Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) is designed to evaluate potential liability costs associated with environmental issues and is an important part of most merger and acquisition (M&A) procedures. 

Environmental Due Diligence is a relatively new discipline. Although prior to 1980s it was virtually unheard of, today it is an integral part of the transaction process undertaken predominantly by purchasers, but increasingly by vendors as well. The process has evolved over the past twenty years and may now include analysis of health and safety (H&S), employees’ exposure to toxic materials, product liability, etc.

Property owners, developers, sellers and buyers understand the need to protect themselves from future liabilities.  Environmental Due Diligence simply assures that the land being purchased does not pose potential risks or environmental hazards which may affect the area’s development or its future inhabitants.

Corporate business decisions with regards to environmental requirements should be based on reliable information taken from the actual state of affairs of a company. Environmental Due Diligence, performed by GRATA Law Firm's experienced staff, is an instrument for detecting any violations of environmental law in company's activities, providing recommendations for their solution, and preventing any such violations in the future.

Environmental Due Diligence includes due diligence performed by our lawyers with regard to companies’ activities in connection with observance of environmental requirements, and, as a result of such due diligence, provision of legal opinions and advice. We would like to bring to your attention just a few experience examples of GRATA’s Environmental Law Department in performance of environmental due diligences:

  • performance of environmental due diligence for several  mining companies (including gold-mining ones)  to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;
  • performance of environmental due diligence for international companies rendering services on oil extraction with regard to fulfillment of legal obligations and identification of business risks;
  • performance of environmental due diligence in favour of a potential buyer (a large European bank) under a large acquisition of shares transaction of a leading bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a large energy corporation with regard to acquisition of the corporation’s shares by one of the European banks;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a large Russian bank with regard to compliance with environmental protection legislation;
  • performance of analysis of compliance with environmental legislation by one of the largest Kazakhstani oil companies;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of uranium-mining companies in favour of a foreign global investor;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of an oil company in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;
  • performance of an audit of activities of an oil company in order to reveal absence of required licenses, approvals, permits of governmental bodies in the area of environmental protection;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of a ship-owner companies group in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;
  • performance of due diligence of an oil company in order to assess its compliance with subsoil use permits and approvals requirements;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of a metallurgical company in order to identify risks associated with possible environmental offences;
  • performance of environmental due diligence of activities of a Kazakhstani oil company with regard to compliance with the legislation on environmental protection;
  • performance of analysis of compliance with environmental legislation by a group of Kazakhstani copper companies.

In the course of Environmental Due Diligence lawyers study and analyze all important documents of a company regarding subsoil use and environmental protection as well as information obtained in course of negotiations. Based on due diligence, lawyers prepare accurate information on the actual state of affairs of any business (mainly companies which are subsoil users) regarding their observance of environmental requirements and norms, and provide practical advice in connection with their findings.

Environmental Disputes and Liability for Environmental Violations

We were asked to assist in protecting the legitimate interests of many large trading companies, oil and gas companies, as well as large exporters of non-ferrous metals in environmental disputes.

In the recent past, we have successfully completed the following projects:   

