Charles E. Schwenck

 Senior Counsel Orange County
Phone: +1 949.798.1329
Mobile: +1 310.995.9111
3 Park Plaza, 20th Floor
Irvine, CA 92614-8505
Charles E. Schwenck is a senior counsel in the Energy Group in Crowell & Moring’s Orange County office. For more than 30 years, his practice has focused on the energy, infrastructure, natural resource, and construction industries. He advises developers, owners, operators, contractors, and investors in connection with the development, financing, and operation of projects and facilities, the acquisition of assets, and a broad range of commercial transactions.

Mr. Schwenck’s energy industry experience includes facilities for the generation of electricity from petroleum distillates, coal, natural gas, synthetic gas, petroleum coke, biomass, hydro, wind, solar, and geothermal resources; electricity transmission and distribution facilities; pipelines; oil sands, oil shale, and shale gas projects; oil refining, gas processing (including LNG), and petrochemicals facilities; coal-to-gas, coal-to-liquids, and other petroleum-based synthetic fuels projects; ethanol and other biofuels projects; and energy storage, efficiency, and conservation systems. His infrastructure project experience includes roads, highways, bridges, rail (including high speed inter-city and light metropolitan rail), water and waste treatment facilities, airports, seaports, and cargo terminals, and often involves private ownership, operation, and financing of public facilities. His mining and metals experience includes matters relating to the purchase of rights to and extraction, processing, and sale of coal, base metals, precious metals, oil sands, gypsum, and potash.

Mr. Schwenck’s experience includes the development and implementation of innovative contractual structures for providing and financing energy products and services, including energy service performance contracts, synthetic power purchase agreements, and tolling agreements relating to electricity, natural gas, petroleum products, and petrochemicals.

Mr. Schwenck’s construction experience includes representing project sponsors, investors, and lenders in the development and implementation of project structures and delivery methods, bidding documents and procedures, and project execution contracts and procedures. He also represents contractors in the negotiation of contractual arrangements with owners, consortium members, and subcontractors. He is experienced in complex structures and delivery methods utilizing multiple prime contracts, program management, international consortia, and design-build-own-operate concessions, as well as complex pricing arrangements involving targets, allowances, escalation formulae, and “open book” elements.

Mr. Schwenck has served as general counsel at Fluor Corporation, division counsel of one of the Bechtel Group’s largest divisions, and as an executive member of the Board of Directors of a major independent power producer. He has written and lectured extensively on subjects relating to the energy, infrastructure, and construction industries and has been chosen to testify before Congressional committees and state legislative bodies on matters affecting those industries. He has also participated on various international committees and organizations (e.g., UNCITRAL, FIDIC) responsible for providing guidelines, procedures, and forms for carrying out major projects.

Representative Matters

Mr. Schwenck’s work has taken him to more than three dozen countries on six continents, and the aggregate value of the projects in which he has been involved exceeds U.S. $100 billion. Significant projects include:
  • Projects relating to the generation, transportation, storage, or distribution of electricity in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.
  • Projects relating to the production, transportation, and processing of natural gas, petroleum, petrochemicals, or minerals in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia.
  • Public transportation, water treatment and distribution, telecommunications, solid waste processing and disposal, and other public works projects in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Mr. Schwenck’s international experience includes the following representations relating to projects which are among the largest and most complex of their kind in the world:
  • Representation of the managing contractor for the Statoil Statpipe gas gathering and distribution system, consisting of approximately 550 miles of subsea pipelines and related facilities in the North Sea.
  • Representation of participants in the development of the 1,960 mile Bolivia-to-Brazil natural gas pipeline and several large power plants in Brazil served by the pipeline.
  • Representation of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Consortium in connection with the construction of the Taiwan North-South High Speed Rail Project, which covers a 214-mile route from Taipei to Kaohsiung.
In the U.S., Mr. Schwenck’s experience includes representation of a developer of significant, first-of-a-kind, public-private partnership projects, including:
  • Representation of a consortium of Spanish and U.S. companies in connection with the bidding for and negotiation of the concession, consortium, and related contracts for the Presidio Parkway Phase II, which was the first project to be awarded a public-private partnership pursuant to California Street and Highways Code Section 143.
  • Representation of the co-developers of and contractor for the Santa Paula Wastewater Reclamation Facility, which was the first project to be awarded on a design, build, operate, and finance basis pursuant to the California Infrastructure Finance Act.


Admitted to practice: California

Speeches & Presentations

  • "Construction Contracting and Public-Private Partnerships in the United States of America," China State Construction Engineering Co., Ltd., Beijing, China (2010). Co-Author and Presenter: Charles E. Schwenck.
  • "President's Roundtables," Cleantech Forums, New York and San Francisco (2010). Moderator: Charles E. Schwenck.


  • "California PPP Reference Tables," Project Finance in 47 Jurisdictions Worldwide, Getting the Deal Through (2013). Co-Author: Charles E. Schwenck.
  • "Challenges and Opportunities in U.S. Energy Supply, 2008-2030," Inter-Pacific Bar Association (2008). Author and Presenter: Charles E. Schwenck.
  • "Power Shopping: What Electricity Deregulation Means to You," Journal of Property Management (Winner, Article of the Year) (March/April 1997). Co-Author: Charles E. Schwenck.
  • "Business Challenges and Opportunities Arising Out of Deregulation of Electric Utilities," (four part series), Orange County Business Journal (1997-1998). Author: Charles E. Schwenck.
  • "Enforcing and Avoiding Liquidated Damages," Construction Contractor’s Handbook of Business and Law, John Wiley & Sons (1992). Co-Author: Charles E. Schwenck.

In the News

Firm News & Announcements

Aug.08.2017 Crowell & Moring Expands West Coast Energy Capabilities with Project Development and Finance Lawyer Charles E. Schwenck