Baker Botts secures Ashurst energy projects team for Singapore debut

Launch sees US firm regain physical presence in Asia Pacific after shuttering Hong Kong base in 2021

(l-r) Richard Guit, Daniel Reinbott and Michael Harrison Images courtesy of Baker Botts

US law firm Baker Botts has added a team of energy projects and transactional lawyers from Ashurst to open an office in Singapore.

The move sees the firm regain an on-the-ground presence in the Asia Pacific region having shuttered its bases in Hong Kong and Beijing in 2021 and 2020 respectively following “careful consideration” of the market. 

John Martin, managing partner of Baker Botts, said the Singapore office would build on the firm’s “substantial” existing relationships in the region and boost its ability to “provide full-service support to our US-based global clients while working with global clients on their inbound US transactions.” 

The new office will be led by Richard Guit, who has joined from Ashurst’s local office for the launch alongside fellow partners Daniel Reinbott and Michael Harrison and special counsel Jessica Ham and Giles Ashman. Rounding out the Singapore team is global projects partner Lewis Jones, who has relocated from Baker Botts’ London office, and an associate.

Between them the team of lateral partners covers the entire energy and resources sector, from traditional natural gas and LNG projects and commodity-related work to developments in energy transition, including low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and methanol, CO2 liquefaction and cross-border renewable energy imports, as well as all associated infrastructure. The team, which has worked on projects across Asia-Pacific, also brings extensive JV and M&A experience. 

The new office will initially provide energy transactional advice, though Baker Botts said it intends to expand its offering in Singapore to include private equity as the office grows, as well as servicing its global client base across the technology, life sciences and venture capital industries.

“With significant changes taking place in the energy market, and Asia’s dominance as a driver of global energy consumption and decarbonisation developments, Singapore is a critical office for the firm’s support of our global client base,” said Jason Bennett, department chair of Baker Botts’ global projects practice and co-head of its energy sector. “The office will act as the Asia-Pacific hub for the firm’s energy, infrastructure projects, project finance and dispute resolution capabilities, working closely with the firm’s US, London and Middle East offices."

Baker Botts’ energy practice is noted by Chambers for its ‘global network of oil and gas experts’ and its strength across transactional, regulatory and litigation work. The Houston-based firm has its roots in energy and the US the team has worked with clients including BHP, Transmission Developers and CenterPoint Energy Resources. 

Guit pointed to the quality of Baker Botts’ “premier” energy practice, adding: “We are excited by the opportunity to build Singapore into a centre for cross-office collaboration, assisting the firm’s clients on their most critical opportunities and challenges across the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond.” 

US rivals Orrick and Greenberg Traurig have also chosen to add focus on energy for their own Singapore launches, with Greenberg hiring a trio of energy and infrastructure partners from Hogan Lovells to open there earlier this year and Orrick adding renewables partner Jon Thursby from Watson Farley & Williams to open there back in 2021. 

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