  • advising a large oil company regarding an appeal against a Decree in an administrative offence case connected with sewage disposal;
  • successful protected the interests of a large uranium-mining company in the Economical Court in connection with an appeal against the suspension of operations for violations of industrial safety legislation;
  • successfully protecting the interests of a large oil company in the first, appellate, and cassational courts and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of RK. Our lawyers achieved a dismissal of a claim for damages and cancelation of all fines imposed for environmental violations;
  • successfully protecting the interests of an oil company in the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a result of our participation fines imposed for environmental violations were annulled;
  • successfully representing the interests of a company in the chemical sector in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan with regard to settling  a dispute over ownership of production wastes;
  • successfully representing a large mining and processing enterprise in the first, appellate and supervisory courts in connection with a claim of a territorial environmental administration for compensation for damages caused by pollution of land and water resources;
  • representing the interests of a number of large foreign oil companies during audits performed by environmental prosecution bodies, territorial environmental administration and an authorised body for subsoil use. Our participation in the audits helped prevent several unreasonable claims against the company;
  • successfully protecting the interests of an oil company in connection with a claim of the regional prosecutor’s office against excessive disposal of production wastes; 
  • successfully protecting the interests of a uranium-mining company in court and in the prosecution bodies in connection with an appeal against a fine for excessive emissions. As a result the amount of the fine was reduced tenfold;
  • representing in court a major oil company appealing against fines for polluting land, waste storage, and the breach of requirements for environmental monitoring of production. Our lawyers achieved the cancelation of all fines;
  • representing in court a metallurgical company in the settlement of a dispute over payment rates for disposal of production waste; 
  • protecting the interests of an oil company during land inspections regarding administrative violations. As a result of our participation the fines were significantly reduced;
  • advising an oil company regarding the legality of fines imposed for not possessing  environmental permits and for exceeding the maximum allowable discharge levels;
  • protecting the interests of uranium mining companies in court in connection with claims against them for compensation for damages caused by waste disposal;
  • protecting the interests of a landfill owner in the court of cassation in connection with the unjustified accrual of fees for waste disposal;
  • successfully protected the interests of an oil company with regard to environmental emissions of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide as a result of associated gas flaring in courts of first instance, appeal and cassation, and the administrative court; 
  • advising a mining company in connection with the claim for compensation for damages caused by accidental pollution of water bodies;
  • advising an agricultural organisation in connection with the requirements of the tax authority to charge additional fees for waste disposal in the environment;
  • drafting a complaint to the Tax Committee with respect to the notice of the tax audit results, under which the waste recycling company was additionally charged amounts of emissions fee;
  • successfully protected the interests of an oil company with regard to an accidental oil spill into a water body in courts of first instance, appeal and cassation, and the administrative court.

Legal Advice on Environmental Issues

In the course of their careers GRATA lawyers have provided services to many large companies in oil and gas, petrochemical, gold, uranium, and other areas, as well as trade, transport and agricultural organisations.  Please find below a brief description of the most relevant work done during the last two years:

  • comprehensive legal opinion on issues relating to obtaining all necessary documents for drilling works prepared for a Kazakhstani mining company;
  • advising a major oil company regarding damage compensation caused by gas flaring without a permit from the Ministry of Oil and Gas;
  • advising a major power generation company on issues regarding reduction of rate for emissions into the environment;
  • advising a local company, which owns a large internet-marketplace, on issues regarding activities within the territory of Kazakhstan, and recognition of possible risks;
  • comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with the treatment, transportation and storage of radioactive materials for a large foreign uranium company;
  • advising a large foreign oil-and-gas company on legal liability in connection with treatment, transportation and storage of oil products;
  • advising a large oil company on issues regarding a change of environmental requirements for gas flaring as a result of the adoption of the Law of RK 'On Subsoil and Subsoil Use', and issues of liability for environmental violations;
  • legal monitoring and advising on the process of collecting documents and submitting requests to the Ministry of Environmental Protection to obtain environmental permits, performed on behalf of many large oil-and-gas companies. As a result of our actions all declared environmental emissions limits have been accepted and approved by the Ministry, as reflected in the issued permits;
  • upon the request of one of the largest oil-and-gas consortia, we analysed environmental legislation regarding production and consumption of waste, prepared systematised reference material which was used by the consortium in its day-to-day production activities;
  • comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with treatment of radioactive materials for one of the largest Kazakhstani uranium producers and exporters;
  • performed a legal risks assessment regarding certain chapters of the Environmental Code of RK and prepared a plan of corrective actions for a group of subsoil users;
  • prepared a legal opinion for a large oil company regarding issues of disposal of waste waters originating from oil production;
  • prepared legal opinions on issues of economic assessment of environmental damage and  gave other explanations to a number of large foreign companies regarding payment for environmental emissions;
  • advised subsoil users on legality of audits of state environmental bodies;
  • advised an oil company on drafting a contracting agreement and the need to obtain a permit for environmental emissions;
  • advised a phosphoric company on legal regulation of production wastes;
  • advised an oil company on drafting an agreement for disposal of strata waters in view of requirements of environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
  • advised a foreign investment company on alternative energy business in Kazakhstan;
  • exhaustive legal opinion on issues of obtaining all necessary documents for drilling works prepared for a Kazakhstani mining company;
  • consulting a major oil company regarding damage compensation caused by gas flaring without the permit of the Ministry of Oil and Gas;
  • advising a major power generation company on issues regarding reduction of rate for emissions into the environment;
  • advising a local company, which owns a large internet-marketplace, on issues regarding activities within the territory of Kazakhstan, and recognition of possible risks;
  • prepared a comprehensive legal opinion on legal liability in connection with the treatment, transportation and storage of radioactive materials for a large foreign uranium company;
  • advised a large foreign oil-and-gas company on legal liability in connection with treatment, transportation and storage of oil products;
  • advised a large oil company on issues of change of environmental requirements to gas flaring as a result of adoption of the Law of RK 'On Subsoil and Subsoil Use', and issues of liability for environmental violations;
  • prepared a legal opinion for a large oil company regarding issues of disposal of waste waters originating from oil production;
  • prepared legal opinions on issues of economic assessment of environmental damage and gave other explanations to a number of large foreign companies regarding payment for environmental emissions;
  • advising a Kazakhstani energy company on obtaining quotas for emissions of greenhouse gas, drafting a memorandum for the Kazakhstani mining company on permissive documents required for drilling;
  • advising a Kazakhstani transport company on issues related to environmental emissions;
  • drafting a memorandum for a Kazakhstani oil company on the legal consequences of an accident at a well.

