News 14 Dec. 2011

Curtis Advises Kazakhstan in Acquisition of Stake in Karachaganak Oil Consortium

Astana, December 14, 2011 - Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP counseled the Republic of Kazakhstan in negotiations resulting in an agreement signed today in Astana.

Under the agreement, KazMunayGas, the national oil company of Kazakhstan, will become a 10% stakeholder in the consortium developing the Karachaganak oil and gas field, one of the largest in the world. The other consortium members consist of British Gas, ENI, Chevron and Lukoil. Karachaganak had been the only major oil project in Kazakhstan in which the Republic did not already hold a stake.

The agreement calls for KazMunayGas to acquire a 5% stake in the project for approximately $1 billion. The remaining 5% will be transferred in settlement of two arbitrations pending between the Republic and the Karachaganak consortium members.

'This was a highly complex negotiation, involving commercial, tax and international arbitration matters, which was conducted simultaneously in English and Russian with four of the largest oil companies in the world,' said Eric L. Gilioli, lead partner in the transaction for Curtis. 'Curtis has been privileged to represent Kazakhstan in the negotiated resolution of disputes regarding two of the biggest oil fields in the world.'

In 2008, Curtis represented the Republic and KazMunayGas in negotiations that increased the stake of KazMunayGas in the consortium developing the Kashagan field, reported to be the world's largest oil discovery in at least three decades. The Kashagan consortium consists of ENI, ExxonMobil, KazMunayGas, Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Inpex.

For the Karachaganak negotiations, Curtis utilized a team of lawyers from five of its international offices (New York, London, Paris, Almaty and Astana) led by partners Eric L. Gilioli, Askar N. Moukhitdinov, Peter F. Stewart and Anthony Smith and associates Nurlan Mukhitdinov, Askhad Koshkarbayev and Olga Beloded. Partners George Kahale III, Peter M. Wolrich and Geoffroy P. Lyonnet represented the Republic in the related international arbitration disputes.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP is a leading international law firm providing a broad range of services to clients around the world. Curtis has offices in the United States, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The firm's international orientation has been a hallmark of its practice for nearly two centuries. For more information about Curtis, please visit or follow Curtis on Twitter ( and