Energy and natural resources in Russia
Baker Botts L.L.P.
Baker Botts L.L.P. is best known for its expertise and involvement in headline mandates in the oil and gas and LNG sectors. Jointly headed by Mikhail Semyonov and John White, the practice is assisting Rosneft with establishing a joint venture with General Electric, and advising Novatek on corporate and shareholders’ matters related to the Yamal LNG project, including the sale of 9.99% of Yamal LNG to the Silk Road Fund. Konstantin Litvinenko regularly supports White on the most significant mandates and is a name to note.
Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP has notable expertise in project finance, joint ventures, M&A transactions and corporate and regulatory matters. The practice has recently been active in major cross-border deals in China, namely acting for Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk on the $20bn construction, procurement and financing of a gas processing plant in Amur region, which would supply natural gas to China via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. Olga Davydava and corporate partner Oleg Konnov are working alongside colleagues in London and Brussels in advising Nord Stream 2 AG and Gazprom on the approximately €9bn financing arrangements for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Engie, OMV, Shell, Uniper and Wintershall as financial investors. Danila Logofet divides his time between the Moscow and Hong Kong offices and focuses on major construction projects and investments in mining, oil and gas, energy and LNG sectors. Counsel Vadim Panin is highly recommended for project finance.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a strong reputation for M&A transactions, joint ventures and project development in the energy and natural resources space and is particularly active in upstream oil and gas projects. The team's extensive expertise in high-value cross border transactions saw practice head Jonathan Hines, alongside Alexander Marchenko and Kseniya Lopatkina, advise Gazprom Neft on its entry into a joint venture with Mubadala Petroleum and Russian Direct Investment Fund and assisted Oil India with its intended acquisition of a minority stake in the Vankor cluster oilfields in the Krasnoyarsk region from Rosneft. Finance specialist Grigory Marinichev advises on refinancing, bond issues, export financing, loans and loan restructurings for major energy, oil and gas, and mining clients. Jennifer Josefson was a new arrival from King & Spalding LLP in November 2019.
Norton Rose Fulbright combines its ‘outstanding knowledge in the oil and gas industry’ with ‘expertise in mining and subsoil matters’, and is regularly instructed on large-scale financing, M&A transactions and joint ventures. Key figures Julian Traill and Anatoly Andriash are ‘very experienced in Russian M&A deals in the energy sector’ and advise on joint ventures and project financing. Alexander Tsakoev specialises in financial transactions and oil supply and trading arrangements and Vera Shaftan is recommended for corporate matters. Konstantin Konstantinov and senior associates Daria Litvinova and Oksana Gorshkolepova joined the team from Chadbourne & Parke. Aydin Jebrailov and Levon Kocharyan retired from legal practice.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a strong reputation in the mining, energy and oil and gas sectors, where it continues to support long-standing client Lukoil with M&A transactions. Practice head Natalia Baratiants advised Lukoil-West Siberia on the acquisition of 99.9% of the shares in Chumpasneftedobycha.
ALRUD Law Firm’s team is lauded for its ‘knowledge and experience in the Russian and international markets’, ‘client-driven approach’ and ‘business acumen’. Highlights included Alexander Zharskiy's advice to China Energy Company on its purported approximately $9.2bn acquisition of a 14.2% stake in Rosneft Oil from Glencore and Qatar Investment Authority. ‘Energy and mining specialist’ Andrey Zharskiy assisted China National Gold Corporation with obtaining regulatory clearance to acquire a majority stake in a Russian gold exploration and production company. The team also advised Trafigura on the $12bn acquisition of a 49% stake in India-based Essar Oil. Oleg Ezhov and Timur Akhundov are other key names.
CMS’ experience in the power generation and renewable energy sector saw it act for Enercon on its acquisition of Dutch wind turbine manufacturer Lagerwey and its joint venture with Rosatom. Natalia Kozyrenko and London-based Bob Palmer handled OMV's $1.85bn acquisition of shares from Uniper in Severneftegazprom and Gazprom YRGM Development.
