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Annette Barcenas Olivardia


Annette Bárcenas Olivardía leads our Public Utilities and Procurement Department. She has extensive experience advising public and private sector clients in the electric power, radio and television, telecommunications, water and public transportation sectors. In the area of power generation, with emphasis on renewable energy projects.

Annette has a long track record and experience and is a leader in regulatory matters related to the industries mentioned above and also advises clients in connection with due diligence processes related to mergers and acquisitions of companies in the utilities sector, as well as in project financing investments in this industry.

Annette has acquired unparalleled experience in public procurement advisory, a practice area she co-leads with Luis H. Moreno, a partner of the firm.

She obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Law and Political Science with honors from Universidad Católica Santa María la Antigua, and later obtained a Post-Graduate Degree in Telecommunications from Universidad Externado de Colombia.

Annette Bárcenas has acted as leader of the firm’s public services and public procurement team in various client projects as expert legal counsel in the area of public service  regulation, administrative law and public contracts and administrative procedure.  The following is a summary of experience:

  • Public law and regulation:

Assistance to private sector clients in various public bidding processes (infrastructure projects since 1996) and government contracts, and assistance to public entities in special projects that required specialized knowledge of administrative and public contract law.

– Due diligence processes (Panamanian electricity market regulation):

  • Due diligence process on behalf of the potential buyer of two (2) green field power projects (hydro and solar) (2020-2021).
  • Due diligence processes and assistance on regulatory matters on behalf of Global Bank Corporation for the financing of several electricity generation projects (2018-2021).
  • Due diligence process on behalf of the potential buyer of three (3) hyroelectric power projects already in operation, with a total installed capacity of 30 MW (2015).
  • Commercial/regulatory due diligence on behalf of Corporación Andina de Fomento in connection with a proposed loan to a local transmission company (2014).
  • Due diligence process on behalf of a group of lenders (multilateral agencies and private banking)  in connection with the potential financing of two hydroelectric power plants located in the province of Chiriquí, Republic of Panama (Pando and Monte Lirio, over 80 megawatts of installed capacity together) (2009).
  • Due diligence requested by Banco Santander and Baker & McKenzie Colombia in connection with a project that sought to award through a private auction certain contracts necessary for the  construction of a 30 MW  power plant in Panama (2007-2008);
  • Due diligence process of one of the generation companies that resulted from the restructuring of  Instituto de Recursos Hidráulicos y Electrificación (IRHE) on behalf of a local investor group (2006).
  • Due diligence process for the potential purchase of a controlling interest in a local distribution company, which included, among others, an extensive review of contracts, court decisions and administrative resolutions regarding electricity regulation affairs of the distribution company which was the target of the client project (2005).

– Assistance in licensing processes and other regulatory affairs (electricity sector):

  • Legal assistance to various clients in the administrative processes of obtention of licenses  and concessions for the generation of energy, and other filings, petitions, claims, appeals, reconsideration remedies and other writs drafted or filed on behalf of clients  with the National Authority of Public Services.
  • Ongoing assistance in legal and regulatory matters pertaining to the development of a windfarm and solar project in Panama for a german investment group (2018-to date).

– Administrative law (contracts and procedure):

  • Assistance to a local public massive transport concessionaire in the comprehensive legal analysis of the concession contract and related administrative law regulations in connection with breach of contract allegations and potential consequences, including amicable termination, administrative resolution and administrative rescue; and negotiations with the government for the sale of the outstanding capital of the concessionaire to a public entity; and continued support to  the concessionaire in operations (as a State-owned entity) with a focus on matters of administrative law and commercial law (2014 to 2016).
  • Assistance to BSC de Panamá, S.A. (a subsidiary of BellSouth Corporation) in the defense of its cellular telephony concession rights against actions from the government  that enabled third parties to compete with the concessionaire  in violation of the concession (this case required a comprehensive administrative law study of the telecommunications concessions regime and relevant contracts, and many legal proceedings both in the administrative venue and in civil and administrative  courts were resulted from this conflict). (2001-2003)  The same type of conflict arose later on, generating the need for similar legal work and defenses against another third party. (2004)
  • Assistance to local concessionares in the telecommunications and energy sectors in administrative law proceedings conducted at the Regulatory Authority of Public Services seeking to defend the concessionaires against allegations of breach of contract or the imposition of fines by the authority.   After exhausting the administrative procedure and remedies, some of these conflicts were pursued at Supreme Court level in contentious-administrative processes seeking a declaration of nullity based on the illegality of the acts of the administration (1998-2013).

– Infrastructure financing:

  • Asesoría a un prestigioso banco de la localidad en diversos financiamientos relacionados con proyectos de generación de energía (hidroeléctrica, solar) y de construcción de infraestructura pública.

– Expert witness experience:

  • Participation as expert witness in two international arbitration processes which involved complex questions of Panamanian Administrative Law (2016-2017).

Teaching experience

Invited to teach various classes and seminars covering topics such as public services and administrative law for Universidad Santa María La Antigüa,  Universidad Latina de Panamá and Universidad Externado de Colombia (program offered in Panama) (2004-2008).


Co-author of the Panama Chapter of the publication “International Telecommunications Law” of the Center for International Legal Studies (first published in 2002 and further updated in time).

Co-author of the Panama Chapther of the publication “The Energy Regulation and Markets Review” of publisher Law Business Research, Ltd. first published in 2018, 2019, 2020.


  • Degree in Law and Political Science, magna cum laude, Universidad Católica Santa María la Antigua, 1993.
  • Post-Graduate Studies, Telecommunications Law, Universidad Externado de Colombia, 2002.


  • Panamá, 1993


  • Annette is an active member of the Kiwanis Las Perlas Club where she served as President during 2006-2007.
  • She is part of the board of Fundación WIP Panama (Women in the Profession).
  • Panama Bar Association.
  • Vice Chair of Amcham's Energy Committee.


  • Spanish & English


Public Procurement: Energy, Telecommunications and Others

Governmental Procurement

Environment Law