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David Clinch


David is a partner in the energy, infrastructure and mining groups in Asia.



David advises clients on energy, infrastructure and natural resources projects and transactions around the world. He has worked with Herbert Smith Freehills for over 24 years, 19 years of which have been spent in Asia. David has worked in our Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok and London offices and his practice covers acquisitions and disposals, project development, joint ventures and project finance within the oil and gas, power, other infrastructure, chemical and mining sectors.

David has advised on projects and acquisitions in Africa, Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union, South America and the United Kingdom, as well as on a number of restructurings in Asia.

Among David’s many accolades, Chambers wrote that "clients report that they 'always feel comfortable with him – he is hands-on, intense and very high-energy'."

David’s experience includes advising:

  • a confidential client in relation to the development of a greenfield LNG FSRU project in Bangladesh and the sale of gas to Petrobangla
  • Santos in relation to the divestment of a portfolio of Asian upstream interests to Ophir plc
  • Chevron in relation to its upstream and pipeline interests in Myanmar
  • a confidential client in relation to a greenfield power project in Indonesia and the new form of PLN PPA
  • Chevron in relation to the sale of its geothermal and power assets in Philippines and Indonesia. This was one of the largest energy sector deals in Asia in 2017
  • a confidential client in relation to a suite of greenfield gas fired power project joint ventures in Asia
  • CGN Group on its US$2.3 billion acquisition of the Edra Group in Malaysia with a portfolio of 13 power projects located in Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the UAE. This was one of the largest energy deals in Asia in 2016
  • a bidder consortium in relation to the potential Singapore-KL High Speed Rail Project
  • a confidential client in relation to its potential acquisition of ConocoPhillip's Natuna Block B and related interests in Indonesia
  • Beibu Gulf in relation to its investment in the Muara Port in Brunei and the joint venture operation of the port with the Brunei Government
  • Eni and Woodside in relation to their respective upstream assets/operations in Myanmar
  • a confidential client on the potential divestment of upstream interests in Thailand
  • a confidential client in relation to mid/long term LNG SPA
  • KOGAS in relation to its interests in the Rovuma LNG Project
  • Brunei Economic Development Board (a Brunei Governmental body) in relation to various aspects of the Pulau Muara Bersar integrated refining and petrochemical project in Brunei
  • a confidential bidder for BG’s interests in the Bongkot field in Thailand
  • a confidential bidder for an operating power plant in Sri Lanka
  • a confidential lending group in relation to a reserve base lending facility for upstream interests in Vietnam
  • a confidential client in relation to its offtake arrangements for refined products from a petrochemical plant in Vietnam
  • a confidential client in relation to a major potential refining project in Asia
  • CNPC on its acquisition of a 28.57% stake in Eni East Africa Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eni SpA, for US$4.2 billion. As a result of this transaction, CNPC indirectly holds a 20% stake in Rovuma Offshore Area 4 in Mozambique
  • Sinopec in relation to its acquisition from Talisman Energy of 49% of Talisman's UK North Sea business for approximately US$1.5 billion, including on the sale and purchase and joint venture arrangements 
  • numerous international companies on the acquisition of upstream oil and gas assets in Africa, including CNOOC on its US$1.5 billion acquisition of a 33.3% stake in various upstream blocks in Uganda from Tullow Oil; Mitsui & Co. on its acquisition of interests in the Rovuma block in Mozambique; and bidders for Marathon’s Angola assets 
  • Sumitomo Chemical on multiple aspects of the Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Complex in Saudi Arabia (estimated project cost US$9.8 billion), including the joint venture, development and US$5.8 billion project financing 
  • a confidential Asian company acquiring an interest in a precious metals mining business in Africa, and the structuring of its equity investment and financing 
  • a confidential Asian company in relation to its acquisition of significant coal mining assets in Africa 
  • BG Group on the disposal of its interests in the Quintero regasification terminal in Chile  
  • Mitsubishi Corporation on multiple aspects of the Donggi-Senoro liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Indonesia, including the joint venture, development and financing and on the acquisition of upstream interests in the Senoro-Toili block
  • BG Group in relation to a restructuring and renegotiation of complex LNG offtake arrangements in North Africa



  • "David Clinch comes highly recommended by clients, one of whom praises 'his ability to lead a team well, his faultless legal knowledge and his efforts to gain really deep understanding of us as a client.'" Singapore, Energy & Natural Resources, Chambers Asia Pacific 2018
  • "'Receptive, well-respected and extremely hardworking" practice head David Clinch" Asia Pacific Legal 500 2018
  • Leading individual – Singapore, Energy & Natural Resources, Asia Pacific - Chambers Asia Pacific 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Leading individual – Singapore: Foreign firms: Energy - Asia Pacific Legal 500 2017, 2018
  • "The ‘commercially aware’ David Clinch’s ‘knowledge of the region is second to none’" Myanmar Legal500 2018
  • "David is very close to the clients, trying to understand what your needs are in terms of legal service and trying to provide you something more than just the normal legal work. That's what I liked." Acritas, Independently rated lawyer, 2017
  • Leading lawyer – Energy & Infrastructure Deal Report 2017 - IFLR1000 in association with IJ Global 
  • David Clinch leads the [Southeast Asia] energy and natural resources group and impresses with his depth of experience advising on high-profile oil and gas and power mandates across the region. Sources report: "He is very good at leading negotiations. He understands the key issues and breaks them down for the client." - Chambers Asia Pacific 2017 
  • "…David Clinch…'provides an excellent, very professional service;…knowledge is top notch'." - Asia Pacific Legal 500 2016
  • "Practice Head David Clinch has 'in-depth knowledge of energy project development and implementation' and provides 'practical and strategic advice'." - Asia Pacific Legal 500 2015
  • "David Clinch is highlighted for his 'rich experience in petroleum transactions'….'He is detail-oriented and analytical, and brings deep expertise to the transaction'" - Chambers Asia Pacific 2015
  • Leading energy lawyer  - “David Clinch … is recommended by clients for his 'hands on approach'…" - Who’s Who Legal: Energy 2015
  • "David Clinch is 'outstanding, especially in long negotiations where his energy is a real boon'" - Asia Pacific Legal 500 2015 
  • "David is considered 'switched-on and commercial' by peers, and clients say he is 'an outstanding lawyer, very familiar with the energy area'" - Chambers Asia Pacific 2014
  • ‘“Always full of energy”, Clinch has over 19 years experience with the firm and advises domestic and international clients on projects and energy transactions around the world’ - Asia Pacific Legal 500 2014
  • Leading Lawyer - International Financial Law Review (IFLR1000)/Petroleum Economist: Energy and Infrastructure Guide 2014
  • Leading energy lawyer  - “David … is praised for ‘expertly guiding clients through even the most complex of deals’” - Who’s Who Legal: Energy 2014
  • Leading individual for Energy and Natural Resources, China/Hong Kong - Chambers Asia Pacific 2014
  • Leading individual for Project Finance, Hong Kong - IFLR1000 2014
  • 'David Clinch is "dedicated and always on the mark; he has never failed to surprise on the accuracy and promptness of what he delivers" say interviewees' - Chambers UK 2013


David has a M.A. Cantab (Law) from Christ’s College, Cambridge University, U.K. His memberships include to the Law Society of England and Wales and the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Association of Petroleum Negotiators.