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White & Case Advises on Landmark Gas-Fired Power Project in Afghanistan

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the Ghazanfar Group, as sponsor, on the development and financing of a 58.6 MW gas-fired power plant in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan.

"This landmark project is the first gas-to-power IPP in Afghanistan to be privately funded and paves the way for other key energy infrastructure developments in the country," said White & Case partner Matthew Osborne, who co-led the Firm's deal team. "It is an important step towards rebuilding Afghanistan's domestic energy security which has been impaired through many years of conflict."

Partner Andrew Clark, Head of Projects in Asia-Pacific, said, "This transaction is an excellent example of our ability to work with confidence in challenging markets, having actively advised clients in the early stages of IPP programmes in frontier and emerging jurisdictions globally for decades."

The Mazar IPP (independent power project) is the first private power project in Afghanistan to use domestically produced natural gas. Its electricity output will be sold to Da' Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), Afghanistan's national electric utility company, under a power purchase agreement that was entered into during January 2018. The Mazar IPP is expected to supply electricity to around one million Afghans and boost the country's domestic power generation by 20 to 30 percent. It is being developed by the Ghazanfar Group, an Afghanistan-headquartered diversified conglomerate with operations in the oil & gas, construction, banking, logistics, media, trading and mining sectors. 

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) served as both financial adviser and lender to the transaction. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in its own capacity and as administrator of Leading Asia's Private Infrastructure Fund, and Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft MBH (DEG), also provided funding for the project.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partner of counsel Steve Payne and partner Matthew Osborne (both Singapore), and included partners Fergus Smith (Singapore), Paul Harrison (Tokyo), Jonathan Olier (Singapore) and Ali Shaikley (Dubai), and associates Audrey Lim, Ee Lynn Tan, Rob Whitworth (all Singapore), Andrea Petersen (Dubai), Nettie Choo, Lisa Yeo, Henry Carlson (all Singapore), Stefan Mrozinski (Dubai) and Kevin Lee (Tokyo).

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