Natural Resources
The practice

The natural resources and subsoil use practice has many years of industry specific experience accumulated by the lawyers of the Firm at its base. It includes providing legal support to clients on a wide range of issues, including those relevant to the mining, oil, gas, coal and chemical industries.

We provide advice on licensing to companies in the fuel and energy sector, investors and transport and processing companies. We conduct legal due diligence, assist in negotiations with executive authorities and defend the interests of our clients in courts. We help our clients ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, to anticipate potential risks, and to minimize third party claims.

The practice is headed by Mikhail Kazantsev, Partner, who previously served as a member of the management board, deputy Director General and Head of Legal at Rosgeologia, Russia’s largest geological holding. Mikhail lead a team comprising 100+ lawyers and coordinated projects aimed at improving resource recovery efficiency in the Russian Federation.

Services

We act on the following types of matters:

  • Legal support for ongoing activities of companies with subsoil use issues, including comprehensive legal due diligence of projects, legal analysis of subsoil use rights, development of draft subsoil use agreements;
  • Consultation and legal support on obtaining licenses, including re-issuing and renewing a licenses for subsoil use, as well as termination and transfer of rights for subsoil use;
  • Legal support of participation in auctions and tenders for obtaining subsoil rights, as well as challenging such tenders;
  • Assessment of risks of suspension or early termination of subsoil rights;
  • Representation of clients' interests before the state authorities and courts in disputes related to exploration and production of minerals, as well as in the execution of subsoil use contracts, including through international arbitration.
  • Advising on legislation drafting issues, including the preparation of draft regulatory legal acts and support for their approval.
Projects

Key experience highlights:

  • Representing the interests of UC RUSAL, one of the world's largest aluminum producers, on a wide range of subsoil issues.
  • Representing the interest of a client – that was declared a winner of the contract award to use subsoil assets of the land plot in the Trans-Baikal Territory – in an appeal challenging the results of the contract award.
  • Defending TOTAL, a French multinational integrated oil and gas company, in a multi-billion-dollar precedent dispute with the Volgograd and Saratov regions’ administrations (Russia), considered by ad hoc arbitrators in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.
  • Representing the interest of a large oil-producing company in the case of challenging tenders for the right to use subsoil assets.
  • Representing the interests of a coal mining company in courts and government bodies in connection with challenging the order of the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use on the early termination of the right to use subsoil assets.
  • Representing the interests of OJSC First Mining Company in disputes with Rosnedra concerning the rights to the deposit. The courts of all instances upheld the principal's position.
  • Performing complex legal due diligence for over 20 major Russian mining companies with regard to the subsoil licensing, compliance with the subsoil legislation and risk assessment.
  • Advising on court proceedings in connection with improper subsoil licensing and temporary suspension of the client's operations.
  • Representing the interests of one of the oil refineries in a litigation over the contestation of the results of the tender won by the client for the sale of a license to develop oil fields, in connection with the environmental aspects of the location of the field.
  • Conducting legal due diligence with regard to identification of sufficiency/insufficiency of the existing licenses obligatory for the subsoil use and exploration work.
  • Representing the interests of the operator of the oil pipeline before the FAS Russia and Rosnedra on the issues of third parties access to the pipeline.
  • Representing the interests of a client in the Arbitration Court of the Magadan Region in connection with challenging the non-normative legal acts of Rosnedra, which served as the basis for the appointment of an auction in respect of the site adjacent to the client’s deposit.
Advantages

Extensive hands-on experience and deep industry expertise. Mikhail Kazantsev, who heads up the practice, has lead the team of specialized industry lawyers for 5 years as part of the implementation Rosgeologia's key projects, aimed at improving resource recovery efficiency in the Russian Federation.

A comprehensive approach: the Firm is able to provide a full range of legal assistance thanks to the highly qualified specialists from more than 20 different practices, including Tax, Customs, Ecology, Criminal, Energy and Compliance. Our teams are formed on the basis of specialized expertise focused on the nature of the client's request.

Cross-border work: we are able to engage the best external experts and consultants in various jurisdictions to work on a project for a specific task and in accordance with the client's budget.

Always on call: our experts are available 24/7 and are always ready to promptly respond to any client request.

KEY CONTACTS