YN Leadership

Houston, Texas USA

Luis Miranda

Luís Miranda started his career in 2008 working in Timor-Leste for an international NGO, where he had the opportunity to participate in the closing of camps for displaced persons and provide legal assistance to local populations in administrative formalities. He then worked for an international law firm in Macao (China), mostly dealing with commercial and litigation matters. Luís then moved to France, where he joined Siemens’ legal department in Paris. He was responsible, among other tasks, for advising employees on compliance with a variety of French criminal laws and regulations, assisting in preparing and implementing internal policies on data protection, confidentiality, use of mobile phones, IT and information security, and advising and handling internal employment issues.

In 2012, he joined Miranda & Associados in Lisbon, a leading Portuguese law firm, which heads the Miranda Alliance, an international association of law firms and lawyers with a presence in 18 countries. Luís is currently the Head of Miranda’s Alliance Houston Office. Prior to moving to the United States, Luís gained significant experience advising oil companies and living in West Africa, including in Gabon and Cameroon, where he was based at Miranda’s local offices.

Luís completed his law degree and LL.M. in International Comparative Law at the University of Toulouse (France). He also obtained an LL.M. in Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Law at the University of Houston. He is fully fluent in Portuguese, French, and English and has a good knowledge of Spanish. He is the current chair of the AIPN’s Young Negotiators Committee. In addition, Luís is a member of the Institute for Energy Law’s Young Energy Professionals group (where he was recently chosen to participate on its Inaugural Leadership Class) and of the American Bar Association (where he will be the International Energy and Natural Resources’ Committee Co-Chair in 2019/2020).

Michael Ventocilla


Michael is a Corporate Counsel with SNC-Lavalin in Houston, where he advises on engineering, procurement and construction services transactions in the oil and gas sector throughout the U.S. and globally. Michael supports the planning and execution of onshore and offshore engineering, design and construction projects, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, petrochemical complexes, refineries, floating production units (FPUs) and others. Prior to joining SNC-Lavalin, Michael worked as a briefing attorney with the law firm Berg & Androphy in Houston, where he drafted filings in commercial litigation and developed defense strategies in environmental cases. He also spent time overseas in summer associate roles with Centurion Law Group in Equatorial Guinea and Pemex in Mexico.

Michael earned a B.S. in Global Business from the University of Texas at Dallas and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. While in law school, Michael studied a semester abroad at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, Mexico, where he was a Visiting Foreign Scholar with the Center for Energy and Natural Resources. He speaks Spanish and some Italian.

Michael is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the AIPN. He is also a member of the AIPN Young Negotiators Committee and a past winner of the AIPN Student Writing Competition.

Washington, D.C.

Christopher Gladbach

Christopher Gladbach counsels clients in energy M&A, project development, tax equity and project finance transactions.

Chris works with energy clients in structuring complex equity and debt investments, advises both buyers and sellers in the power sector in mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures, and on the development of large-scale energy projects. He assists his clients in mitigating and allocating risk associated with these transactions in conjunction with achieving their primary business and financial objectives.

Chris has extensive experience advising clients pursuing opportunities involving the development and financing of United States Department of Defense (DoD) energy projects. He counsels developers, purchasers, lenders and tax equity investors in government contracts and structuring project development and financing arrangements to account for unique risks.

In addition, Chris represents market-leading private equity funds and institutional investors in power asset transactions, and understands the unique challenges and opportunities that these clients face.

Chris is recognized nationally for his client work in the energy sector. He was awarded the honor of “Rising Star” by the National Law Journal, demonstrating “success on the highest stages” in managing transactions for clients. Chris was also commended by the Financial Times in their Innovative Lawyers Report in the category of “Driving Value” for clients. He has been recognized by the Legal 500 for his work in project finance and has served for three years running on Law360’s Project Finance Editorial Board. Chris also serves on the American Council on Renewable Energy’s (ACORE) Leadership Council.

Chris is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to M&A, private equity and institutional investments in power assets.

London, UK

Yanal Abul Failat

Yanal Abul Failat, an associate lawyer at LXL LLP, principally advises oil and gas companies globally on contentious and non-contentious matters including:
• corporate governance;
• mergers and acquisitions;
• joint ventures;
• licensing and regulation; and
• petroleum contracts across the entire supply chain (upstream, midstream, and downstream).

He has cross-border experience in major corporate transactions and projects across Europe, Middle East, Russia, and South East Asia and has an interest in national space-related legislation and international law.

His litigation record includes representing international energy companies, manufacturers, service providers, and individuals in commercial disputes
and the effective enforcement of judgments and awards.

Samuel Merlin

Samuel has diverse experience in sourcing and executing M&A and capital raising projects in the energy, infrastructure and oilfield services sectors globally. He previously served in the U.S. Department of Defense as an energy envoy overseeing activity in the Middle East and Central Asia. He worked with Afghanistan's Minister of Mines & Petroleum to structure, negotiate and manage the implementation of Afghanistan's first-ever production sharing contracts with CNPC, Dragon Oil and TPAO. He managed seismic operations, monitored operators' work programs and field development plans, and developed oil & gas marketing and logistics, including the negotiation of the TAPI Pipeline. Samuel is a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and sits on AIPN's Leadership Committee for its Young Negotiators program. He is a graduate with honours from Union College and completed studies at Central European University (Hungary), University of Tuebingen (Germany) and Babes-Bolyai University (Romania).

Quentin Robinson

Quentin Robinson is a Senior Associate in the Ashurst global energy team in London. Quentin has extensive experience of advising companies on a broad range of legal and commercial issues in the international upstream and midstream oil and gas sector and throughout the full lifecycle of an asset/project including M&A/A&D, joint ventures, project development, and general operational oil and gas matters.