Dentons is active in M&A transactions, joint ventures and financing for Russian and international oil and gas companies. Practice head Alexei Zakhrko recently advised an oil company on a joint venture for the construction and operation of an LNG terminal in the Leningrad region. In other highlights, Maria Oleinik assisted EuroChem with the sale of Severneft-Urengoy to the Novatek Group, and St Petersburg-based Evgenia Teterevkova advised an energy company on the purchase of three separate solar power plants in Russia.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s wide-ranging practice covers cross-border corporate M&A matters, large-scale joint ventures and energy infrastructure projects. Its expertise in financing regularly sees the team instructed by Russian blue-chip companies on overseas projects across the CIS regions, Europe and the Middle East. Practice head Sergei Diyachenko advised Rosneft on several domestic and international transactions including its strategic co-operation agreements with ExxonMobil and BP to establish upstream joint ventures in the Russian Arctic and Black Sea.
Linklaters is a popular choice for lenders on high-value cross-border financial and M&A transactions in the energy and LNG sectors. A cross-jurisdictional team is acting for a group of lenders, comprising export credit agencies, Russian banks, Chinese banks and international commercial banks, on the multi-sourced $30bn financing for the construction of the Yamal LNG project. The practice also advised Glencore on the proposed $9.1bn disposal of a 14.16% stake in Rosneft to China Energy Company. Grigory Gadzhiev and Julia Voskoboinikova are the main contacts.
White & Case LLC has a strong track record acting for Russian energy companies and creditors on M&A, financing and energy sector disputes. Practice head Igor Ostapets and capital markets partner Dmitry Lapshin worked alongside the London team to advise Sibur on a tender offer of $1bn in guaranteed notes worth $172m. On the contentious side, the team is representing Belaruskali in a dispute concerning a supply agreement and the insolvency of a chemical equipment manufacturer. Maxim Kobzev left the firm.
Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited’s expertise in the mining sector saw the practice advise Kopy Goldfields on the establishment of joint ventures for gold exploration at several subsoil plots in the Russian Far East. In the oil gas sector, Sergey Krokhalev and practice head Alexey Frolov are assisting Gazprom with the establishment of an upstream joint venture with a foreign investor with regards to the exploration and development of oil and gas fields in Eastern Siberia. Alexander Gomonov departed to Latham & Watkins LLP.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP retains a strong client base in the energy, mining and oil and gas sectors, counting Sibur and Uralkali as clients. The practice is assisting with project finance, development and regulatory matters concerning the Russian section of the $20bn South TurkStream Offshore Pipeline project from Russia to Turkey. In other work, Matvey Kaploukhiy advised Siberian Generating Company on acquiring 78% of the shares in Sibeco, and Vitaly Mozharowski is assisting Akkuyu NPP with transactional matters regarding a greenfield nuclear power project in Akkuyu, Turkey. Anton Sitnikov focuses on M&A and joint venture deals.
Clifford Chance’s expertise in large-scale financing continues to attract international lenders which regularly instruct the practice on corporate transactions, capital markets deals and financing mandates concerning high-value LNG projects. Banking and finance partners Victoria Bortkevicha and Vladimir Barbolin advised 18 international banks on the $2.5bn financing for a mining company.
DLA Piper Rus Limited has ‘a deep understanding of the energy sector’ and the ability ‘to deliver accurate and prompt advice'. Practice head Feruz Fidaev is assisting Rosneft with pre-transaction and licensing activities concerning its joint operations at the Patao and Mejillones fields with Petróleos de Venezuela. Kim Latypov is noted for M&A transactions.
Allen & Overy Legal Services
Allen & Overy Legal Services has a strong offering in financing and corporate mandates in the oil and gas and energy sectors where it advises a mix of leading domestic and international banks and energy and state-owned corporations on transactional and joint venture matters. Anton Konnov advised Aristus Holdings on the $900m sale of the Baimskaya copper project in the Chukotka region to Kaz Minerals .
