Blake H. Winburne is based in the Houston office and is global co-head of Orrick’s Energy & Infrastructure Group. He is a transactional lawyer focusing on the downstream and midstream energy sectors.

Blake is recognized both nationally and globally by Chambers (Chambers USA 2008-2016 and Chambers Global 2010-2016), which reports that he is "very strong in the industry and has a really good client following" and that clients describe him as "very pragmatic with good business judgment and a very effective negotiating style." Blake has also been named by Euromoney (2009-2016) as one of the “world’s leading project finance lawyers" and one of the "world’s leading energy and natural resources lawyers," and has been recognized by Legal Media Group (2013) as being in the top 100 practitioners in the clean tech and renewable energy field.

Blake advises clients on energy sector mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, and joint ventures, and on the development, structuring, and financing of large-scale energy projects, both in the United States and internationally. He regularly represents multinational energy companies, large private equity funds, project developers and sponsors, borrowers and debt issuers, investment banks, and other capital providers and investors in the energy industry.

Blake has significant experience in the electric power sector, including fossil fuel-fired, simple and combined cycle and cogeneration generating facilities; as well as wind, solar (central station and distributed), landfill gas, biomass and other renewable energy projects. He also has represented clients in transactions involving oil, natural-gas and refined-products pipelines, gathering and processing systems and storage facilities (tank farms and underground), exploration and production investment platforms and operations, electric power and natural gas transmission and local distribution systems, and alternative fuels production and marketing arrangements.

  • M&A and Dispositions

    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition and project financing of a 625-megawatt, state-of-the-art combined natural gas-powered electric generation facility in Arizona
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition and financing of a crude oil, natural gas, fresh water and waste water gathering and delivery system in North Dakota and in the negotiation of long-term gathering and transportation contracts
    • Represented a private equity firm in the sale of two natural gas-fired simple cycle power plants in Illinois – one 349-megawatt and one 180-megawatt – to another private equity fund
    • Represented a private equity firm in connection with the formation of a master limited partnership with two major natural gas utilities, which resulted in a combined company with assets of nearly $11 billion
    • Represented a global energy company in the sale of a 50% equity interest in the 250-megawatt Cedar Creek II wind farm in Colorado, including the negotiation of complex governance, shareholding, equity contribution, and construction and operations management arrangements between the partners
    • Represented a private equity firm in the sale by competitive process of the Michigan Power Generating Facility, a 125-megawatt capacity combined cycle cogeneration plant located near Ludington, Michigan  
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of equity interest in, and joint venture arrangements for, Enogex LLC, a midstream natural gas pipeline system with over 8,000 miles of pipe, nine processing plants and 24 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage capability in Oklahoma and Texas
    • Represented a European-based renewable energy company in the acquisition of the 99-megawatt San Roman wind farm in development in Texas
    • Represented a global energy company in the acquisition of the 78-megawatt Black Oak wind farm in development in Minnesota
    • Represented a global energy company in the sale of a 50% equity interest in the 140-megawatt Mehoopany wind farm in Pennsylvania
    • Represented a private equity firm in its acquisition of a majority interest in, and related joint venture arrangements for, an approximately 700 MW natural gas-fired, combined cycle power generation facility under construction in New Jersey, on subsequent sell-downs and co-investments involving its ownership interests, and ultimately on the sale of its interest to another partner
    • Represented a global energy company in the sale of the Choctaw electric generating facility, an approximately 746-megawatt gas-fired combined-cycle power plant located near Ackerman, Mississippi, to an energy-focused private equity fund
    • Represented a global energy company in the sale of the Hot Springs electric generating facility, a 720-megawatt gas-fired combined-cycle power plant located in Arkansas, to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Company
    • Represented a global energy company in the sale of a 50% equity interest in the 419-megawatt Flat Ridge 2 wind farm in Kansas, including a subsequent modification to the joint venture arrangements to include the 51-megawatt Flat Ridge 2 South expansion
    • Represented a private equity firm in the sale of the largest residual fuel oil terminal facility on the Gulf Coast
    • Represented a private equity firm in the sale of a business providing recurring turnaround and specialty services to the North American refinery and petrochemical markets
    • Represented a private equity firm in its investment in, and in the structuring of joint venture arrangements with, several management teams investing in oil and gas interests, including in respect of the Bakken, San Juan, Marcellus, Barnett and Utica formations.
    • Represented a private equity firm in forming a joint venture to develop and own the Central Penn Line, a 177-mile natural gas pipeline in Pennsylvania
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition and financing of oil and natural gas pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a full service midstream energy company providing services for gas gathering, processing, treating, compression, dehydration, transportation and marketing of natural gas and natural gas liquids, with assets in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kansas, and over 1,450 miles of pipeline, 3 natural gas treatment plants and 8 gas processing facilities
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a portfolio comprising approximately 3,369-megawatts of generating capacity of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants in Massachusetts and Illinois
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of the Starfish system, comprised of onshore assets located in Louisiana and 366 miles of offshore pipelines and gathering lines capable of transporting 560 MMcf of natural gas and condensate
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of, joint venture arrangements for, and financing of its investment in the interstate Arkoma Connector Pipeline in Oklahoma
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a three natural gas and dual-fuel capable electric generating facilities in the northeast United States with generating capacity of approximately 2,300-megawatts
    • Represented a  private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a portfolio comprising approximately 5,700-megawatts of generating capacity of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants located in the United States
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of a 50% ownership interest in a coal-fired power plant that uses circulating fluidized bed technology, allowing the facility to use waste coal and to operate with lower emissions than traditional coal plants
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a power plant portfolio comprising approximately 1,744-megawatts of generating capacity located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
    • Represented a private equity firm in an investment in a 1.4-gigawatt portfolio of power generation facilities located throughout Texas, in the subsequent preferred equity financing of the portfolio and in the refinancing of one of the facilities within the portfolio
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of general partner interests in an owner and operator of one of the largest independent refined petroleum products pipeline systems in the United States (measured by volumes delivered)
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of natural gas distribution systems which serve nearly half a million U.S. residential and business customers in the Mid-Atlantic region
    • Represented a global energy company in the proposed acquisition of the 520 megawatt Mexican IPP portfolio owned by a Canadian energy company
    • Represented the stalking horse bidder in the Bankruptcy Code Section 363 sale of an IPP portfolio consisting of interests in approximately 2,500-megawatts of generating capacity
    • Represented a European-based renewable energy company in the acquisition of a 200-megawatt wind-powered generating facility in Texas
    • Represented a private equity firm in the proposed acquisition of a portfolio of landfill gas projects located throughout the United States
    • Represented a private equity firm in the acquisition of a 570-megawatt generating facility located in New Mexico
    • Represented various project developers and financial investors in due diligence and submitting bids to acquire interests in various assets, including gas- and coal-fired power generation facilities, wind and solar power generation facilities, landfill gas-to-energy projects, hydroelectric facilities, natural gas storage facilities and retail energy businesses

