Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Energy and natural resources

Led by Pablo Morales Andrade, Estudio Jurídico Morales & Asociados is instructed by a range of public and private companies in contentious proceedings such as mediation and arbitration, and also provides advice on projects and contracts.

Energy and natural resources in Ecuador


Recommended for its ‘high level of preparation and individualised attention to each case’, ECIJA GPA‘s team is headed by Gonzalo González and Bayardo Poveda, who, together with other team members, offer clients advice on a broad range of complex issues. These include day-to-day matters, as well as advice on large transactions such as the migration of oil contracts, negotiation with the state concerning contracts, and the delegation of field operations. Practice co-head Poveda draws on over 20 years of experience in the energy sector. Energy expert Álvaro Ordoñez departed from the firm in December 2022 to join the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Responsables de la pratique:

Gonzalo González; Bayardo Poveda

Les références

‘It is one of the best firms in Ecuador. The training of its partners is commendable and remarkable. The promptness with which they respond to requests from clients is worth recognising as well as their punctuality, and their high level of preparation and individualised attention to each case.’

‘The partners are some of the most exceptional in the country.’

‘The knowledge of its professionals in oil matters is unique.’

Principaux clients

Enap Sipetrol

Ecuador TLC

Wayra Energy


Grant Mining (Synergy Group)

Energy petrol

Baker Hughes

New Stratus Energy

Gasvesubio Consortium

DITEMAQ Consortium


Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Baker Hughes on a mutual work agreement with New Stratus Energy for the operations that it assumed in Ecuador.
  • Advised Ecuador TLC in the filing of a lawsuit against Petroecuador for breach of contract to transport crude oil in the OCP (Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline).

Flor Bustamante Pizarro Hurtado Abogados

Flor Bustamante Pizarro Hurtado Abogados‘ sizeable natural resources and energy practice displays ‘strong experience and knowledge of the mining industry’. This expertise extends to both regulatory and transactional matters, with its practitioners having handled a range of financing transactions in 2022. Andres Ycaza stands out in this regard and leads the overall team alongside Roque Bustamante and Mario Flor, who was one of the pioneers in renewable energy projects in Ecuador. More generally, the team is noted for its wealth of experience in energy matters, and Bustamante is extremely experienced in the oil and gas and mining sectors. Another key team member is Agustin Hurtado Larrea, who is particularly active in the oil and gas industry.

Responsables de la pratique:

Roque Bustamante; Mario Flor; Andrés Ycaza

Les références

‘They have the ability to adapt to the speed requested by our company at different times. They show commitment and professionalism.’

‘They know our values.’

‘It is a team with a lot of experience.’

Principaux clients

Newcrest Mining

Anglo American

South 32


Remedy Energy

Wheaton Precious Metals



Dundee Precious Metals

Atico Mining

Sunstone Metals

Olympic / Zeus Energy

Andes Petroleum Ecuador




Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Voltalia on several public and private renewable energy projects for a deal value of $100m.
  • Advised Wheaton Precious Metals on a definitive precious metals purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Adventus Mining Corporation.
  • Advised Solarpack on the negotiation of the concession agreement, PPA and trust agreement with the Ministry of Energy for the development of the photovoltaic project El Aromo.

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Partners Francisco Roldán-Cobo, Sebastián Pérez-Arteta, Jaime Zaldumbide and Sebastián Cortez, along with associate director María Isabel Aillón, co-lead Pérez Bustamante & Ponce's energy group, which ‘helps solve complex problems’ and shows a ‘solid knowledge of the management of government relations’. In addition to regularly handling mining and oil and gas work, the team has seen an uptick in the number of electricity and renewable energy matters, areas of growth for the country more widely. The group’s multidisciplinary approach means it is able to provide clients with tax, labour, environmental, finance, M&A and contractual advice. In June 2022, Patricio Albuja returned to the firm as a senior associate after a period in-house, further bolstering the group’s energy offering. Since publication, Aillón has been raised to the partnership

Responsables de la pratique:

Francisco Roldán Cobo; Sebastián Pérez Arteta; Jaime Zaldumbide; Sebastián Cortez; María Isabel Aillón

Les références

‘Strong capacity for synthesis. They look at the bigger picture.’ 

