Francisco Balduzzi specializes in cross-border and international corporate, commercial, investment transactions and disputes with a substantive focus in Latin America. He has extensive experience in the Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) sector, particularly within the energy service (oil, gas, and power), metal and mining industries. Currently, Francisco is a member of the Firm's Global Energy Leadership team, co-chair of the Mining Practice Group and a core member of the Latin American Practice Group.
In his previous roles, Francisco served as in-house counsel for multinational companies operating in the ENR sector. Most recently, he held the position of Head of Legal LATAM and Asia Pacific for one of the world's largest gold mining companies. Before that, he spent over a decade at a global consulting and engineering company, where he held various regional and global positions, including Group Assistant General Counsel. Throughout these roles, Francisco gained extensive experience aligning legal strategies with business needs and objectives, implementing training programs to proactively manage risk and developing strategies to achieve cost-efficient legal results for clients.
Francisco has provided advice to senior management and boards on various matters, including structuring mergers and acquisitions, project development, global legal entity rationalizations, joint ventures, new country entry, foreign investments and currency restrictions. Additionally, he has managed complex international disputes, conducted negotiations with foreign governments and developed global and multijurisdictional strategies to address clients' legal issues. With his geographic experience spanning across continents, Francisco has worked in countries such as Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guyana, Israel, Mexico, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela.
Currently, Francisco serves as an Officer at the International Bar Association Mining Law Committee. He has also held leadership positions as the former president of the Houston Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the board of directors at the Instituto Argentino del Petroleo & Gas in Houston. Additionally, Francisco was the co-chair of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law Alumni Club in Houston.
Francisco serves as Energy and Natural Resources Metals & Mining Subsector Co–Head.
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
Mergers and Acquisitions
- Represented Expro in the $106 million cash and stock acquisition of PRT Offshore.
- Represented Wood on the $17 million divestiture of an offshore labor oil & gas supply operation within the Gulf of Mexico to a Louisiana-based energy services contractor.
- Advised upstream oilfield services company on the potential divestiture of an upstream service asset in Louisiana.
- Represented Latin American energy company in the acquisition of oil & gas upstream assets in Texas and Louisiana.
- Successfully led, managed, and coordinated a three-month effort to structure the sale of assets located in Latin America within the context of a $2.8 billon divestiture. The sale of assets included inter-alia: (i) unwinding a $16 million joint venture in Venezuela with complex arrangements in foreign jurisdictions, (ii) effecting the spin-off of a $25 million business in Colombia through an asset acquisition and sale, (iii) selling another business in Venezuela to the local management, and (iv) reorganizing and divesting a division’s $250 million asset in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Mexico.
- Represented a global oilfield services company in buying assets valued at $100 million in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Mexico.
- Represented a global energy services company in selling the fifty percent interest of an electric submersible pumps manufacturing business in Venezuela. The $16 million transaction involved a simultaneous asset acquisition and collection of the stock price through the local currency control agency (CADIVI).
- Managed a $50 million multijurisdictional acquisition of an EPC services multinational company based in Ecuador with operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela; transaction did not close.
- Advised an engineering services company on the acquisition of the Brazilian assets within the context of a $100 million acquisition of an Irish engineering services company.
- Advised a global engineering company within the oil and gas industry in the $100 million acquisition of a Brazilian engineering company; transaction did not close.
- Led the $215 million acquisition of a Wyoming oil and gas construction company from an ESOP.
- Led the $190 million acquisition of a US-based oil and gas downstream services company.
- Advised a global energy services company in the takeover of a Canadian energy services company with operations in Canada, the US, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific; transaction did not close.
- Led the $70 million acquisition of a Michigan-based automation company within the automobile industry with operations in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Romania.
- Led the $60 million acquisition of a Texas-based oil and gas construction services company; transaction did not close.
- Represented an oil and gas service company in setting up a $40 million unincorporated joint venture (Consorcio) in order to perform an O&M service contract for a gas pipeline in Peru.
- Represented a Peruvian oil and gas services company in setting up a $19 million unincorporated joint venture (Asociación en Participación) with an Argentine company in order to perform a maintenance agreement of a gas compressor unit in the Malvinas field Camisea Project in Peru.
- Represented a Colombian oil and gas services company in setting up a $10 million unincorporated joint venture (Union Transitoria) to perform an EPC contract with Ecopetrol.
- Represented a US well support company in setting up a $60 million offshore joint venture structure to complement the business of the local joint venture structure in Venezuela.
- Negotiated an international joint venture between two oil and gas service companies for the provision of offshore engineering services in Mexico.
- Represented a Cyprus oil and gas services company branch in setting up a joint venture with the state-owned gas monopoly in Equatorial Guinea.
- Represented a US oil and gas engineering and construction company setting up a joint venture with three international partners for a $100 million oil service contract for the maintenance and operation of a PEMEX pipeline in Mexico; transaction did not close.
