Mohamed Shelbaya is a partner in the International Arbitration practice.
He is based in Paris and has represented companies, States and State-owned entities in more than 50 commercial and investment treaty matters, with a particular focus on arbitrations in the oil & gas sector and/or arbitrations involving interests in the Middle East. He also has extensive experience advising energy companies regarding their contractual portfolio as well as negotiating on their behalf with their major upstream and downstream counterparties. He advises the Egyptian Government on the liberalisation of the Egyptian gas market and a number of State entities in the Middle East on the restructuring of their respective energy sectors.
Mohamed has been praised in Who’s Who Legal as “one of the greatest arbitration minds of his generation,” and as being “a calm, composed and efficient practitioner” who “has the ability to turn prima facie losing points into winning arguments.” He is noted by Chambers Global as “‘a big name in Egyptian disputes work,’ with one source going so far as to say: ‘He’s the best in his generation,’” and “is doing amazing work.” Clients and peers have also described Mohamed as “persuasive and very smart,” and as “an excellent negotiator” who “thinks outside the box.” They also commented that Mohamed is “a brilliant lawyer, who understands how each case involves different interests, priorities, concerns and goals and has a pragmatic approach, perfectly balancing legal and commercial considerations,” and “an outstanding strategist, with excellent analytical skills and a unique ability to come up with innovative solutions to solve difficult problems.”
Experience as Counsel
- The Arab Republic of Egypt, Respondent in an ad hoc arbitration, administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in relation to a petrochemical plant. Over $1.8 billion is at stake.
- The Dow Chemical Company in an ICC arbitration in London against Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) arising out of the failure of the latter to close a large joint venture transaction. English and Kuwaiti law applied. Dow was awarded more than $2.47 billion.
- EGAS in an ICC arbitration in Paris initiated by Spanish Egyptian Gas Company S.A.E. (SEGAS) and in two CRCICA arbitrations in Cairo and Madrid initiated by Union Fenosa Gas (UFG). The arbitrations, which involved claims in excess of $4 billion, arose under a tolling agreement governed by English law and a related long-term gas supply agreement governed by Egyptian law. In a precedent-setting award on the English law of assignment, the ICC Tribunal dismissed the $300 million claim brought by SEGAS against EGAS. In another ground-breaking decision on the application of the ICSID Convention, the Madrid seated CRCICA Tribunal equally dismissed the entirety of the $3.6 billion claim brought by UFG. Finally, in the Cairo seated CRCICA arbitration, the Tribunal dismissed the $10 million claim brought by UFG.
- A Middle Eastern petrochemical company in an ICC arbitration in Doha against a Middle Eastern energy company. The dispute arose from a long-term gas supply agreement. Qatari law applied.
- An African petrochemical company in a dispute with a North American company. The dispute arises from a Marketing and Off-Take Agreement governed by English law. The contract provides for ICC arbitration in Paris. Approximately $1.5 billion is at stake.
- Two Egyptian State-owned entities in a $6 billion ICC arbitration in Geneva and a $4 billion CRCICA arbitration in Cairo arising out of a long-term gas supply contract relating to the export of Egyptian gas to Israel. English law applied to both arbitrations. More than three quarters of the Claimants’ claims were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or on the merits. We also represented the Arab Republic of Egypt, as Respondent in two investment arbitrations concerning alleged violations under the Egypt-Poland, Egypt-U.S. and the Egypt-Germany bilateral investment treaties relating to the performance of the same long-term contract for the supply of natural gas. Around $2 billion were claimed in the investment disputes. More than two thirds of the Claimants’ claims were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds and on the merits. Following these decisions, the parties reached a global settlement, under which all claims against our clients were waived without our clients being required to make any payment.
- A Middle Eastern manufacturer of industrial chemicals in a dispute with a European company arising from a contract for the commercialization and sale of a chemical produced by our client. The contract was governed by Swiss law (and for certain matters Egyptian law) and subject to ICC arbitration in Zurich.
- A Middle Eastern State-owned entity in two disputes with two Middle Eastern States arising from the performance of two long-term gas supply agreements.
