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Portrait of Varinia Radu

Varinia Radu

Deputy Head of EPC, CEE | Head of Energy and Projects, Romania | Head of Oil & Gas, CEE

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP S.C.P.
One Tower
165 Calea Floreasca
12th–14th floors
District 1
014459 Bucharest
Languages English, French, Romanian, Spanish

Varinia is the Deputy Head of CEE Energy Projects and Construction Practice Group, Head of Energy and Projects in Romania and Head of Oil & Gas in CEE. Based in Bucharest, Varinia has twenty years’ international experience and her practice focuses on the electricity, oil & gas and mineral resources sectors. 

Varinia is a market leader in the renewables sector in Romania, advising on some of the largest and most innovative energy deals in the market in recent years. Recently she was involved in the drafting of a number of important legislative initiatives in the energy sector (such as transposition of the Fourth Energy Package for the electricity market, drafting the Contracts for Difference (CfDs) support scheme for low carbon technologies). Varinia has been active in the Romanian energy market through the beginning of market liberalisation and the establishing of a new regulatory framework in preparation for Romania joining the EU (early 2000s).

Varinia advises on all aspects of electricity power generation and climate change sector, particularly in the renewables sector, including decarbonisation and climate risk, energy regulatory, licensing and compliance, energy M&A / finance / disputes, ESG projects, energy storage, EVs, hydrogen and e-Mobility, offshore and onshore wind projects, EPC projects, joint-ventures etc. She extensive expertise on petroleum and mining concessions, development of mature oil and gas assets in Romania, farm-out agreements, M&A financing transactions, tax, procurement, environment, disputes and competition related to the energy and oil and gas business.

During her career, she coordinated various top-notch oil and  gas deals and assisted clients in successful applications in public bids for over 20 oil and gas concessions in Romania. Varinia has advised more than half of the active license holders on the market, as well as successfully advising the largest onshore M&A deals in the market. Varinia also contributed to the set up and development of key industry associations such as the Romanian Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association, where she serves as a board member.

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"She is ‘extremely competent, attentive to our requirements, efficient and knowledgeable’."

Chambers, 2021

"Varinia has a ‘client-oriented approach’ and ‘she went above and beyond’."

Chambers, 2021

"She is ‘a highly professional and experienced practitioner’."

Legal 500, 2021

"Varinia is recognised as a leading lawyer in Romania for her work in energy and project development sector."

