Speed and innovation earn top rating: WirtschaftsWoche bestows the Best of Legal Award on Heuking

The Best of Legal Award was presented to Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek by WirtschaftsWoche magazine in recognition of its public procurement law counsel to Niedersachsen Ports GmbH & Co. KG on the construction of a temporary LNG import infrastructure to prevent a gas shortage. At the ceremony on November 30, 2023, Heuking Partners Ulf Christiani and Susanne Christine Monsig, along with Antonia Daszenies, accepted the award in the Deals and Procedures category, which was conferred due to the innovative and prompt approach taken to this intricate undertaking. In the absence of a legal foundation at the time, Heuking swiftly drew up a procurement law concept for the acquisition of construction, supplies, and services while simultaneously complying with existing requirements under procurement law. 

To mitigate the risk of a gas scarcity caused by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection mandated the completion of the LNG terminal as an initial import hub in Wilhelmshaven by the end of 2022. There were no designs or specifications available for the construction of an LNG terminal that could have been used in a bidding procedure at the time Heuking was retained in March 2022. Typically, Europe-wide bidding procedures span a minimum of four to six months. To accelerate the project, Heuking’s lawyers were compelled to deviate from traditional procurement law principles and to devise a comprehensive partnership-based contract design and execution involving the client to prepare the award to a contractor for the provision of planning and construction services. The procurement platforms that were accessible at the time failed to accommodate the emergency awards conducted by Heuking, which involved the bidding and negotiation phases partially overlapping. Consequently, Heuking’s procurement lawyers made the required modifications to the electronic means employed in their approach to procurement law, which was subsequently implemented when the “Act to Accelerate the Use of Liquefied Natural Gas” entered into force on May 24, 2022. After the contract was awarded on May 5, 2022, construction commenced and was concluded in accordance with the specifications on November 15, 2022. The LNG terminal was successfully operationalized in preparation for the 2022/2023 winter season, thereby providing the essential safeguard for the gas supply. 

“We are delighted to receive the award, which affirms our position as a leading law firm in public procurement law and recognizes the commitment of our team in close collaboration with our peers in energy law and the client’s technical department”, said Ulf Christiani, who was responsible for overseeing the project. 

Ulf Christiani, Susanne Christine Monsig, and Antonia Daszenies are members of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s Public Sector & Public Procurement practice group, which has been a market leader in public procurement law for many years. The lawyers advise on public sector projects with a total volume in excess of EUR 40 billion. In the JUVE Handbook “Commercial Law Firms 2022/2023,” Heuking has been ranked number one in public procurement law for the eleventh consecutive year.

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