- The Arab Republic of Egypt, Respondent in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Hussain Sajwani, Damac Park Avenue for Real Estate Development S.A.E., and Damac Gamsha Bay for Development S.A.E. (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/16). The dispute arose from land development projects.
- The Arab Republic of Egypt in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Bawabet Al-Kuwait Holding Company (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/6). The claim was brought under the Egypt-Kuwait bilateral investment treaty.
- A Middle Eastern State-owned entity, Respondent in an ICC arbitration in Stockholm relating to the consequences of the Arab Spring on the Parties’ ability to perform an oil concession agreement. A favorable settlement for 20% of the amount claimed was reached.
- An oil & gas contractor in a dispute arising out of the breach by three Asian State-owned entities of two oil concession agreements.
- The subsidiary of a Middle Eastern conglomerate, Claimant in an ICC arbitration in London against a Bangladeshi conglomerate. The dispute arose from the breach of a sales contract. English law applied. The Arbitral Tribunal granted our client pre-award interest at the unprecedented rate of 8.5% and post-award interest at the rate of 8%.
- The subsidiary of a Middle Eastern conglomerate, Claimant in an ICC arbitration in London against one of its distributors. The dispute arose out of the breach by the Respondent of a supply agreement. English law applied. A favorable settlement was reached.
- A Middle Eastern company in a dispute arising out of the breach by a Syrian contractor of an oil concession agreement.
- A Qatari development company in an ICC arbitration in Doha initiated by a Qatari construction contractor. The dispute arose from a major urban development project in Qatar. Qatari law applied.
- A Middle Eastern company, Respondent in two ICC arbitrations in Paris initiated by a European bank. The dispute arose from the termination of a facility agreement granted by the Claimant for the construction and management of a high standard hospital in the Middle East, as well as from the guarantee relating to the construction agreement. French law applied.
- A major bank in connection with claims of approximately $1 billion aimed at recovering losses arising from derivative positions during the 2008 financial crisis.
- A Middle Eastern businessman in an ICC arbitration in Geneva related to the dissolution of a long-standing family partnership. The law of a Gulf State applies. Billions of dollars are at stake.
- Four Middle Eastern and Asian companies, Respondents in an ICC arbitration in Singapore against 12 Asian Claimants. The dispute concerned a shareholders’ agreement. Over $5 billion was in dispute and the dispute was subject to Korean law.
- An international joint venture in an ICC arbitration against a Middle Eastern State-owned company. The dispute arises from a contract for the design & build of a major infrastructure project in the Middle East. Approximately $600 million is at stake. The law of the Respondent State applies.
- Two international construction contractors, Respondents in an ICC arbitration in London initiated by a Middle Eastern State-owned company. The dispute concerns the development of a world-class medical facility in the Middle East. The law of the Claimant’s State applies. Over $3.7 billion is at stake.
- Advising the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum on the restructuring of Egypt’s oil and gas sector.
- Advising on the legal instruments aiming at liberalising the Egyptian gas market, allowing private companies to import, buy, transport and sell natural gas, including advising on the relevant legislation to be enacted and on the code that will govern the use of the national grid by private parties.
- Advising a Middle Eastern State entity with respect to the creation of an oil & gas market regulator and the adoption of a statute and a code governing trading and transportation of natural gas and other petroleum products.
- Advising energy companies regarding their contractual portfolio.
- Negotiating on behalf of energy companies with their major upstream and downstream counterparties.