- Represented an engineering company in the negotiation of a joint venture with an Abu Dhabi partner to perform EPC work in Abu Dhabi.
- Advised a Venezuelan oil and gas service company in the participation of a $300 million bid process before Bariven for the provision and installation of ESP equipment and the provision of technical assistance services for all PDVSA operations in Venezuela.
- Supervised the negotiation of a $120 million EPC and long-term O&M contract for a thermo-plant with the Mexican industrial consortium.
- Represented a Colombian oil and gas service company in negotiating a $100 million BOOMT contract for an oil refinery.
- Advised a Venezuelan oil and gas service company in the participation of a $90 million bid process before PDVSA for the provision and installation of ESP equipment in Barinas and Apure.
- Represented a US engineering company in negotiating a $70 million FEED contract with Ecopetrol.
- Represented a Venezuelan well support company in the negotiation with PDVSA of a $60 million contract for the provision of oil field services.
- Advised a Brazilian oil and gas service company in the negotiation of a $50 million O&M agreement for two wellhead platforms and a floating FSPO in the Peregrino Basin.
- Represented the joint venture interest of a global energy services company in an international dispute against PDVSA related to a $62.5 million BOOMT contract for water injection facilities in the lake of Maracaibo, Venezuela; the matter was successfully settled.
- Represented a global energy service company (power) in a London-based ICC international construction arbitration against a subcontractor in connection with a $50 million dispute related to major power plant construction project in Israel.
- Represented a US energy services company (power) in a $50 million ICSID arbitration based in Washington, D.C., against the Government of Peru; won the arbitration on the jurisdiction and merits phase.
- Represented a Brazilian energy joint venture company in a Paris-based, four-year ICC construction arbitration against a state-owned utility arising out of a long-term power purchase agreement; obtained a jurisdiction award in favor of client.
- Counseled a Houston-based energy company in connection to a proceeding before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against Central American Government.
Professional & Civic Engagement
- Officer, Mining Law Committee, International Bar Association
- The Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law
- Speaker, WBD Construction Update: "Navigating Pitfalls in Major Construction Projects," November 2023
- Speaker, Institute for Transnational Arbitration's Conference on International Arbitration in the Mining Sectors, March 2023
- Moderator, “A Volatile Global Cocktail and its Impact on M&A and Corporate Transactions in LATAM,” Womble Bond Dickinson’s Latin America Summit, NYC, March 2023
- Speaker, "ESG Considerations for Private Companies and Private Investors," 2023 Lex Mundi Cross-Border Transactions Global Seminar, February 2023
- Speaker, "Bridging Diverse Interests in the Extractive Industries," IBA Annual Meeting, October 2022
- Speaker, "Key Issues Facing New In-House Counsel," Texas Bar Event -- In-House Counsel 101 Course, August 2022
- Speaker, Webinar Series: ACC Houston Value Challenge – Value Challenge 101: True Tales In House Success and Making it Work, August 2020
- Speaker, 5th Global Oil & Gas Institute, Houston, Texas, May 2018
- Speaker, M&A Legal Project Management – Teamwork Between In-House and Outside Counsel, HBA M&A Section Meeting, April 2018
- Speaker, ACC Houston Value Challenge: Managing Costs Through M&A Transactions, March 2016
- Speaker, 3rd Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on the International Energy Arbitration, Houston, Texas, January 2016
- Panelist, Corporate Counsel Round Table at First Annual ICC Houston Conference on International Arbitration – Houston as the Crossroads between the Middle East and the Americas, April 2013
- Speaker, “Argentina & Brazil,” Trends in International Arbitration Around the World, Part I, Fulbright London Arbitration Conference, Global Positioning, Managing Disputes All over the Map, Houston, Texas, April 2006
- Speaker, “Central and South America,” Trends in International Arbitration Around the World, Part I, Fulbright London Arbitration Conference, Global Positioning, Managing Disputes All over the Map, London, England, March 2006
- Speaker, “Adventures in International Arbitration,” co-sponsored by the Hyatt Fund, Vanderbilt Law School’s International Law Society and Vanderbilt Alternative Dispute Resolution Organization (VADRO), Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville, TN, March 16, 2006
- Judge at the Semi-final round for the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, Southwest Regional, hosted by the University of Texas School of Law, 2006
Honors & Awards
- Lexology Client Choice Award, Mergers & Acquisitions, 2024
- Legal 500 Latin America 2024 recognized Womble in its City Focus: Houston section, noting “Jose Luis Vittor leads the Latin America practice and oil and gas group. Francisco Balduzzi is another experienced figure in energy and infrastructure M&A”
- Legal 500 Latin America 2023 recognized Womble as a “Firm to Watch” in its City Focus: Houston section, noting the growth of the Latin America practice led by the hire of Jose Luis Vittor and further strengthened with the addition of Francisco Balduzzi
- Shortlisted for the International Law Office’s Global M&A Counsel of the Year, 2017
- Shortlisted for the International Law Office's Global General Commercial Award, 2009