John specialises in energy and infrastructure projects across Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on oil and gas and is the head of Webber Wentzel’s energy and infrastructure sector group.
He represents sponsors, governments, financial institutions and private equity investors in all aspects of project development and financing. Highlights of current projects on which John is the lead legal advisor include, representation of the South African Independent Power Producer’s Office for its LNG to power procurement programme, advising the sponsors on the Black Rhino Group led Horn of Africa Pipeline Project in Ethiopia and Djibouti and representing the South African Department of Trade and Industry with respect to the establishment of a gas industrialisation unit.
John also represents key upstream oil and gas companies in multiple jurisdictions across Sub Saharan Africa. In the past, while based in London, John worked on private equity-led investments in the oil and gas sector, large scale LNG import and export projects across Africa and emerging markets including Qatar, Papua New Guinea and Australia, oil forward sale structures in Egypt and Nigeria, gas-fired power projects and other downstream energy projects.
He has also previously advised/acted for the upstream developers of the offshore Ibhubesi gas field in South Africa on the commercialisation of the field, the government of South Africa in relation to the development of a South African Gas Utilisation Master Plan, the sponsors of a gas-supplied downstream project in Mozambique and the project financing of a coal seam gas to LNG project in Australia, sponsored by Origin Energy Ltd, ConocoPhillips, and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec).
John Smelcer is a panellist at the Africa Investment Exchange: Gas meeting at RSA House, London on 5-6 April.