Leopoldo Olavarría

International Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright US MX, S.C.
Norton Rose Fulbright US MX, S.C.

Leopoldo Olavarría

Leopoldo Olavarría


Related services and key industries


Leopoldo Olavarría has 25 years of experience in oil and gas transactions, with a strong focus on cross-border oil and gas projects, assisting clients in assembling portfolios of E&P properties, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and drafting and negotiating oil and natural gas supply agreements. During this time he has participated in a myriad of projects, from complex, vertically integrated projects, to smaller exploration projects and multijurisdictional transactions.

Recently, he has assisted clients with projects and transactions in Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Cuba, Peru, Argentina, and other Latin American countries. His experience includes drafting and negotiating agreements to acquire companies or equity participations in hydrocarbon producing interests in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Cuba, Argentina, Ecuador and other Latin American countries, and associated due diligence reviews, acquisition agreements (such as earn-in and farm-in agreements) and joint venture agreements (including joint operating agreements and production sharing contracts), project development agreements, and engineering, procurement and construction contracts. He also has significant experience in the areas of competition and commercial law, and international trade and investments.

He has been a member of the board of directors of the Venezuelan chapter of the Gas Processors' Association (AVPG) since 2004 and led the chapter's legal and tax committee from 2006 to 2012. In that capacity, he acted as coordinator of several publications, including AVPG's 20th anniversary publication entitled "Integral Development of the Venezuelan Natural Gas Industry, a Historical and Legal Review"  in November 2004.

He has also provided in-house training on the AIPN form of international JOA and accounting procedures to several oil and gas companies and has lectured on the legal regimes for the conduct of oil and gas activities in Latin America.

In Venezuela, he specializes in risk identification and mitigation analysis, regulatory issues and requirements for the conduct of oil and gas operations, governmental bidding processes and government procurement contracts.

Professional experience

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LL.M, Georgetown University, 1988
Law degree, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, 1987

  • Chambers Global, Colombia, Energy & Natural Resources - Band 2 and foreign expert for Venezuela, Chambers and Partners, 2016
  • Chambers Global, "Leopoldo Olavarría, leading international partner in the area of energy and natural resources," (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2014
  • Chambers Latin America, Venezuela, Energy and natural resources, Chambers and Partners, 2015
  • Recommended lawyer, International firms: Projects and energy, Legal 500 Latin America, 2019
  • Highly Regarded Lawyer, Mexico, IFLR 1000, Banking, M&A, Project Finance, IFLR, 2019 - 2020
  • Leading lawyer in Corporate and Commercial; Energy & Natural Resources; and Compliance and Public Law, IFLR1000: Energy and Infrastructure: Latin America, 2013, 2015 - 2016
  • Latin America Corporate Counsel Association, Energy, 2015 - 2016
  • The International Who's Who of Oil and Gas Lawyers, Who's Who Legal, 2014
  • Lawyer of the Year in Natural Resources, Caracas, Best Lawyers, 2013
  • "Historical Examples and Recent Latin American Experiences in Forced Contract Renegotiation in the Natural Resources Sector: Is Risk Mitigation Still Possible?" Sixtieth Annual Institute on Oil and Gas Law, September 2009.
  • Co-author of the chapter on Venezuela, "International Comparative Legal Guide to Gas Regulation," Global Legal Group, 2008.
  • Co- author, "Reflections on the Venezuelan Regulatory Framework and Projects to Exploit Coalbed Methane," XVIII International Gas Convention, May 2008.
  • Co-author, "Analysis of the New Royalty Calculation Rules for Non-associated Natural Gas Projects Contained in MEP Resolution 244," XVII International Gas Convention, May 2006.
  • Co-author, "Impact of PDVSA's Social Production Enterprises Program and of the New Buy-Venezuelan Decree on the Venezuelan Oil and Gas Industries," XVII International Gas Convention, May 2006.
  • "Conditions for the Development of the Venezuelan Natural Gas Industry – Emphasis on Transportation, Distribution and Commercialization Businesses," November 2004.
  • Co-author, "Venezuelan Legal Considerations on the Venezuela-Colombia Bi-national Gas Interconnection Project," November 2004.
  • Co-author and coordinator, "Legal Regime on Prices and Tariffs of Gaseous Hydrocarbons in Venezuela," XVI International Gas Convention (AVPG), May 2004
  • Co-author of the chapter on Venezuela, "Agency and Distribution Agreements," Yorkhill Law Publishing, February 2001
  • Co-author and coordinator, "The Venezuelan Gaseous Hydrocarbons Opening: Was the Regulatory Framework Properly Designed?", 18th World Energy Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2001.
  • "El sector extractivo en Colombia: oportunidades, retos y desafíos(énfasis en perspectiva en Petróleo y Gas)," Canadian Embassy, Bogotá, August 2014.
  • "Developing Shale Resources in Latin America, Current and Future Implications for Investors and Industry Development,"  World Shale Oil & Gas Series: Latin America Summit, Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 2012.
  • "Panoramic Vision of Gas Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean," XX International Gas Convention, Caracas, Venezuela, June 2012.
  • "Investment Climate in Latin America and its Impact on the Materialization of Hydrocarbons Production Projects," Gas Summit Latin America 2012, Rio de Janeiro, May 2012.
  • "A Comparative Review of the Regulation of Coal Bed Methane Projects," AIPN Conference on CBM, Bogotá, November 2007.
  • "Analysis of the Provisions on Unfair Competition of the Bill of Antimonopoly, Anti-Oligopoly and Unfair Competition Law," FEDECAMARAS, Caracas, April 2006.
  • "Measures for the Promotion of National Capital in the Venezuelan Gaseous Hydrocarbons Industry," XVI International Gas Convention (AVPG), May 2004.
  • Miranda State Bar Association
  • Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)
  • Venezuelan Gas Processors' Association, 2004 to present
    • Chair, Legal and Tax Committee (2006 to 2012)