    Project Development and Finance

    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the non-recourse project financing of the 625-megawatt Mesquite power plant in Arizona, which consisted of a private placement of institutional notes and a commercial bank-backed letter of credit and working capital facility, together with back leverage in the form of a holdco term loan
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the non-recourse project financing of the Van Hook pipeline system, which transports approximately 11,000 barrels of oil, 6,500 million cubic feet of natural gas, and 5,000 barrels of water per day in the Bakken shale formation
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the non-recourse project financing of a 69-megawatt Morgantown, West Virginia power plant, which involved the refinancing of tax-exempt energy revenue bonds and a complete replacement and renegotiation of the non-recourse project financing credit facility that provided the credit support for the tax-exempt bond issuance
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the refinancing and restructuring of a project-financed electric generating facility in Texas
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the non-recourse project financing of oil and natural gas pipelines servicing a hub at Mississippi Canyon Block 711 in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the $430 million Term Loan B financing of ownership interests in one of the largest midstream businesses in the United States
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel for a senior-secured revolving credit facility supporting a midstream company with onshore and offshore assets in the Gulf of Mexico region
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel in the $305 million financing of a refined products storage facility on the U.S. Gulf coast
    • Acted as borrower’s counsel to several exploration and production companies in connection with borrowing-base credit facilities
    • Represented an energy-focused private equity firm in the tax-equity financing of a 235 mile, 500 kV electric transmission line in Nevada
    • Represented a joint venture of a global energy company and a global infrastructure fund with partnership structuring and the project financing of a 25-megawatt solar project in Arizona and a 12-megawatt solar project in Texas
    • Represented a global energy company in its participation in various public tenders by PEMEX and CFE for natural gas-fired power plants and long-haul pipelines in Mexico
    • Represented various energy companies in the development, construction and financing of wind-powered and other renewable generating projects throughout the United States
    • Represented various energy companies in the negotiation and documentation of power purchase, tolling and marketing agreements for fossil fuel-fired power plants throughout the United States
    • Represented various energy companies in the negotiation and documentation of construction, term loan, and revolving credit facilities and letter of credit facilities, on a project-finance and corporate-credit basis
    • Represented a global energy company in the submission of bids for renewable power purchase agreements in response to requests for proposals from utilities across the United States, including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska
    • Represented a global energy company in the negotiation of long-term power purchase agreements, turbine acquisitions, operation and maintenance arrangements, common facilities arrangements and other matters relating to the development of wind power generation projects in multiple states, including Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Texas
    • Acted as project counsel in the development and structuring of ethanol and related power generation facilities located throughout Latin America
    • Acted as project counsel in the development and financing of a 1,060-megawatt generating facility in Mexico—a project that was named "Latin American Power Deal of the Year" by Project Finance
    • Acted as project counsel in the development, financing and refinancing of a 600-megawatt generating facility in Mexico, which was named "Latin American Merchant Power Deal of the Year" by Project Finance
    • Acted as project counsel in the development, construction and financing (and subsequent refinancing) of natural gas compression facilities located in Huimilpan, Mexico

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