John Smelcer
John Smelcer

Director and head of oil and gas sector group at Webber Wentzel LLP South Africa

John joined the firm in 2013 having previously been in private practice with Latham Watkins. John has in a short space of time made a significant entry into the energy sector in Africa. As well as being an established commercial lawyer, John has a proven record of engaging with broader issues of social importance; prior to becoming a lawyer John completed a five year term as the founding National Program Director of the Public Policy Partnership in South Africa.

He specialises in the development & financing of oil & gas projects across the value chain including unconventional upstream gas developments, large-scale liquefied natural gas financings & oil forward sale structures. He has taken a lead legal role on a number of the largest LNG project financings around the world, including Qatar, Papua New Guinea & Australia. In addition, John has strong experience in the development & financing of downstream oil & gas projects, including refineries, gas-fired power projects, fertilisers & other oil & gas-supplied industries

John’s practice involves representing sponsors, governments & lenders (including commercial banks, export credit agencies, underwriters & DFIs) in all aspects of project development & the financing of those projects.

John holds a BA degree from Princeton University & a Juris Doctorate of Law from the University of Washington.

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