Irina comes to our firm with an impressive depth of experience in the fields of energy projects and construction law.
It was whilst working for Taylor Joynson Garrett, in London and Bucharest, and CMS Cameron McKenna, that she was introduced to energy projects and construction law and, together with her most recent work as a sole practitioner serving as legal counsel to the likes of the E.ON Group companies, the Gazprom Group companies (including Gazprom Export, WIEE AG, WIEE Romania and WIROM) and others about European railway infrastructure, she has developed a formidable reputation in her specialist practice areas.
Irina also served for 5 years as the Head of the business, legal and compliance department of the Romanian holding company, E.ON Romania, following which she acted for E.ON Regenerable Romania as General Manager, Board member and Head of the legal department. For the past 11 years, Irina has advised the E.ON Group companies wherever she has been living and she also worked for Hidroelectrica as Head of their legal department for approximately 2 years.
Irina brings a wealth of other skills and experiences with her. She received her law degree from the University of Bucharest and was admitted to the Bucharest Bar in 1999. She received an MBA from the University of Trier and practiced law in a German law office during 1996-1997. She is certified, by the Goethe Institute as a German language translator, and she also speaks English, French and Italian as well as some basic Russian. But, perhaps most impressively, in 2011 Irina returned to school to study at Bucharest’s Titu Maiorescu University’s Psychology Faculty. Since graduating in 2014, she has specialised in cognitive-behaviour therapy and teaching assertive communication and negotiation skills as well psychoanalysis.
Irina brings her exceptional experience and skills to new clients, whilst also enabling existing clients to benefit from the wide range of supporting advice and representation that the firm now provides.
Romanian - English - German - French - Italian - Russian
2011 - 2014 Specialized in cognitive-behavioral therapy, focus on assertive communication and negotiation skills.
Currently licensed as psychotherapist, psychoanalysis (under supervision)
2011 - Titu Maiorescu University
Psychology Faculty Bucharest
1999 - Member of the Bucharest Bar and the Romanian Bar Association
Diploma and license issued by the Bucharest University of Law
1996 - 1997 University of Trier
And legal practice in law offices in Germany
- Advising Linde AG, a major German liquid gas company, on a gas concession agreement with the Romanian authorities, including negotiating the contract itself. Irina has also advised Linde on corporate issues, including the establishment of a liquid gas factory in Romania with a Romanian joint venture partner, and assisting in obtaining all the necessary approvals and licences from the Competition Council.
- Advising Wintershall AG, a subsidiary of BASF and one of the leading companies in Europe, in relation to gas-related upstream and downstream activities. Irina has also provided daily legal advice regarding the on-going business of Wintershall’s Romanian subsidiaries and she has also undertaken a number of special projects including:
(i) advising on the execution of a concession agreement for the exploration, development and exploitation of oil perimeters in Romania, including drafting the concession contract, the farm-out agreement and the joint operating agreement, negotiating the concession contract with the Romanian Agency for Mineral Resources and Romgaz, advising on obtaining all the necessary approvals for implementing the project and the establishment of a branch and the supervision of all stages of the project;
(ii) assisting the client regarding the recovery of a debt from a state owned company undergoing a re-organisation process;
(iii) advising on the execution of various concession contracts with local municipalities regarding supplying gas to urban and rural areas;
(iv) Advised the client on the execution of various syndicated loans;
(v) providing general real estate advice on the construction of an underground storage facility and providing legal advice about the status of pipeline ownership;
(vi) assisting the client throughout the privatisation process of Distrigaz Nord SA, one of the two Romanian gas distribution companies, including carrying out due diligence, amending and negotiating the transaction documents with the Ministry of Industry and preparing both the preliminary and final bid. Irina has also advised the whole Wintershall group of companies, including WIEE Romania (the gas distribution subsidiary of Wintershall), Wintershall Media (the exploration subsidiary) and WIROM SA (a Romanian joint venture company with Distrigaz Sud SA).
