Steven P. Otillar

Partner, Houston


“Steven is in the top echelon of outside lawyers I have ever worked with. He is knowledgeable and sees around corners. If an issue comes up he has experience dealing with in the past, he handles it.”

“He is always available and gives me the information I need to be successful.”

“A very well-balanced attorney with great legal skills and business sense.”
Chambers USA, 2023


For nearly three decades, Steven Otillar has been a trusted advisor to clients seeking to develop, finance, buy and sell energy projects worldwide. He has an outstanding track record of handling high-profile and complex projects and transactions under Texas and English law, in both English and Spanish. Steven approaches legal challenges with a commercial mindset, believing that a lawyer's primary responsibility is to find solutions that help bring a transaction to close, rather than merely raising legal risks and obstacles during a deal. His clients appreciate his broad experience across the entire energy value chain in well-established and emerging markets, which enables him to provide creative, market-driven legal advice in a dynamic industry.

Throughout his career, Steven has led several oil & gas and alternative energy projects in the United States while also developing a passion for working in developing markets, advising IOCs, NOCs and governments with the implementation of first-of-their-kind upstream, midstream and downstream projects. Steven has helped clients effectively manage risks as early entrants to uncertain legal jurisdictions, including assisting in the development of the first privately held pipelines and power plants in Mexico, advising on the opening of the Brazilian oil & gas sector, working on early-stage gas projects in mainland China and helping secure oil & gas blocks throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

He has deep experience in offshore energy projects, LNG-to-power, cross-border unitization, and helping traditional E&P companies expand into low-carbon ventures. Steven, a frequent lecturer and author on energy-related topics, is the former President of the Association of International Energy Negotiators (formerly AIPN) and currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Institute for Energy Law in the Center for American and International Law. 

He was recognized with a Band 1 ranking by Chambers USA 2023 – Offshore Energy for his "tremendous expertise in offshore energy work with decades of experience representing clients engaged in significant projects in the US, Latin America and further afield."

Bars and Courts
Texas State Bar
Solicitor of England and Wales
US District Court for the Western District of Texas
US District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Juris Doctor
University of Houston
Law Center
Bachelor of Arts
Southwestern University


Representation of Invenergy and its project subsidiary Energia del Pacifico (EDP) in the 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.

Representation of Noble Energy with a farmin transaction where it acquired an operating position in multiple upstream oil & gas blocks in Colombia, including negotiation of a JOA with the farmer.

Representation of Chevron with the negotiation of a cross- border unitization project in West Africa.

Representation of I Squared Capital, through its ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II, in the acquisition of an equity interest in Oleoducto Central, S.A. (OCENSA) from Advent International. OCENSA operates an 848-kilometer pipeline with a capacity of 680 thousand barrels per day, transporting approximately 75 percent of the oil produced in Colombia.

Representation of a strategic oil and gas company with a multi-tiered investment into a renewable diesel facility in the United Sates, including negotiation of convertible preferred equity rights, and the establishment of a joint venture related to the production of feedstock.

Representation of a private equity backed portfolio company with the acquisition of a major solar power project with a battery component to maximize dispatch flexibility located in the United States.

Representation of a low-carbon venture company with a waste-to-power project in the Caribbean.

Representation of a developer of biosolids management and power projects, including supply contracts, joint ventures, joint development arrangements, and equity financing efforts.

Representation of E&P companies with acquisitions and divestitures across the US valued in excess of US$3 billion.*

Representation of a client regarding unitization matters in Mexico.*

Representation of several clients negotiating joint operating agreements with Petroleos Mexicanos, including a supermajor as well as a smaller independent.*

Representation of an independent oil & gas company with establishing a branch in Argentina and acquiring an unconventional exploration and production block in the Vaca Muerta.*

Representation of a major oilfield services company with the negotiation and structuring of a multibillion-dollar investment with PetroAmazonas in Ecuador.*

Representation of a downstream energy company with respect to the development and finance of a brownfield refinery in the Caribbean.*

Representation of the financial restructuring team regarding the restructuring of a major offshore drilling company, including the subsequent liquidation of dozens of drilling rigs and lift boats around the world.*

Representation of a Mexican governmental agency regarding the implementation of energy reforms for the country's first international oil & gas licensing round.*

Representation of a publicly traded company with the development of multiple onshore unconventional gas production sharing contracts in China, including farming down interests in multiple blocks.*

Representation of a large publicly traded oilfield services company with alternative vendor participation programs in multiple jurisdictions to acquire equity and participating interest shares of oil & gas exploration projects in Malaysia, including offshore and onshore distribution infrastructure.*

*Matters handled prior to joining White & Case.

Speaking Engagements

"Understanding How Critical Minerals Influence the Energy Trilemma," AIEN International Energy Summit 2023

"Carbon Carpture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen Technologies," Chevron in-house presentation, Houston, Texas, 2023

"Trends in Host Government Granting Instruments," AIEN Webinar 2022

"Ecuador's New Contracts for Oil and Gas Projects," AIPN Webinar, 2021

"Negotiating with National Oil Companies: A focus on Africa," the Houston Bar Association Oil & Gas Section, 2021

"US Gulf of Mexico Investment Outlook," Welligence Energy Analytics Webinar Series, 2020

"The new PSA", Institute for Energy Law 70th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, Houston, Texas, 2019

"Special Considerations in Unitization Agreements", Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Houston, Texas, 2018

"International Expansion: Issues and Opportunities in Markets Abroad", Institute for Energy Law Oil Field Services Conference, Houston 2018

"International Deepwater vs Onshore – Considerations in the Decision Making Process", North America Prospect Exposition (NAPE), Global Business Conference, Houston, Texas, 2018

