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Clifford Chance partner Nadia Kalic is based in Sydney and has previously worked in the Middle East. As a member of her firm’s Worldwide Projects Group she advises on major projects in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and North Africa and Europe. Here she tells Melissa Coade about one of her most memorable matters – bringing energy to Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is considered a developing economy, yet almost one third of its population of 150 million lives in extreme poverty with no access to clean energy or reliable power. 

At the same time, G20 estimates put global infrastructure requirements at AUS$133 trillion, with an identified investment gap of AU$21 trillion, between 2016 and 2040. 

These figures are startling and confronting but also present an opportunity to address the inertia in infrastructure development in key regions like the Asia Pacific.

The case for bridging the infrastructure investment gap is being played out in real time and I am fortunate to be part of a team at Clifford Chance advising clients on complex first-of-market deals in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

One that stands out was last year’s successful Moheskhali Floating LNG (MLNG) project, Bangladesh’s first LNG import terminal that meant the country could receive natural gas from the global market for the first time. 

Against the backdrop of poverty and ongoing gas shortages, Bangladesh identified a critical need to introduce an imported LNG supply solution that could be deployed quickly and cost-efficiently, as well as operate within the constraints imposed by the existing associated infrastructure within the country.

I was asked to be part of the core team advising the lenders led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in connection with the development and project financing aspects of this project and I am grateful that I said yes.

Bangladesh selected a floating storage and regasification unit, which has the onboard capability to vaporise LNG and deliver high pressure natural gas. It has a significantly reduced scope of necessary fixed infrastructure, therefore reducing its onshore land requirements and environmental footprint.

The ‘floating unit’ (a shipping terminal for storing LNG) for the project, the Excellence, is moored offshore near Moheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal and was officially commissioned on 18 August 2018. Since May this year, it has been delivering natural gas to the Chittagong region. 

It is personally rewarding to know I played a role in facilitating the delivery of much-needed energy to the people of Bangladesh, and I look forward to seeing how it will help close the infrastructure investment gap while delivering important social benefits along the way.

Above the delivery of exceptional results for clients, it is the delivery of these social benefits, including access to basic human needs such as water, electricity, housing and transport, that brings me immense pride and satisfaction.

I am grateful that by saying yes to opportunities and putting myself out of my comfort zone throughout my career, I am in a job that inspires and drives me every day.”  

Nadia Kalic is a corporate partner in the Sydney office of Clifford Chance, specialising in energy and infrastructure transactions. She is also an ambassador for Opportunity International Australia, a microfinance organisation that provides access to finance, health and education in developing countries in which Clifford Chance is advising clients on delivering transformative infrastructure projects.