Magister Juris (Weidenfeld Scholar)
Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Master 2 (LL.M.) in Private International Law and International Business Law
Université de Paris II-Panthéon-Assas
Master 2 (LL.M.) in Litigation, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
Maîtrise (Bachelor of Law)
Bachelor of Law
- Lecturer on investment arbitration, Sciences Po Law School
- Member, LCIA Court (2019–)
- President, LCIA Arab Users’ Council (2019–)
- Guest speaker on International Arbitration Law, ICC Conferences
- Guest speaker on parallel proceedings in international arbitration, Sciences Po Law School
- Visiting international arbitration tutor, King’s College, University of London (2007/2008)
- Member, International Arbitration Institute (IAI)
- Member, ICC Arab Arbitration Group
- Member, ASA Below 40
- Member, MENA Business Law Advisory Group, OECD
- The Applicability of Non-National Rules to International Contracts (Oxford University, 2008)
- The Distinction Between Direct and Indirect Application of Foreign Mandatory Rules of Conduct (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I), 2007)
- The Influence of the Will of the Parties on the Scope of Application of Arbitration Agreements (Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), 2007)
- “In-crisis management and arbitration in the MENA region: financial and legal considerations,” LCIA Arab Users' Council Symposium, Beirut, 25 January 2018
- “Using and abusing the boundary between commercial and investment arbitration,” UNCITRAL 50th Anniversary Conference (hosted by CRCICA), Cairo, 9-10 December 2017
- “Treaty and case law solutions to the problems arising from multiple proceedings,” LCIA European Users Council Symposium, Tylney Hall, 17-19 September 2017
- “The Do-Over: Gas Price Review Arbitration — What We Have Learned,” ICDR Conference, Looking Ahead: Effectively Arbitrating Complex Disputes in the Global Energy Sector, Houston, 20 April 2017
- “Rationalizing Investment Protection,” AILA Conference, A Paradigm Shift in International Investment Law, Cairo, 2 April 2017
- “The Principle of non-interference of State courts in arbitration under the French and Emirati arbitration law,” 1st Annual French-UAE International Arbitration Conference, Paris, 28 March 2017
- “Le recours en interprétation devant le CIRDI,” Un demi-siècle africain au CIRDI - Regards rétrospectifs et prospectifs, Paris, 27 March 2017
- “The One Thousand Faces of Double Recovery,” Columbia Law School Arbitration Day, New York, 3 March 2017
- “The Application of the New York Convention in France, Egypt and Jordan – Four Practical Scenarios,” UNCITRAL, Third International Conference for a Euro-Mediterranean Community of International Arbitration, Milan, 18 January 2017
- “Manifest Disregard of the Law: a breach of the arbitrator’s ethical duty?,” ICC YAF Conference, Ethics and antics - How Can We Hold Counsel and Arbitrators to Account?, Cairo, 4 December 2016
- “The Anatomy of Price Review Clauses and the Disputes to which they Lead,” LCIA Symposium on Gas Pricing Related Disputes, Cairo, 10 October 2016
- “Dual Nationality of Individuals,” ICSID-CRCICA Joint Conference - Key Issues in International Investment Arbitration, Cairo, 28 September 2016
- “The Impact of the Current TTIP Negotiations on the Investment Policies between EU and MENA Countries,” UNCITRAL, Second International Conference for a Euro-Mediterranean Community of International Arbitration, Cairo, 12 November 2015
- “Mohamed Shelbaya, based in the Paris office, is noted as ‘a big name in Egyptian disputes work,’ with one source going so far as to say: ‘He’s the best in his generation.’ Heavily involved in Egyptian investment treaty disputes, Shelbaya is also described as ‘an excellent practitioner’ who is ‘doing amazing work’.” – Chambers Global 2019 – Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, Foreign Expert for Egypt (France)
- “Mohamed Shelbaya is an ‘outstanding strategist with great tactical sense’ who can follow complex cases and offer practical solutions.” –GAR 100, 12th edition, 2019
- “Mohamed Shelbaya ‘has the ability to turn prima facie losing points into winning arguments. He is quick and very professional’.” – Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2018
- “Mohamed Shelbaya is praised as ‘one of the greatest arbitration minds of his generation’ and wins plaudits from sources as being ‘a calm, composed and efficient practitioner’.” – Who’s Who Legal: France 2018
- “The ‘persuasive and very smart’ Mohamed Shelbaya is ‘an outstanding strategist, who thinks outside the box and is focused on getting the deal done’.” – The Legal 500 – France 2015
- “a brilliant lawyer, who understands how each case involves different interests, priorities, concerns and goals and has a pragmatic approach, perfectly balancing legal and commercial considerations,” and “an outstanding strategist, with excellent analytical skills and a unique ability to come up with innovative solutions to solve difficult problems.” – GAR Article “Three new counsel”, 9 July 2014