The Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and ALRUD Law Firm held a seminar on urgent issues of applying the Law “On the procedure for making foreign investments in business entities, that are of strategic importance for ensuring the national defense and state security” to the transactions and projects in the Russia's oil and gas industry.
Andrey Tsyganov, deputy head of FAS Russia, Vassily Rudomino, ALRUD Senior Partner, German Zakharov and Andrey Zharskiy, ALRUD partners, Ruslana Karimova, ALRUD Senior Associate, together with other representatives of the legal community and heads of legal services of major Russian and foreign oil and gas companies, took part in the seminar.
During the seminar, Andrey Tsyganov spoke about the approaches of FAS Russia to analyzing the deals with foreign investments. The deputy head of the antimonopoly service explained the legal basis for reviewing the deals by FAS Russia, and commented in more detail on the mechanisms for control of foreign investment in strategic economic entities. He explained that the Strategic Investment Law sets certain restrictions upon foreign investors, liability and sanctions for non-compliance with the Law’s requirements, as well as the decision-making process related to the transactions’ review. Andrey Tsyganov also explained in more details the procedure for reviewing the filings by FAS Russia, and reported on the statistics of consideration of the applications in respect of strategic entities, which were submitted to FAS Russia from 2008 to date. In addition, the representative of FAS Russia dwelled, at length, on the oil and gas transactions reviewed by the Government Commission over the past 10 years. He also provided the statistics on the volume of foreign investment in production of fuel and energy natural resources in Russia. The deputy head of FAS Russia concluded his presentation with information about the planned release of the second, supplemented edition of the Commentary on the Strategic Investment Law.
In the second part of the seminar, ALRUD experts and participants had a discussion on the most complex and controversial issues of the application of the strategic investment legislation faced by oil and gas companies, in their mergers and acquisitions, or in creating joint ventures in Russia, as well as ways to resolve a number of problematic issues in this area. In particular, the experts discussed the criteria for assigning the Russian entities to be classified as the ‘strategic’ ones, complex situations of emerging the foreign investors’ control rights in relation to the ‘subsoil strategic companies’, as well as procedural issues of information disclosure about beneficiaries of a foreign investor.
It is very important for all AIPN members, and other business representatives, to understand the clear ‘rules of the game’ when planning the transactions in the oil and gas industry. Therefore, we are grateful to the antimonopoly service for its transparency and willingness to engage in direct dialogue with the business, even on the most difficult aspects of regulation, said German Zakharov, ALRUD Partner and the moderator of the session, after the seminar
The intense interest of the oil and gas business to the topic of investments in strategic companies, demonstrates the need for further dialogue between the business and the regulator, and clarification of problematic issues that still often arise in practice, in the course of planning such deals. Having extensive experience in advising private and public investors on strategic investments (like China Gold, CEFC China Energy and others), ALRUD experts of Antitrust Practice and Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Practice are ready to provide a full support to the clients on all complex issues of planning and receiving the clearance for the strategic investments in Russia.