- Providing legal advice for the Gazprom Group on gas connection issues, European regulations on regulated access and their corresponding equivalent under Romanian law, Energy Community legislation, the practice of the European Courts on transparency issues in the energy sector and security of supply. Irina has also provided the client with analyses of secondary legislation of ANRE, regulations issued by ACER and the restructuring and unbundling processes. She is currently advising them about amendments to the Energy Law which affects competition in the Romanian and international gas markets and other regulatory issues.
- Advising AGIP about the conformity of petrol station agreements in Romania. Providing legal advice on concessions in the energy field in connection with a consultancy project of the Romanian energy regulator (ANRE), including drafting secondary legislation in the energy (electricity and heat) sector and, in particular, on concessions and licences, assisting in the recruitment of legal personnel for ANRE and organising seminars for them on legal issues of interest.
- Advising Cassels Brock about the existence and validity of the Rosia Montana Exploration Licence, including advice on the Mines Law and an analysis of the situation regarding archeological sites and the Rosia Montana Concession Exploitation Licence.
- Advising the Municipality of Constanta on the service concessions for the water and sewerage system in the Constanta Region, including the structuring of the transaction within the framework of the relevant laws, negotiating various third party agreements and preparation of full project documentation.
- Advising Ruhrgas and E.ON on the privatisation of gas and electricity distribution companies, including:
(i) carrying out and supervising the due diligence process;
(ii) amending and negotiating the transaction documents;
(iii) preparing the position paper and final bid; and
(iv) ) providing support for the signing of the transaction documents.
Irina has also been involved in work as a member of E.ON management including:
- Wind and other renewable energy projects: Creating, developing, leading and finally transferring to responsible business units several renewable projects (wind, biogas, micro-hydro) as part of a team; implementing various RES generation projects, including securing land options, contract negotiations and management, use of the permit process, business development and third party collaboration guidelines, technical planning and design processes and the implementation and outsourcing of these to third parties, suppliers and consultants; strategic project analysis and the associated decision making processes, taking into consideration the specifics of the relevant Romanian legislation as well as the regulatory framework in the energy industry
- Cogeneration projects (CHP): Analysing the possibility of establishing a CHP projects portfolio; supporting and leading the local team in Lasi; analysing and advising on contracts with authorities, legal documents and letters of intent and liaising with the relevant business units in respect to such projects.
- Conventional energy projects: Identification and analysis of market opportunities, competition, legislation, the CO2 allocation plan, the use of structural funds, internal and external advisory support, and strategic analysis about hydropower projects in Romania.
- Actively supporting all E.ON business units in Romania: Advising on letters of interest, MOU and joint venture projects; negotiating with counter partners; lobbying in respect of new legislation; and market surveillance regarding potential new projects as well as competition threats.
- Nuclear: Providing support throughout the Cernavoda bidprocess.
- Electricity distribution and supply companies: Providing an analysis of the generation market and competition in the supply sector, as well as the possibility of acquiring, either directly or indirectly, such competitors; advising on the advantages of using structural funds; and drafting/negotiating tolling agreements.
- EBRD: Liaising with Romanian representatives regarding issues of major interest such as the regulatory framework; liasing with political circles, ministers and Government regarding the tariff policy and the payment/non-payment of state debts; and analysing the potential for future joint ventures.
- Political lobbying: High level officials meetings organised together with management; and working meetings together with ANRE and the Chamber of Deputies.
- Association of Companies in the Energy Utility Sector (ACUE): Assisting in the set-up of, and leading, the “common action” group to identify common objectives and strategies.
- Providing assistance to the Parliamentary Energy Commission and ANRE on the Energy Law and the Public Lighting Law, including in-depth research of European directives and regulations as well as the practice of the European Court of Justice in this regard.
- Coordination of the unbundling process and other internal restructuring processes.
- Drafting and discussing in the Industries and Commerce Commission, and directed to the Chamber of Deputies, the electricity law and the amendment of the gas law.