IFLR1000 Women Leaders, 2021

Relevant experience

  • Hidroelectrica, the Romanian majority state-owned hydro power producer, on the acquisition of an operational 108 MW wind farm located in Constanta county from STEAG group, one of the largest generators of electricity in Germany.
  • The Romanian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment on the new incentive scheme for energy - contracts for difference for renewable subsidies to be granted during 2019 – 2030.
  • EBRD on the support granted for the development and implementation of Contracts for Difference (CfD) mechanism to encourage priority investments in low-carbon generation technologies that are needed in the Romanian energy sector, as per 2030 EU targets.
  • A UK investment and asset management company on its agreement to acquire three development stage onshore windfarms in Romania with a total installed capacity of 1GW.
  • Iberdrola on the full legal advice as exclusive legal adviser for the multinational power company for its renewables operations in Romania.
  • BP Lightsource on its market entry for solar power investments, including regulatory, licencing, construction advice and transactional assistance.
  • Solarpro Holding AD in relation to greenfield investors for behind the meter solar projects developed for corporates.
  • Emergy on transactional matters related to the potential acquisition of a large wind generation project.
  • Mazarine on various legal matters, ranging from corporate issues, licensing on their gas and power production, to most notable, ongoing post business transfer support in energy related compliance matters.
  • PeWeTe Evo Europe on bid preparation in various public procurement processes, for a large scope of services to be provided to the largest oil and gas company in Romania.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Bucharest Bar Association
  • Member of the Board, Romanian Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association
  • Member, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
  • Member, Balkan and Black Sea Petroleum Association
  • Member, SIPG (Oil & Gas Engineers Society)
  • Member Romanian Committee, World Energy Council
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  • The Renewable Energy Law Review (2021)
  • The International Comparative Legal Guide to Oil & Gas Regulation 2016  - CEE Overview chapter (2016)
  • Shale Gas in Romania Study, World Energy Council – Romania Committee, chapter on legal framework (2013)
  • Energynomics.ro (quarterly) analysis of the Romanian and CEE energy market 
  • Energynomics, Energy World,  Oil and Gas Monitor magazines -  regular opinions and articles on energy related matters such as legislation, strategy, trends and opportunities
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  • 2021 – Board Practice and Directorship, Certificate - Business Administration and Management, General, Henley Business School, UK
  • 2010 –  Executive Course: ‘Leading and Negotiating’, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
  • 2010 – MBA, University of Chicago (Booth School of Business), Chicago, USA
  • 2005 – MA in Petroleum Management, Ploiesti University of Oil and Gas, Romania
  • 2003 – MA in International Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA), Romania
  • 2001 – Law degree, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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Ro­mania takes fur­ther steps in re­sponse to the en­ergy mar­ket prices
On 1 Septem­ber  2022, the Ro­mani­an gov­ern­ment pub­lished Emer­gency Or­din­ance no. 119/2022 (GEO 119) in the Of­fi­cial Gaz­ette, which amends and sup­ple­ments Gov­ern­ment Emer­gency Or­din­ance no. 27/2022 on...
ACC An­nu­al Meet­ing
CMS - Meet our ex­perts at booth #233 More than 70 per­cent of the world’s pur­chas­ing power is loc­ated out­side of the United States. So for US com­pan­ies, es­tab­lish­ing or grow­ing their busi­ness and in­vest­ments with their main trade part­ners – wheth­er in the UK, the European Uni­on, China, Africa or the Middle East – is es­sen­tial for their suc­cess.However, do­ing busi­ness in di­verse mar­kets, each with its unique leg­al en­vir­on­ment and ways of prac­ti­cing law, re­quires spe­cial­ist know­ledge. Our more than 5,000 law­yers world­wide provide busi­ness-fo­cused ad­vice, wheth­er in a single mar­ket or across mul­tiple jur­is­dic­tions. Our fo­cus is on build­ing long-term part­ner­ships to keep our