‘Solid knowledge of the management of government relations, and they understand the socio-political context of the country. They help solve complex problems.’

‘Wide and deep experience in different national and international aspects. responsiveness and closeness to the client.’

Principaux clients





Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Codelco on a joint venture with the Republic of Ecuador, including advice on shareholder rights, structuring in accordance with local mining law, potential tax implications and constitutional considerations.
  • Advising Grupo Cobra on the 110MW Villonaco wind farm project concession awarded to it.
  • Retained by Neoen to conduct a legal risk analysis of all tender documents in relation to a public tender by the Ministry of Energy calling for a 500MW renewable energy project.

Bustamante Fabara

Bustamante Fabara, a firm which was born from the merger between Bustamante & Bustamante and Fabara & Compañía in November 2021, fields an energy and natural resources team which ‘offers a personalised and very professional service‘. Team leader Rafael Valdivieso, who joined from Robalino in September 2022, is well supported by associate Gustavo Almeida, and the pair are described as ‘very knowledgeable and open to generating improvement strategies and meeting objectives’. The department counts major energy companies among its clients, and practice head Valdivieso is also active in the oil and gas and mining industries in Ecuador.

Responsables de la pratique:

Rafael Valdivieso

Les références

‘The team has great professionalism and friendliness when they provide their services.’

‘Rafael Valdivieso is always very attentive and resolves all concerns in a timely, clear and correct manner.’

‘The team offers a personalised and very professional service, observing the client’s requirements and adapting processes so that the objectives set can be achieved on time.’

Principaux clients

Gran Tierra Energy

Frontera Energy

Solaris Resources

Wayra Energy

Cox Oil

Sany Group

World Fuel Services


Orion Energy

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised GTE on obtaining all the required regulatory and environmental permits to drill three exploratory wells in recently acquired oilfields.
  • Advised Frontera Energy on obtaining all the required regulatory and environmental permits to drill exploratory wells of the Intracampos bidding round in the Perico oilfield.
  • Acted for Solaris in the negotiation of an investment protection agreement with the Ecuadorian government.


Robalino stands out for its comprehensive offering and is popular among leading oil and gas, mining and energy corporations, which seek advice on the structuring, development, negotiation and financing of upstream, midstream and downstream hydrocarbon projects and mining operations. Leadership of the team is shared between Andrés Donoso and Javier Robalino, experts in project financing, distribution chains and M&A, sought by the likes of Total Eren, Solaris Resources and Energylider. Additional standout practitioners include counsel Ernesto Velasco, a key hire in May 2022 aimed to strengthen the group’s experience in public-private relationships and regulatory matters, and senior associate Pedro Madero, a hydrocarbon specialist. In September 2022, Rafael Valdivieso left the firm, accompanied by Gustavo Almeida and Bruno Pesantes in his move.

Responsables de la pratique:

Andrés Donoso; Javier Robalino

Principaux clients

Solaris Resources


Total Eren

Orion Energy

World Fuel Services

Gran Tierra Energy







Dundee Minerals

World Bank Group

Smart Energy


Principaux dossiers

  • Supporting Solaris Resources during an exploration period in an exploration campaign in Ecuadorian’s mining industry.
  • Representing Total Eren in the bidding procedure for a 500MW NCRE, dealing with non-renewable resources, wind and solar projects.
  • Advising Schlumberger on day-to-day matters, including an audit to terminate the Pañacocha contract with the Ecuadorian government for approximately $380m.

Tobar ZVS

With profound knowledge of the mining sector, Tobar ZVS offers a specialised service to multinational corporations from Australia, North America and Europe, advising on the management of concession agreements and mining, energy and infrastructure projects. Mining regulatory specialist César Zumárraga leads the team, which is regularly engaged to act on licensing, financing, construction and regulatory matters; he is closely backed by Juan Fernando Larrea, who demonstrates considerable knowledge of the renewable energy and biotechnology spaces. Also active in this regard is Andrés Paz y Miño, a key contact for the corporate aspects of energy matters.

