José Daniel Franco
José Daniel Franco Fernández has more than seven years of experience providing legal advice on infrastructure projects, focused on electricity and oil & gas.
Before joining White & Case, José Daniel was a member of a prestigious law firm in Mexico City. He advised public and private entities in connection with the 2013 Constitutional Energy Reform and new regulations that emerged from it. He provided legal advice during the beginning of operations of the Wholesale Electricity Market and the First Round of bidding processes for the awarding of E&E agreements conducted by the National Hydrocarbons Commission.
José Daniel also held a position in the legal affairs unit of the Mexican natural gas system operator. He provided legal advice during the first open-season process for awarding pipeline capacity. He also provided day-to-day regulatory advice in the context of agreements executed with transporters, shippers and final users, the implementation of right-of-way regularization processes, interactions with sector authorities and the development and planning of new natural gas projects such as underground storage facilities and interconnections, among others.
Since 2018, José Daniel has been an associate in the Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance group. He advises White & Case clients in regulatory, contractual and project-finance aspects of their electricity, oil & gas and other infrastructure projects such as highways and railways.
Regarding regulatory compliance, José Daniel has successfully advised in the obtainment, modification and day-to-day administration of permits granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission, such as permits for power generation, commercialization of natural gas, storage of oil products and permits of legacy regime. José Daniel has also advised clients in procedures carried out before the National Center of Energy Control and the Federal Electricity Commission, in connection with Long-Term Auctions, Wholesale Electricity Market, Interconnection Agreements and force majeure events, among others.
In connection with project finance, Jose Daniel has carried out due-diligence reviews of electricity, oil & gas, highways, railroads and other infrastructure projects and has participated in the drafting and negotiation of financing documents such as loan agreements and trusts. He has also participated in the investment and divestment processes of power generation and oil & gas assets.
Recently, Jose Daniel participated in amparo trials and other administrative litigation procedures in connection with the most recent changes in the energy regulation, such as the reform of the Electricity Industry Law, the Hydrocarbons Law and CRE's and CENACE's resolutions affecting power generation projects, among others.
Significant recent experience includes the representation of:
- Several energy companies (approximately more than 50 percent of the capacity of privately owned generation plants) in various amparo lawsuits filed against the reform of the Electricity Industry Law.
- Several leading oil & gas companies in an indirect amparo trial promoted against the recent reform of the Hydrocarbons Law.
- Several energy companies in amparo trials against certain energy policies (i.e., Resolution of the National Energy Control Center on the occasion of the COVID-19 pandemic; the Reliability policy of the Ministry of Energy and resolutions of the Energy Regulatory Commission to modify legacy green and conventional transmission rates) that aim to prevent the limitation of private power plants' participation in the Mexican electricity market. The White & Case team succeeded in convincing various District Judges to exceptionally admit the demand while work was suspended for the COVID-19 virus and to grant the final suspension to our customers to eliminate the application of such prohibitions and allow them to continue their operations.
- Braskem Idesa on the refinancing of its US$1.35 billion project finance loans with US$1.2 billion in aggregate principal amount of 6.990% senior secured sustainability-linked notes due 2032 and a US$150 million term loan facility. Morgan Stanley, Crédit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank and Itaú BBA acted as joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners. White & Case acted as New York and Mexican counsel for the term loan facility and as Mexican counsel on the notes issuance.
- Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior, and Banco Sabadell, as lenders in connection with a US$55 million project financing of a 115.5 megawatt solar project located in the state of Durango, Mexico, including all aspects of due diligence related to the project. The sponsor of the project is EOSOL Energy de México. We also represented Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior, as lender of a VAT facility for US$15 million to finance the VAT associated to the project costs.
- Howard Energy Partners, on the analysis of legal risks related to certain energy-related agreements executed by the company and state-owned productive enterprises, as well as regulatory compliance of certain natural gas transportation assets in Mexico.
The Energy Reform initiative and climate change, Revista Abogado Corporativo, Co-author with Jorge Kim, Volume May-June, 2022