Sergio Beristain
Founding Partner
Beristain + Asociados

A Comprehensive View of the Energy Sector

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 13:20

New business opportunities will arise in Mexico not just for energy companies, but also for all the players that can provide peripheral and related services, particularly to newcomers who will have to learn the country’s way. Sergio Beristain, Founding Partner of Beristain + Asociados, comments that a great deal of business opportunities have opened up through the implementation of the reform, thus it is important for law firms to have a comprehensive global view of the energy business. Part of this knowledge involves investments in qualified personnel in order to have the most effective manner of identifying opportunities to provide high quality and specialized legal services. “Experience and knowledge related to oil, gas, petrochemicals, power production, and technologies are invaluable in the midst of this transition. In this sense, the best positioned companies are those that have worked within the energy industry for a considerable time.” Beristain uses commerce customs as an example of an area that will be impacted by the Energy Reform due to the increase in diesel and gasoline imports.

Law firms interested in the energy sector have to keep up with the changes brought about by the reform. In addition to knowing their way around the new legal framework, Beristain asserts that firms need to have a positive work environment, extensive relations, competitive compensation plans, and up-to-date training programs, among other elements. “A firm with these characteristics will be able to take on the next step, which involves receiving technical advice from the energy sector, and creating alliances with its key players, who will provide support for any legal work,” he details, adding that practices can work with their clients to understand new challenges and help them overcome them, as in the case of right of ways.

Entering companies can opt for a large full-service law firm or a specialized firm. Beristain notes that law firms in Mexico did not have the opportunity to develop and become as big and all-encompassing as those in the US. Regardless, he guarantees the professionalism of Mexican firms. “Although it is important to take size into account, the most important aspect is the internal environment of the practice, as well as the quality of its services and training.” He points out that small boutique firms are a great solution for clients that require specialized services in energy-related matters, as they are quite dedicated and provide a full range of services for that specific industry.

Beristain + Asociados is eager to work with different types of clients in the energy industry regardless of their country of origin. As Beristain explains, “We have extremely competent people, with excellent training, from different parts of the country, and from various backgrounds. We treat everyone equally and do not tolerate any individualist attitudes that are noxious to the work environment. This level of diversity makes it easy for us to deal with any customer, regardless of background.” The firm will continue its path in the energy industry, mainly by focusing on the natural gas sector, its main area of expertise. In fact, the firm has started working on projects related to pipelines and the importation of liquids. Other areas of expertise include natural gas fueled power plants.

Even though it will take time for the industry to reach the desired maturity, some changes are becoming evident. “I noticed that the industry has been adapting and preparing for the new conditions since January,” Beristain points out. “Companies need to have a strong economic model so that they can adapt to the industry’s new international standards. Ten years from now, PEMEX will probably be a highly efficient company with a size that will have adapted to the economic conditions and industrial challenges. I believe that this will also be the case for CFE, but it could develop a better model if it capitalizes on all of the opportunities related to technology and the market. “I expect to see more competition in the private sector, which will translate into opportunities for firms like us.”