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Clifford Chance

Nikolaï Eatwell

Nikolaï Eatwell

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Nikolaï Eatwell

Nikolaï Eatwell specialises in Project, Project Finance and Export Credit transactions, particularly in Africa, Russia, the former CIS and Turkey.

The matters Nikolaï has advised on include projects in the mining, metals, oil & gas, power and telecommunications sectors and financings with a wide range of commercial banks, ECAs and multilaterals. He also works on commodities financing.

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Contact details

Career and qualifications

  • Oxford University (BA, Mathematics and Philosophy) 1992
  • Joined Clifford Chance London 1997
  • Clifford Chance Moscow 1998
  • Clifford Chance Paris since 2001
  • Counsel, 2004
  • Partner since 2007
  • Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales 2008

Awards and citations

  • "Clifford Chance's state-of-the-art public law, project finance and M&A infrastructure capabilities make the firm an infrastructure and energy project leader in France, in Africa and other parts of the world. The practice is currently advising on many of France's largest rail, motorway, broadband network and renewable projects. Highlights included assisting Eiffage Concessions with its tender bid for the RCEA motorway project tender, and EDF EN with the floating offshore wind test project. The firm is also involved in large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, mostly in Africa but also in other diverse jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. It is assisting the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group is also advising on strategic new pipeline projects and on major infrastructure projects in Turkey including assisting a group of lenders with the Bursa health campus project. The 27-lawyer team is made up of high-profile figures including Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib, Richard Tomlinson, Delphine Siino Courtin and public law expert David Préat."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Project Finance, 2019
  • "Combining first-class public law, project, finance and M&A expertise, Clifford Chance has impressive capabilities that are difficult to match. In France, the firm is advising sponsors on the country's largest offshore wind projects, and also advised on major gas, heat and renewables infrastructure M&A transactions. It assisted Cube Infrastructures with the disposals of district heating supplier Idex and Taranis. The practice is equally strong in the oil and gas and power sectors at international level, often acting for lenders and also for sponsors. It is advising on large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, primarily in Africa but also in other jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. Highlights included assisting Sace with the financing of the Coral Floating LNG project in Mozambique, as well as Cacib with the financing of the Muara Tawar gas-fired power plant in Indonesia, and the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group also advises on highly strategic new pipeline projects. Key names include David Préat, Laurent Schoenstein, Benjamin De Blegiers, Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Delphine Siino Courtin, Richard Tomlinson and Daniel Zerbib."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Industry Focus: Energy, 2019
  • "At Clifford Chance, acquisition and leveraged finance are a core part of the firm's caseload, with infrastructure financing and refinancing other especially busy areas. Financings involving capital markets and securitisation are also part of the team's portfolio of expertise. The practice regularly leverages the firm's international footprint for cross-border work, such as advising JP Morgan Securities on the financing of AXA's €12.4bn acquisition of Groupe XL, a deal which saw Thierry Arachtingi work in tandem with his counterparts in New York. Daniel Zerbib, who leads the practice with Arachtingi and project finance specialist Nikolaï Eatwell, also advised BNP Paribas as lender on the €90m refinancing of InfraVia's acquisition of Swiss data centre business Green Datacenter. Crédit Agricole, Goldman Sachs and EDF also feature on the client list."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Banking & Finance: Transactional Work, 2019
  • Nikolaï Eatwell handles matters in a variety of regions including Africa and Russia. Clients appreciate his commercial approach and skill in negotiation, with one saying: "He has a lot of talent for identifying issues and resolving them amicably and cordially." He is well versed in energy projects, often acting for international financial institutions.
    Chambers Europe, France, Projects & Energy: International, 2019
    Chambers Global, France, Projects & Energy: International, 2019
