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).

David Sweeney

sweenyresDavid Sweeney is a partner in the Houston office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. His practice spans the full natural resource value chain, from exploration, production, processing and infrastructure, to monetization.  He began his career as an attorney in the headquarters of an international law firm before becoming the Vice President, Legal, General Counsel, and Secretary of an independent exploration and production company with a focus in the North Sea and the Associate General Counsel and chief compliance officer of an integrated, international energy company, where his practice focused on West Africa and Eastern Europe.  He is a frequent author and speaker on oil and gas topics and has written a comprehensive book on worldwide oil and gas operating agreements and another on worldwide farmout, participation, and similar agreements as well as numerous book chapters and scholarly articles, including “Authorising Work and Contracts: How is the North American System Unique” in Joint Operating Agreements: An International and Practical Perspective on Critical Challenges and Concerns and “Fracturing Relationships – The Impact of Risk and Risk Allocation on Unconventional Oil & Gas Projects,” 9 Tex. J. Oil, Gas & Energy L. 289 (2013 – 2014).  His speaking credits include (i) a week-long capacity building seminar on petroleum contracts for the Government of Somalia presented in Entebbe, Uganda at the joint request of the International Senior Lawyers’ Project and the African Development Bank and (ii) a similar seminar presented in London for various Pakistani government ministries (including the national oil company) at the behest of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Embassies in Islamabad and London as well as other engagements for the Universities of Texas, Houston, Oklahoma, Tulsa, and LSU and commercial CLE providers such as UTCLE, the Institute for Energy Law (IEL), the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN).  He is the past chair of the IEL’s Young Energy Professionals group and the AIPN’s Young Negotiators group.  He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the IEL and a number of AIPN drafting committees.

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

Washington, D.C.

Guly Sabahi


Guly Sabahi is an independent legal adviser and outside general counsel, with 15 years of law firm experience (most recently as Partner at Dentons), advising major international companies and state-owned entities (including NOCs) on cross-border M&A and JV transactions, mainly in the energy sector. Guly also provides legal support on upstream projects, and power projects, as well as on corporate restructurings, governance and compliance matters, both in the U.S. and internationally. Guly has worked on transactions and projects involving assets in over 50 countries in the Middle East, the Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America. Since 2010, Guly has been leading an annual energy program at the International Law Institute (ILI) – "Oil & Gas, Power and Sustainable Energy", for government delegates, mainly from the Sub-Saharan Africa. Guly also teaches at Georgetown University Law Center. Guly is trained in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, and is admitted to practice in the US (New York and District of Columbia), and as Solicitor in England and Wales.

Aberdeen- Scotland, United Kingdom

Carl Chaer

Carl is Vice-President of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators Club at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland where he pursued an LLM in Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills.

He is practicing as a member of the Beirut Bar at Hyam G. Mallat Law Firm, a Commercial Law Firm based in Lebanon representing and acting on behalf of big national and international clients in cases involving Corporate Law, Property Law, Insurance and Labor Law as well as advisory work and litigation. He has experience assisting Oil and Gas Lawyers advising International Oil and Gas Companies in the Middle East regarding Model Contracts, Exploration and Production Agreements and Tender Protocols and in researching and preparing studies on Oil and Gas topics including Maritime Law, Unitization, Joint Operating Agreements, Health, Safety and the Environment, as well as participating in the creation and promoting of the Oil and Gas Legal Framework in Lebanon.

Carl holds a Bachelor in French and Lebanese Law and has completed an LLM in Business Law in the Arab Countries at Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University in France performing top in Energy Law. He is fluent in Arabic, French and English.

London, UK

Mark Armitage


Mark is a Senior Associate at Dentons in London. He specializes in advising on projects and transactions in the energy sector, including upstream and downstream oil and gas (including LNG), conventional power and renewables projects. Mark has worked on projects in a wide range of jurisdictions, including in Cyprus, Ghana, South Africa and throughout the Middle East - Mark spent 18 months working in Dentons' Muscat office. He moved back to the London office in April 2014.

Mark graduated from College of Law Moorgate in 2010, (Legal Practice Course) and from the University of Birmingham in 2009.

Katie Rich

rich100x133Katie Rich is a Solicitor at Pinsent Masons, specializing in upstream oil and gas projects. Katie has experience in corporate and asset acquisitions and disposals, upstream joint ventures, service contracts, farm-ins and production sharing contracts in countries including the Republic of Georgia, Ivory Coast, Morocco and the Falkland Islands as well as across the UK North Sea.

Katie holds a degree in Law with French Law (LLF) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and completed the LPC at the College of Law in London.

Yanal Abul Failat

yanal-failat100x133Yanal is an international lawyer (qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales) specialising in Energy Law at LXL LLP, a boutique law firm working for Tier 1 Energy Companies.

He principally acts on matters in the oil and gas sector and has experience in oil and gas regulation and contracting across the entire supply chain (upstream, midstream and downstream). Yanal has advised exploration and production companies operating in the UKCS and is presently involved in projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

At LXL, Yanal has assisted on some of the largest transactions and disputes within the oil and gas and electricity sectors working with state-owned companies, utilities, and other major energy corporations on general corporate and commercial operations, M&A, regulatory matters and dispute resolution.

Yanal is an associate editor at the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Intelligence Journal, a YN Committee Member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators and a member of the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Courts Advocates. He edits the annual Oil and Gas Law Statute Book and regularly contributes to books, journals and practical guides in his areas of expertise. Yanal is also fluent in Arabic, English, Greek and Italian.

Samuel Merlin

Samuel has diverse experience in energy investments and transactions. He is currently a Director at Hannam & Partners where he leads in sourcing and executing M&A and capital raising projects in the energy, power and oilfield services sectors globally. Previously, he served in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, where he was responsible for structuring, negotiating and managing the implementation of Afghanistan’s first-ever oil & gas production sharing contracts. His portfolio included managing geophysical assessments, monitoring operators’ work programs and field development plans, and developing crude marketing and refining logistics. He is a graduate with honors from Union College and completed studies at Central European University, University of Tuebingen and Babes-Bolyai University.

Frankfurt, Germany

Cankutan (“John”) Hasar


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


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.

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.

Elvis Angyiembe

2016elvis100x133Elvis Angyiembe is Counsel, Ethics & Compliance at Weatherford International, Ltd where he advises on anti-corruption issues, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption laws. Prior to joining Weatherford, Elvis was Associate Attorney at Burleson LLP where he practiced domestic and international oil and gas law. He also advised clients on international trade law issues. Prior to joining Burleson LLP, Elvis worked on complex oil and gas agreements for a large Houston-based oil company. He also worked for an international trade law firm in Dallas, concentrating on export/import control laws and regulations; he drafted export control compliance manuals for oil companies and other companies involved in the manufacture of military-related products. During law school, Elvis was a legal intern for BP, where he rotated through all the legal practice groups.

Elvis has a Juris Doctor (cum laude) from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. Elvis is Secretary of the Houston Bar Association, International Law Section and Council Member of the Houston Bar Association, Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law Section.


Moscow, Russia

Alexandra Rotar

Alexandra Rotar is an Associate in King & Spalding’s Moscow office, and a member of the firm’s Global Transactions Practice Group. Her primary area of focus is advising companies investing and operating in the Russian oil and gas, power, metals and mining and natural resource sectors, specializing on regulatory, commercial and corporate matters.

Prior to joining King & Spalding Alexandra worked in the energy practice of White & Case law firm. Alexandra graduated from the Moscow State University of International Relations in 2009 (Magna Cum Laude). She is an AIPN YN Representative in the CIS and is responsible for YN activities in the region. She speaks Russian, English and French.