Environmental Requirements in Contractual Practice

  • analysis of provisions of the EPC Contract for compliance with requirements of environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
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16.01.2018

Kazakhstan: New user identification requirements "further regulate social relations"

It has shown a particular interest in  the  Law of 28 December 2017 No. 128-VI on Introducing Amendments and Additions to some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Information and Communication ('the Law'), which, among other amendments, requires website operators to collect identification data of website users who post comments on such websites. 

GRATA International commented on the following questions:

1- What is the background to the Law, and the Kazakh government's reason for introducing it?

2- Which types of companies will be affected by the provisions with regard to i) identifying website users ii) retaining user data? How is this likely to affect the operation of websites, and their users? 

11.01.2018

Kazakhstan has ratified the Convention on avoidance of double taxation with Ireland

On 29 December 2017 the Republic of Kazakhstan has ratified the Convention on avoidance of double taxation with Ireland[1] and the Protocol thereto (hereinafter – the ‘Convention’).


11.01.2018

Изменения в российском законодательстве в 2018 году

Команда юристов GRATA International в России подготовила обзор наиболее важных изменений в законодательстве Российской Федерации, вступающих в силу в 2018 году. 

11.01.2018

ICOs go legal in Belarus: what the Hi-Tech Park 2.0 can offer the IT industry

Belarus adopted the revolutionary legal framework for IT companies and blockchain enthusiasts. The President’s Decree on Digital Economy comes into force on March 28, 2018.

GRATA International had a presentation at the Shanghai Bar Association

On December 23, 2017 Managing Partner of GRATA International’s Uzbekistan office Bakhodir Jabborov made a presentation at the Shanghai Bar Association

20.12.2017

Special Focus - One Belt One Road China Investment

GRATA International contributed to LexisNexis Mergers & Acquisitions Law Guide 2018. Special Focus - One Belt One Road China Investment.

20.12.2017

Liberalization of business conditions in Belarus

On November 23 the President of the Republic of Belarus has signed Decree No. 7 “On the Development of Entrepreneurship”. The document significantly simplifies business activities in Belarus. Below you can find main innovations for business introduced by the document.

GRATA International attended the AmCham HR Committee meeting

On 15 December 2017, AmCham HR Committee's December Meeting took place in the office of Nobel Oil in Baku.

