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Robert H. George

Partner
+1.713.815.7366
Fax +1.713.815.7301
+1.55.11.3704.5721
Fax +1.55.11.3958.0611
Robert George is a partner in the firm’s Houston office where he is part of the firm’s energy, infrastructure & resources practice area. He focuses his US and cross-border transactional practice on: (1) development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects, (2) trading of financial products (including claims) and commodities, (3) mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and (4) structured finance projects, prepayments and securitizations of financial and other income generating assets. Mr. George has substantial experience in structuring and negotiating cross-border projects and transactions in emerging markets, with particular expertise on projects in Mexico, South America and Central America.

Professional Background

Prior to joining the firm Mr. George was corporate and finance partner and served as managing partner for the Houston office of an international law firm where he advised public, private and state-owned clients on a variety of complex legal issues. He started his career as outside counsel to some of the largest banks with exposure to the troubled real estate and energy sectors in the late 80s and, as a result, has extensive experience in advising parties in distress situations, both in and out of bankruptcy. He then accepted an opportunity to move abroad to advise his clients in the energy sector on the legal issues related to several billion dollars in international and domestic assets, primarily in Brazil and other parts of South America. After returning to the US, he spent five years as the chief legal officer for an internal investment business managing a portfolio of commodities, derivatives, securities and other financial assets for Koch Industries, Inc., one of the largest private companies in the United States. There, among other things, he supervised the trading of commodities and financial products, the creation and operation of a $300 million privately-placed derivatives product company, including the negotiations with both S&P and Moodys to obtain the required AAA/Aaa ratings, the creation of a $1.2 billion special purpose vehicle to hold financial investments and a private placement of over $1 billion in rated debt to third parties. He subsequently took his experience gained as in-house counsel and returned to private practice where he uses that experience to provide his current clients with practical advice on legal issues impacting their domestic and international businesses.

Achievements

  • Mr George is recognized by Latin Lawyer as among the best 250 for 2018 and several prior years for his international Energy practice.
  • In 2014, Mr George was recognized for his work on one of the largest Mexican infrastructure projects in recent history, which was awarded the Project Finance Project of the Year by Latin Lawyer.
Languages

Extensive experience reviewing and negotiating contracts executed in both Spanish and Portuguese.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce
  • AIPN - Association of International Petroleum Negotiators

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “The Changing Face of National Oil Companies: Trends and Issues Unique to this Segment of the Energy Sector,” International Upstream Energy Transactions, UT Law CLE, Houston, January 2011
  • Moderator/Presenter, “Energy & Renewable Energy,” Latin American Trade and Investment Association's Latin American Investment Forum, London, March 2011
Power, Oil & Gas and Other Infrastructure Projects
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational gas and power company in the acquisition of utility district assets supplying services to five hospitals and the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health under a long-term contract.
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational gas and power company in the acquisition and implementation of a $1 billion power and utility management agreement as part of a public-private partnership between Ohio State University and a joint venture managed by the client.
  • Advising a Mexico-based client on its regulatory obligations in connection with the export of hydrocarbons from the U.S. to Mexico.
  • Negotiating and documenting gas supply, gas transportation agreements and gas asset management agreements for clients in the gas industry in the U.S. and Mexico.
  • Preparing for clients forms of gas supply agreements using both NAESB and ISDA master agreements, as well as custom tailored agreements.
  • Representing the sole independent director in his dealings with the owner and operator of a coal-fired power facility generating more than 2,000 MWs and the owner’s affiliates.
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational gas and power company on several different bids involving over 2,000 MWs of gas-fired electricity generation assets within a 2 year period.
  • Representing affiliates of a multinational gas and power company in the development, construction and finance of a $1 billion pipeline project, which was eventually designated as a project finance award winner by the industry press.
  • Negotiating and documenting energy commodity purchase agreements, including power, oil and gas, contracted under customized agreements and/or using industry forms such as ISDA and NAESB.
  • Advising on bids to provide heat, steam and power service agreements as part of public private partnerships proposed throughout the US.
  • Negotiating and documenting hydrocarbon and other commodity prepayment agreements and lending agreements secured by energy assets, including power plants, refineries and other industrial assets.
  • Advising a client on construction contracts for a multi-billion dollar, refinery expansion in Latin America.
  • Assisting a foreign country to prepare regulations governing the role of the private sector in the countries slowly developing gas sector.
  • Advising a foreign regulator in connection with the restructuring of its gas supply agreements with a U.S. oil major and the negotiation and execution of a gas asset management agreement.
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational gas and power company on a cogeneration expansion project at existing facilities and the construction contracts related to the expansion of these power and steam projects.
  • Representing a client in the dispositions of several billion dollars in oil and gas properties and their related businesses in Latin America.
  • Advising a private equity fund on a bid for several troubled electricity distribution companies in Brazil needing capital injections to comply with regulatory obligations.
  • Assisting a client in its bid for research funding of clean power technologies for power generation, usage and storage offered by state and local agencies.
  • Providing legal advice for the purchase of a commodity trading business by an oil brokerage business.
  • Assisting a chemical trading business to negotiate and document chemical purchase and supply agreements with industry majors.
  • Preparing a form of offshore drilling services contract for a large exploration and production company.
  • Advising a foreign regulatory agency in its review and responses to bid qualification documents submitted by some of the largest oil companies in the world competing to bid on deep water exploration rights.
  • Representing a project sponsor in connection with the issuance of letters of credit to back-up environmental obligations associated with a refining and storage project.
  • Representing the owners of several crude oil refineries in the attempted sale of the holding company to a host of different private and state-owned parties.
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational commodity trading and mining company in connection with a tolling agreement for the production of refined products and a related terminalling agreement.
  • Representing an international power generator in the expansion of an existing power cogeneration facility in Mexico, including the negotiation of a U.S. law governed construction contract.
  • Advising affiliates of a multinational commodity trading and mining company in connection with a purchase of a commodity refining business with an estimated enterprise value of $1 billion.
  • Advising a global producer and marketer of bio-based chemicals and specialty polymers in connection with the attempted purchase of styrene production assets located inside the fence of an existing chemical plant owned by a joint venture between two other chemical manufacturers.
  • Representing an international natural gas major in the acquisition of deep-water drilling rigs auctioned by the rig construction companies after payment defaults by the drilling contractor on the construction contracts.
  • Advising the client on the development, construction, IADB financing and eventual two-part sale of a power plant while under construction and the regulatory approvals related to the project.
  • Negotiating and documenting the sale of a large gas-fired power plant to a domestic industrial competitor.
  • Advising on the divestitures of international energy assets worth several billion dollars to numerous parties.
  • Advising on a public tender for the outstanding equity interests of a large electricity distributor involving several hundred million dollars.
  • Providing legal support in the merger of a public electricity distributor into a privately held business as part of a restructuring of the company’s debt and equity, including the regulatory approvals for the transaction.
  • Advising on the purchase of large ownership stakes in several gas distribution businesses, including controlling and non-controlling stakes.
  • Advising on the purchase of a controlling stake in a large electricity distribution business for in excess of $1 billion.
  • Negotiating shareholder, joint venture, shared control or management agreements for several billion in assets domestically and abroad.

