Sarah Z Vasani is an experienced international arbitration lawyer specialising in both international commercial arbitration and investor state disputes. She is commended for providing "excellent client service" and has been described by her clients as a "strategic, energetic, tenacious and an incredibly capable counsellor and advocate" with "exceptionally strong written and oral advocacy skills".
Sarah represents clients before key arbitral institutions including ICSID, LCIA, ICC, ICDR, WIPO, SIAC, HKAIC and the SCC, and in arbitrations conducted under the UNCITRAL Rules and under foreign investment laws. In addition to advocating for her clients' interests before international tribunals in hearings on procedural issues, interim measures, jurisdiction, and merits, and enforcement, set aside, and annulment proceedings, Sarah also advises clients on investment (re)structuring, and on strategies, options, and tactics for minimising the prospects of full-blown disputes.
Sarah has particular experience in energy, oil and gas, mining, and other large-scale project disputes in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Latin America. She has represented clients such as Exterran, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, El Paso Corporation, Sempra Energy, Murphy Oil Corporation, Reliance Industries, PA Resources, and Madagascar Oil.
Sarah is a visiting professor at the University of Bedfordshire, where she teaches international investment arbitration. She has spoken and published extensively on topics relating to international arbitration and cross-border issues, including the resolution of energy disputes, collateral attacks on arbitration in national courts, improving efficiency in international arbitration, dispute resolution in the Middle East and Africa, arbitration with states and state entities, energy disputes in times of civil unrest, corruption, and diversity of arbitrator candidates in international arbitration.
Sarah is qualified in England and Wales, the District of Columbia, and Texas, and is a solicitor-advocate of the Higher Courts of England and Wales. Sarah works fluently in both English and Spanish.
Prior to joining Addleshaw Goddard in 2016, Sarah spent a decade in the Houston, Washington, DC, and London offices of another international law firm.
Sarah’s representative experience in investor-state disputes includes: Chevron Corp & Texaco Petroleum Co v Ecuador (oil production and exploration, environmental remediation and corruption); Chevron Corp & Texaco Petroleum Co v Ecuador (oil exploration and production and denial of justice); Chevron Bangladesh Blocks Twelve & Blocks Thirteen & Fourteen v Bangladesh (natural gas pipelines); Waguih Siag v Egypt (hotel resort development); El Paso Energy Int’l v Argentina (hydrocarbon and electricity concessions, including PPAs); Murphy Exploration & Production Int’l v Ecuador (hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation and windfall profits); S&T Oil Equipment & Machinery Ltd v Romania (chemical plant); Impregilo v Argentina (water services concession); Impregilo II (Caminos de las Sierras) v Argentina (highway infrastructure construction); Azurix v Argentina (water and sewer services concession agreement); Exterran v Venezuela (nationalisation of assets); Pan American Energy and BP Argentina Exploration v Argentina (hydrocarbon and electricity concessions, including PPAs); Invesmart v Czech Republic (banking); Sempra Energy Int’l v Argentina (natural gas supply and distribution); Madagascar Oil Ltd v Madagascar (hydrocarbons exploration); CEAC Holdings Ltd v Montenegro (aluminium industry); Renco v Peru (metallurgical complex refining and processing copper, lead, zinc and other metals).
Sarah’s representative commercial arbitration experience includes: representing India’s largest private oil and gas company in two UNCITRAL arbitrations against the Indian government, one in relation to the company’s right to cost recovery under a PSC and the other relating to gas pricing; representing major US-based oil and gas services provider against a Kazakh company in three LCIA arbitrations governed by English law – the dispute involved three separate agreements to provide goods and services to a gas processing and treatment facility in Kazakhstan (under an interim services, technical consultancy and O&M agreement); advising a major US-based oil and gas services provider in dispute avoidance strategies in relation to an explosion at a gas processing plant in Pakistan; advising one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies on restructuring its investment in the Middle East, and revising its web of layered disputes resolution clauses to maximise legal protection while minimising costs in the event of a dispute between the company and its contracting parties; representing a Swiss technology company in a LCIA-administered arbitration against a US technology corporation concerning a licensing dispute governed by the substantive laws of CA and the US, and the procedural laws of England; and representing Mexican publishing distributor in a London-based LCIA arbitration against a Greek publishing house. The dispute concerned the breach of an exclusive distribution agreement, and expanded to include copyright and criminal matters.
WWL says: Sarah Vasani is a "persuasive and effective counsel" who possesses particularly commendable expertise in energy.
This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.