Head of Energy, South Africa
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc
Related services and key industries
- Construction and engineering
- Energy and infrastructure M&A
- Risk advisory
Key industry sectors
Matt Ash is a projects lawyer based in Cape Town. With a practice focussed on energy and major infrastructure projects, Matt is a highly-experienced and trusted advisor to clients across a wide variety of industries, including energy, transport and civils infrastructure, water and food security, and disruptive agri-tech projects.
Matt offers a broad range of services to sponsors, developers, contractors, equity financiers, and lenders across the full spectrum of the energy sector (thermal power, nuclear, renewables, and waste-to-energy) and on major infrastructure initiatives, advising on construction, operation, supply and services agreements, regulatory compliance, and risk. Matt also has advised clients on project company structures and financing and securitization arrangements for projects (debt and equity). Matt further assists clients in the resolution and determination of project disputes, closely supporting client litigator teams with project contract analysis.
Matt is head of the firm's energy focus group for Sub-Saharan Africa, co-ordinating the firm's concentration in this sector across this region. A core initiative of the focus group is the energy transition to renewable and alternative energy sources, including hydrogen.
Professional experienceExpand all Collapse all
- BA, University of the Witwatersrand, 1983
- LLB, University of the Witwatersrand, 1988
- PGDip (Shipping Law), University of Cape Town, 1995
- MA (Conflict Management) magna cum laude Trinity, 2017
- Certified Public Private Partnership Professional (CP3P – World Bank-accredited), 2020
- Attorney, qualified in South Africa 1990
Construction and Operation
- Advising and representing the key equipment supplier of battery energy storage systems and hybrid power plant control systems in multiple projects successfully bid in the South African Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme, negotiating and concluding the term sheets and main contracts for the supply, commissioning, and support for utility-scale battery energy storage systems, hybrid power plant control systems, and an overarching virtual power plant controller co-ordinating the operation of, and energy delivery from multiple renewable energy generation facilities and energy storage systems.
- Advising sponsors and developers on the construction and operation of three gas pipelines being developed for a corporate client off-taker, negotiating and concluding the EPC- and O&M contracts, and assisting the client with finalisation of the required gas sales agreement, gas transportation agreement, and extensive regulatory compliance.
- Advising sponsors and developers, as legal project lead, in the structuring, bid, construction and operation of a 25MW biomass-fuelled power plant developed under the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme, with specific focus on negotiating and concluding the EPC- and O&M contracts, the fuel- and water supply agreements, and the solid waste- and liquid waste management agreements (this project was awarded Infrastructure Journal Africa Biomass Deal of the Year in 2018).
- Advising sponsors and developers on the construction and operation of a series of small hydropower facilities along the Fish River/Sundays River Water Transfer Scheme in South Africa, including EPC and O&M contracts, land rights, regulatory compliance (water rights, grid connection, generation licence), private corporate power purchase agreements, and project structuring (joint development agreements, shareholder agreements, preference share funding agreements).
- Advising and representing an international contractor in the negotiation and conclusion of the EPC- and O&M contracts for three 80MW solar PV facilities developed together under the fourth round of the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme.
- Advising sponsors and developers on a major biowaste-to-energy project using pyrolysis technology, formulating the template EPC- and O&M contracts required for tender purposes, and negotiating and formulating the required private PPA, and syngas- and heat supply agreements.
- Advising sponsors and developers developing a pipeline of 3000 MW of onshore wind projects in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, including formulating the template land access agreements, formulating the template EPC- and O&M contracts issued for template purposes, assisting with contractor shortlisting and selection for the first 140MW project, and negotiating and concluding the EPC- and O&M contracts for such first project.
- Advising the developers of utility-scale embedded solar PV generation facilities to be constructed at various platinum mines across South Africa, including the formulation of the template EPC- and O&M contracts required for tender purposes, assisting with the tender process for the appointment of preferred contractors and operators, and negotiating and concluding the final construction and operations contracts.
- Multiple further appointments in the South African Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme, advising a mix of lenders, sponsors, and contractors on onshore wind-, solar PV-, and biomass projects in all rounds of the programme, in particular with respect to construction, operation, and supply agreements, and especially covering mandatory facility decommissioning, site remediation, and handback requirements upon expiry of the operative power purchase agreement.
- Advising equity interests in the Preferred Bidder appointed on two Lots under the Kenya Annuity Roads Programme, including review, advice, and negotiation of proposed EPC- and O&M contracts with the relevant contractors, especially covering road network handback obligations and technical conditions upon expiry of the long-term concession agreement.