Responsables de la pratique:

Cesar Zumarraga

Les références

‘Tobar ZVS’ knowledge of the participants and the energy industry is exceptional. Juan Fernando Larrea as well as Cesar Zumarraga have been a very important support in our current and future projects. The two of them, as well as their work teams, make a difference in their energy practice.’

‘Very professional and highly trained team. It compares favourably with other firms in that most of the time they are available to tend to our needs effectively. They have suitable technological tools for information management and reporting to the client.’

‘The team has human qualities such as honesty and professional qualities such as knowledge, preparation and ethics.’

Principaux clients


Lumina Gold Corp

Polaris Renewable Energy

Minera Mesaloma

Challenger Exploration

Aurania Resources

Exploraciones Novomining

Barka Capital

Titian Minerals

Green Rock Resources

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Solgold on the issuance of $36m shares and a $50m royalty agreement in order to secure further financing for its Cascabel Mining Project.
  • Acted for Luminex Resources in the structuring of an earn-in agreement with Codelco for the Chalapo Mining Project, and negotiations with the Ecuadorian state for an investment protection agreement for the Condor project.
  • Advising Titan Minerals on reorganising its mining portfolio and judicial trials to defend the company’s interests.

Dentons Paz Horowitz

The energy and natural resources department at Dentons Paz Horowitz stands out for its ability to handle shifting trends, with significant knowledge of the mining, oil and gas, and renewable energy sectors. Within these areas of focus, the team is particularly active in the implementation of electric and hydroelectric projects across the country, managing domestic and foreign investments. Co-founder Jorge Paz Durini spearheads these efforts, leveraging experience gained at his previous role at the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber and involvement in several oil exploration projects. The group also features fellow directors Gabriel Santelices, whose practice encompasses dispute resolution and the obtainment of concession agreements, and María del Mar Hereda, noted for a variety of M&A transactions.

Responsables de la pratique:

Jorge Paz Durini

Les références

‘Good understanding of the local business climate. Well connected and has a good team of lawyers available to take care of issues quickly.’

Principaux clients

Titan Minerals

FV Area Andina

Green Valley Resources

Western Atlas Resources

Barrick Gold Corporation

Tuscany Perforacion Petrolera Tuscanyperf

Baker Hughes del Ecuador

Kila Sustainable Resort

Corriente Resources


Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Titan Minerals on all its concession issues in Ecuador as well as other day-to-day matters.
  • Advised FV Área Andina on the recovery of Las Iglesias mining concession.

Pino Elizalde Abogados

Pino Elizalde Abogados‘ group is particularly active in the oil and gas and mining sectors. Stevie Gamboa brings a wealth of experience from a background in state-owned energy companies. Daniel Pino has experience appearing before the Supreme Court of the US but is equally well equipped to deal with corporate matters and the financing of energy projects, regularly assisting foreign clients who are looking to set up businesses in Ecuador. Fernanda Guzmán is another name to note, with a particular focus on corporate law. In an important development, since publication the firm has opened a Quito office - effective as of February 2024.

Responsables de la pratique:

Stevie Gamboa; Daniel Pino; Fernanda Guzmán

Les références

‘They are very good.’

Principaux clients

Amazonas Tanker Company

Core Synergy



Bluequest Resources

Holcim Agregados

Traxys Europe

Hancock Prospecting

Torata Minig Resources

Principaux dossiers

  • Assisting Core in its oil trading activities in Ecuador and the acquisition of both Ecuadorian oil and Colombian oil transported through Ecuadorian pipelines.
  • Advised Amazonas Tanker on Ecuadorian regulatory matters, including tax, maritime and shipping regulation.
  • Advised Ecoluxen on its legal operational requirements, including contractual matters, regulatory matters, expansion and financing.