  • "The ‘extremely professional’ Clifford Chance is ‘above the pack’, ‘provides high quality work’ and is ‘the best in town and gives clients real value for money’. The firm provides ‘superb in-depth analysis and knowledge of project finance’ work and its ‘ability to link legal and commercial aspects is outstanding’. The 38-lawyer team stands out for its leading capabilities on both domestic and international projects but is also involved in large transport and construction projects in Africa and Turkey: notably, the practice is assisting HSBC and sponsors Meridiam and Rönesans with the project bond financing of the Turkish Elazig health campus, and several lenders with the financing of the Turkish Bursa health centre. In France, the practice is involved in most of the country’s few ongoing large greenfield projects, including advising Transdev’s biding consortium on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport Express rail project. Other work included high-profile instructions in the energy sector, including involvement in many of France, Europe and Africa’s landmark power, hydropower, gas, renewables and pipeline projects: it is assisting the Maltese Government with a 215MW gas-fired power plant and a LNG facility project. Practice heads Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell and Daniel Zerbib are some of the market’s finest advisers. David Préat is a key name for public law matters in France and abroad and also strongly recommended are Delphine Siino Courtin and Benjamin de Blegiers, who is ‘a must when it comes to M&A transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors’. Richard Tomlinson is also involved."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Project Finance, 2018
  • "Clifford Chance is ‘the best in town and gives clients real value for money’. The firm provides ‘superb in-depth analysis and knowledge of project finance’ and its ‘ability to link legal and commercial aspects is outstanding’. The Paris hub stands out for its top capabilities on both domestic and international projects and is involved in several of France, Europe and Africa’s landmark power, hydropower, gas, renewables and pipeline projects including major domestic offshore projects and brownfield transactions. Abroad, the practice is assisting the Maltese Government with a 215MW gas-fired power plant and a LNG storage and degasification facility project. The first-class team is led by Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell and Daniel Zerbib. David Préat is a key name for public law matters in France and abroad. Also strongly recommended are Delphine Siino Courtin and Benjamin de Blegiers, who is ‘a must when it comes to M&A transactions in the energy and infrastructure sector’. Richard Tomlinson is another name to note."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Industry Focus: Energy, 2018
  • "Nikolaï Eatwell typically represents banks and other financial institutions as lenders in energy or transport projects. He also has extensive expertise in oil, gas and mining. He is especially active in Africa, CEE and the CIS region. Clients appreciate how ""he cuts through convoluted issues to get to the heart of the matter."
    Chambers Europe, France, International Projects, 2018
    Chambers Global, France, Projects: International Projects, 2018
  • "Nikolaï Eatwell is well-known in the market for his project development expertise. Additionally, he is singled out as "an outstanding project finance lawyer" by clients. His advisory work is often multi-jurisdictional in nature, encompassing oil and gas projects, as well as mining matters, in Africa, the CIS and Turkey".
    Chambers Europe, France, Energy & Natural Resources, 2018
  • "Clifford Chance has ‘excellent’ expertise and is particularly recommended for the most complex projects. The firm often advises export credit agencies and commercial lenders on the financing of Africa’s largest power projects and also assists state entities; acts on projects in France and Europe, covering oil and gas, conventional energy and renewables, as well as transport and other infrastructure in France and Africa. Highlights included advising the Maltese government on the development and financing of a 215MW gas-fired power plant and an LNG storage and degasification facility, as well as assisting the lenders with the financing of the 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project in Nigeria. Anthony Giustini, Daniel Zerbib and public law expert David Préat are market-leading figures, as is the ‘very responsive and highly knowledgeable’ Nikolaï Eatwell. Delphine Siino Courtin, ‘dealmaker’ Benjamin de Blegiers and Richard Tomlinson are also recommended."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Project Finance, 2017
