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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18.10.2018

Agricultural business in Kazakhstan and opportunities for Islamic finance

Agriculture is one of the most attractive sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy. Kazakhstan has approximately 24 million hectares of arable land and 188 million hectares of pasture.

15.10.2018

Gulnur Nurkeyeva attended Investment and Financing Innovation Law & Commerce Forum

On 11-14 October 2018 Elite Global Legal Alliance (EGLA) held its Fourteenth General Meeting & Investment and Financing Innovation Law & Commerce Forum.

02.10.2018

Yerbolat Yerkebulanov gave a presentation to Malaysian suppliers of goods and services to O&G subsoil users

On 28 September 2018 An Export Acceleration Mission for Oil, Gas and Energy in Almaty, Kazakhstan was held.

 

Ibragim Kouky, the Senior Associate at Contract and Real Estate Department participated in the joint FIDIC/ICC Conference

Ibragim Kouky, the Senior Associate at Contract and Real Estate Department participated in the joint FIDIC/ICC Conference (International Federation of Consulting Engineers and International Chamber of Commerce).

 

24.09.2018

Introduction of 2nd 2017 Edition of FIDIC Forms of Contracts

In 2017 the International Federation of Consulting Engineers has introduced major amendments to FIDIC 1999 Yellow, Red and Silver Books which have been in use in the construction industry for almost twenty years.

21.09.2018

Bakhyt Tukulov gave a presentation about Dispute Resolution at the AIFC

On 20 September 2018, CCI France-Kazakhstan (CCIFK) held a monthly meeting.

20.09.2018

Ministry of Finances of the Republic of Belarus Specified Dates of Completing Business Operations

Amendments concern business operations relating to performance of works, rendering services and lease relations.

While rendering services, which results the customer can use during the term of the agreement, the date of completing this business operation shall be:

  • last calendar day of each month of provision of services and the last day of provision of services – if the term of the agreement exceeds one month;

  • last calendar day of the month, when provision of services is started, and (or) the day of completing of provision of services – if the term of the agreement does not exceed one month.

20.09.2018

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Concessions (unofficial English translation)

This Law determines legal conditions of concession, types of state support of concessionaire and regulates social relations arising during conclusion, execution and termination of concession agreements.

20.09.2018

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Public-Private Partnership (unofficial English translation)

This Law determines legal conditions of public-private partnership, ways of its implementation, and regulates social relations arising during preparation and implementation of public-private partnership projects, execution, performance and termination of public-private partnership agreements.

18.09.2018

Gulnur Nurkeyeva took part at the 10th China Overseas Investment Fair (COIFAIR)

With the approval of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of the People’s Republic of China, the 10th China Overseas Investment Fair (COIFAIR) was held at the China National Convention Center, PRC on 15-16 September 2018.

14.09.2018

Gulnur Nurkeyeva delivered a speech at Duane Morris & Selvam Ambassador Series

On 12 September 2018 Duane Morris & Selvam law venture held Ambassador Series dedicated to Kazakhstan event in Singapore.

13.09.2018

#NEARFOOTBALL or What a Sports Lawyer Should Know

As football developes and becomes more popular in Kazakhstan, the legal relationships and arrangements of the parties involved increasingly require compliance with legal formalities. A professional club, sportsman, coach and federations are guided by regulations approved by the international sports organisations and/or concluded contracts.

13.09.2018

Kazakh privatisation: a fresh start

Although the Kazakhstan securities market is the most developed in Central Asia, its development has been slow compared to the country’s banking sector.

10.09.2018

Shaimerden Chikanayev was among the panellist at the IBA ECA Forum 2018

On 5-7 September 2018, a IBA Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum 2018 was held in Almaty.

10.09.2018

How to incorporate a company or representative office in Mongolia?

Despite the fact that Mongolian legislation provides for a wide range of legal forms of commercial entities (limited liability company or LLC, joint-stock company or JSC and joint venture), in practice, private businessmen and foreign investors mostly prefer LLC or JSC. Representative office of foreign legal entities is also common

05.09.2018

Land Law of the Republic of Belarus

Land relations can be a crucial issue for foreign investors considering whether or not to start a business in a particular country. Let us provide you with a summary of land legislation of Belarus and the opportunities it offers for business.

12.09.2018

Dmitry Samigullin spoke on Business setup in Russia in Zurich

Dmitry Samigullin spoke on Business setup in Russia in Zurich.

04.09.2018

Administration of Almaty has officially announced public tender for participation in Almaty Light Rail Transport (LRT) Project

On 29 August 2018, the Administration of Almaty (Almaty Mayor’s Office) has officially announced the public tender for participation in PPP project for development of design specification, construction, commissioning, financing, operation and technical maintenance of Almaty Light-Rail Transportation System (the “Project”).

27.08.2018

Major Kazakhstan Legislation Changes for 2017

The Law on Amendments Intended to Improve Business Conditions[1] (the “Business Improvement Law”) came into effect on 12 March 2017, except certain provisions.

The purpose of the Business Improvement Law is to further improve the investment climate in line with the general policy of the country to support local entrepreneurs and foreign investors.

