News 29 Jun. 2012

Kazakhstan, Counseled by Curtis, Closes Acquisition of Stake in Karachaganak Oil Consortium

Astana, June 29, 2012 - Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP counseled the Republic of Kazakhstan in a transaction that closed yesterday in Astana regarding the development of the Karachaganak oil and gas field, one of the world's largest.

KazMunayGas (KMG), Kazakhstan's national oil company, is acquiring a 10% stake in the consortium developing the Karachaganak field under the agreement that was reached last December. Karachaganak had been the only major oil project in Kazakhstan in which KMG did not already hold a stake. KazMunayGas will join British Gas, ENI, Chevron and Lukoil in the consortium.

Kazakhstan paid approximately $1 billion for a 5% stake in the project. The remaining 5% was transferred to Kazakhstan in settlement of two international arbitrations that were pending between Kazakhstan and the Karachaganak consortium members. The $1 billion purchase is being financed through a loan arrangement between KazMunayGas and the other Karachaganak consortium members.

As part of the settlement, the Consortium agreed to provisions establishing enhanced cost control with respect to major development projects in the future.

Curtis also recently represented Kazakhstan in negotiations that resolved certain disputes with the North Caspian Sea Consortium regarding the development of the Kashagan field, reported to be the world's largest oil discovery since the 1970s.

For the closing of the Karachaganak Settlement Agreement, Curtis utilized a team of lawyers led by partners Eric L. Gilioli and Askar N. Moukhitdinov and associates Oreste Cipolla, Joshua Holt, Askhad Koshkarbayev and Nurlan Mukhitdinov.

For the $1 billion loan arrangement between KazMunayGas and the other consortium members, Curtis used a team of lawyers led by partner Daniel Lenihan, together with Winta Jarvis, Marjena Anderson and Brad Doline and, on Kazakhstani law matters, Askar Moukhitdinov with Nurlan Mukhitdinov and Askhad Koshkarbayev.