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Stephen Webb

Head of Energy Sector, Asia Pacific

As a partner at DLA Piper, Stephen has helped to shape the field of international law. He has built an excellent reputation for working with governments to navigate complex bilateral issues of national and international significance.

This blend of strategic advisory, coupled with his deep-rooted experience in energy and renewable energy, places him at the forefront of some of Australia's landmark deals.

What truly sets Stephen apart is his status as one of the world's top advisors on special economic zones where he guides governments on how to appeal to and secure more foreign investments, often resulting in increased employment in the regions he advises.

Stephen places immense value on genuine, face-to-face connections, believing that intimate meetings often yield the best results. His understanding of government and its unique nuances has made him a sought-after name with politicians and world leaders alike.

Stephen’s dedication to results and commitment to his clients is clear. He is one of the few people trusted to influence and direct the course of major international projects.

Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the High Court of Australia, 1993Solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong, 1999Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, 2003Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 1992Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland, 1993


International law

  • Currently advising the Government of Timor-Leste in respect of its land and maritime negotiations with Indonesia.
  • Advising on several confidential assignments for countries or state-owned companies in relation to strategic matters or disputes with other countries involving international and domestic law issues and usually a geo-political and international commercial element.
  • Advising the Government of Timor-Leste on maritime boundary and international law matters in respect of its long running Timor Sea differences with Australia.  Stephen led the legal team advising Timor-Leste in initiating a never-before-used conciliation process under the law of the sea.  The dispute involved complex legal, political, diplomatic and historical factors.  Through the process, Timor-Leste was able to achieve a permanent delimitation of its maritime boundary with Australia — bringing an end to a decades-old dispute and paving the way for the development of large oil and gas reserves.
  • Advising a Pacific nation, in a strategic capacity, on its maritime boundary with its neighbour (the maritime boundary delimitation would require resolution of jurisdictional obstacles and natural resource issues).
  • Currently acting for an Asian nation in a complex maritime boundary negotiation, including in respect of delimitation issues and resource issues such as oil and gas and fishing rights.

Major Projects

  • Currently advising on a number of Australia based pumped hydro, solar and battery projects, including BE Energy (Toowoomba) and Highview Power (long duration energy storage).  Large-scale solar projects includes advising Abengoa on the ACT solar reverse auction (ACT), Ratch Collinsville Solar PV and Thermal projects (QLD), Equis Funds Groups on its proposed investment in five solar projects in Malaysia and Thailand, Rio Tinto Alcan regarding EPCM, EPC and work package contracts for delivery of the 160MW cogeneration facility at Queensland Alumina Limited's alumina refinery in Gladstone (Australia), Equis on the development, construction and operation of a 135kl/d bio-ethanol refinery in Cavite, Philippines, captive mining solar project (Australia), the 100 MW Shams solar thermal project (Abu Dhabi) and the Trans Kalahari solar thermal project (South Africa).
  • Conventional power projects including advising on Rio Tinto's Yarwun and QAL captive power plants (Australia), the Xstrata KNS/SMI captive power projects (New Caledonia and Philippines), the Braemar power project (Australia), Sual and Pagbailou (Philippines), Sengkeng and Tanjung Jati B (Indonesia) , Stanwell power station upgrade (Australia), the Jiaxing II, Chengu, Guandong Nuclear and Taishan power projects (China), the Phu My 2.2 power project (Vietnam) and the EPEC and Bowin power projects (Thailand).
  • Oil, gas and petrochemical projects including advising on Linc Energy's underground coal gasification and gas to liquids projects (Australia, South Africa and China), advising an Asian Government on off-shore gas arrangements, the Santos Oyong gas field development (Indonesia), the Guangdong LNG terminal and pipeline project (China), integrated petrochemical and power projects for Basf/Sinopec and Bayer (China), the Hainan oil refinery (BP LPG storage and petrochemical projects (China).
  • Mining projects in Australia and Asia including advising Rio Tinto on the Yarwun II (Australia) and alumina refineries/smelters (Middle East/Asia) and advising Xstrata, BHBP and Bechtel on construction arrangements for various greenfield coal mine and rail infrastructure projects.
  • Asset sales including advising Fortescue Metals Group in relation to a proposed sale of port and rail assets and all related haulage and services arrangement, advising the Queensland Government entities on asset sales, and advising on the acquisition of a number of renewable projects in Australia and Asia.
  • Bio projects including advising on bio mass, bio ethanol and coal seam methane power projects (Australia, Philippines, China), a biomass power project Cuba, Australia and the Philippines.
  • Extensive transportation and airports experience including advising the successful bidder on the Brisbane Clem 7 Tunnel PPP Project (Australia), advising the sponsor consortium (Macquarie led) on the Abu Dhabi to Saudi road (UAE), advising on the SLGI - Trincomalee port and industrial zone development (Sri Lanka), the Gladstone Port Authority expansion projects (Australia), the Manila Airport Terminal PPP (Philippines), the Blue Line Underground Rail Project (Bangkok), the Hopewell-Mass Transit System (rail and road network) (Bangkok) and the Mactan Airport PPP (Cebu).

Special Economic Zones (SEZs)

  • Advising a developer on a significant land creation and economic zone project in Asia, including drafting and negotiating the concession agreement.
  • Advising a provincial government in a developed country on economic development related projects and international best practice in investment attraction. The appointment involved working with our London-based economist and government engagement consultant, workshops with the client and drafting a detailed report applying concepts like special economic zones, special purpose vehicles and other regulatory structures to attract investment.
  • Advising a government in South East Asia on what is intended to be their first SEZ project.
  • Other SEZ / investment-related work includes establishing and advising on zones in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste.

    Awards and Recognitions

    Stephen has been recognised by Chambers & Partners for his Construction experience and ‘Foreign Expertise’ in Timor-Leste’ commenting that he "makes a great impression and knows his stuff". He is considered a ‘Highly Regarded Lawyer’ by IFLR1000 in the Energy, Mining, Oil and Gas and Transport sectors and has also been recognised for his work in Construction/Infrastructure Law, Energy Law and Mining Law by Best Lawyers Australia since 2016.


    • Periodically interviewed by, or writes for, ABC National Radio, Australian Financial Review, Project Finance International, Australian Legal Business, Lawyers Weekly

    Prior Experience

    Stephen previously established and managed the firm's Abu Dhabi office and, prior to that, was based in Hong Kong for seven years as a project finance and construction Partner at another global law firm.