hollins, Fern Han and Christopher Peponis, associates Carlos Ramón Díaz Sordo, Kabir Phaguda and Chantal Carriere,in Houston; partner Juan Manuel de Remedios and associate Julio Peralta in Madrid; and partner Ray Azar and Edward So and associates Rhys Bortignon, Raffaele Montenero Turco and Brandon Dubov in New York. 

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