"Upstream Financing in Offshore Oil and Gas", Buenos Aires, 2018

"Human Rights & Environmental Disputes", AIPN/ICDR Dispute Resolution Conference, Mexico, 2017

"The Future of Oil and Gas", Rice AIPN, Houston, Texas, 2017

"Update on Mexico: Foreign Investments in Pemex", Texas Land Institute Conference, Houston, Texas, 2017

"Unitization Issues", International Oil & Gas Law, Contracts, and Negotiations Conference, Houston, Texas, 2017

"New Deals and Projects in Mexico's Energy Sector in 2017: US $100 Billion and Counting", IEL 4thMergers, Acquisitions & Divestitures Conference, Houston, Texas, 2017

CFO Roundtable: "Managing the Money, What Keeps You Up at Night?", AIPN International Petroleum Summit, Houston, Texas, 2017

"Deal-Making in a Changing Market", North America Prospect Exposition (NAPE), Global Business Conference, Houston, Houston, Texas, 2017

"Special Considerations in Unitization Agreements", Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Houston, Texas, 2016

"Promotion of Investments by the National Regulator", First Inter-American Hydrocarbon Regulators' Dialogue, Houston, Texas, 2016

"International Energy Series: Energy Law in Latin America", Houston College of Law, Houston, Texas, 2016

"Upstream Round 1: The Participants' Experience", Institute for Energy Law and ANADE Conference, Mexico City, Mexico, 2016

"Mexican Energy Reform Update", International Law Section, Houston Bar Association, Houston, Texas, 2016

"Comparison of Key Civil and Common Law Concepts in Upstream Agreements", Shell in-house presentation, Houston, Texas, 2015

"Gateway to the Americas, Latin American Investment", Greater Houston Partnership, Houston, Texas, 2015

"Navigating Risks: Practical Cases and Comparative Analysis Impacting the Security of Investments in Hydrocarbon Projects", AIPN International Conference, Mexico City, Mexico, 2015

"Legal Strategies for Challenging Times", UTCLE International Upstream Energy Conference, Houston, Texas, 2015

"Distressed Asset Acquisitions and Divestitures in Sub-Saharan Africa: Strategies for dealing with the low oil price environment", 8th Annual Sub-Saharan Africa Oil & Gas Conference, Houston, Texas, 2015

"Mexico Legal Update", Akin Gump Energy Year in Review, Houston, Texas, 2015

"How to Keep your MOU From Becoming an IOU," ExxonMobil CLE training, Fairfax, Virginia & Houston, Texas, 2014

All day training sessions on International Joint Operating Agreement Transactions and Host Government Granting Instruments for Unconventional Resource Plays, International Law Institute, Washington, DC, 2014

"Latin American Legal Regimes for Unconventional Resource Development," ARPEL LATINVE&P Forum and Exposition, Lima, Peru, 2014

Multi-day training sessions on Host Government Granting Instruments, International Farmout Transactions and Negotiating Joint Operating Agreements, Comisíon Nacional de Hidrocarburos and SENER, Mexico City, Mexico, 2014

All day training sessions on International Farmout Transactions and Negotiating Joint Operating Agreements, International Law Institute, Washington, DC, 2013

UT International Upstream Energy Transactions Conference speaker, "Host Government Granting Instruments: Key Concerns with Unconventional Resource Development", Houston, Texas, 2013

Center for American and International Law 64thAnnual Oil & Gas Law Conference co-chair, Houston, Texas, 2013

"The importance of the Use of the AIPN Model Contacts Used Around the World in the Oil and Gas Industry," AIPN / ITAM, Mexico City, Mexico, 2013

"Career Paths for Young Attorneys in the Energy Sector," 2013 Hartrick Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2013


"Private Equity in Upstream Oil & Gas Transactions: The Evolution of Purchase and Sale Agreements," Chapter 7, Seventieth Annual Institute on Oil & Gas Law

"Mexico's Round 3.1", White & Case Client Alert

"The New Natural Gas Age in Mexico", Project Finance International

Chapter 'United States' in the publication Oil and Gas Decommissioning: Law, Policy and Comparative Practice, Second Edition, published by Globe Law and Business.

"Optimism South of the Border", Project Finance International

"Mexico's Energy Industry: Midstream Regulations", Energy Law Report

"Yearbook 2015: Mexico's Energy Industry in Review", Mexico Business Publishing

"Master Limited Partnerships South of the Border: A New Financing Scheme to Fuel Mexico's Energy Infrastructure", Mexico Energy and Business Magazine

"The Future of Mexico's Energy Industry", The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel

"Lex Petrolea and the internationalization of petroleum agreements: focus on Host Government Contracts", Journal of World Energy Law & Business 

Awards and Recognition

Chambers USA – Nationwide (Band 1)
Projects, Energy & Natural Resources: Offshore Energy, 2023

Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Energy by The Legal 500

Selected as Expert Guides' Guide to the World's Leading Energy Lawyer

Selected as Expert Guides' Guide to the World's Leading Lawyers - Best of the Best in Energy

Recognized as a leading practitioner in Latin America, Energy & Natural Resources by Chambers & Partner

Recognized as a leading practitioner in Latin American Investment by Chambers & Partners Global and Chambers USA

Named to The Legal 500's Mexico Private Practice Powerlist

Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Projects & Energy by The Legal 500 Latin America

Selected by Who's Who Legal as one of the world's leading oil and gas lawyers

Selected as "Who's Who in Energy" by the Houston Business Journal

"Member of the Year" and "President's Award Recipient" of AIPN

Named a "Rising Star" by Texas Lawyer