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A Day in the Life: Corporate Finance Associate at a Pipeline Operation Company (Energy)

by Laura Walker Chung

8:00 a.m.: Power on your desktop and check email.  Most pressing is a message from a prospective lender for the $300 million offshore oil
processing platform that your firm intends to build and is now in syndication – a VP of Project Finance at a New York investment bank has some 20 highly specific questions about aspects of the project. You get to work answering them by reviewing the construction contracts, and placing a few calls to the legal department and construction manager.


9:30 a.m.: Sit down with the Corporate Finance Analyst to review her financial model of a planned $200 million oil pipeline development. When you notice that she may have incorrectly set up the construction drawdown schedule, the two of you place a quick call to someone on the Commercial Development team to clarify timing of construction phases.  Remind her to incorporate the latest oil price forecast from the Market Assessment team before she circulates the updated valuation to you and your boss.


11:00 a.m.: Field a phone call from another prospective lender’s Project Finance VP; he has one very specific question about the oil platform’s hurricane contingency plan.  The facility shutdown criteria are already detailed in the offering memorandum, and you point the
banker to a particular page and paragraph number for his answer.


12:00 p.m.: Bring a sandwich up from the company cafeteria to eat at your desk as you peruse an issue of Structured Finance International
along with this morning’s Financial Times.


12:30 p.m.: In addition to supporting the current syndication process for the oil platform and developing a model for a future oil pipeline
project, you are also finishing up some final transactional details for another pipeline deal that was financed a couple weeks ago.  Your firm
must document that it has paid in its 30% equity stake before any funds can flow in from lenders; your role is to coordinate with the outside lenders to make sure all the necessary communications happen.  A quick sit-down with your firm’s financial controller sets the process in motion.


1:30 p.m.: Your entire five-person Corporate Finance team gathers in a conference room to sketch out the contents for the oil platform’s bank meeting next month, when you will invite 40 lenders to listen or sit in on a comprehensive presentation of the investment opportunity.


4:00 p.m.: Walking down the hall to grab some coffee from your floor’s kitchen, you run into your firm’s CFO.  You’re excited to hear
him mention a big joint venture deal on the horizon.


4:30 p.m.: Open up the oil pipeline financial model off the network to review what changes the analyst has made since this morning.  You
note that she correctly modeled the loan pricing at the current expectation of 300 basis points over LIBOR (the London Inter-Bank Offer Rate).  Now it’s time to start thinking through the next step – how to build an interest rate swap into the model.  Since this type of transaction is less familiar to you, you first skim through an old finance textbook; then you head up a few floors to the trading area where, since the markets have closed, someone can surely give you some insight into the mechanics.


5:30 p.m.: Your calls from first thing this morning have by now all been returned, and you are able to compose a lengthy email response
to the interested banker.  One of the details about the oil title transfer is still unclear, and you’ll have to follow up again with legal in the



7:00 p.m.: After spending some time grinding through the conceptual details of interest rate swap calculations with the analyst, you leave
her to execute the change and head home at a decent hour.