cli­ents ahead in their chosen mar­kets.CMS is pleased to be spon­sor­ing the As­so­ci­ation of Cor­por­ate Coun­sel (ACC) An­nu­al Meet­ing from 23 - 26 Oc­to­ber in Las Ve­gas (NV). Be­low you can find an over­view of our part­ners at­tend­ing the ACC an­nu­al meet­ing, rep­res­ent­ing a range of jur­is­dic­tions, prac­tice areas and sec­tor spe­cial­isms . To ar­range a meet­ing, please con­tact events@cmsleg­al.com or vis­it us at booth #233.CMS law­yers will be par­ti­cip­at­ing in the fol­low­ing pan­el dis­cus­sions:UK-based Part­ner and Head of the CMS En­ergy & Cli­mate Change Group Mu­nir Has­san -  “Are you an En­ergy Law­yer? How En­ergy touches Every Busi­ness”CMS Bel­gi­um Part­ner Soph­ie Berg -  “In­ter­pret­ing the EU Whis­tleblower Dir­ect­ive: Key Steps to En­sure Com­pli­ance”.For more in­form­a­tion about the ACC An­nu­al meet­ing and the pro­gramme, please vis­it their web­site here.To find out more about CMS, vis­it the About CMS sec­tion.For fur­ther in­form­a­tion, please see our part­ners at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence in the gal­lery be­low and an over­view of all our ex­pert­ise areas.
Ro­mania opens call for Euro 595m in green en­ergy pro­jects
On 31 March 2022, Ro­mani­a's Min­istry of European In­vest­ments and Pro­jects (MI­PE) launched a plat­form for the sub­mis­sion of in­vest­ment pro­jects fin­anced with­in the Na­tion­al Re­cov­ery and Re­si­li­ence Plan...
Ro­mania ex­tends meas­ures against high elec­tri­city and gas prices
Fur­ther to the de­cision to sub­sid­ise rising elec­tri­city and gas prices pri­or to the cold sea­son (Ro­mania caps elec­tri­city gas prices im­poses wind­fall tax for pro­du­cers (cms-lawnow.com)), which was re­vised...
Ro­mania re­vises leg­al pro­vi­sions for so­cial pro­tec­tion of en­ergy con­sumers
In re­sponse to the rising cost of in­ter­na­tion­al elec­tri­city and gas mar­kets and their ef­fects, the Ro­mani­an gov­ern­ment is­sued Emer­gency Or­din­ance 3/2022  (GEO 3), pub­lished in the Of­fi­cial Gaz­ette no...
Time for trans­ition: En­ergy M&A 2022
While world lead­ers have been gath­er­ing for COP meet­ings for dec­ades, what made COP26 per­haps par­tic­u­larly not­able is that the private sec­tor also gathered in force, and with a com­mit­ment and de­term­in­a­tion to be a key driver in the de­car­bon­isa­tion of the world’s eco­nom­ies.  In pre­vi­ous years, there have been mur­mur­ings from vari­ous cor­por­ates that to make so­cial or en­vir­on­ment­ally driv­en in­vest­ment de­cisions may not align with their fi­du­ciary duty to act in the in­terests of share­hold­ers. As share­hold­er act­iv­ism has driv­en the de­bate in­to board­rooms from above, this at­ti­tude is rap­idly re­vers­ing dir­ec­tion. While re­turns are gen­er­ally seen as lower in the clean sec­tor com­pared to, say, the oil & gas sec­tor, be­ing in­ves­ted in the green trans­ition is in­creas­ingly seen as a key route to pre­serving and pro­tect­ing share­hold­er value. At the same time, vol­un­tary and man­dat­ory cli­mate re­lated dis­clos­ures are align­ing the drivers for in­vestors across the board so that cap­it­al is in­creas­ingly driv­en by the met­rics they pro­duce.  This is be­ing re­flec­ted in, among oth­er things, the plum­met­ing cost of cap­it­al for green in­vest­ments. At the same time high car­bon in­tens­ive in­vest­ments, such as coal based pro­jects and busi­nesses, are strug­gling to se­cure fund­ing, with many fa­cing in­solv­ency. In­vest­ments in the en­ergy trans­ition, a key part of the green trans­ition, will prin­cip­ally take the form of M&A. The out­come of COP26 and the mo­mentum it has gen­er­ated means that European deal­makers in the en­ergy sec­tor will be even busier in 2022. Europe leads the world in the en­ergy trans­ition and the race to net zero is driv­ing near-re­cord levels of deal­mak­ing – not­ably in wind and sol­ar photo­vol­ta­ic gen­er­a­tion.At the same time, the en­ergy trans­ition is both ex­pand­ing and frag­ment­ing the en­ergy sec­tor. For many, it has tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy gen­er­a­tion. The trans­ition is bring­ing to the fore less vis­ible tech­no­lo­gies. Everything from tra­di­tion­al hy­dro­power to grid-scale bat­ter­ies, elec­tri­fic­a­tion of trans­port and hy­dro­gen. It is also bring­ing in­to the mix sec­tors that have not tra­di­tion­ally been fo­cused on en­ergy, such as in­dus­tri­al de­car­bon­isa­tion, ship­ping and min­ing for the nat­ur­al re­sources