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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24.05.2018

New stage of cooperation between business circles of Uzbekistan and Germany: the proposal to create a German industrial zone in Tashkent

During an IV meeting of the German-Uzbek Business Council which was held in Tashkent, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov invited the largest German companies to open their business in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

24.05.2018

In Uzbekistan small tourist zones will be created

The authorities of Uzbekistan are planning to create three small tourist zones in the Surkhandarya region. Relying to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Basnoi, Sariasiy and Sherabad zones will be established for the development of tourism in the region.

24.05.2018

Incentives for leather and footwear industry in Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan, it was adopted Presidential Decree, "On measures to further stimulate the development and growth of export potential of leather and footwear and fur industries”.

24.05.2018

SkyPower Global invests US$1.3 billion in solar energy in Uzbekistan

SkyPower Global (Cayman Islands) will invest US$1.3 billion in a project to build photovoltaic solar energy facilities.

24.05.2018

The procedure and rules for the operation of non-governmental non-profit organisations will be significantly simplified

On May 4, 2018, it was signed the Presidential Decree, "On measures to radically increase the role of civil society institutions in the process of democratic renewal of the country", which will amend current regulating system of NGOs, specifically:

 

24.05.2018

World Bank Group President pledges $940 million financing for Uzbekistan’s reforms

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim met with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to discuss Uzbekistan’s social and economic transformation and to reaffirm the World Bank Group’s support for reforms to accelerate economic growth and boost shared prosperity, the World Bank reported.

24.05.2018

The companies of Uzbekistan and the US signed a number of agreements in the oil and gas sector and energy

The companies of Uzbekistan and the US signed a number of agreements in the oil and gas sector and energy within the framework of the visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Washington.
Uzbekistan and leading US companies signed agreements worth about US$5 billion.

24.05.2018

Public may be allowed to invest in gold bullions, precious metals and stones

The Central Bank of Uzbekistan posted the draft Precious Metals and Precious Stones Bill for public consultation. The bill provides for that gold bullions may be used (purchased) by individuals and legal entities, including non-residents of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as investments.

24.05.2018

Uzbekistan and Turkey signed an agreement on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families

Uzbekistan and Turkey signed an agreement on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.

23.05.2018

GRATA International took part in 12th Azerbaijan International Agriculture Exhibition

12th Azerbaijan International Agriculture Exhibition (Caspian-Agro 2018) / 24th Azerbaijan International Food Industry Exhibition (WorldFood Azerbaijan 2018) was held on 16-18 May 2018 and was attended by Mr. Emil Bashirov the Lawyer, GRATA Azerbaijan.

23.05.2018

GRATA International took part in AmCham Members May Luncheon

AmCham Members May Luncheon was held on 3 May 2018 and was attended by Mr. Emil Bashirov the Lawyer, GRATA Azerbaijan.

23.05.2018

GRATA International took part in SOCAR III International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream Forum

GRATA International became a sponsor of the SOCAR III International Caspian and Central Asia Downstream. The event was held on 23-26 April 2018 and was attended by Mr. Emil Bashirov the Lawyer, GRATA International Azerbaijan. 

23.05.2018

GRATA International gave a presentation on “Doing Business in Azerbaijan”

"Doing Business in Azerbaijan” Presentation (Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication) was held on 26th April 2018 and was attended by Mr. Emil Bashirov the Lawyer, GRATA International Law Firm (Office in the Republic of Azerbaijan).

23.05.2018

The Polish law considerations: advance amount versus earnest money. Recovery of an amount by the purchaser

This article is to discuss legal issues that may arise under Polish civil law in connection with the conclusion of a preliminary sale agreement and payment by the purchaser prior to execution of the final sale agreement of the amount which may be classified, depending on the parties’ decision, either as an earnest money (in Polish: zadatek) or as an advance amount (in Polish: zaliczka).

23.05.2018

Business Constitution – opening of the Polish administration towards entrepreneurs

As of 30 April 2018, a package of five legal acts adopted on 6 March 2018 aimed at facilitating business activity entered into force in Poland.

22.05.2018

Basic legal aspects of branch and representative office activity in Poland

Under the Polish law, a foreign entrepreneur may, based on the reciprocity principle,  set up its branch in the Republic of Poland. The scope of the branch's activity may include only the activity that is performed by the entrepreneur in the country of its  incorporation. 