Quentin has significant in-house experience in the oil and gas sector having been seconded to a number of operators, non-operators and service sector companies.

Michael Walton

Michael is an Associate at Dentons in London. He specialises in the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors advising clients in relation to all stages of a project's lifecycle. Michael advises on a range of corporate and commercial issues and has particular sector experience in advising on M&A transactions, asset transfers, joint ventures, farm-outs, and hydrocarbon sale and purchase agreements. He has experience in working
on transactions and projects in a range of jurisdictions such as Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Mexico, Iraq and the UK North Sea. Michael has also spent time on secondment at the Oil & Gas Authority, the regulator of the UK North Sea.

Michael holds a degree in Law with Spanish (LLM) from the University of Dundee and completed the LPC at the College of Law in York.

Frankfurt, Germany

Cankutan (“John”) Hasar

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John Hasar is a Global Infrastructure Consultant for Roland Berger in Frankfurt Germany. His focus is to support both public and private clients in planning, financing, delivering and operating infrastructure more efficiently, helping them save billions on strategic projects. John had the opportunity to work in ConocoPhillips’ Alaska and UK business units gaining exposure to opportunity management, arctic operations, offshore production and major capital projects execution. Through his past internships at Chevron and research opportunities at MIT, he also gained experience in technology development and research methods.

John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 2010. He also completed an LL.M (Master of Laws) degree in Oil & Gas Law at the University of Aberdeen in 2014. During his tenure in Boston, he had the opportunity to take leadership and decision sciences classes at Harvard Kennedy School and MIT Sloan. He speaks Turkish and some Polish.

Paris, France

Emmanuel Garaud

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Emmanuel Garaud is Originator & Business Developer for Engie Trading Business involved in Structured Financing, Physical Gas Offtake & Marketing and Risk Management activities. Emmanuel was previously Head of Strategy for Engie Exploration & Production International now Neptune Energy Group owned by a group of investors including the Carlyle Group. He gained Upstream Business Development experience during 5 years in The Netherlands after having spent 7 years in various international technical assignments including onshore & offshore operations in Angola, France, The Netherlands & Germany.

Mr. Garaud is a native of France’s region of Bordeaux and has been trained successively as Engineer, Economist and Historian.

Carl Chaer

Carl is currently a Contracts Engineer at Subsea 7 Paris office.
He is a member of the YN-Europe team at the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and former Vice-President of the AIPN Club at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
He has a developed experience in Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts, Maritime Law, Unitization, Joint Operating Agreements, Exploration and Production Agreements, Farmouts, Health, Safety and Environment, as well as in participating in the creation and promoting of the Oil and Gas Legal Framework in Lebanon.

He has worked as a Lawyer at Hyam G. Mallat Law Firm in Beirut, a highly work friendly environment representing and acting honestly, fairly and professionally on behalf of big national and international clients on all subject matters ranging from cases involving Corporate Law, Property Law, Insurance Law, Labor Law as well as advisory work and litigation.

He is practicing as a member of the Beirut Bar Association upon completion of studies at the University of Aberdeen with an LLM in Oil and Gas Law (with Honours) and at the Paris 2 Pantheon-Assas University in Paris, performing top in Energy Law.

He is fluent in Arabic, French and English.

Arwa Awad

awad_arwa100x133Arwa is a Senior Legal Counsel with Total Marketing Services in Paris, France and has held various international legal roles in Copenhagen, Doha and Houston. Prior to moving to Paris she served as the Chief of Staff to Maersk Oil’s CEO in Copenhagen, Denmark providing project management and legal support in relation to Total’s acquisition of Maersk Oil. Her previous roles include a Senior Legal Counsel role in Doha, Qatar in which she supported the close out of Maersk Oil Qatar and transition of Al-Shaheen Field to North Oil Company, a joint venture between QP and Total, a Senior Legal Consultant role with IHS Upstream regulatory in Houston, Texas, in which she provided legal and regulatory support to international clients on oil and gas-related operational and HSE regulations. Prior to joining IHS, Arwa worked as a commercial negotiator and legal counsel with Maersk Oil Houston supporting operational and non-operational activities in Angola, Brazil, Gulf of Mexico and Qatar.

Arwa has a B.A. in Political Science from Houston Baptist University (Summa Cum Laude) and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center (Magna Cum Laude).

Arwa is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. She is also a member of the AIPN Young Negotiators Committee

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Danielle Valois

valois150x200Danielle Valois is the partner of the Brazilian law firm Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, associated with Baker & Mckenzie International. Mrs. Valois is based in Rio de Janeiro and she focuses her practice on oil and gas development projects (public auctions, financing and construction of FPSOs, FSO’s, pipelines, refineries), M&A and joint venture transactions involving oil and gas and biofuels companies (shareholders agreements, farm-ins, joint-ventures) and arbitration involving a variety of oil and gas (take-or-pay agreements) and construction (EPC Contracts) disputes. She is ranked by Chambers Latin America 2010 for having an impressive portfolio of oil and gas clients and has worked on numerous project finance projects, M&A transactions and arbitrations involving companies engaged in the oil and gas industryCaracas, Venezuela

Dubai, UAE

Fernando Ortega

ortega100x133Fernando Ortega is a Legal Consultant at DWF (Middle East) LLP, in Dubai. He has been involved in commercial, investment and construction disputes focused in the United States, Latin America and the MENA region over the last ten years. His experience covers a broad range of commercial transactions across industry sectors including O&G, construction and infrastructure.

Fernando has a Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington DC, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is fluent in Spanish and enjoys traveling and experiencing the world.

Moscow, Russia