needed for the en­ergy trans­ition. In par­al­lel with this, there is a huge and grow­ing story around en­ergy trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion. Elec­tri­city net­works will need to ex­pand massively to fa­cil­it­ate elec­tri­fic­a­tion and new tech­no­lo­gies. They are also be­com­ing smarter with the use of di­git­al tech­no­logy to op­tim­ise the way power is dis­trib­uted, traded and con­sumed. Fur­ther, new types of net­works may provide in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies for those look­ing for stable long term as­sets, such as hy­dro­gen and car­bon net­works.Against this back­ground, tra­di­tion­al fossil fuel-based play­ers are de­car­bon­ising their op­er­a­tions. For the oil and gas ma­jors, this means ac­quir­ing or sig­ni­fic­antly en­han­cing their cap­ab­il­it­ies in re­new­ables, in­clud­ing wind, sol­ar and hy­dro­gen, while sim­ul­tan­eously di­vest­ing se­lec­ted car­bon-in­tens­ive as­sets in re­sponse to mount­ing ESG pres­sures. This may be one of the reas­ons why 50% of re­spond­ents in our study point to dis­tress-driv­en deals as a top sell-side driver.Change is en­dem­ic in the en­ergy sec­tor, but the cur­rent trans­ition makes the years since lib­er­al­isa­tion of en­ergy mar­kets in the late 1980s seem al­most steady-state in com­par­is­on. Des­pite the mo­mentum and push for cap­it­al to be in­ves­ted in the en­ergy trans­ition, there re­main obstacles, not least the lim­ited pipeline of good qual­ity in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies, con­tinu­ing con­cerns over lock­downs and COV­ID-19 vari­ants, fin­an­cing dif­fi­culties arising from po­ten­tially un­stable long term rev­en­ue streams and di­min­ish­ing rates of re­turn. Not­with­stand­ing these chal­lenges, our study finds that en­ergy sec­tor M&A will in­creas­ingly be an en­gine driv­ing cap­it­al in­to pro­pos­i­tions that match so­cial and polit­ic­al am­bi­tions for the green trans­ition. Key find­ings  En­ergy re­mains a premi­um as­set class for most in­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors, with its per­form­ance dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and im­petus from COP26 fur­ther en­han­cing its at­tract­ive­ness75% of en­ergy com­pan­ies are con­sid­er­ing an ac­quis­i­tion and/or di­vest­ment in 2022Along­side premi­um as­sets, in some sub­sect­ors there are un­der­val­ued tar­gets driv­ing buy-side activ­ity, with sellers shed­ding dis­tressed as­sets as the sec­tor shifts in re­sponse to the en­ergy trans­ition45% think COV­ID-19 will be a ma­jor M&A obstacle in 2022, but this re­mains a flu­id situ­ation that can change rap­idly
Hy­dro­gen law, reg­u­la­tions & strategy in Ro­mania
1. Cur­rent State of Hy­dro­gen Pro­jects in Ro­mania In 2018, Ro­mania signed the Hy­dro­gen Ini­ti­at­ive, com­mit­ting to con­tinu­ing re­search and in­nov­a­tion in­to how it will use hy­dro­gen as an en­ergy source for...
Ad­vising the Board on En­vir­on­ment­al Law Risk in CEE
Dir­ect­ors’ risk re­port En­vir­on­ment­al law is firmly and un­doubtedly a board-level is­sue and all busi­nesses need to fo­cus on how it im­pacts their activ­it­ies. En­vir­on­ment­al au­thor­it­ies ex­pect dir­ect­ors...
Ro­mania caps elec­tri­city & gas prices, im­poses wind­fall tax for pro­du­cers
On 29 Oc­to­ber, the Ro­mani­an par­lia­ment passed En­dorse­ment Law no. 259/2021, which ap­proves and puts in­to ac­tion Gov­ern­ment Emer­gency Or­din­ance no. 118/2021 on es­tab­lish­ing a com­pens­a­tion scheme for elec­tri­city...
Road to COP 26: re­ima­gin­ing en­ergy: Scot­land v East­ern European per­spect­ives...
Hy­dro­gen Many coun­tries across Europe and bey­ond have set tar­gets for re­du­cing car­bon emis­sions with the UK en­act­ing the net-zero tar­get in­to law just over two years ago. As a res­ult, gov­ern­ments are...
CMS Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um
Pub­lic pro­cure­ment on the move to eco­lo­gic­al trans­ition We are de­lighted to an­nounce that the 7th CMS Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment For­um will take place in Par­is on Thursday, 9 Decem­ber 2021 from 5:00 p.m. to...
Ro­mania bans plastic products fol­low­ing trans­pos­i­tion of EU Dir­ect­ive 2019/904
At the end of Au­gust after a delay of al­most two months, Ro­mania trans­posed EU Dir­ect­ive 2019/904 of the European Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil of 5 June 2019 on the re­duc­tion of the im­pact of cer­tain...