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Interlaw's Indian Firm Acts on Landmark $16 Billion Natural Gas Project Deal

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Interlaw's partner firm in India, L&L Partners, has acted as counsel to Total, OIL, BPCL, ONGC and their affiliate entities, on a landmark USD 16 billion financing of Mozambique's first onshore liquefied natural gas project. The facility is being developed in Area 1 offshore of Rovuma block in Mozambique (Project) at an estimated initial project cost of USD 24.1 billion. 

This deal is the largest project financing transaction and biggest foreign direct investment in all of Africa to date, and the completion of this project holds global strategic significance towards fulfilling energy sufficiency in many countries, including India. 

This deal proved one of the most complex and challenging project financing transactions globally, particularly in view of the nature of the transaction structure, the multiplicity of parties and jurisdictions involved, and the security/ guarantee matrix adopted in light of the restrictions imposed in relation to the existing financing arrangements of India with the World Bank.

The project is a world-scale integrated LNG project with approx. 75 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and has a reputable sponsor and concessionaire consortium. Total, which is the operator's parent entity and one of the sponsors with 26.5% stake in the project, is a French multinational integrated oil and gas company, and one of the seven 'Supermajor' oil companies in the world. 

BPCL, ONGC and OIL are three Indian sponsors in the project, which are 'ratna' CPSEs of the Government of India, and flagship oil companies of India. The other sponsors include Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) of Japan, PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) of Thailand, and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos E.P. (ENH) of Mozambique. 

L&L was involved in all stages of the transaction, including in respect of the investments by the Indian entities into the project, finalization of the transaction structure, seeking necessary regulatory approvals and in negotiations, finalization and execution of the various transaction documents.

The L&L team was led by senior partner Mohit Saraf, and comprised of partners Late Sameen Vyas, Sundeep Dudeja and Aniket Sengupta, senior associates Sahil Arora and Naman Singh Bagga and associates Vishrut Kansal, Aditya Gupta, Samarth Sharma, Pavishka Mittal and Sakshi Singh.