- Advising the international contractor on the EPC contract for the construction of a major biofuel production facility intended to be developed in the Free State, South Africa.
- Successfully representing an international oil company in its dispute with the contractor regarding major time- and cost overruns in the extensive expansion, refit, and refurbishment of its refinery in Cape Town, resulting in a complete dismissal of the contractor's claims.
Electricity Sector (PPAs / regulation)
- Representing a global developer in the formulation of template PPA term sheets and full agreements for behind-the-meter embedded generators and for distributed generators requiring 'wheeling' arrangements in respect of solar PV and onshore wind facilities in development.
- Representing several mining corporations in the formulation, negotiation, and conclusion of private corporate PPAs with IPPs, both with respect to behind-the-meter embedded generation and distributed generation incorporating 'wheeling' arrangements
- Appointed by GIZ and CPCS Transcom as the Legal Expert in the Consultant advising a Working Group comprising the South African Department of Mineral Resources & Energy, the National Energy Regulator of SA, National Treasury, Eskom, the South African Local Government Association, the Association of Municipal Energy Utilities, and other stakeholders in connection with the SA Grid Open Access Project that is focussed on 'wheeling' arrangements in South Africa and associated electricity sector market structural reform.
- Appointed by USAID / Power Africa to assist it in capacity building of EEP and KPLC for the eventual negotiation and conclusion of the Ethiopia-Kenya cross border PPA in respect of transnational sale and supply of power between the two nations.
- Representing Lenders in the assessment and finalisation the bankable template private corporate PPA for embedded co-located solar PV power supply to an oil major's petrol stations located across South Africa.
- Negotiating and concluding private corporate PPAs in respect of a series of 16 small hydropower IPP projects in development along the Fish River / Sundays River Water Transfer Scheme (distributed generation and requisite 'wheeling' arrangements).
- Formulating a similar template private corporate PPA for a pipeline of 3000MW of onshore wind projects (distributed generation and requisite 'wheeling' arrangements).
- Representing the developer of a major embedded biowaste-to-energy facility in formulating and negotiating the behind-the-meter private corporate PPA with the co-located offtaker, and assisting with structuring of the offtaker's electricity supply agreement to feed excess electrical energy into the distribution system.
- Appointed as Principal Advisor (Legal and Regulatory work stream) on a consulting assignment to the South African IPP Office regarding the proposed establishing of Independent Limited Renewable Energy Power Exchange and Independent Market Operator for the trading of renewable energy produced by the national utility and IPPs.
- Advising a global gas-to-power developer on its proposed private corporate PPA in respect of its proposed generation facility at Richards Bay, South Africa.
Oil and Gas
- Consulting to Transnet in respect of preliminary structuring of LNG import infrastructure at South African ports, in particular regarding compliance with the National Ports Act, and further formulating the template Port Concession Agreement, Terminal User Agreement and Terminal User Rules in accordance with World Bank standards.
- Advising an international oil major on the energy sector- and ports regulatory aspects pertaining to its proposed import of LNG at various South African ports in support of gas-to-power projects being developed under the South African Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme.
- Advising a global developer of gas-to-power projects on the structuring and development of its small-scale LNG import in support of its proposed gas-to-power project at Richards Bay, South Africa.
- Advising the South African national oil company PetroSA on the legal aspects of a pre-feasibility study for the proposed development and construction of an offshore breakwater, adjacent LNG re-gas and offloading facility, and associated offshore-onshore pipeline for security of gas supply to the PetroSA GTL plant at Mossel Bay, South Africa, and advising on the legal aspects of a pre-feasibility study for the proposed development of a gas supply pipeline from Saldanha Bay to the PetroSA GTL plant at Mossel Bay, South Africa, as an alternative solution to ensure security of gas supply.
- Representing PetroSA in its proposed supply of tailgas to Eskom's Gourikwa peaker plant in Mossel Bay (project not proceeded with for commercial reasons).
- Advising and representing Soekor (now PetroSA) on the remediation of 'The Blues' fishing grounds offshore the South African South-East coast through the selective removal of a significant number of seabed well-heads, thereby re-opening critical seabed trawling lanes.
- Advising an international LPG trader on the development and construction of new LPG offloading-, storage- and transportation facilities at Port Louis (Mauritius) and Richards Bay (South Africa), and on the regulatory framework for the import of LPG into South Africa.
- Advising a regional LPG trader on the development and construction of its LPG storage- and transportation facilities at Saldanha Bay (South Africa), and the South African regulatory framework pertaining to third party access to gas infrastructure.
