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 Uganda National Oil Company on the Uganda refinery project, 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, advising Globeleq on the development of a Zambian power project 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.
John regularly leads government training workshops on the legal and structuring aspects of energy project financings. He has published various articles and client alerts including Bridging Africa’s Energy Gap – LNG to power as a catalyst for unlocking host country value and raising large scale investment? and Nigerian Power Sector Reforms: Opportunities and Challenges for Investment.
John is a member of the New York Bar and American Bar Association and holds a Juris Doctor of Law from the University of Washington as well as a public policy degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
John Smelcer is a panellist at the fourth Africa Investment Exchange: Gas meeting at RSA House, London on 11-12 April.