Vanessa G. Tanaka


Vanessa Tanaka focuses her practice on energy and commodity markets and structured commodity transactions.

She has extensive experience advising financial institutions, asset managers, and energy and commodity trading companies on a broad range of commodity finance products. Her experience includes structuring commodity repurchase agreements, intermediation arrangements, and prepays and leases, as well as advising on aspects of trade and commodities finance such as borrowing base financings and bilateral loan and letter of credit facilities.

Vanessa also represents leading financial institutions and corporate clients in mergers and acquisitions relating to energy and commodities, including structuring total return swaps and mirror transactions to pass through associated risks. She advises clients on wholesale energy supply contracts and negotiates physical and financial master trading agreements for gas, power, renewable, and financial products.

Related Industries


Structured Transactions

  • Represented a commodity trading firm as gas supplier, and a financial institution as commodity swap provider, in various tax-exempt bond financed prepaid natural gas transactions.
  • Advised a global commodity trading company in connection with a novel  U.S. inventory financing and analyzed bankruptcy safe harbors, true sale treatment, and related perfection and priority issues.
  • Represented a financial institution in a complex intermediation arrangement involving the financing of aluminum, and negotiated the related storage arrangements and services agreements.
  • Structured bilateral loan and letter of credit facilities in multiple commodities, including petroleum and biofuels products.
  • Negotiated physical and financial commodity contracts, including ISDAs with Product Annexes, EEIs and NAESBs, physical and financial tolling arrangements, and hedging and off-take agreements for financial institutions and commodity trading companies.

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Structured total return swaps for a global commodity trading company’s acquisition of a multibillion-dollar physical energy and commodity trading business from a U.S. commercial bank.
  • Represented the commodity trading affiliate of a non-U.S. investment bank in the sale of its wholesale power and natural gas trading portfolio, and assisted in securing regulatory approvals and obtaining third-party consents.
  • Represented several international financial institutions in the acquisitions of multiple trading portfolios, including physical and financially settled commodity transactions.



  • Energy Bar Association
  • International Energy Credit Association
Professional Activities

Vanessa serves as the chairperson of the board of directors of Crushers Club, a youth boxing and music program. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Cities Project, a youth mentoring project through DePaul University, and a member of the Ambassador Board of Children’s Place International.



  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois


  • Boston University, BA, magna cum laude
  • University of Wisconsin Law School, JD