- Analysing and debating drafts of public procurement law from a European law perspective and associated discussions with the Public Procurement Authority.
- Analysing and advising on ANRE’s regulations and orders, together with the regulatory departments of the operating companies, and negotiating the terms of licences and concession agreements.
- Analysing the conformity and drafting of SLAs between the operating companies and other affiliates.
- Coordinating actions aimed at recovering strategic debts, analysing the possibility of reactions at EU level related to hidden state aid and negotiating and executing contracts for the sale of receivables.
- Liaising with the Customer Protection Office regarding compliance by the supply company with the applicable legislation regarding contracts with captive customers and liaising with the Competition Office.
- Advising on various energy efficiency projects and dedicated customer solutions, including providing support in drafting energy efficiency related regulations and a detailed analysis of the European directive and EU court practice in this regard. An analysis of EU funding was a pre-requisite for most of these projects. Additionally, providing legal advice about public procurement and competition legislation as well as concessions, PPP, communal services legislation, regulatory aspects and unbundling effects.
Responsibility for conducting complex negotiations, coordinating major court claims, advising on restructuring processes, the renovation works for hydropower units, collective bargaining negotiations and the preparation of an IPO. Irina also participated in negotiations between the Romanian State and the Serbian Government for the clarification of the schedule of works to be undertaken by both parties in respect of the hydropower plant Portile de Fier.
- Advising Hidroelectrica when ANRE requested the immediate interruption of energy export operations. The decision of ANRE was proved, in court, to be contrary to Romanian and EU regulations concerning the common market and unrestricted trade. As a result, Hidroelectrica was allowed to establish trading entities in Hungary and Serbia. The advice included the analysis of the Hungarian and Serbian energy markets and regulations to assess the degree of free competition existing on these markets.
II. PROJECTS: RAILWAY REHABILITATION AND REORGANISATION
- Advising Strabag AG, a major Austrian client, on road renovation, including advice on a concession contract for the renovation of a motorway. Providing day to day advice in respect of all corporate, labour, commercial and real estate matters, including negotiating commercial contracts, concessions and construction contracts and liaising with various authorities including the customs office, the Road Agency, the Ministry of Transportation, the Mayorship of Bucharest and local councils.
- Advising the Strabag-Impregilo-Contransimex Consortia in respect of a FIDIC contract for the “Rehabilitation of the Constanta Port”, advising in particular on the price adjustment formula, the “rebus sic stantibus” principle, and its practical application and achieving the re-negotiation of the construction price in favour of the client based on this formula.
- Advising an American fund about the privatisation preparations of the Romanian freight railway company, including carrying out due diligence in respect of the company’s local branches (CFR and CFR Marfa), an analysis of the legal framework regarding social issues, specific licensing and technical requirements as well as with a view to establishing a fair tariff structure and drafting and proposing new legislation in line with EU legislation and European best practice.
- Advising Bahnbau Wels, an Austrian railway infrastructure company, on railway infrastructure projects in Romania.
- Supporting the negotiations carried out between E.ON, the Romanian State and CFR SA concerning the recovery of huge historical debts owed by the latter to Romanian electricity suppliers. This involved an in-depth analysis of the Romanian railways system, after the spin-off, and the inter-company relations and indirect subsidising between the various railway operators, the Romanian State and the private and state-owned energy companies (both suppliers and producers). It also involved drafting and implementing new regulations to sort this issue out, and to ensure necessary funds for the independent and sustainable development of the railways, and establishing a new company (CFR Electrificare) to deal with electricity distribution exclusively for the railway system.
- Advising the Serbian Government, as part of an EU Commission project, on the harmonisation of Serbian railway legislation with EU legislation and acting as a coordinator of a team of Serbian railway experts, advising on necessary institutional support and on drafting and implementing the "Railway Implementation Action Plan" and related Roadmap, which are the basis of railway reform in Serbia.