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Robert Nelson, Jr. is partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he serves as a member of the firm’s Energy and Infrastructure, Private Equity and International Arbitration Groups. Mr. Nelson’s practice focuses on cross-border transactions and dispute resolution in the areas of energy, infrastructure, private equity, and foreign investment. He has worked extensively in the Americas, Asia, and the MENA region, and has significant experience in Africa and Europe.
Mr. Nelson has played a leading role in the development and financing of over one hundred energy and infrastructure projects worldwide, including many landmark projects that have won global or regional recognition.
His oil & gas/LNG experience includes upstream (onshore and offshore), midstream, and especially extensive work on downstream transactions. He has represented project sponsors, lenders, contractors, and private equity firms in this work.
Mr. Nelson’s power project work encompasses conventional, renewable, and nuclear (including decommissioning) projects. His renewable work includes biofuels, biomass, cogeneration, geothermal, solar, and wind.
His general infrastructure work includes entertainment, manufacturing, mining, transportation (airport, rail, and road), and water/wastewater facilities, many of which involved public-private partnerships.
Examples of Mr. Nelson’s energy and infrastructure project experience include:
Mr. Nelson’s lender-side experience includes representation of IFC, other multilateral finance institutions, and commercial banks. He also has substantial experience in working with regional development banks, development finance institutions, and ECAs.
Examples of Mr. Nelson’s experience in complex project sales, workouts and restructurings include:
He has also represented U.S. and foreign private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds in cross-border investments, including a number of transactions in China and India. His experience extends to fund formation and structuring international investments in tax-efficient ways.
On the dispute resolution front, Mr. Nelson has served as an advocate or arbitrator in over forty international commercial arbitrations including ICC, ICDR, ICSID, LCIA and UNCITRAL cases ($5M-$8B in dispute), which have included shareholder and joint venture agreement disputes, construction disputes, bilateral investment treaty and political risk insurance claims, intellectual property disputes and other contractual claims. His recent work includes representation of an international joint venture in a $350 million construction arbitration regarding a petrochemical project, and representation of an energy company in an $8 billion bilateral investment treaty arbitration proceeding with the Government of India.
He has been named in Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Project Finance Lawyers since its inception, and has also been named in its Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers and recognized in Chambers Global, International Who’s Who of Project Finance Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America (Construction Law), Leading Practitioners: China (Energy), and Best of the Best USA, where he was listed as one of the top 25 project finance lawyers in the country.
Mr. Nelson is an appointed member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and the joint U.S.-Indian task force on trade and investment matters. He previously served as Chairman of the International Bar Association’s Project Finance Subcommittee and also taught for a number of years at Stanford University (Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering.
He speaks French, German, and Norwegian, has a working knowledge of Spanish, and varying degrees of proficiency in several other languages. Mr. Nelson frequently speaks and writes about topics related to his practice, including cross-border investment; dispute resolution; energy; Indian trade and investment matters; and project construction, development, and finance.
Mr. Nelson received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1980 and his M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs the same year. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in 1976 from Harvard University.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Mr. Nelson served as a partner in the Project Development & Finance Group of Shearman & Sterling, LLP.
Recent publications include:
* Includes representations prior to joining Gibson Dunn.
Columbia University - 1980 Juris Doctor
Princeton University - 1980 Master of Arts
Harvard University - 1976 Bachelor of Arts
New York Bar