22.05.2018

Determination of the lease price of roofed work place within the scope of Turkish Law

In generally, the relationship between a landlord and a tenant is governed by a contract. That contract is referred to as the lease. A lease is an agreement between the landlord and the tenant in which the landlord agrees to allow the tenant to occupy a building or a piece of property owned by the landlord generally in return for the payment of periodic rent. Any issues relating to landlord/tenant law must initially be looked at in terms of what the lease calls for as to the respective rights and obligations of two parties.

22.05.2018

Legal Summary on Electronic Money Regulation in Mongolia

New Law on National Payment System, dated 31 May 2017, shall become effective from 1 January 2018. The importance of the new law is an integrated payment system launch between the Central Bank, commercial banks, legal entities, other financial institutions and individual customers. As result of the law enactment, the Central Bank will be able to control all payment transactions of all participants of Mongolia financial market.

18.05.2018

Can Islamic finance solve Kazakhstan’s renewable energy growth problems?

As the Central Asia’s largest and richest country, Kazakhstan has a lot of natural advantages for the development of renewables, including 3,000 hours of solar radiation a year and the average annual wind speed of nine meters per second in some parts of the country.

16.05.2018

GRATA International won China Business Law Journal's ‘Deals of the year 2017’ award

GRATA International has been recognised for its Deal of the Year 2017 by China Business Law Journal.

11.05.2018

Kazakhstan: insurance market overview

The insurance market in Kazakhstan is mainly regulated by two legal acts, namely, the Civil Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 27 December 1994 (the “Civil Code”)and the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Insurance Activity” No.126-II dated 18 December 2000 (the “Insurance Law”). 

11.05.2018

Gulnur Nurkeyeva gave a speech on "The Second Global Law Firm Cooperation Forum and Lawyers' Private Advisory Board Conference"

Gulnur Nurkeyeva gave a speech on "The Second Global Law Firm Cooperation Forum and Lawyers' Private Advisory Board Conference" in Beijing on May 9, 2018 hostet by Beijing DHH Law firm.  

11.05.2018

GRATA International took part at the English Law Summit

On 23-25 April, the English Law Summit was held in Astana and Almaty, where GRATA International Law Firm took an active part.

04.05.2018

Kazakhstan: Introduction of user identification requirements aimed at regulating mass media

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, signed, on 28 December 2017, the Law No. 128-VI on Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Issues of Information and Communication (‘the Law’). Marina Kahiani and Lola Abdukhalykova, Partner and Associate at GRATA International, provide an analysis of the obligations under the Law, including user identification, data retention and data localisation provisions, applicable for telecommunications operators and website operators.

28.04.2018

Kyrgyzstan: Insurance Market Overview

Kyrgyz law identifies insurance activity as an activity of organisations that have a license to provide services to individuals and legal entities for premium services, the subject of which are contractual specific obligations of the insurer in the event of an unknown event, with the distribution of risk among a large number of persons exposed to such a risk, calculated on the basis of the principle calculation of large numbers.

28.04.2018

Medical Advertising in Mongolia

The Law on Advertising (2002) and Law on Medicines and Medical Devices (2010) are main laws to regulate advertising of medicines in Mongolia.

26.04.2018

GRATA Intenational was appointed as a Member of the AIFC Court Users' Committee and the International Arbitration Centre Users' Committee

GRATA International law firm was appointed as a Member of the AIFC Court (the "Court") Users' Commitee and the International Arbitration Center (the "IAC") Users' Committee.

26.04.2018

Implementation of projects in the area of Renewable Energy Sources (RES)

The rapid development of the energy sector in the Republic of Kazakhstan forced the state to actively focus on creating conditions for the use of renewable energy sources. EXPO-2017 have become an additional incentive for the development of renewable energy projects. However, the renewable energy sector is, relatively young in Kazakhstan and there are a number of issues that need to be discussed. Some of them we would like to discuss below.

26.04.2018

Gold Rush coming to Kazakhstan?

As it is known, Kazakhstan adopted a new Code on Subsoil and Subsoil Use dated 27 December 2017 (“Code"), which comes into force on 30 June 2018.

25.04.2018

Yerbolat Yerkebulanov spoke on “Novelties in the Subsoil Code for Petroleum Subsoil Users”.”

On 19 April 2018, Yerbolat Yerkebulanov, partner of GRATA International (Subsoil Use Dept.) spoke  on “Novelties in the Subsoil Code for Petroleum Subsoil Users”.”


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Leila Makhmetova

Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department

Almaty

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