  • "Clifford Chance has ‘excellent’ expertise and is particularly recommended for high-profile projects. The firm often advises export credit agencies and commercial lenders on the financing of large African power projects – such as the financing of the 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project in Nigeria – and also routinely assists state entities. It is handling energy projects in France and Europe, and is particularly active in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. Highlights included advising the Maltese government on the development and financing of a 215MW gas-fired power plant and an LNG storage and degasification facility. Anthony Giustini, the ‘very responsive and highly knowledgeable’ Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib and public law expert David Préat are leading market figures. Delphine Siino Courtin, ‘dealmaker’ Benjamin de Blegiers and Richard Tomlinson are also recommended."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Energy, 2017
  • The well-regarded Nikolaï Eatwell is active in various jurisdictions such as Africa, the CIS and Turkey. He specialises in project finance and project development in the sectors of energy, mining, oil and gas. He acted on a power plant improvement project in Senegal, advising OPIC and IFC on its financing.
    Chambers Europe, France, Energy & Natural Resources, 2017
  • Nikolaï Eatwell specialises in the sectors of power, infrastructure and oil and gas, as well as in mining. He has notable experience handling projects in Africa, CEE and the CIS region. A client reports: "He is fantastic, a very fine negotiator, he is able to get everybody on board and takes into account everyone's interest. He has a good understanding of the challenges and is able to explain everything very simply."
    Chambers Global, France, Projects: International Projects, 2017
    Chambers Europe, France, International Projects, 2017
  • Ranked in energy and natural resources for the first time this year, Nikolaï Eatwell specialises in energy project finance and has acted on some of the largest projects in Africa, the CIS and Turkey as well as domestically. Market sources describe him as "eloquent, smart and able to stand back and see the big picture."
    Chambers Europe, France, Energy & Natural Resources, 2016
  • Nikolaï Eatwell acts for banks, international financial institutions, export credit agencies and sponsors. He focuses on mining, infrastructure, oil and gas and power projects, mostly in Africa and the CEE and CIS regions. Interviewees describe him as "extremely bright, very pragmatic and incredibly knowledgeable."
    Chambers Europe, France, Projects: International Projects, 2016
  • "Clifford Chance’s impressive energy projects practice often advises lenders and is involved in numerous large hydropower, conventional and renewable energy project financings in Africa, as well as high-profile renewable energy projects in France. The practice is assisting the lenders with the financing of the 450MW Azura gas turbine power project in Nigeria and has been advising Eolien Maritime France on three major offshore wind farm projects. The firm also handles oil and gas and mining work, as well as some energy M&A. Key figures in the practice include co-head of the firm’s Africa practice Anthony Giustini, co-head of the North Africa practice Delphine Siino Courtin, Nikolaï Eatwell and David Préat, who is a reference in public law. Laurent Schoenstein is also involved in some M&A-related work; Richard Tomlinson was promoted to partner".
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Energy, 2016
  • "Clifford Chance has the ‘best lawyers in town’ for French project finance work and is involved in major domestic road and infrastructure projects, as well as mandates internationally. It is assisting the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with the financing of the Adana health campus. The firm also has an impressive energy project practice, where it often advises lenders. It is involved in many conventional power, hydro and renewable energy project financings in Africa, such as assisting the lenders with the 120MW Kribi power plant expansion financing in Cameroon. Key figures in the team for international projects include Anthony Giustini, who jointly heads the firm’s Africa practice, Delphine Siino Courtin, who jointly heads the firm’s North Africa practice, as well as Nikolaï Eatwell and recently promoted partner Richard Tomlinson. For domestic project finance work, David Préat stands out for public law aspects, while Daniel Zerbib and recently promoted partner Benjamin de Blegiers are ‘outstanding individuals either on the banks or sponsor side’."
    Legal 500 EMEA, France, Project Finance, 2016
  • Nikolaï Eatwell acts for banks, international financial institutions, export credit agencies and sponsors. He focuses on mining, infrastructure, oil and gas and power projects, mostly in Africa and the CEE and CIS regions. Interviewees describe him as "extremely bright, very pragmatic and incredibly knowledgeable."
    Chambers Global, France, Projects: International Projects, 2016
  • In Paris, Nikolaï Eatwell is well regarded for his project finance expertise, including Africa-related transactions. He was heavily involved in the FirstRand Bank Ghana IPP financing.
    Chambers Global, Africa-wide, Projects & Energy, 2015
  • Now based in Paris, Nikolaï Eatwell continues to assist with large Russian deals as well as project finance cases in a number of CEE countries and Africa. Sources say that "he deals with issues in a straightforward manner."
