Holland & Knight has hired Adrian Talamantes, a Latin America-focused energy partner from Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Talamantes advises on project development, joint ventures, acquisitions and divestitures. He works primarily within the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors but has also worked on both conventional and renewable energy power project M&A and development.

“The firm’s strategic focus on strengthening and expanding its North and South America capabilities, such as in the energy sector, really impressed me,” said Talamantes in a statement of his decision to join the firm.

Talamantes is dual licensed in Texas and Mexico. While he will be based in the firm’s Houston office, he also expects to work out of the firm’s Mexico City and Bogotá offices. Hydrocarbons has been an important sector in Mexico, particularly since the country’s decision to open the sector to private investment in 2013. In July 2018, the country elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the presidency. López Obrador takes office December 1, and some investors are waiting to see what effect his presidency will have on the energy sector.

“Many foreign investors are being more cautious with respect to their investments in Mexico’s energy sector, particularly because of the ongoing change in administration,” Talamantes said in an interview with IFLR1000. “They want to be certain that the current energy legal regime will remain in place without substantive modification and that regulators will remain autonomous and independent from SENER, which establishes energy policy. They are also waiting to see how the new administration treats Pemex and CFE vis-à-vis private players. I’m confident that Mexico will pull through and maintain the status quo.”

Talamantes also said that Argentina is attracting foreign investment to its energy sector, particularly in the shale region of Vaca Muerta, and that Ecuador could see some work in its oil sector. “Ecuador is seeking to lure in more foreign investment in the oil sector by implementing production-sharing contracts as part of its offering. A seventh bidding round is scheduled for January of 2019,” he said.

Partners from Holland & Knight have worked on several notable Latin American energy matters including helping Stoneway Capital Corporation issue project bonds to finance simple-cycle power plants in Argentina and helping Oak Creek Energy Systems obtain regulatory approval for the Eólica Mesa La Paz 306 MW wind farm in Mexico. In a statement, Roberto Pupo, leader of Holland & Knight's Latin America practice, expressed excitement at having Talamantes join the firm.

"[Adrian’s] overall experience in Latin America and his unique ability to address and negotiate complex matters in both Spanish and English make him a highly valuable addition to our team and a great resource to our clients, particularly those in the energy sector,” he said. “In addition to working closely with our attorneys in Mexico and Colombia, he will focus on building our brand in Texas. Houston is an important market for us and is an integral part of our LatAm strategy.”