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
At Ivanyan & Partners, notable work included advising Sberbank and Gazprombank on a $1.6bn syndicated loan financing to Messoyakhaneftegaz, a joint venture between NK Rosneft and Gazprom Neft. Maria Miroshnikova, who is ‘a strategic corporate lawyer with an excellent understanding of energy specific issues’, advises on major M&A and capital market transactions. Yuri Arkhipov ‘provides highly detailed and valuable advice’ on oil and gas project financing.
The ‘commercially-minded’ team at King & Spalding LLP provides 'value for money' and is instructed by major energy companies on financing, joint ventures, cross-border M&A deals and regulatory matters. The group advised Gazprom Neft on transactional and joint venture arrangements with Repsol. Sergey Komolov is highly regarded for financing and corporate acquisitions and Alexandra Rotar is a key name for joint ventures, contractual supply arrangements and regulatory matters specific to the Russian energy sector. Jennifer Josefson is now with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
Latham & Watkins LLP's transactional expertise was strengthened by the hire of corporate partner Alexander Gomonov from Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited; his recent work includes advising Yaisky Oil Refinery on a RUR55bn refinancing of a Sberbank loan. Ragnar Johannesen specialises in banking and corporate finance. Elizaveta Bacheyeva is noted for cross-border finance transactions.
Recent highlights for the team at Pepeliaev Group include advising Zarubezhneft on various regulatory matters concerning the implementation of the product sharing agreement and development of Kharyagaoil field in the Nenets autonomous region. Real estate and construction partner Natalia Stenina and tax specialist Sergey Pepeliaev are the main figures.
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners' expertise in energy sector disputes was evident in Dimitry Afanasiev, Evgeny Raschevsky and Dmitry Dyakin successfully defending the Russian Ministry of Finance in Uncitral arbitration against ExxonMobil, in which the claimant sought tax cuts and reimbursement due to the alleged overpayment of profit taxes on the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project; the dispute was successfully settled. Taras Rabko focuses on regulatory matters in the energy and natural resources space.
At FBK Legal, managing partner Nadezhda Orlova assists Gazprom with regulatory matters concerning its activities and development projects in the Kirinsky subsea gas production complex, the Kovytkinskoye gas field in the Irkutsk region and the Gryazovetskaya compressor station, among others. She is also working alongside Alexander Yalushkin in advising Gazprom on its investment and development activities pertaining to mineral extraction projects.
The ‘highly responsive and reliable’ team at Muranov, Chernyakov & Partners has notable expertise in representing leading energy sector clients in high-value commercial arbitration and Supreme Court cases. Oleg Moskvitin is noted for his ‘extensive knowledge of Russian legislation’; he is representing the interests of long-standing client, Moscow United Electric Grid Company, in several disputes against regulatory authorities.
Nortia GKS handles large-scale investment and M&A transactions and due diligence for domestic clients in the energy and oil and gas sectors. Highlights included advising on the construction of various components of the Yuzhno-Tambeyskoye gas condensate deposit plant and on the construction project for an LNG regasification terminal on the Baltic Sea within the special economic zone in the Kaliningrad region. Denis Gudkov and Vladimir Smolyarzh are the key figures.
Vladimir Lipavsky at Ost Legal advised Rusatom’s subsidiaries, NovaWind and VetroOGK on a number of equipment supply and construction agreements concerning a large wind project in the Republic of Adygea. Vadim Tsvetkov assisted with contractual matters concerning the acquisition of three gold mining companies by Highland Gold Mining.
PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal CIS B.V.)
At PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal CIS B.V.), practice head Vladimir Sokolov’s industry experience includes advising on the construction of pipelines and other energy facilities, the structuring of operational activities, licensing and regulatory matters. He is currently assisting OEZ PPT Alabuga with an investment project to modernise industrial sites for petrochemical and oil refinery operations in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Shapovalov Petrov Law Firm
Shapovalov Petrov Law Firm has a strong focus on the natural resources industry and expertise in matters related to mineral extraction and subsoil. Clients include Atomredmetzoloto, Tardan Gold and Nornickel. Sergey Shapovalov and Alexey Vakulenko advise on all matters relating to mining activities and have ‘extensive experience in the field of energy and subsoil use’.