24.08.2018

'Offshore zones' for international companies in the Kaliningrad region and Primorsky krai

Federal Law No. 291-FZ dated 3 August 2018 (Law No. 291-FZ) provides for the establishment and operation of special administrative districts in the territories of the Russian Island (Primorsky Krai) and Oktyabrsky Island (Kaliningrad Region) to form an investment-attractive environment for Russian and foreign investors.

05.09.2018

Shaimerden Chikanayev will be a panellist at the IBA ECA Forum 2018

On 5-7 September 2018, a IBA Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum 2018 will be held in Almaty.

16.08.2018

Renewable energy projects – next destination for investments in Kazakhstan

Renewable energy development has recently become hot topic in Kazakhstan that is actively being discussed among market existing and potential participants, relevant state bodies including the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the “MoE”), international development institutions and other stakeholders.

 

15.08.2018

On the Court and Arbitration at the Astana International Financial Center: A Practical Perspective on What They Can Offer to Kazakhstani businesses

In early July this year we witnessed the opening of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). We have seen a large number of reports in the media on the Court and Arbitration at the AIFC, but little has been said specifically on what exactly they can offer to Kazakhstani businesses.

 

15.08.2018

China’s Belt and Road initiative in Kazakhstan and opportunities for Islamic finance

Kazakhstan has high ambitions in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as it is geographically an ideal junction between China and the west.

15.08.2018

GRATA International - leading author of Mondaq of Russian Federation in July

During the Month of July 2018 GRATA International (Russian Federation) generated the most usage from Mondaq users for the  category of commercial law.

15.08.2018

GRATA International - ведущий автор Mondaq Российской Федерации в июле

В июле 2018 года наибольшее количество обращений пользователей Mondaq по вопросам коммерческого права получила GRATA International (Россия).

03.08.2018

Что изменилось для застройщиков с 1 июля 2018 года (РФ)

С 01 июля 2018 г. вступили в силу изменения в 214-ФЗ (Федеральный закон «Об участии в долевом строительстве многоквартирных домов и иных объектов недвижимости» от 30 декабря 2004 года), которые значительно усилили требования к Застройщикам.

02.08.2018

Competition Regulation in Mongolia

The competition law regulates matters related to the creation of conditions for fair competition in the market for business entities, identification and implementation of legal and organisational grounds for prohibition, restriction and prevention of any activities impeding competition.

31.07.2018

Common market of medicines in the Eurasian Economic Union: clinical trials

On 17 July 2018, the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEС) adopted the following acts aimed at regulation of the general market of medicines in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU):

31.07.2018

Cancellation of duties for state registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs

Federal Law No. 234-FZ of July 29, 2013 amended the Tax Code of the Russian Federation providing for the cancellation of the state duties for state registration of:

27.07.2018

Statute of Limitation under Kazakh law: A Practitioner’s Perspective

Rules relating to statute of limitation contained in the Civil Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the “Civil Code”) may seem relatively straightforward. However, in our practice we frequently encounter situations where rules relating to the calculation of the statute of limitation are erroneously applied or where their applications to relevant facts create disputes. In this article, the author has attempted to provide a practical perspective on some of the most frequently encountered questions relating to the statute of limitation under Kazakh law and express views on the interpretation of certain rules.

27.07.2018

GRATA International held a Business Breakfast with Members of the CCI France- Kazakhstan

Yesterday, 26 July 2018, GRATA International and the CCIFK held a breakfast meeting with the Chamber members.

23.07.2018

Shaimerden Chikanayev was a speaker at the International PPP Finance Summit in London

On 3-4 July 2018, an International PPP Finance Summit 2018 took place in London, UK.

20.07.2018

Multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting

By the end of June of this year Kazakhstan signed the Multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting (MLI).

20.07.2018

Astana International Financial Centre's Law - what is it about?

Modeled on the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) was officially launched on the 5th July this year, established with the aim of bridging the gap between the world’s major fi nancial centers and a regional gateway for capital and investments.

11.07.2018

GRATA International and IQanat Education Fund

On June 20, 2018, GRATA International Law Firm signed a memorandum on cooperation in the area of education with IQanat Public Education Fund.

04.07.2018

GRATA International приняла участие в Kazakhstan Global Investment Roundtable 2018

3 июля 2018 года, в отеле Ritz Carlton Astana под председательством Премьер-министра Республики Казахстан Бакытжана Сагинтаева прошел круглый стол по глобальным инвестициям.

04.07.2018

Yerbolat Yerkebulanov was a speaker at the Astana Legal Forum

On 29 June 2018 Yerbolat Yerkebulanov, Partner of GRATA International (subsoil use practice (Almaty)) was a speaker at the Astana Legal Forum 2018. 

21.06.2018

Yerbolat Yerkebulanov gave a speech at the 25th World Mining Congress

Yerbolat Yerkebulanov, Partner, Head of Subsoil Use department (Almaty) of GRATA International was a speaker at the 25th World Mining Congress (WMC).


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Leila Makhmetova

Counsel, Director of Environmental Law Department

Almaty

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