    Chambers Global, Russia, Foreign Expert Based in France, 2015
  • Nikolaï Eatwell advises on project finance and export credit transactions. He has significant experience of infrastructure, oil and gas, and power projects in Africa and the CEE and CIS regions. Sources say he is "calm and able to control a big syndicate of commercial bank," and "a very smart guy and exceptionally good with his clients."
    Chambers Global, France, Projects: international Projects, 2015
  • Nikolaï Eatwell specialises in project financing, notably in Africa and Eastern Europe. His sectors of expertise include oil and gas, mining, power and telecommunications. One interviewee describes him as "just outstanding. In addition to being a very nice person who's easy to work with, he's also really committed. You can count on him round the clock to never miss a deadline. He's extremely smart and very, very capable."
    Chambers Europe, Projects: International Projects, 2014
  • "Nikolaï Eatwell, who is based in Paris, specialises in project finance in Eastern Europe and Africa. His recent work in the region includes advising UniCredit Bank Austria on a financing to Russian Post Federal State Unitary Enterprise."
    Chambers Global, Banking & Finance: Lawyers Based Abroad, 2014
  • "Nikolaï Eatwell took a lead role in the firm's representation of a group of lenders in financing the third phase of the Azito thermal plant in Côte d'Ivoire, at a value of USD350 million. Sources appreciate his excellent team management as well as his commitment to client service."
    Chambers Global, Africa-wide, Projects & Energy, 2014
  • "Commentators confirm that Nikolaï Eatwell is heavily involved in Russian work. He is based in Paris and has a wide practice representing banks in project finance deals in Eastern Europe."
    Chambers Global, Banking & Finance Foreign Expert for Africa-wide, Central & Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, 2014
  • "Paris is the hub of Clifford Chance’s worldwide projects practice. The team includes some 30 lawyers who meet ‘the highest standards’ and assist financial institutions and sponsors on landmark projects globally. It advised the export credit agencies on the Bosphorus Tunnel project in Turkey and represented International Power-GDF Suez and Nareva on the 1,300MW Safi integrated power project. Anthony Giustini co-heads the firm’s global practice. Nicholas Wong, who has ‘very good negotiation skills’, Nikolaï Eatwell and newly promoted partner Ross Howard are also key advisers. The firm is also recognised for its leading French infrastructure practice through public law expert David Préat and finance specialist Daniel Zerbib, who is praised for his listening and anticipation skills."
    Legal 500, Project Finance and Energy: Project Finance, 2014
  • "Very bright" Nikolaï Eatwell
    Legal 500, Project Finance & Energy, 2013
  • Nikolaï Eatwell moves up the table following impressive feedback from peers and clients for his experience and expertise.
    Chambers Global, Projects and Energy, Africa, 2013
  • Nikolaï Eatwell has vast experience of working on projects in Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. He previously worked in Clifford Chance's Moscow and London offices. Sources speak highly of him, describing him as "a world-class lawyer". He assisted the lenders with the financing of a 216 MW gas-fired power plant in Cameroon.
    Chambers Global, Projects / International Projects, France, 2013
  • Nikolaï Eatwell is a "world-class" project finance expert with a truly international practice. He is especially highlighted for his depth of experience in Africa, Turkey, Russia and the CEE region.
    Chambers Global, Banking & Finance: France, 2013
  • Paris-based Nikolaï Eatwell is well known for his project finance work in Russia and the region. He is focused on the mining, metals, oil, gas, power and telecommunications sectors. A client commented: "He is one of my favourite lawyers“.
    Chambers Global, Banking & Finance, France, 2013
  • Paris-based Nikolaï Eatwell of Clifford Chance advises on the financing of projects in the energy, mining and telecoms sectors. He has particular experience of projects in Africa and Eastern Europe, and has long been recognised for his Turkey expertise.
    Chambers Global 2013 – Projects & Energy: Turkey
  • Nikolaï Eatwell of Clifford Chance Europe LLP is a "world-class" project finance expert with a truly international practice. He is especially highlighted for his depth of experience in Africa, Turkey, Russia and the CEE region.
    Chambers Global, Corporate/Commercial, Central & Eastern Europe, 201
  • Nikolai Eatwell is an "extremely able and precise lawyer" who continues to impress sources with his handling of significant projects. He has recently advised a consortium of institutions including the African Development Bank on the financing for a power plant in Cameroon.
    Chambers Europe, Projects / International Projects, France, 2012