- Advising the O R Tambo International Airport Fuel Consortium (whilst Caltex/Chevron was managing participant) in all commercial- and technical legal aspects of operations, including close engagement with the Airports Company of South Africa in the negotiation and conclusion of revised lease-and-use agreement for the airport storage and hydrant refuelling system facilities, and incident response and required remediation following fuel spillages.
- Acting for Caltex Oil South Africa (Pty) Ltd (later Chevron South Africa (Pty) Ltd) from 1994 until disposal to Glencore / Astron Energy in 2017 across all facets of Caltex / Chevron midstream- and downstream business. The following small sample indicates the breadth of work undertaken:
- Advising Caltex/Chevron on the lease arrangements with Transnet with respect to the fuel storage and reticulation infrastructure in Table Bay Harbour.
- Advising Caltex/Chevron on the regulatory regime and compliance for the import of crude oil into South Africa.
- Advising Caltex/Chevron on various regulatory and legal requirements with respect to development / expansion of fuel storage facilities at various South African ports.
- Advising Caltex/Chevron on regulatory compliance and land remediation requirements for the entire company-owned above-ground diesel storage facilities across South Africa.
- Advising and successfully representing Caltex/Chevron in several incidents of storage- and retail site contamination and required remediation.
- Advising and successfully representing Caltex/Chevron in incident response to fires or explosions at company-owned or operated facilities.
- Advising and assisting Caltex/Chevron in the disposal of its entire business in Swaziland.
PPP / Africa
- Advising and representing a multinational consortium in the development of an intermodal container terminal, the project requiring close engagement and negotiation with Transnet and its divisions Transnet Port Terminals and Transnet Freight Rail in respect of the required Concession Agreement and Service Level Agreements, including conducting a comprehensive risk assessment and formulation of a detailed risk matrix, and undertaking a full bank feasibility study.
- Appointed by USAID Power Africa to support the East Africa Energy Programme in training, capacity-building, and skills/knowledge transfer to Zanzibar Electricity Corporation regarding PPP procurement of renewable energy generation capacity and battery energy storage systems, with a further focus on international pest practice for EPC and O&M procurement.
- Appointed by USAID Power Africa to support the East Africa Energy Programme in training, capacity-building, and skills/knowledge transfer to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd, Societe Nationale d'Electricite (DRC), and private 3rd parties in respect of the proposed PPP procurement of the Nkenda-Bunia cross-border transmission line and cross-border trade of electrical power.
- Appointed by USAID Power Africa to support the East Africa Energy Programme in training, capacity-building, and skills/knowledge transfer to KenGen in facilitation of implementation best practice in project structuring and legal frameworks, assisting with risk analysis and formulating a detailed risk matrix, advising on best practice PPP structure and procurement, best practice PPA and steam supply, and developing negotiation skills for the proposed Olkaria VI geothermal project.
- Appointed by USAID Power Africa to support the East Africa Energy Programme in training, capacity-building, and skills/knowledge transfer to KETRACO with respect to its proposed development and expansion of the Kenyan transmission network through PPP procurement, assisting with risk analysis and formulating a detailed risk matrix, advising on best practice PPP structure and procurement, and advising on best practice for PPA, EPC, and O&M.
- Appointed by USAID Power Africa to support the East Africa Energy Programme in training, capacity-building, and skills/knowledge transfer to Powergen with respect to its proposed development of co-located solar PV generation and 'captive' minigrids for supply of electrical energy to Unilever townships across Kenya, advising on best practice project structure and procurement, and best practice for offtake arrangements.
- Appointed by the developer of a major hydro-electric project in Zambia to conduct a full project risk evaluation and compile a detailed risk matrix, undertake the legal elements of a comprehensive multi-disciplinary bank feasibility study, and to formulate the requisite PPP Concession Agreement, EPC and O&M contracts, connection agreement, and PPA.
- IFLR Leading Lawyer 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Legal Media Group Expert Guide to the World's Leading Energy Lawyers 2012
- Who's Who Legal Oil & Gas Lawyers 2012
- Co-author, South African Mineral and Petroleum Law, 2010-2018
- Co-author, Norton Rose Fulbright Shale Gas Handbook, 2013
- Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
- Institute of Consultants (2017-present)
- Maritime Law Association of South Africa.
- President (Cape Chapter) (1997-2000)
- National Executive Committee (1998-2002)
Energy transition newsletter: Issue 2
Publication | February 2023
Energy transition: Transforming change into opportunity
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Publication | November 29, 2022