Finance, Structured Finance and Trading Projects
  • Advising a multi-jurisdictional bank on its participation in a new fintech platform for the purchase and sale of receivables.
  • Advising a non-profit loan fund restructuring an existing loan facility and extending secured loans in the U.S. and Brazil, including a facility for the construction of new facilities in Brazil.
  • Representing a financial institution in the enforcement of its rights as the owner of credit-linked notes secured by a credit default swap initially covering a portfolio of loans of more than €2.9 billion to Italian, German and Spanish borrowers.
  • Negotiating and documenting a $40 million credit facility provided by affiliates of a multinational commodity trading and mining company to a bankrupt owner of a refinery which produced aluminum oxide from bauxite ore.
  • Advising the bankruptcy estate of Lehman Brothers in the enforcement and eventual sale of its subordinated debt holdings in a real estate portfolio securing the subordinated debt.
  • Advising a multi-jurisdictional bank with respect to letters of credit issued in support of Latin American based customers doing business internationally.
  • Representing a multi-jurisdictional bank in connection with credit extensions in a local currency to a U.S. owned business doing business in Latin America with the borrower providing credit support in the U.S.
  • Negotiating and documenting a secured loan of over $100 million from a Brazilian bank group to a Brazil based manufacturer with operations and collateral in the U.S.
  • Representing a chemical trading business to document a prepayment agreement with a distressed commodity supplier secured by assets located outside of the U.S.
  • Negotiating and documenting 3 commercial jet leases on behalf of a regional air carrier based in Mexico.
  • Advising a multi-jurisdictional bank regarding various regulatory requirements for lending to businesses engaged in the gambling industry.
  • Advising a group of financial institutions and investment funds in the acquisition of the bankruptcy claims from Apple, Inc. secured by assets located in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Advising New York- based structured finance group in the acquisition of several million in claims held by banks in the bankruptcy of GTAT Inc.
  • Advising an investment fund in the acquisition of claims against Chesapeake Energy arising under an indenture which required the payment of a prepayment premium which Chesapeake Energy contested all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Advising trading funds and commodity business in commodity swaps and hedges and the documentation of these trades.
  • Advising US-based national product retailer and other clients in connection with the preparation and implementation of the Dodd-Frank requirements and various internal policies associated with these requirements.
  • Advising a bond issuer in connection with a tender offer for approximately US$350 million in bonds secured by certain assets of a large US refiner and the eventual conversion of these bonds.
  • Representing a foreign-owned oil refiner with the redemption and conversion of over US$500 million in outstanding bonds in connection with a US$2 billion re-financing.
  • Advising a U.S. multinational conglomerate as the first non-bank to create and operate a $300 million privately-placed derivatives product company
  • Providing legal oversight related to the creation and issuance of a CDO holding more than a $1 billion in synthetic assets.
  • Overseeing a trading business with several billion in assets under management and trading in a variety of financial and physical assets.
  • Negotiating and documenting the purchase of several hundred million in debt issued by an electricity distribution company at a discount as part of an overall balance sheet restructuring.

Various International Projects
  • Representing an Irish insurance company to provide equity and debt capital to a new insurance business in the U.S.
  • Advising a recognized U.S. hospital network in connection with a proposed co-branded cancer program in Brazil.
  • Assisting a private equity fund investing in commercial real estate projects in various locations throughout Latin America.