Sempértegui Abogados

The team at Sempértegui Abogados ‘comprises lawyers who have worked in the public sector‘, including practice group head and administrative law expert Henry Troya. According to one client, Troya ‘has an almost unmatched level of experience and contacts in the mining sector’. The wider group is instructed by mining investors, investment agencies, public and private companies and the government of Ecuador on the regulatory aspects of mining projects. Its practitioners are also engaged in the Ecuadorian oil and gas sector. Former partner Julian Pastor left the firm in November 2022.

Responsables de la pratique:

Henry Troya

Les références

‘Formidable knowledge of the mining sector. They have lawyers who have worked in the public sector.’

‘They are always willing to help when required.’

‘We trust the lawyers. They provide an excellent service.’

Principaux clients


Minera de Metálicos Colibrimining

Exportadora Aurifera

Principaux dossiers

  • Advised Expobonanza on the recovery of a concession that remained for more than eighteen years in an administrative dispute.
  • Advised a client on the recovery of a mining concession after more than ten years of dispute.
  • Sponsored a client to correct administrative procedures and to negotiate the transfer of a concession.

Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados

Commended for its ‘knowledge of the oil and gas market in Ecuador and good relationships with the different government offices’, Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados has experience in public bids, in addition to a range of matters affecting the power, renewable energy and mining sectors. Senior associate Francisco Larrea heads the team, and founding partner Patricio Peña Romero is another key contact, particularly for cross-border transactions. Former partner Rafael Pástor left the firm in February 2022.

Responsables de la pratique:

Francisco Larrea

Les références

‘Good client service and availability when we have emergencies.’

‘Knowledge of the oil and gas market in Ecuador and good relationships with the different government offices.’

Principaux clients

Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios



Cobra Oil & Gas

Santa Elena Petroleum Santalenapetro



Lubricantes Internacionales


Champion Tecnologies

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising Cuyabenopetro and Cobra Oil & Gas on the negotiation and execution of a contract term extension for five additional years, and with approximately $60m investment.
  • Advising Grupo Cobra on the execution and construction of a wind-powered generation project, which starts after a public selection process.
  • Advising Santa Elena Petroleum Santalenapetro on ongoing operations, including the drilling and completion of wells in respective oil fields.


The diverse workload undertaken by the team at Spingarn includes the negotiation, structuring and financing of projects. The firm can regularly be seen acting for clients in the energy and mining industries seeking to invest in the region. Group head Sebastián Saá Tamayo is the name to note for a range of energy matters, including non-conventional energies.

Responsables de la pratique:

Sebastián Saá Tamayo

Les références

‘It is a cutting-edge team dedicated to addressing the complex legal challenges and unique opportunities within the renewable energy sector. One of the key strengths of such a legal team is their deep knowledge and understanding of the renewable energy industry. The firm is well versed in the legal frameworks, policies and regulations governing renewable energy. This experience enables them to provide accurate and up-to-date advice to clients.’

‘Sebastian Saa and the Spingarn team exhibit a strong interdisciplinary approach. Given the multifaceted nature of the renewable energy field, he works closely with engineers, environmental experts, project managers, and financial specialists to deliver comprehensive, customised solutions.’

‘I have dealt with two of the main lawyers of the firm: Sebastián Saa Tamayo and Mario Torres. Despite their youth, the two professionals have an excellent knowledge of the hydrocarbons and energy industry, which greatly facilitates interaction and the development of agile and effective legal solutions.’

Principaux clients

Entoria Energy

PetroTal Corp

Atico Mining Corporation

Grupo Barca

JRG Energy


Compañía Minera La Plata

Enchapes Decorativos Endesa

Grupo Sigmaplast


Servicios Navales VO120

Principaux dossiers

  • Advising PetroTal Corp on the public tender process for Intracampos II.
  • Advised Transfuel (Agnamar) on the renegotiation process of its fuel oil supply contract with Petroecuador.
  • Advised Grupo Sigmaplast on the successful implementation of a renewable energy sub-station designed to supply its business expansion and energy demand.