GRATA International attended the Azerbaijani-Georgian business forum

On 15 December 2017, the Caspian European Club and Caspian Energy Georgia with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia held the Azerbaijani-Georgian business forum and the third CEO of Lunch Tbilisi.

GRATA International attended the 23rd Azerbaijan International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition and Conference

On 5 December 2017, the 23rd Azerbaijan International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition and Conference took Place in Baku Expo Centre. The exhibition marked the beginning of High Technologies Week. The organiser of the exhibition was the Caspian Event Organisers.

GRATA International attended International Taxation Conference 2017 in India

On 7-9 December 2017, Bolormaa Volodya, Partner, and Altanzaya Gunsen, Taxation Counsel of Absolute Advocates LLP, GRATA International's associate office in Mongolia, have attended International Taxation Conference 2017 in Mumbai, India.

14.12.2017

GRATA International in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018

GRATA International performed exceptionally well in this year’s rankings as its Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan offices were ranked by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018, confirming GRATA International's dominant position in Central Asia.

14.12.2017

GRATA International is a Mondaq Contributor With Most Reader Response In Russian Federation

During the Month of November 2017 GRATA International (Russian Federation) generated the most usage from Mondaq users for the  category of commercial law.

13.12.2017

GRATA International organised a practical seminar: Roadmap to Profitable Small Hydro Power Plant Development in Bishkek

On 30 November 2017 in Bishkek GRATA International organised a practical seminar: Roadmap to Profitable Small Hydro Power Plant Development, together with international engineering firm  ILF Consulting Engineers.

13.12.2017

GRATA International organised a practical seminar: Roadmap to Profitable Small Hydro Power Plant Development in Almaty

On 28 November 2017 in Almaty GRATA International organised a practical seminar:  Roadmap to Profitable Small Hydro Power Plant Development, together with international engineering firm  ILF Consulting Engineers.

11.12.2017

Stepanov and Aksuk Law Firm Associate office of GRATA International is Recognised by Право.ru-300 Ranking 2017 in 4 Nominations

On 7 December 2017, the results of the national law firms rating – ‘Право.ru-300’ were announced.

07.12.2017

Drinks reception was held at the residence of the British Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan

On 6 December 2017 the drinks reception was held in Astana, Kazakhstan. 

06.12.2017

Yerzhan Yessimkhanov, partner of GRATA International, spoke at the International Conference "PPP Projects in International Context"

On 5 December 2017 the International Conference "PPP Projects in International Context" was held in Frankfurt-on-Main, Germany.

Yerzhan spoke on key questions of PPP projects implementation in Kazakhstan, particular issues of national legislation, basis PPP models in Kazakhstan, issues relating to regulation of PPP projects and key trends of development of PPP in the near future.

04.12.2017

Nurlan Kyshtobaev conducted a guest lecture on “concession agreements”

On November 28th, 2017 Nurlan Kyshtobaev, partner of GRATA International Bishkek office conducted a guest lecture on “concession agreements” and “how law firms operate”. The lecture was read to the students of International Business Law department of the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) within the course “Investment Law and Sustainable Development”. Earlier this year, GRATA International in Bishkek signed a MoU with AUCA on cooperation. 

28.11.2017

4th Downstream Caspian & Central Asia conference

4th Downstream Caspian & Central Asia conference was held in Baku, Azerbaijan on November 28.

28.11.2017

Chamber Annual Networking Reception took place in Azerbaijan

On 22 November 2017 Dubai Chamber Annual Networking Reception took place in Azerbaijan, Baku with the aim of highlighting achievements, discussing plans, and reward most active companies. 

28.11.2017

Amcham November Luncheon

On November 16, 2017, American Chamber of Commerce in Azerbaijan (AmCham Azerbaijan) organized its monthly members’ luncheon.

28.11.2017

Amcham Legal & Compliance Working Group’s November Meeting

AmCham Legal and Compliance Working Group hosted its regular meeting on November 1, 2017.

28.11.2017

Railway “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars” was opened in Azerbaijan

The opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway (BTK) was held on October 30, 2017 in Baku.  


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Leila Makhmetova

Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department

Almaty

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